Monday, July 31, 2006

No Cavalry This Year: Sox Stand Pat

A snoozer of a trade deadline has come and gone, and with the exception of journeyman mediocrity Bryan Corey, the Red Sox did not acquire any new faces. We heard rumors of massive multi-player deals that were in the works, ever in the works, but nothing reached consummation. Except, perhaps, the growing feeling among the other GMs that Theo and Co. were yanking them around (if you believe illegitimate Steinbrenner offspring Buster Olney).

The initial reaction to this of course is one of disappointment. It's fun to get new shiny things, and there are so many glaring holes on this team that we all assumed that would be exactly what happened. It is painful, but we will continue to see the Anti-Christ take the mound. We will continue to watch 90% of all ground balls to the second base area turn into base hits. And we will continue to wonder "will we ever win a game behind a #5 starter again"? It's tough.

However, this front office values the future and in today's baseball where parity is becoming the norm, that means keeping your young prospects. GMs around baseball know the pressure Theo and co. are under playing against the Yankees in the East. The asking prices for mediocre players are inflated and the asking prices for quality players are sky-high. Maybe this scenario demands they get creative and put together multi-team blockbusters, or perhaps they feel that is the best way to get value regardless of the market. Whatever the reasons, these complicated deals are notoriously difficult to close, and when the smoke cleared this afternoon, there was no fire.

The Yankees improved their team in the short-term with the additions of Abeu and Lidle. While Lidle is not dominant, it's safe to say he's better than Chacon, and certainly better than Kyle Snyder. He is insurance. Abreu gives them a run creator, and a solid all-around ballplayer. He he has an OBP of .427 and has some spped with 25 SBs, which in the Yankee lineup is going to translate into runs, and runs have a way of translating into wins.

The short version at this point appears to be that the Sox will once again be fighting for the wild card in the AL East. Nothing is over, but they are playing three wins above their pythag wins right now, and their schedule gets tougher in the second half. The Yankees rotation is solid from 1-5, and they are going to score more runs from here on in. It is what it is. Nothing is easy in the AL East.

Still, let me reiterate: nothing is over. The Sox don't have a #4 or #5 starter, but perhaps that will change. Wells' outing tonight is...well, awful... but he's thrown five innings and hasn't collapsed in a pile of fat and BBQ sauce yet, so there's hope. Wake should be able to rehab in time for the playoffs. Wily Mo Pena, Super Genius will be in the lineup every day and due to his magical powers anything can happen. The last point is probably the one you want to hold on to. Remember the magic.

Edit: Fuck the magic, Varitek has apparently left the game with a knee injury. As I've noted before Doug Mirabelli's understanding of game calling consists of the phrase "I call it a game because that's what it is." If the injury is serious we're pretty much screwed.

Huh?

Today's interesting tidbit from the farm is this: Greenville is being no-hit through six innings by a pitcher whose last name is "Outman". He is a very literal person.

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