Wednesday, December 21, 2005

And on the third day, Pete Rose again

To be honest, I have no real unifying theme to synch up with the title. It's just one of those things. Sure, I could talk about the dangers of arrogance and vanity, but I think it's apples and oranges. Johnny Damon is not Pete Rose. Johnny Damon might be Captain Caveman, and Johnny Damon certainly looks like Christ(this really inspired the title), but JD is not, I dare say, betting on games he plays in, in large part due to the mathematics involved. Depending on who you talk to - either Alanis Morrissette or any other literate human - Johnny's "idiot" commentary was not necessarily ironic.

Christ is now a Yankee. This statement is wrong to me on nearly every level, but deep down it has a sort of allegorical fit. Christ moves to New York, shaves his beard, cuts his hair, and in essence converts. The only true religion in Manhattan, of course, is money, and Johnny has been baptized by their John, Scott Boras.

A lot of people in marketing-victim Red Sox Nation are disturbed tonight, wondering how the Red Sox management could possibly have let JD get away. How could they not have jumped at the opportunity to pay Johnny Damon more money per year than Vlad Guerrero!!??!! Yes, I am only partially joking. No, wait, I was joking just there, in the previous sentence I was totally serious. Furious George is going to pay JD more money than Vlad Guerrero (and Miguel Tejada for that matter).

Listen people. Captain Christman is a consistently good ballplayer. In certain games he is a great, even transcendant ballplayer (for reference see Game 7 of the 2004 ALCS). But he is 32 years old. He throws like Bill Gates. He has had a litany of injuries that on my softball team would guarantee him starting status as reward for all-out play until we were propping up his corpse at third, but which do not make me give him a four year deal at YES network money.

He is a liability in a multi-year deal due to his age, niggling dings, and propensity toward what I like to call "Southern craziness". His second half stats in 2005 were not great, generously speaking. His BABIP was unnaturally high at .343 for the season in 2005 - he was essentially "using the Force" on many of his ground balls and soft bloopers. This statistic is very unlikely to be repeated (although Rod Carew says hi).

The real issues here are twofold:

1) Christ left the Sox for the Spankies. Ordinarily, this would be insufferable, tragic, but honestly - has ever a retard groomed himself for that team more than JD? The low IQ, the self-absorption, the purely evil agent, the waxed chest, the wife with fake tits - he has been playing for NYC off the field for years. It's time he went home. Let him go.

2) We have no Centerfielder. This is an actual problem, rather than an hysterical reaction. The two names on the table at this point are Jeremy Reed and Coco Crisp, both of whom I would much rather have than Cavechrist. But now the cost has gone up. Arroyo is a certain goner if we trade for either player, and the semi-accomplished Crisp will cost more; a bitter pill to swallow in spite of the additional revenue realized from breakfast-related marketing tie-ins.

Overall, I still have faith in the hydra that represents the Boston Red Sox. But they've got a lot of work to do, and unfortunately for them, everyone on earth knows exactly what they need and what they have to get it with. This is not what is generally referred to as "bargaining from a position of strength", but luckily there are teams out there whose fans are only coming to see games on "Molotov Cocktail Night", and this levels the field a teensy bit (I mean you Seattle and KC).

There is a lot of hot stove left, and I for one would like to see some cooking. Until April, it's all I have left.

Friday, December 09, 2005

Good times

What fun! This offseason is tremendous, chock full of inspiring hometown discounts and flabbergasting overspends - somewhere Scott Boras is furiously abusing himself to the ESPN newsticker, and I for one, um, am pretty disturbed that I came up with that.

The Sox have made two fairly savvy trades in the past week, let's take a look!

First off, we traded uber-fratboy and Wakefield valet Doug Mirabelli to San Diego for 2B Mark Loretta. Mirabelli certainly had value, although if the Sox have any faith at all in Shoppach this was mitigated, but Loretta, if he reverts to anything resembling 2003-2004 form in Fenway, will be a monster addition at 2B. Obviously this could be said to be a short-term fix with Pedroia nipping away at the Bigs, but it works on every level. I think everyone agrees this trade benefits everyone involved.

On a more controversial note (at least to Braves fans) the multi-headed monster traded milquetoast SS Edgar Renteria to Atlanta for can't-miss (WARNING! WARNING!) prospect Andy Marte. Actually, according to both Schuerholz and Lajoie, Marte is already major-league ready, and will somehow be inserted into the Sox lineup in 2006. With Marte, Lowell and Youks all on the team, you can be sure that either one guy gets dumped in the remainder of the offseason, or is grumpy 'til July (and my money's on Youks, I'm sorry to say). There is some possibility that one of the trio moves to 1B, but I'm thinking they end up in a platoon there with Petagine (I hope) or a late-offseason pick-up like Snow. At any rate, there are worse problems to have than too many decent RH bats in the line-up.

As I alluded to earlier, the Braves fans are going apeshit over the fact that they've lost a top prospect (because they are SO short on them) and gained a - at least recently - mediocre shortstop. Sox fans are pretty excited about this trade for exactly the same reasons. The controversy created on the Sox side stems instead from the rather sudden realization that this leaves the team without a starting shortstop, in a free agent and trade market that (stipulating that Miggy Tejada is a whackjob) is without any good ones. Gammo talks about Alex Gonzalez, who as any fantasy league owner knows, is the white chalk outline of an homicide at the plate.

SOSH fiends are going back and forth about moving Pedroia to short. Cora seems to be fairly roundly derided. I would love to see Pedroia given a shot at SS (the assumptive model here is The Eckstein Anomoly), but I'd also be OK with Cora there. Most of the crap he's taking as in reference to his bat, which, and I hate to disagree with guys that are vastly more intelligent than I am and have access to better statistical data, does not seem much worse than Rent's was. Compare:

(I apologize that my HTML is such that I had to use the image copy, but there it is. I'm pressed for time, and couldn't format the table on the fly)

I look at these numbers and naturally their shocking unimpressiveness jumps right off the page, but still, people were quite willing to have Renteria back in 2006, with the vague notion that he would put up marginally better numbers, for $10 million dollars! Cora (whose "full" season numbers were in pitcher-friendly Chavez Ravine - I didn't take the time to park adjust - and in the 9-hole as opposed to Renteria's #2 in front of Ortiz) makes a fraction of that but the argument could be made that he will perform at the plate just as well as Edgar would have. Plus, look how many times the guy gets hit by pitches! Sox fans love that! For what Cora's making, if he puts up an OPS of .740, I'm laughing all the way to the bank. And if he puts up an OPS of .720 (which is more likely) I'm still thinking, we just saved a ton of money.

It would be nice to have a top-notch shortstop, or even a top-notch shortstop prospect quite frankly, but if we have to scrape by for a year with mediocrity at the position, at least we're not vastly overpaying for it. To my way of thinking, we're in that position without making a single phone call.