Tagged: Kevin Youkilis

Open Letter to Terry Francona

By Chris Cue
8/11/09

Hey Tito…..

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.

You
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
pitching).

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

I
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.

Starting Pitching.

Josh
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
earned it.

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”.

Clay
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.

Regards,

Chris

Darn it. I knew I’d forget something…

PS.
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.

Thanks again!

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Busy, Busy, Busy

By Chris Cue
April 23, 2009

     Boy I’ve been busy. Sorry for not posting in a while and thank you to those of you who e-mailed wondering if I’d fallen off the face of the Earth. Obviously I haven’t, but I have to admit, there were a few times when that seemed like a pretty good option. 🙂

     On to Baseball…….How about them SOX huh? Reeling off seven victories in a row! Wow, that’s pretty good. In fact it’s the best run so far this season in all of MLB. That puts the Red Sox tied for 2nd place in the AL East with the NY Yankees.

Speaking of the Yankees…..

     “Hey Mom, look who’s coming to dinner.”

!Sox-yanks.jpg

     That’s right, Baseballs best rivalry gets underway once again starting this Friday night. I don’t want to say that there is a lot of interest generated when these 2 teams get together, but when compared to others, well……

!Bus Stop.jpgI know it’s probably not fair to compare 2 teams that have had an intense rivalry for decades to others, but who cares about being fair? It’s the truth. While we no longer have the Fisk – Munson matchup and seeing how it’s going to be impossible for even a little A-Rod Varitek dust up, what are we left with?

!Youk-Joba.jpgHa Ha! That’s right. A little Youkilis – Chamberlain love-fest! We’ll see how much chin music Joba thinks he can get away with before our first baseman decides it’s time to color up one of his eyes. This mini drama kicks things off Friday night as Joba Chamberlain is the scheduled starter for the Yankees. As hot as Youk is at the plate right now, I can see Mr “I didn’t mean to throw at his head” look to try and cool him off a bit. We’ll see how that works out.

The game times, networks and scheduled starters for this weekend are:
Friday: 7:10pm est – NESN / Lester – Chamberlain
Saturday: 4:10pm est – FOX / Beckett – Burnett
Sunday: 8:05pm est – ESPN / Masterson – Pettitte

     As usual, this looks like it’s going to be one heck of a series. The pitching match ups look good and both teams are playing pretty well right now. Even some of the players appear to be getting up for this one.

“It’s going to be fun,” said Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia.
“Obviously, they have a great team and we feel we do too. Anytime you
play those guys, they’re going to be long games and exciting games. I
think everyone is looking forward to it.”

****

“It’s always fun to play those guys,” said Red Sox closer Jonathan
Papelbon. “When you put two competitive teams on the field, it’s always
going to make for an interesting game. We definitely have two teams
that are going to compete, and two teams that have a lot of talent on
them. It should be a fun series like always.”

(quotes taken from Ian Browne’s story on MLB.com)

So, even though we’ll have to endure and off day today, it appears that this weekend will more then make up for it. Regardless of how this series ends up, we’re sure to once again be treated to baseball at it’s best. I for one am looking forward to it!

Let’s try for 10 in a row…..

GO SOX!!

Fickle Fans

By Chris Cue
April 13, 2009

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     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?

 

Relax.

A Little of This and That

By Chris Cue
March 10, 2009

     Just a few rambling thoughts this morning…

  1. A-Rod had surgery on his hip yesterday. Does anyone else think they missed the real problem by the distance of a torso and a neck?
  2. NESN isn’t televising another Red Sox Spring training game until March 17th. Just in time for us to watch the guys play in those funky green uniforms. Yee Haw! Even I think they look horrible….and I’m Irish.
  3. The WBC is being televised. Sure it’s baseball, but a “Mercy Rule”? Really? It’s kind of hard to take that seriously don’t ya think?
  4. With all the news of aches and pains coming out of the Red Sox and Yankees camps, would it surprise you to see Hawkeye, Trapper, Col. Henry Blake and Klinger show up to save the day?
  5. The Red Sox beat the Pirates yesterday with only 2 regulars playing in the game. Jon Lester and Jed Lowrie. It’s on the fence regarding if that’s impressive or not…..afterall, it was the Pirates…
  6. Joe Girardi seems to be loosening up on the Yankees this year. He took them to play pool with one another instead of practicing for a day. Who knows, maybe he’ll allow candy and ice cream in the clubhouse this season too.
  7. Anyone else been impressed with Jeff Bailey this Spring? Brad Wilkerson may be getting a run for his money for that final bench spot.
  8. Here’s a little piece of trivia for the younger generation…..Did you know that Team Canada’s coach was a former Red Sox guy? It’s true. Ernie Whitt was a catching prospect for the Sox and back in 1976 he played in 8 big league games backing up Carlton Fisk at the catchers spot. He hit his first homerun in a Sox uniform, then he was later sent off to Toronto in the expansion draft. Today, he’s considered one of the best catchers the Blue Jays ever had.
  9. I’m guessing the Terry Francona bashers are now happy to see him wearing eye glasses in the dug out. Make of that what you will…
  10. Finally, Jerry Remy has been noticably missed during the Spring Training broadcasts.  Hopfully he’s on the mend from that bug he caught. Best wishes and a speedy return Rem-Dog~

A Day In The Life

By Chris Cue
February 11, 2009

       I heard a noise today…oh boy
       It was a lucky bird who’d made the grade
       And though his song was rather sad
       I just had to laugh
       He seemed a photograph
He blew in with a southern wind
He didn’t notice that the snow was here
A crowd of people stood and stared
They’d seen his wings before
Nobody was really sure
If he was lost or here to stay

     Hopefully, the Beatles don’t mind the borrowing and altering of that classic too much. I really did hear a bird singing yesterday. It was the first one I had the pleasure of hearing in quite sometime. For some reason, “A Day In The Life” popped right into my head and I began changing the lyric’s to fit the moment. It was the first awakening of any of the 5 senses I’ve had that told me Spring is on it’s way. It was a pretty cool. I appreciated seeing and hearing that song bird right up until……
Oh well, the car needs to be washed anyway.
Apparently the seasons are changing, but my luck….maybe not so much.

     There were a few other signs of Spring yesterday that should be noted. Even though they didn’t fly in, sing to me and then crap on my car, they too were welcome never the less. I’m talking about the first Spring Training Updates courtesy of the Providence Journal’s Soxblog. In case you missed them, here’s what ProJo said was happening first thing yesterday in good ole’ Ft. Myers, FL.
==========================================================================

Report from the Fort

9:28 AM Tue, Feb 10, 2009
By Joe McDonald
 

It’s warm. It’s sunny. It’s baseball.

A ton of minor leaguers and a few big leaguers are all ready at the
Red Sox Player Development Complex here. Josh Beckett, Jon Lester,
Manny Delcarmen, Rocco Baldelli and Kevin Youkilis are all working out
today.
Brad Penny and John Smoltz are here, too.

===========================================================================

     That was the first of 7 entries made by Joe McDonald yesterday. The other blog posts he made were regarding John Smoltz playing catch  (with a football), Youkilis on the A-Rod news, Youk ready to go, another piece on John Smoltz, Minor League player Chris Carter and newly acquired Japanese relief pitcher Takashi Saito. It was all good stuff. Nothing earth shattering, but music to my eyes (if that’s possible). If you’d like to follow McDonalds blog posts, just copy and paste this into your web browser: http://soxblog.projo.com/ bookmark it and then check in throughout the day.

     This is a great time of year. Thanks to a song bird and Joe McDonald I’m convinced that Spring is on the way. It’s time to open up the windows (for a few seconds) and think about that yearly house cleaning .

     Oh yeah, I should probably get the car washed too.

Theo On WEEI: Transcript

By Chris Cue
February 5, 2009

     In case you were unable to listen to the interview that Theo Epstein gave yesterday on WEEI, a transcript of that conversation is provided HERE (courtesy of Boston.com). A few highlights include:

Theo on being able to sign Pedroia and Youkilis to long term contracts:

Epstein: “…. With Pedroia and Youkilis, we knew that they were among the players that we wanted to sit down and have multi-year conversations with. And, you know, they were really reasonable. And so we were able to work something out. I hope we will look back and say that was an important part of our offseason, being able to lock Pedroia up for the length of time that we did, six years and an option, and then Youkilis for four years and an option. We get these guys through their prime years, get the club option . . . they get a lifetime’s worth of security, we get cost-control, affordability, and the knowledge that we’ll keep a good part of our offensive and defensive core intact. So it’s a win-win there for all sides.”

Regarding any concern over Jon Lester’s innings increase from 2007 to 2008:

 

Epstein: “Yeah, I think anytime a pitcher has that kind of jump in innings you want to be concerned, but there were a lot of factors that went into that. The total last year was a little bit artificially high because the season began so early. So his first outing in Japan, for instance, would have been an outing anyway, but we would have called it spring training. And he was so efficient with his pitching that he got deep in games while maintaining his delivery without having stressful innings, those things factor into the equation. With our young pitchers, we want to have a more natural progression, but with Jon, he was so strong last year and so reliable that we had to push a little bit past where we wanted to go. . . . He’s young, strong, we’re not going to do anything irresponsible with him, and he’s a guy you can feel pretty good about betting on for the long haul.”


Mike Lowell’s health and state of mind following the attempted deal for Mark Teixeira:
 

Epstein: As you know he had surgery on the labrum in his hip and we projected him to be ready by the start of the season, and that’s still the case. He’s had some really good weeks and some that were frustrating. But he’s started swinging the bat and doing some agility work so he’s on schedule to be available by the end of spring training. And that’s really what we’re focused on, what he’s going to look like at the end of spring training rather than the beginning. As far as the feelings he might have, Mike’s a veteran and he understands there’s things organizations have to do when elite players become available, players that might fit for the long haul. Teams that want to win every year go after those players and that’s the nature of it. I think Mike understands that. It doesn’t mean your feeling don’t get affected a little bit, it doesn’t mean that you like it, but Mike’s a veteran and he’s been through it before.”

If the Red Sox are done with off season trades or deals for Free Agents:

Epstein: “I think we’re probably done. There is always something else that might fit as we round out our spring training roster and there’s always trade discussions as well, so I wouldn’t rule anything out. But nothing is that hot or active right now. I think most teams are packing up and heading down to spring training seeing what they have the first few weeks of camp then trade discussions will pick up from there. But we’re pretty much set at most positions and I feel good about our depth that we have in camp. And we’ll need it because it’s a long season, and every season we’ve built up depth we’ve needed it to survive the attrition of the season. So we’ll see how we look on the field in a week or so.”

Week in Review/Peak into the Future

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.
Let’s re-cap

  • 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:

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    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.