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:
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.
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
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
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!
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
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.
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.