Tagged: Theo Epstein

Andy Pettitte Set To Retire

By Chris Cue
Thurs. Feb. 4, 2011

     At 10:30 this morning Andy Pettitte is scheduled to hold a press conference at Yankee Stadium and announce his retirement from Major League Baseball.

Red Sox fans won’t be expected to shed any tears.

     Nothing that has the potential to weaken the Yankees is going to get anyone in Red Sox Nation to make a mad dash for the crying towels. Just as Yankee fans weren’t too broken up about watching Manny, Jason Bay, Victor Martinez or even Adrian Beltre leave Boston, Red Sox fans aren’t about to get prescriptions of anti-depressants to help them get over this.

     The above is stated (and it should be taken as such) with all due respect. If Andy Pettitte wasn’t  a tough competitor, then nobody in either fan base would give a hoot about this upcoming announcement. The truth of the matter is, most Sox fans will embrace this news because Andy was a tough competitor and nobody looked forward to facing him…..especially this year considering how left handed the Sox current lineup is.

     At the beginning of the off season, it appeared to many that the Yankees starting rotation for 2011 could very well be:

CC Sabthia
Cliff Lee
AJ Burnett
Andy Pettitte
Phil Hughes

     After signing Adrian Gonzalez and Carl Crawford, the Red Sox lineup looked vulnerable to facing a pitching staff that featured 3 very tough left handed hurlers. As the well known events of this off season have unfolded, the Yankees now appear to have only one tough lefty which the Sox will have to face. That’s good news for the Red Sox.

     However, just as Theo Epstein said regarding the Tampa Bay Rays, “The reports of their demise have been greatly exaggerated”, Sox fans should remember that these are still the Yankees and  writing them off now is ill advised. The Yankees have the resources and thanks to the efforts of Brian Cashman and the Yankees front office, they also have a healthy crop of young talent to make a deal for an impact pitcher. You can bet your last dollar that at some point this year they will attempt to do just that. So, while the Yankees appear to be in a desperation mode right now for solid starting pitching, don’t hold your breath expecting it to last the entire season. They may not currently be 100%, but they still have a formidable batting order and what appears to be an outstanding Bullpen. The point being made here is that while the loss of Pettitte is going to hurt, the Yankees are far from being anyone’s door mat.

     Take it for what it’s worth. It’s just a word of caution to perhaps temper what could be for some an over the top reaction that says, “The Yankees are toast”. No team is “toast” in February and most certainly, the New York Yankees aren’t dead in the water because Pettitte decided to retire.  Oh, it’s good news for Sox fans, but like Theo said about the Rays…..any reports of the Yankees demise would be greatly exaggerated at this point in time.

       Congratulations to Andy Pettitte on a fine career. The Red Sox are happy to see you go…..that is a compliment and of course meant with all due respect.


Where’s Theo?

Posted by: Chris Cue

5:11am Thurs, 11/26/09

    I’d like to know where Theo Epstein is today. Six years ago he made Red Sox fans very happy by sitting down, eating and talking Turkey with Curt Schilling. Any chance he’s having Thanksgiving dinner away from home again this year? One can only hope. If not, no problem. Enjoy your Turkey today Theo, but do us all a favor and come to work tomorrow ready to talk Turkey with someone who will be a difference maker in 2010…..please.

    To everyone else, enjoy your family and friends today. They are what we should be truly thankful for.

……….on a lighter note:

      If Emeril Was a Turkey


















Happy Thanksgiving!!

Questions, Questions, Questions

Posted by: Chris Cue
5:30am Tues, 11/24/09

     If there is one thing that can be said of Baseball’s off season it’s that it’s filled with questions. “What will my team do?”, “Will we pay what is needed to land that guy?”, “Will they try to resign that player?” “Can we trade for so and so?” and on and on and on. There’s plenty of speculation to be sure. Equally as sure is that most of what we read is nothing more than that….speculation. So, at least during this point of the non-playing season, we all have equal ground to work on when it comes to “What I think will happen” types of conversations. With that in mind, let’s take a look at several area’s that may or may not affect the Red Sox and other AL East teams.

      We’ll start out with an article that perked my interest in where the Red Sox and Yankees might stand in the hunt for Doc Halladay’s services. The article (HERE) in today’s Herald by John Tomase states: “The Yankees and Red Sox are expected to be at the forefront of trade
discussions (for Halladay) with rookie general manager Alex Anthopoulos. The Sox have
more to offer, however, because they can dangle potential
front-of-the-rotation starter Clay Buchholz.”

   Now, being the Red Sox homer that I am, I would love to believe that is the case. However, when you step back and attempt to take a non-biased look at the situation, I’m not sure the Sox do have it over the Yankees because of Buchholz. Personally, as of today, I would take Clay over either Joba or Phil Hughes, but just because Clay may be considered a notch above (for now), you have to remember it’s going to be a package of players that lands Halladay….not just a single pitcher. The Jay’s needs for next season if they move Doc are going to be: Starting Pitching, a Catcher and a Short Stop. While the Red Sox can fill the Starting Pitching spot with Clay, we fall a little short in the Catcher and Short Stop positions as far as ML ready players go. Of course, it may not be necessary for either team to fill immediate needs for the Jay’s. It could be a matter of what the Jay’s see as future needs too. It appears to me that both the Sox and Yanks may be a little closer in available talent then Tomase gives credit for. As always, it will boil down to which team is willing to give up the needed talent to land Halladay. Recent history tells me that both Theo Epstein and Brian Cashman are rather shy about giving up the kids they develop, but for the opportunity to sign Halladay long term (if the Jay’s provide such a window to negotiate an extension ), we may see more of a willingness then we have in the past to trade some kids. Stay tuned to this one.


     The other curiosity I have also is in regards to Starting Pitching. While the Sox do appear to have a set rotation already in place, there’s no doubt that Theo is going to want to add depth to it in case of injury or flat out ineffectiveness. But will he (or the Yankees) be interested in a front of the rotation starter this off season?

     I started wondering how much next years crop of available Starting Pitchers will
determine what we do and don’t do this year. I think a case could be
made that both the Sox and Yanks made decisions long before last years off season
that allowed each team to be in the Teixeira race when he became available.
So, I’m wondering how much the crop of available starting pitchers next
year will determine what teams do this off season.

Take a look at a few of the names that are slated to become Free Agents next off season

Roy Halladay
Cliff Lee
Josh Beckett
Brandon Webb
and there are a number of 2nd tier guys available too like:
Ted Lilly, Javier Vazquez and others

By the way,
not only are all of those guys slated to become Free Agents next year, that list doesn’t include some guys that may be available via trade. For
instance, the Marlins by their recent actions may have opened up the possibility that Josh Johnson
could be available via trade next off season. Of course the Marlin’s didn’t come
right out and say he would be available, but they failed to sign the kid to an extension
and opted to go year to year for his last 2 Arbitration eligible seasons that
they have him under control (2010 & 2011). That would appear to
make him trade bait next off season, so we may be able to throw his name on that list too. We’ll have to see about that
because Marlin’s have been known to hang on to guys and just get draft picks
when they leave instead of trading them. However, it seems safe to assume there is at least a
very good possibility he’ll be shopped.

     That’s a pretty good
crop of potential available starting pitchers next year which is why I’m
wondering if teams may have an eye on that and be a little shy of
locking up someone less desirable long term this year. In other words,
let’s say that neither the Red Sox or Yankees show interest in John Lackey this
off season, I’m thinking that next years available pitchers may have
something to do with it.

Just a thought…..and of course, it adds more questions.

Cheers and Go Baseball!

Hot Stove Predictions – Red Sox

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.

Red Sox

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!

Open Letter to Terry Francona

By Chris Cue

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.

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.

Starting Pitching.

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”.

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.

Thanks again!

5 Things That Couldn’t Hurt

by Chris Cue
June 15, 2009

5 Things the Red Sox should consider doing regarding the SS position

1). Buy Lugo a free ticket to get on board the SS Minow for a 3 hour tour.

2). Infect Theo with the Swine flu so he’s not well enough to be around when a Short Stop decision is made.

3). Make another trip to Texas (Houston this time) and leave John Henry in Boston to Twitter away…

4). Move the Green Monster in about 100 feet

5). Kidnap Hanley Ramirez when he comes to Fenway this week.


Wakefield Has Issues

By Chris Cue
March 8, 2009

     Back in December it was speculated here that Tim Wakefield may not be coming back to the Red Sox rotation this season. The link to that article is HERE. At the time, it was believed he might be considering retirement do to some sort of injury to his pitching shoulder. While it’s obvious that Wakefield will pitch for the Red Sox again this year, those concerns about his shoulder turn out to be well founded and explain a lot.

     It was revealed in a Boston Globe article by Adam Kilgore yesterday that Wakefield has pitched the last 2 seasons with a small tear in the labrum of his right shoulder. Knuckleball pitchers like Wake are certainly a different breed, which may be why he has been able to continue the way he has. Still, it was explained that the problem with his shoulder is what has caused him to wear down late in the year.

     Wakefield said: “It doesn’t really bother me until the innings count gets high, in the 160- to 180-inning range.” Using the lower end of that innings count (160), that means he feels he can be fine for a little more then 22 starts if he pitches an average of 7 innings per start. After that, he’ll begin to run into a fatigue problem. The same problem he’s had for the last 2 years. Clearly, the additions to the Red Sox starting rotation of Brad Penny and John Smoltz should give Terry Francona ample opportunities to rest Wakefield during the course of the season. Clay Buchholz is also in reserve if either Penny or Smoltz stumble, so it’s quite possible that Wakefield, while limited to a certain amount of innings, could still be very effective this season. It’s going to be up to the health of the other starting pitchers and Francona to insure that Wakefield is given the time off needed if the Red Sox hope to have him available for late September and the post-season.

          It’s pretty obvious that this isn’t “new” news to the Red Sox front office. It explains why the Sox are currently so deep with starting pitching options. Right now, if you count Justin Masterson as a possible starter, the Red Sox have 8 potential starting pitchers. They are: Beckett, Lester, Matsuzaka, Penny, Wakefield, Smoltz, Buchholz and Masterson with the possibility of a 9th starter in Michael Bowden if necessary. That kind of depth didn’t just happen. Theo Epstein has obviously made provisions for a starter needing rest or being injured. Now, perhaps we know at least one reason why the depth of the starting rotation was so important this off season.

Varitek Happy-Backup Job Now the Question

By Chris Cue
February 15, 2009

     Red Sox captain Jason Varitek met with the press yesterday to answer questions on the ordeal of the off season and his thoughts on what transpired. The Boston Globe’s web site (Boston.com) has the entire video of that interview HERE.

     Varitek looked to be in great shape and had mostly positive things to say regarding his role with the organization. He noted that it was his goal during the off season to persue a multi-year deal with the Red Sox first, then look elsewhere if he had to. He added that he instructed his agent Scott Boras to exhaust every opportunity with the Red Sox before he offered Varitek’s services to other teams. Boras never had the opportunity to peruse those other teams because it was Varitek’s intention to hold out (as we know) for as long as he could to get something done with the only team he has ever played for. He wanted more then anything else to get those years and to eventually retire with the team. Money matters aside, both Varitek and the organization got what they wanted and both are apparently very happy with the final outcome.

     With Varitek’s and the teams goals regarding him completed, the attention now turns to who will replace Kevin Cash as the Backup Catcher for the 2009 season. The Red Sox currently have 4 candidates in house to compete for that spot and they are: Josh Bard, George Kottaras, Dusty Brown and Mark Wagner. It is widely believed by most that Bard is the front runner, but just as the Sox plan to give each a fair look, so should we.

Here is how the competition stacks up:

Josh Bard – Most will recall Bard’s failed attempt to serve in this role back in 2006. Unable at the time to handle Tim Wakefield’s knuckle ball, he was traded to the Padres for the return of Doug Mirabelli. Bard went on with the rest of that season batting .338 with 40 RBI’s and 9 Home Runs in 93 games for San Diego. In 2007, he posted a respectable .285/51/5 in 118 games, but he had an injury plagued year in 2008 that limited his playing time to just 57 games. Bard’s strength is clearly his potential offensive contributions. While he is not considered a poor receiver, his inability in the past to successfully catch Tim Wakefield, coupled with his poor Stolen base/Caught stealing numbers (288/67 lifetime) is certainly enough to give one pause before handing the job over to him. Runners like to run on Wakefield and Bard’s poor ability to throw them out could be a deciding factor.

George Kottaras – Has spent 6 years in the Minor Leagues, 2 of which were spent with the Red Sox AAA affiliate in Pawtucket RI. Kottaras has experience catching the Paw Sox knuckle ball pitcher Charlie Zink. Zink however, throws a much different type of pitch then Wakefield and is regarded as the easier one of the 2 to catch. Kottaras saw very limited time with the Red Sox in 2008. His 3 games last season represent his entire Major League career. The one factor which may play in his favor is that he is out of options. Simply put, that means if he doesn’t get the backup role, the Red Sox can not demote him back to AAA without first putting him on waivers. It would seem likely that with the shortage of quality catchers across MLB, some team would pick him up before the Red Sox had the opportunity to re-assign him. Kottaras is seen as a decent backstop, however many have questions regarding his ability to compete at the Major League level. He has some pop in his bat. Despite his .243 Batting Average, he hit 22 Home Runs with 65 RBI’s in 107 games last season with Pawtucket.

Dusty Brown –  Brown might just be the big surprise in this race. He’s a quality Catcher with a strong arm and an improving bat. Like Kottaras, Brown also has experience catching Charlie Zink, so he’s not unfamilar with catching a knuckle ball. At 26 years old, he may well be coming into his own. Last season when Theo Epstein stated that he didn’t think the future Catcher for the Red Sox was yet inside the organization, Brown took those remarks as a personal challenge and went on to improve his offensive numbers posting a .290 Batting Average along with 12 Home Runs and 55 RBI’s in 84 games for the Paw Sox last season. Of the 4 candidates, Brown may well be regarded as the most complete Catcher in the group. Watch this guy he may just surprise everyone.

Mark Wagner – Not many give Wagner a real shot at making the club this year. He’s young, only 24 years old and viewed as needing some more experience to reach his potential. Wagner spent last season with the Portland Sea Dogs, the Red Sox AA affiliate. While there, he showed that his biggest attribute was behind the plate. Wagner was not an offensive threat last season. He batted just .219 with 10 Home Runs and 48 RBI’s in 94 games for the Sea Dogs. Still young, his place in this years Spring Training camp is being looked at as a learning experience. An opportunity to observe and work with Jason Varitek is something that Wagner himself say’s is his goal while in camp.. “You can learn a lot by watching him. He’s not a bad guy to try to
follow in his footsteps and hopefully I can continue to open up more
The Red Sox, always eager to expose young talent to the Major League atmosphere, are giving him that opportunity this year.

     While Theo Epstein continues to say that a main goal for the organization is to find Varitek’s eventual replacement, those 4 players have a smaller, but still difficult goal to achieve first. Each is looking to just become this seasons backup to Varitek. Can one of them eventually step forward and become the player Epstein is looking for? Anything is possible, but the current goal for each of them is to be given an opportunity to show what they have and to learn from one of the best. Varitek has stated that he is eager to mentor whomever the Red Sox decide upon. Whether it is Josh Bard, George Kottaras, Dusty Brown, Mark Wagner or someone outside the organization, that individual will have to make it on the 25 man roster first. The competition for that spot is now underway. 4 players, one spot to fill. May the best man win.

Lucky, Good or Both

By Chris Cue
February 14, 2009

     In the off season of 2003, Theo Epstein and the Red Sox attempted to trade Manny Ramirez and acquire Alex Rodriguez. In the young life of the current ownership and management, that was the biggest failed attempt at signing a player who eventually went to the Yankees in the 11th hour. Since that time, we have witnessed this occurrence with Johnny Damon and recently with Mark Teixeira. Off season attempts to sign players by this front office have often been trumped by other clubs. Pedro Martinez is another example of a player the Red Sox made an attempt to retain, but came up short to the Mets.

     In each of those cases (Damon, Pedro & A-Rod), one could look at those failures and see them as lucky breaks. Damon is no longer a quailty Centerfielder and if he was retained, the Red Sox would never have seen Coco Crisp or perhaps even Jacoby Ellsbury when they did. Pedro’s story is easy. If the Red Sox had managed to retain him, they would have committed to a pitcher who has spent a significant amount of time on the DL. As far as A-Rod goes, is there any doubt that if that trade had gone through that the Red Sox might never have won the 2004 World Series in which Manny was the MVP? So, what is it with these failed attempts? Luck or is this front office just good at knowing where to draw the line in the sand? Maybe, it’s a little bit of both.

     We’re about to find out if this streak of winning failures is going to continue. A similar situation is now at hand. This front office, whether you agreed with them or not, went after Mark Teixeira pretty aggressively. They did so knowing that if they had signed him, Mike Lowell was going to have to be traded away. Needless to say, they failed once again to get the prize they were after. Or did they? A case can be made that once again they had drawn a line in the sand and were not willing to cross it. Could they have out bid the Yankees for Teixeira’s services? We may never know, but we do know this much….when Scott Boras told John Henry, Theo Epstein and the rest who went to Texas what it would cost to sign him right then and there, they passed. They said no and Henry’s email to the press, widely viewed at the time as a bluff, signaled their refusal to go the extra mile. They had a number and they stuck to it.

     Mark Teixeira is now a Yankee and Mike Lowell remains a member of the Red Sox. Will this most recent failed attempt to acquire a player again work to the advantage of the Red Sox? Who knows. Only time will tell us the end of that story. However, if the track record is any indication, then it would appear that Mike Lowell is about to have a career year. That’s something the Red Sox and their fans should be looking forward to.

Spring Training: Francona, Epstein News and Notes

By Chris Cue
February 13, 2009

     When Terry Francona and Red Sox General Manager Theo Epstein sat down with reporters yesterday, they had a few updates on players yet to report to camp and each shared his feelings on several subjects involving the team and individual players.

Regarding where Mike Lowell currently is health wise….
Epstein: “(The reports we hear have) been pretty good. We just got an update yesterday that he’s not
experiencing any pain or any symptoms and he’s doing some baseball
activities. He hasn’t really run yet full-fledged, and that’s going to
be an important step for him, but he’s hitting and doing some other
baseball activities. We’re going to take it slow. We’re going to hold
him back. We’re not focused on what he looks like on the report date or
when the first exhibition date happens. The whole rehab is built around
the proper timetable, which happens to coincide with getting him ready
for opening day.”

Regarding the amount of Minor League players in camp this year….
Francona: “I love it. We just went through our second day of meetings. Today it
was the pitchers. We probably have a unique amount of young guys in our
major league camp this year, and that’s by design. It probably makes
for a more exciting camp for me and the coaches. There are some younger
kids that are going to see some time in games that don’t need to be
ready to make our ballclub, but that still doesn’t make camp less
exciting. If anything, it will be fun to watch their progression, how
they handle themselves.”

Managements thoughts on Jacoby Ellsbury and what the expectations are for this year….

Epstein: “I think Jacoby’s already an impact defender and an impact baserunner,
and I think based on his track record in the minor leagues this is a
guy we all feel is going to hit and get on base enough to be a real
weapon offensively, more so than he already is. The league adjusted to
him last year. They found a hole and really exploited it, which is
really common with young hitters. Now it’s his turn to adjust back.
He’s got the talent level and I think the drive to make the adjustment.
It will be fun to watch him play. We also I think have a roster that
can protect him a little bit, where maybe he’s ready to take that next
step. If he’s not, I don’t think it’s going to sink our club either.
We’re pretty bullish on Ellsbury long-term. He needs a chance to play.”

Regarding the clubs long term plans for the Catching position….
Epstein: “We have a number of good young catchers in camp, George Kottaras, Dusty
Brown, Mark Wagner. That said, we’ve been up-front that it’s an area
where we’re still probably out there looking for our catcher of the
future. One of these guys in our camp, one of the young guys, wants to
step forward and prove that he’s that guy, that would be great. We’re
always open to opportunities to improve outside the organization.”

On information contained in Manny Ramirez’s new book “Becoming Manny”….
Francona: “I was asked last night about it and I saw some excerpts. In what little I did see, it sounded like (it didn’t belong) in the non-fiction area of Barnes & Noble. My recollection of
some of that isn’t anywhere close (to what is in the book). And that’s disappointing. I think it was obvious over the years we bent over backwards to be fair not just with Manny, but with all of our players while at the same time having them understand that they need to be
accountable for their actions. I don’t apologize for anything that
happened. I thought we did the best we could.”

     It would be safe to assume that Tito thinks Manny is full of……..well, Manny.

     Real baseball activities begin tomorrow with scheduled workouts for the Pitchers and Catchers that are on hand. I’ll update this blog with any new information that may come out during the day.