Posted by Chris Cue
6:05am Sun, 11/22/09
OK, here’s my long awaited 2 cents on who and what the
Yankees may do this off season…
(OK, I know nobody was really waiting, but my Mother in
Law may read this and she likes to think I’m important, so go with me on this one OK? 🙂
Keep in mind, I’m no expert on all things Yankee and I’m not
trying to pretend to be one….(heck, I don’t think I’m the definitive “go to
guy” on the Sox either for that matter), so this is just an outsider
looking in and taking a rookie stab at what my gut tells me so others can
ridicule it. Here we go…..
The Yanks don’t have a lot of holes to fill, but the one’s they do have are
1). Left field would seem to be the priority, but #2 IMO is close….depending.
The Yanks have 3 options to them for LF the way I see it. They could resign
Damon on a 2 year deal, They could promote from within (seems doubtful this
year, but maybe next?) or they could go the FA route and make a run at
either Holliday or Bay. My gut tells me Damon is option #1 as far as preference
goes, but they aren’t going to be shy about telling him “take this or we’re
moving on”. The point is, the Yankees are not going to allow Boras to drag this
on so that he can use the Yankees name in conjunction with Holliday. The Yanks
are going to want to nail this down before the other options are signed. In the
end, Damon will go where the money is no matter what he say’s. You have to
remember he won a title in Boston and was reportedly happy there too…..and he
still left for the payday the Yanks provided. I see no reason for his attitude
in that department to change. Still, unless a team like the White Sox gets
involved and offers him more, I’d bet the Yanks offer will be the best one he
gets and he will return. I’d also expect that move (if it happens) will be
made long before Holliday or Bay signs else where.
My prediction: Damon returns for a 2 year deal because the Yankees will
make the best offer and Boras will have to play the Holliday field w/o the
Yanks being involved. (a sparsely attended pity party for him then ensues…:-)
2). Setup Man. If Andy returns and if the Yanks are content with both Hughes and Joba in
the rotation (there is a good case for that one being debatable.), then
I think priority #2 will be on getting that bridge to Mariano….at least IMO it
should be #2. I don’t have a particular player in mind to fill that role,
mostly because the FA market (Soriano, Gonzalez, etc,.), the trade
market and even a promotion from within could deliver any number of guys who could end up with the Setup role in NY.
I have the feeling that if the starting rotation above is acceptable, then this
is where Cashman may spend a good deal of time. Until Hughes was brought up last year, the BP was a weakness for the Yanks and I’m sure they will try to address that if Hughes now ends up in the rotation.
My “outside the box” prediction: (get ready to laugh) I’ll throw
a long shot out here just for giggles……After Wagner declines the Sox offer of
Arbitration (which he will) and after he sees the money he may get from
other teams considering they are surrendering draft picks, I don’t think it out
of the realm of possibility that the Yanks could make him an attractive one
year deal to set up for Mo. I know that’s a stretch, but I think if that option
was out there the Yanks might be able to talk Wagner into it. Like I said….it’s
a long shot….but what good is a crystal ball if you can’t make stupid predictions
3). Pitching, Pitching, Pitching. The 64 thousand dollar question is: Do the
Yanks feel good enough with what they already have in place or are they looking
to buy or perhaps make a deal? Well, they did fine with what they had last
year, but expecting health for an entire season with your starting staff is a
gamble. There may also be other factors at work here that I alluded to in the
Red Sox predictions I made. For instance, if say the Sox get seriously involved
in the Doc Halladay sweepstakes, then I don’t think the Yanks will stand idle
and let that happen w/o putting in an offer or 2 of their own. Let’s take that
one step further and pretend the Sox do indeed manage to land Halladay. Does
anyone think that the Yanks will just let that go w/o a counter move? What if that
happens and Lackey is still out there unsigned? I’m not convinced that the
Yanks are interested in giving him the years and money he’s looking for, but
I’m also not stupid enough to think that they can’t do it if they want. We
could just as easily turn that entire situation around and play the “what if”
game on the Sox should the Yanks land Halladay, but this is my sillyYankee’s
prediction so I’ll save that one…for now 🙂
I’m also not sold on the idea that
the Yankees feel comfortable with both Joba & Hughes in the rotation even
if Andy does return. Personally, I think both of these kids deserve a shot, but I’m also
sure that if the Yanks go that way, Cashman will be looking for some quality
insurance to back it up, so he may very well be in the Sheets, Harden type hunt
My prediction: All hell breaks loose as soon as the Sox show clear
intentions to trade for Halladay. Absent of that, I think the Yanks will go
with what they have in CC, AJ, Andy (who I’m betting returns) and give
the kids a shot w/some veteran back up plans in place just in case.
4). DH. Will Matsui return? My gut say’s no and here’s why. I think the Yanks
have plenty of options to work a rotating DH into their plans for next year.
While I’m sure they will have someone on their bench that looks like the
everyday DH, my gut tells me that whoever that is will have on the field duties
assigned to him as well. With Damon back, with Posada behind the plate and the
option to rest guys like A-Rod and Tex by letting them DH, the Yanks don’t need
to clog the DH spot with somebody who can only serve in that limited role.
My prediction: Too bad for Hideki. He’s one of the guys that play for the Yanks that I can truly say I like and respect. I have the feeling Matsui gets thanked for his time and the Yanks make no
concerted effort to fill a FT DH spot.
I’m sure there is a lot more that can be covered, but I think I’ve probably ruffled
enough feathers with this….
Enjoy and as always, Go Baseball!
Posted by Chris Cue
8:00 am Sat, 11/21/09
Hello again! Having recently crawled out from underneath the rock I’ve been hiding, I thought it might be a good time to start talking Hot Stove Baseball. Now that all the free agents are allowed to discuss their future with teams other than the one they played for last season, getting some predictions in now before things start to happen seems like a good way to make a fool of yourself….sooo, being the glutton for punishment that I am, here you go.
Let’s start off with the Red Sox. I’ll be happy to tick off some of my evil empire friends later with some Yankees predictions, but for now I’ll tackle the hometown team.
I should mention that I’ll be impressed with myself (from a prediction standpoint) if
even one of these predictions comes to pass….(I don’t have a great track record in this dept. 🙂 With
that in mind, here’s what I think has a good chance of going down.
I think the ground work to resign Bay is already in place. The caveat
to the current situation is nobody is yet sure what else may be out
there for him. As long as years or dollars don’t get too stupid (the
Sox won’t go 5/85), I think he’ll be back in Boston. I have no
predictions regarding what may go down if that doesn’t happen except to
say I don’t think the Sox will be players to sign Holliday. He has the wrong agent, there is too much
money required, too many years and too many questions about what he may or may
not bring that will keep the Sox out of that race IMO.
2). Even if the
Sox do land Bay, I believe the FO thinks we still need another bat
(thus their pursuit of Tex last year). Therefore, I’m pretty sure that
they will go hard after Gonzalez if Hoyer indeed makes him available.
However, I DON’T think that they will be successful there. I think
there are too many obstacles in the way for that deal to go down. (I could
give a lengthy list but won’t unless asked) Because there appears to be a lack of
premium players with bats on the trade/FA market coupled with the fact
that the Sox currently have limited spots to put a player like that in,
I think the Sox will turn to another area that could be addressed to
strengthen the team and that’s Pitching.
3). While the Sox
starting rotation appears to be set, we have several issues going
forward that could be addressed now if they choose to do so. Becketts a
FA next year, There are uncertainties with Dice-K and Wakefield’s health
issues are all questions the Sox have to think about now and with an eye on
the future as well. No matter what, the Sox will be signing one or two
insurance pitchers that they hope will have bounce back years (Sheets,
Harden, etc…types), but I’ll go on record now saying that after their
interest in Gonzalez is shot down, they will go just as hard after Doc
Halladay. Lot’s of moving pieces to that kind of deal too, but in this
case I think the Sox may have a better shot at landing him as opposed
to landing Gonzalez. It may never happen, but I really think the
interest is there and that the Sox will be motivated. The big obstacle
with that one? LOL take a guess……The New York Yankees. I don’t think Cashman
will just roll over and let the Sox get Doc without making them pay big
time. In fact, I think the Yanks may have an even better chance to land
Doc if they should decide to go that route themselves. This could very well be the
big Sox-Yanks battle of the off season…..it at least appears to have
all of that kind of framework in place. We’ll have to see.
Once again (i’m sorry to say), I don’t see the Sox going long term to
fill the SS position. I think there may have been some interest in JJ
Hardy, but since he is now signed I think we’re looking at another stop
gap player. I’d like to think that Gonzo would be back, but from what
Ive read a sticking point may be that he’d like more than just a one year deal. I also think the Sox
would consider Marco Scutaro, but not for the length of time he’s
looking for either. There could be a trade out there that Theo is
looking at, but short of that I think Gonzo will be a Sox player in
2010. I say that only because the SS market doesn’t look like it’s
going to give him a 2 or 3 year contract so he may very well settle for
a 4MM one year deal in Boston….which is something I think they’d
5). Billy Wagner. I don’t think he’ll be back in a setup role.
I believe all the “I may accept arbitration” talk was only a rouse that
attempted to make the Sox gun shy in offing him that. Can’t say as I
blame Wagner or his agent for floating that one. Wagner is a lot more attractive to other teams if draft picks aren’t
involved, but I think the Sox will stick to their guns and offer him
Arb. At that point, he’ll turn it down and wind up closing for someone
at less than he would have made via arbitration…..It’ll be “Varitek
Part 2” if you know what I mean. I think the Sox will be content having
Bard and Oki for setup to Paps. The middle relief guys is where the
action might be. Tough to call who and what goes on there because some
of what we currently have may end up being trading pieces (DelCarmen
& maybe Ramirez). I’m fairly comfortable saying the back end of the
Sox BP will be Oki, Bard, Papelbon. Absent a trade, DelCarmen &
Ramirez will most likely be back so it’s guys like Wagner and Saito
that will be the possible holes to fill. That’s going to be a challenge
if our BP is once again going to be considered a strength. The glaring
hole I see is absent Masterson, the Sox don’t have a long man. We’re
going to need one.
I have more, but this is already enough hot air. For discussion purposes only, I’ll put my 2 cents in regarding The Yankees later. For now, let the criticisms begin 🙂
Cheers & Go Baseball!
By Chris Cue
My Man, I’ve got a few things I’d like you to
consider. Let’s start with the everyday lineup. I know you struggle
daily with this, but I’m just trying to help here so hear me out.
ever hear of going with the hot hand? Well, the same applies to “hot
bats”, so let’s say we do this…..for now (depending on who is
Ellsbury – CF
Pedroia – 2B
Martinez – C (Yes, I’ve heard how he doesn’t hit when he catches…it’s BS)
Youkilis – 3B
Bay – LF
Lowell – DH
Drew – RF
Kotchman – 1B
Green – SS
know Papi & Tek are the vets and they may get rubbed the wrong way
and everything, but just tell them that you love them, rub their backs,
pat their heads and sit them the “F” down for a while OK?
OK, glad we cleared that problem up. Now let’s talk about the
pitching. First the bullpen. Do yourself, the team and us a favor and
don’t put poor MDC in a situation where he might give up a lead. I like
the guy and all, but he doesn’t perform well under pressure. Maybe
think about stretching him out for long relief. I think he’d do well
there. Now, here’s the deal on Daniel Bard. He’s a kid and you have to
expect some adjustment time. I know he’s made you say bad words his
last few outings, but really, give him a break. He’s got great stuff.
He just needs a little time. Leave him and the rest of the fella’s
right where they are.
I know this next topic is a sore spot so I’ll try to approach it gingerly.
Beckett & Jon Lester have done great. Please give them all the
candy and ice cream they want…..heck, take them out and shoot some
pool with them too if you think they would appreciate it. They’ve
Brad Penny is a different story. By all means
necessary, keep him away from the candy & ice cream. It’s not that
he’s a bad guy, but let’s be honest, he REALLY doesn’t need that stuff.
However, if you’re determined to treat everyone equally, then I might
suggest a rewards program for him. You know, if he has a 1,2,3
inning….give the slob a Hershey bar. If he has more then one of
those, take him to Dairy Queen where he can watch the fat chicks eat
sundae’s. He may back off on the sweets after that. Oh yeah, if he ever
sees the light of day known as the 7th inning, I think you should give
him the keys to the vending machine and let him have at it.
Incentives Tito….think “incentives”.
Buchholz is easy. Just tell him if he gets the “W” he gets his
Penthouse Magazine back…..other wise keep it yourself….just don’t
let the Mrs. know you’ve got it.
Tazawa…..hmmm He’s kind of a
tough one. You may have to play this one by ear. Just do yourself a
favor and don’t tell him how well his countryman Dice-K has done for us
in the past…..he might try to emulate him. WE DON’T WANT THAT. Dice
is a great guy and all, but really who wants to see the bases loaded
all the time and a magic act that nobody really appreciates. Just tell
him to go out there and strike MFers out. Simple as that. Heck, if it
helps build his confidence, tell him he’s taller then Pedroia.
OK, that’s it for now Tito. Let me know if I can be of anymore help.
Darn it. I knew I’d forget something…
I have this friend of mine that say’s John Henry is cheap, Theo is
inept and that you’re in a coma. I hope that’s not the case, so could
you do me a favor? The wife, kid and I are coming to see you guys this
Wednesday & Thursday. Would it be too much to ask that John Henry
buy us a round? Could Theo arrange parking for us at Fenway? And do you
think you could say “Hi” to us while we’re there?
I only ask because I’d like to prove my buddy wrong.
By Chris Cue
April 18, 2009
What was it we were saying about hoping the bats would wake up? What a great effort by the Red Sox last night. Down 7-0 in the second inning, Brad Penny tossing up meatballs for the Orioles to clobber and the good guys didn’t give up. The bats came alive at the right time and pulled out a victory from what looked to be a certain defeat. Some stellar pitching from the Bullpen by Manny DelCarmen and Ramon Ramirez helped stop the bleeding. Combined, they pitched 4 scoreless innings allowing only 3 hits from the 4th and into the 8th inning. That proved to be enough for the Boston offense to finally come alive and score the 10 runs needed to rob the O’s from a win.
While this was no “Mothers Day Miracle”, it was a great comeback lead by Jason Bay, J.D. Drew and a clutch hit by Nick Green. Patience at the plate, a walk here, and key hit there and the Sox were in business. That was by all accounts a team win. After Penny’s poor performance, it seemed like everyone took this game on their back and brought it home. Good stuff and great to see the Sox put one together. Now all we need is to see Big Papi come to life. From what I understand, he’s got that well under control….
“Bats, they are sick. I cannot hit curveball. Straightball I hit it
very much. Curveball, bats are afraid. I ask Jobu to come, take fear
from bats. I offer him cigar, rum. He will come.”
(Pedro Cerrano from Major League)
I’ll drink to that 🙂 Today they’ll be looking to add another “W” with Beckett on the mound facing Orioles RHP Adam Eaton. Game time is 7:10pm est and will be shown on NESN.
Let’s go for 2 in a row!
Enjoy the game and GO SOX!!
By Chris Cue
April 13, 2009
Judging by comments made on articles and chat sites I’ve
read, it appears there is a vocal minority out there that don’t check their
calendars very often. I’m not talking about just Red Sox fans either. Six games
into the season, the panic members of several teams fan bases have begun their
“Sky is Falling” predictions.
We’ve had these “It’s Early” conversations before haven’t
we? We are 6 games into the season. Let me repeat that. WE ARE 6 GAMES INTO THE
SEASON. Having major concerns at this point is jumping the gun a bit don’t ya
think? It shouldn’t surprise anyone that some players have started the season
Hot or Cold. It happens every year. I’m sure fans all over would like to see
their teams “plans” come together and be firing on all cylinders from
day one, but that rarely (if ever) happens.
So, yes I’m sure Red Sox fans would feel really great right now if Papi was
hitting long ball after long ball, if Ellsbury had an OBP near .500, If Dice,
Lester and Wake had shut out the teams they faced, if Jed Lowrie was 12 for 24
at the plate, if Mike Lowell suddenly found some blazing speed and if the Sox
were 6-0…..but that kind of stuff doesn’t happen right away with some players
or teams. In some cases, it never will all year, but you have to find out what
you have don’t you? You have to stay the course and allow some of these guys to
play up to their norm or potential.
Every team has a game plan going into the season, however that exact plan is
rarely still being executed once July rolls around. Teams and players are
streaky. A few get hot and stay that way and some only show flashes of what
they should be. But 6 games into the season…on April 13th….. is not when
Management or coaches should step back and analyze results to either make
changes or not. Can you imagine what the Red Sox lineup would be tomorrow if
they did that? With his current OBP Bay would be our lead off hitter, Youkilis
would be the DH, JD Drew would be batting 8th or 9th and Nick Green would be the everyday SS.
I’m not saying that team management should wait 3 months before deciding what
is going to work and what’s not, but after 6 games? It might be different if we
were talking about elite players that are injured and out for the season, but
that’s not the case here. I mean c’mon, it really is a little early to be
overly concerned about much isn’t it? What do you say some of you sit back and
see how things begin to progress to the norm before you start calling for key
players to be benched or replaced? This isn’t your first Major League season is
it? Or is it?
By Chris Cue
As the remaining position players make their way into
Spring Training Camp today, some of those that preceded them have already
let their thoughts be known. To offer a glimpse into their state of mind, a few
simple quotes are all that’s needed.
(photo – Boston.com)
I hear some comments and they do nothing but make me stronger.”
“I heard people
saying, ‘he’s getting old,’ or whatever. I just turned 33. I’ve never seen a
player called old at 33. You know what I mean?”
comments people make about you just because for one year you’ve been off
because of injuries and things like that, don’t make no sense.”
(photo – Boston Herald)
going to be happy being on the bench.”
“Every year’s a
new beginning. Whatever you did last year doesn’t mean anything any more. I
don’t worry about that. I just come here and do what I do, play baseball the
best I can. I can’t make those decisions. They know what they’re going to get
from me. This is not my first rodeo.”
(photo – ProJo SoxBlog)
(On the off season trade talk) “You feel hurt, but it’s a human reaction
anyone would have. It just goes to show you that there are some times
when it’s a business, so you have to treat it that way. You go from
“It doesn’t take
away any excitement or from the guys I play with on the field. I want the
chance to win a World Series. There aren’t too many people who can say that,
even in the big leagues.“
(photo – ProJo Soxblog)
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was excited about the MVP. It was a great year, but I was very upset about the
way it ended. My biggest focus in the off season was to get ready for this
season. I just want to help the team win.”
and jacked. We’re ready to kick everybody’s (rear end).”
goal this year is in front of us and when you’re that close last year to
returning to the World Series and not doing it, it leaves a bitter taste in
your mouth. So I think everybody put the time in during the off season to
prepare themselves for a great season. We’re definitely looking forward to
doing special things this year.”
(photo – Boston Herald)
(on extending his contract) “There are a lot of factors that go into that. There are
definitely a lot of positives for me to stay here. I love it, as most
(regarding replacing Manny and being accepted) “It was great. I think they (the fans) took to me more because of my
last name. It was easy. When you come into a situation like that there
are so many unknowns and to be accepted by the fans before I had even
done anything was a big weight off my back.”
The remainder of the position players will begin showing up to the Player Development Center this morning. Once they arrive, the team will start the first day of full squad workouts. Each arriving player will have their own schedules and opinions, but these 5 have stated the common goal. Work hard, help the team win and the rest will take care of itself.
By Chris Cue
January 19, 2009
For as slow as this off season has taken to develop, the Red Sox came out and took care of some serious business this past week. Many are calling it their “Plan B” with “Plan A” being the failed Mark Teixeira negotiations. I’m not so sure. At least one of the items the Sox addressed this week appears to have been in the works no matter what happened this off season.
- Kevin Youkilis signed a 4 year, 41MM dollar extention with a possible 5th year option this week. As MLBTR puts it: “Great value for a guy who finished third in the AL
MVP voting, plays Gold Glove caliber defense, and is one of the leaders
of that clubhouse. Nice move by Boston.” Sox fans agree. Great move and Good terms on a player that was virtually just as good as Teixeira last season.
- The Red Sox added to their already deep pitching rotation by signing veteran John Smoltz earlier in the week. Smoltz, who is signed to a 1 year deal, isn’t expected to see action until early June, but brings with him a 15-4 post season record. The best in the history of the game. Smoltz is an addition to a rotation that already includes: Josh Beckett, Jon Lester, Daisuke Matsuzaka, Tim Wakefield, Brad Penny and Clay Buchholz. 7 deep with starting pitchers is impressive.
- The Red Sox also signed Mark Kotsay to a one year, 1.5M dollar deal. Kotsay, who played half a season in Boston last year, was looking for a full time job with another club at season’s end. However, the falling market for outfielders brought him back to the Red Sox where he will assume a bench role backing up Kevin Youkilis at First base and JD Drew in right field.
Can the Red Sox “One Up” themselves this week? It’s entirely possible. There remain several possibilities that could at least match last weeks activity.
Here’s a look:
The Red Sox may not stop with extending current players like Youkilis and Pedroia. It’s widely believed that they also have hopes of extending Jason Bay this off season. Bay, who is a free agent after this season may opt to test the free market instead of signing an extention. However, considering the weak market for Outfielders this off season, he may accept a healthy offer from Boston rather then taking a chance on next year.
- Another player the Red Sox would also like to extend appears the least likely to make that kind of agreement. Jonathon Papelbon will also be able to declare free agency soon and past attempts by the Red Sox to lock him up long term have gone by the way side. It should be noted however, that the same scenario occured with Youkilis as well. Paps is certainly the wild card here, but as with most players, money talks. Now if you can just get Papelbon to quit dancing long enough to listen…..
- Finally, and perhaps most importantly is what will occur with free agent and team captain Jason Varitek. Varitek’s widely reported meeting with Red Sox principle owner John Henry last Friday may have been the occurance that needed to take place as both sides are once again talking. There are no guarantees on this one. Both sides have an adgenda that could derail the talks. The Red Sox would like to have Varitek back on a one year deal, but the captain is reported to be insistent on 2 years. The hopes are that the 2 sides will be able to come to some sort of a compromise that perhaps gives Varitek the ability to earn the second year. It’s not clear that either side is willing to do that just yet. More on this will certainly unfold in the coming week.
So, there ya go. There’s not a lot of unfinished business to attend to before the season begins, but what does remain will be extremely important to what the Red Sox will look like for the 2009 season and beyond. Stay tuned, this could be a very important week ahead.