Thursday, July 31

Here's one:

Jeter's chances are definitely reduced due to the strikeout pitchers. But even adjusted for that, and I think that Rob Neyer on espn.com wrote a really good column to this effect, Jeter sits at the bottom of the charts. It is simply a misguided notion, driven by what I can only imagine is hometown PR or prejudice, that Jeter is a good fielder. He is not. As for being a great leader, an excellent hitter, and a really good baserunner, and I guess a relatively clutch player, there's no argument. He's a potential hall-of-famer, just not a good fielder. What's so big about admitting that?

The Sox have done extremely well for themselves. Suppan is an excellent pickup. IMHO, pulling Kim from the pen would be a mistake. His natural position seems to be setup. As a starter, he may work temporarily, but the history of side-arm starters is poor and we all know what a success he is as a playoff closer.

Your analysis of the Boone deal seems on the money. Gabe Paul--hard to say what his effect will be. With Lieber and Contreras in the wings, Claussen was definitely expendable. That said, perhaps they would have been better off dealing Weaver, who presumably has even higher value, for a starter like Ponson and either some help in right or at third.

Jeter: Is it possible that his chances are reduced because he has 2 of the top strikeout artists in the league in front of him and an inexperienced 2x-play partner at 2nd? His range isn't great, but the proposition that he's one of "the worst defense shortstops in the last decade" is completely insane--even coming from you.
Nice move by the Sox, getting back Suppan. They might as well have re-signed Nomar at the same time, now that his heir is off to Pittsburgh. The big question is, now that Lyon is back (can he pitch though?), do the Sox add Kim back to the rotation, letting Sauerbeck, Embree, or others (Burkett? Can he be trusted?) set up for Williamson?

A rotation of

1. Pedro
2. Lowe
3. Kim
4. Suppan
5. Wakefield

with Sauerbeck, Embree, Burkett, Todd Jones, Mendoza, and Williamson closing isn't so bad.

The rotation also at this point doesn't look too bad against Moose, Wells, Rocket, Pettite, Weaver (though I still give a pretty nice edge to the Yanks, on paper). The Red Sox have the benefit of a staggering offense, so the pitching staff gets that much better because of the lineup. I just want them to figure a way to take the burden off Burkett, but maybe being a fifth or spot starter will do it.

As for the Yanks, I don't know how much Boone helps, though he doesn't hurt a bit. He runs, he hits, he plays hard, but he is switching leagues and displacing a defensive stalwart at the hot corner. Losing Claussen doesn't mean much unless he's Barry Zito, and don't you think you would know more about him if he was? I can't see the move being a push over the top for the Bombers, but they will get two sandwich picks next year if they tender Boone, and that will help keep their system stocked. And really, won't the Yankees just be a buyer for the best available 28 year-old mature starter when the season is over and Clemens is gone, and not have to rely on guys like Claussen to step in unproven?

As for Jeter, it's not a "sad comment", just an observation. The guy is probably going to be a hall-of-famer, but it ain't gonna be for his defense (one play against the Athletics notwithstanding). He's one of the worst defensive shortstops of the last decade - his positioning isn't good (he gets fewer chances than anyone) and his range stinks. Be happy and grateful that he's a leader, a smart hitter (though he strikes out a bit much), a great baserunner. That's a pretty good combo - no need for Yankees fans to hurt their credibility by also claiming he's even an average fielder. I'd take him on my team any day for all sorts of reasons, but I wouldn't start anywhere near him if I was building a defensive wall. I honestly think moving him to third and slotting in ARod at SS would be a daring and brilliant move - Jeter would probably be a heck of a third baseman. They can afford to try it, if ARod is available. Imagine how that would make Mets fans feel, as well.

So there it is. Bye-bye, Robin, hello Boone. Sox get Lyon back plus Suppan. Ponson to Giants.

Can Boone field? Yanks lost a lot of defense in 2 days with Mondesi and Ventura gone.

And in regard to your sad Jeter remark, just keep in mind that come 2015 Derek will be up in Cooperstown admiring his nice new plaque while Nomar is out with his Toro mowing Mia Hamm's lawn.
A-Rod a Yank. Just imagine it: price of a hot dog would be $23. Maybe they can get Bonds also and put Matsui in right.

On the subject of Bonds, we would be remiss in not noting here, for posterity, his knocking out a window during bp in Chicago yesterday.
ARod on the block - that's the heavy rumor right now. Yanks move Jeets to third? The guy can't play shortstop very well anyhow - it would be the move to end all moves if the Bombers got daring.
Breaking news: Cincinnati has retroactively forfeited back the 1976 World Series to the Yanks for $500 and a dinner for 2 at the Olive Garden. Negotiating now with Sox to declare Pudge's homer fair.

My enthusiasm with Ramiro's recent performance appears to have been misguided. His last 2 starts have been atrocious (14.54 e.r.a) and he's taxed the pen. I actually don't see how they leave Kim as the closer if he makes one more bad start and the Sox don't move on another proven thrower. Two closers seems like a luxury the Red Sox don't need and can't afford, especially if their 4 and 5 starters are lost causes (I have zero faith in Burkett, unlike you). If I were them, I'd move Freddy Sanchez or others (excepting Kevin Youkilis) + $$$ to prize Javier Vazquez from the Expos. Getting Vazquez would allow them to keep Kim as a closer, and also act as insurance for Pedro and/or Lowe when they are ready to bolt in 2005 - they might be able to lock him up for under market at this point (though he is making 6M this year).

More rumors: Aaron Boone and Gabe White to the Yankees for Brandon Clausen and $3 million.

Also: Freddy Garcia to the Sox in possible three way deal with Seattle.

What will tomorrow bring? Good night to own stock in MCI, Verizon.

Wednesday, July 30

New rumor on ESPN.com - Vlad Guerrero to the Yanks. Now that would be a splash!
Yeah, it's a big problem and it begs the obvious question of how the Yankees failed to arrange some kind of multi-team deal to acquire him yesterday when they were looking to dump Mondesi, leaving an open outfield slot in the Bronx. The Sox really don't need him. I hope CashMan has something else on the cooker.

Is there anyone left to play in Cincinnati at this point? By week's end their outfield's going to be Lupus, Engelberg, and Tanner. Paging Kelly Leak!
Guillen to the Athletics.

This is bad news for both the Sox and Yanks, since one of the two (right now it's the Bosox) will be battling the A's for the wild card spot.

Read between the lines: "Two million in cash pays for a lot of bs, and Raul is in his contract year so we really only need to deal with him for 2 months. Plus, my father is really a Dodger, and I figure that by screwing over my own team I'll be doing his a big favor. So it's all Freudian."
From the "why is this guy running a ballclub?" category:

In Arizona, GM Joe Garagiola Jr. was thrilled that Mondesi practically fell into his lap.

"This was an opportunity we could not pass up," Garagiola said in a statement released by the Diamondbacks. "Any time you can add a player of Raul Mondesi's caliber for the stretch run, you make that deal. Raul has been one of the most coveted players on the market and we're thrilled to have him."

' ''According to our medical staff, he w as healthy and available to pitch for us every day he was here,'' Epstein said, after the Pirates claimed that an MRI during Lyon's physical showed fraying in his pitching elbow. '

What else could he say? And of course they have to fix it or that’s the end of anyone dealing with him ever again, at the age of 29.

But, yes, the facts are impossible to ignore, Lambchop has done a good job.

As for Benitez, everyone knows he's damaged goods, so no fraud there.
What about the damaged goods the Mets traded to the Yanks?
Re: Damaged Goods

''According to our medical staff, he was healthy and available to pitch for us every day he was here,'' Epstein said, after the Pirates claimed that an MRI during Lyon's physical showed fraying in his pitching elbow.

Though he said the Sox have no legal obligation to compensate Pittsburgh if Lyon isn't cleared to play, Epstein said there still might be a moral responsibility. ''After we look at the MRI, if it's called for, we'll work with Pittsburgh to do the right thing,'' he said.

One item we have not addressed is the Sox dealing of damaged goods to the Pirates. Nice.

And never the twain shall meet. I await your next criticism of the Yankees, so I can vilify you at a later date for being irrational, even if your criticism makes sense.
First of all, stop bogging this blog with so much pasted material. Second, I am seriously concerned about the state of your mental health. Have you been using any illegal substances? (I know this is not uncommon with Red Sox players). You can reach the Betty Ford Clinic at (800) 854-9211. No one will think any less of you.

But to address your point, though it seems to me I have already done so, and repeatedly, the articles you profer only validate my argument that Sox fans and scribes did not appreciate the calculation in Lambchop's move. More to the point, they were on his case bitching and moaning from day one.

Stop picking on Jorge. He's turned into a respectable defensive player--not great, but certainly adequate.
For the record, I typed in "Theo Epstein Criticized", "Theo Epstein Questioned", "Boston Bullpen Criticized" to Google and came up with nothing that showed Boston fans ripping the GM, as you contend occurred.

A more fruitful search might come up if I typed in "Yankees Owner a Convicted Felon"...


Go here: http://www.google.com/search?sourceid=navclient&q=yankees+owner+a+convicted+felon
Access to Boston Globe archives reveals the following (I typed in as search criteria "bullpen by committee"):

Published on April 20, 2003
Author(s): GORDON EDES

"You writing something on Theo?" the Red Sox manager asked. "Are you going to write that he's 29 years old? Think about this: Probably 95 percent of our kids over in Iraq are younger than him, and they're getting shot at.

"He's doing a real good job, that's all I can say."
Published on April 16, 2003
Author(s): Gordon Edes, Globe Staff

At the rate The Committee is losing its members, it might have difficulty attaining a quorum.

While Shea Hillenbrand's bases-loaded single in the bottom of the ninth inning - his fourth hit of the game - gave the Red Sox some emotional rescue in a 6-5 win over the Tampa Bay Devil Rays last night in Fenway Park, another Committee original, Bobby Howry, was optioned to Pawtucket - even before The Committee blew another late lead.


Published on April 16, 2003

Let's look at the bright side: The Red Sox are going to sell a lot of hot dogs in the late innings. And the Sox are going to be a great lead-in for whatever programming follows the ballgame. If you are an advertiser buying time in Sox games, you should request that your ads run in the seventh, eighth, and ninth innings. No one's going to turn off the broadcast this year.

Published on April 12, 2003
Author(s): Marvin Pave, Globe Staff

Their greeting wasn't quite as nasty as the weather, but the message from the committee of Fenway fans to the bullpen by committee during Opening Day ceremonies was loud and clear.

The introductions of "No. 43 Alan Embree, No. 44 Chad Fox, No. 46 Bob Howry, No. 50 Mike Timlin, [and] No. 55 Ramiro Mendoza" were accompanied by boos instead of cheers by fans who had a pretty good idea that because of the weather, it would be their only chance to vent about the bullpen's woes.

So let's assess this admittedly brief sample. First article, two weeks in to the season, has the fans booing a bullpen that was horrid for the first two weeks of said season. Wow, that's a shock (they weren't booing Theo, were they?). Then Dan Shaughnessy articulates, two and a half weeks into the season that the late innings were a continuing boondoggle for the Sox over said two and a half weeks. Then an article notes that the bullpen, as designed, is being re-arranged (a fact, inarguable). Finally, an article appears by the Globe's lead baseball columnist praising Theo for a job well done, noting the GM's preternatural abilities. But you take a SPORTING NEWS column and then extend it to characterize all of Red Sox Nation. That's a poor job of substantiation.

In any case, the criticism Theo got for the BBC was deserved, as is the praise he is now getting for fixing the problem. I fail to see what is so surprising or confusing or two-faced about that. Has Benitez gone to your brain? Maybe I should issue a press release a la Big Stein, it could go something like this:

"Red Sox followers act like normal, clear thinking fans, hit nail on the head with regards to criticism of original bullpen by committee idea, but praise Theo Epstein deservedly for a job well done improving a major weakness on team."

Hopefully my next press release will revolve around his finding a much-needed starter (your love for John Burkett notwithstanding).

Can we move on now, maybe to an issue like why Jorge Posada is an overpaid, petulant mediocrity behind the plate?

Okay, here's substantiation. This is from the Sporting News's Red Sox expert, posted on April 16, 2003.

"With all due respect, Mr. Epstein, WOW! You are way off the mark."

But this is really just the tip of the iceberg and from a reputable source. If you had access to the Boston tabs and talk radio, you'd have all the evidence you'd need.

Move on? You get the last word? Forget it. Please substantiate the whole Theo-vilification conspiracy theory.

Substantiate? Are you kidding? Were you unconscious for the first half of the season (some of your arguments do, in fact, give this impression)? Not since Buckner has a Red Sox employee taken so much abuse. I have neither time nor energy nor desire to create the catalog for you. Also, your whole river flowing graf about relievers makes little sense to me. Have you been looking over blueprints--you know that ink is toxic?

But enough of this subject, we must move on.

Please substantiate your claims of all the Sox fans who were screaming about how dumb Theo was for his "BBC". Do you have links to articles, interviews? If so, please post. Also please explain why this (supposed) screaming would have been unjustified, had it ever even occured. I believe people were actually skeptical (not angry), and rightfully so. The BBC experiment ultimately failed, except for Theo's shrewd ability to use Lyon as trade bait for Sauerbeck (whose tenure has been too short to assess at this point, to be honest). More ripe for criticism is Red Sox Nation's questioning of the Hillenbrand/Fossum for Colon non-deal, considering how important the acquisition of Kim has and may prove to be.

Back to the primary issue: the bullpen really was poor for 75 games or so. The whining and screaming was justified. His plan did not work, and now he has done an estimable job fixing that problem. I am not sure why the fans' initial reactions to the early poor performance and our current response to his recent dealings were either A) misguided, B) unnatural, or C) unfair. He DID see the error of his ways, and therefore deserves credit.

As for the fluid market in relief pitching, I guess the river flows west (Nelson to Seattle), southwest (Wetteland to Texas), to Queens (Stanton to the Mets), midwest (Grimsley to the Royals), and just plain south (Karsay to the DL and Benitez to the Bronx).

Not to get too deep into semantics, but there is a great deal of difference between allowing something to happen and intentionally creating a negative condition.

But, as usual, you've driven the debate way off the subject, which is that the same Sox fans who were screaming about how dumb Lambchop was for proposing the "bullpen by committee" have just up and changed their tunes and are now lauding Theo, boy genius, for seeing the error of his ways. I have yet to see anywhere in print a more nuanced reading of this situation that acknowledges the fluid market in relief pitching.
you miss my point, which is that lambchop ALLOWED his bullpen to suck as a calculated gamble, a fact sox fans have failed to appreciate or applaud.

This from an email of yours yesterday. So you can see where I got my "intentionally crappy bullpen" thoughts. Take back your "absurd suggestion" comment.

As for Theo's "safe knowledge" that he would be in a buyer's market at midseason, that I acknowledge. No question.
Who knows who called the pitch--perhaps it was Torre. Whatever the case, Hammond certainly could have shaken it off. He's the pitcher out there, so the buck stops with him.

As for my "demented mind": the point is not that Lambchop "had an intentionally crappy bullpen"--an absurd suggestion that reveals something of your own warped mind (have you been getting enough sleep?)--but that he could experiment with the "bullpen by committee" with the safe knowledge that if things did not work out he could always make improvements midseason at a time when the value-to-dollar ratio was more favorable.
So why is the next thing an 82 mph hanger? One bad decision with a very big cost.

Posada is a horrible defensive catcher and mind. That's why.

And the Sox parted with plenty of dough to get Williamson, so spare me the financial crap.

What "financial crap" are you referring to? Williamson only makes 1.6M per annum, so the remaining cash for the year is pretty spare.

It's nice to see that Lambchop, so villified by your Beantown cronies, is now getting a bit of due for his admittedly deft construction of a bullpen (or has it been Lucchino calling the shots--we still don't know for sure). And again, it would be nice if you Beantown Boobs saw through the veil and acknowledged that this may have been the plan all along.

Full props to Theo - he's done what appears to be a brilliant job. But implying, as you have, that Theo had an intentionally crappy bullpen in order to better shop at midseason is a ludicrous analysis. He's fixed a major problem deftly, as you say, and begun to cure a problem I am sure he wishes he hadn't ever had. That heartbreaking opening day loss to the DRays was all a ploy, in your demented world, I suppose.
It's nice to see that Lambchop, i.e., Theo, so villified by your Beantown cronies, is now getting a bit of due for his admittedly deft construction of a bullpen (or has it been Lucchino calling the shots all along--we still don't know for sure). And again, it would be nice if you Beantown Boobs saw through the veil and acknowledged that this may have been the plan all along. Having read "Moneyball," you are surely aware that the relief market is far better midseason than preseason. Lambchop was simply taking advantage of this.

As for Mondesi: he was useful over the first half, but if he's going to be a pinhead about getting pulled, see ya. And the Sox parted with plenty of dough to get Williamson, so spare me the financial crap. Delucci, who makes only 900k, is clearly bait. CashMan obviously has some brilliant move up his sleeve. Delucci: 165 at bats, 45 ks = no playing time in NY.

The real question: wherefor art Miceli? He had a nice little run as a Yank. Sorry to see him gone.

Your faithful Interlocutor.

PS: What's the deal with Manny toting a bottle of Poland Springs out to leftfield in his back pocket? Obviously, he's benefiting from illegal on-field hydration. Typical Boston cheater.

PPS: The real thing we should be discussing is why on earth Hammond threw Varitek a hanger on a 1-0 count with 2-men on in the 8th on Sunday. Pitch one was either a fastball or a curve (they're the same speed with him) on the outside, beyond Varitek's reach. Fine. Ball 1, and he's set up his best--his only--pitch: the off speed. So why is the next thing an 82 mph hanger? One bad decision with a very big cost.

Dellucci, 29, has appeared in 70 games with Arizona this season, batting .242 with 11 doubles, three triples, two homers and 19 RBI. He was a member of the Diamondbacks' team that beat the Yankees in Game 7 of the World Series two years ago.

"David Dellucci is a player who plays extremely hard and has a great deal of pride in what he does," Cashman said. "Hopefully, he'll be on the same page with us on what we're trying to accomplish."

Yeesh - The GM "hopes he'll be on the same page"? Now there's a ringing endorsement...
Here's one:


Tuesday, July 29

Let it be stated for the record that as this blog commences, the Yanks stand 1.5 games in front of the Sox.
Steinbrenner issuing a statement that the Red Sox "haven't won anything yet"? Please. Does he realize that if the Red Sox actually win the World Series, us diehard Sox fans STILL won't think we've won anything yet? We'll be waiting for Bud Selig to issue some sort of ridiculous proclamation that the Series didn't count, that Pedro, Derek, and BK were all on Human Growth Hormone or something and therefore ineligible.

For some reason I picture Steinbrenner down in Ft. Lauderdale, sitting in a recliner in khaki shorts, tube socks, sneakers, and a tank top, watching DirecTV with no air conditioning running, ranting at the screen like some sort of retirement home lunatic...

This blog represents a running debate on the history and current state of the Yankees/Red Sox rivalry, along with other baseball-related miscellany.

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