Friday, December 31, 2004


Just a quick post to say HAPPY NEW YEAR to those 100 people who might have mistakenly happened upon this small corner of cyberspace. I hope 2005 treats you better than 2004 ever could. More this weekend about the Randy "Big U-know-what" Johnson trade...

Wednesday, December 29, 2004


It's been a while since I posted anything here, but since I'm pretty much the only one who's been reading it, and I haven't minded, I figured it wouldn't be too much of a problem. I hope everyone out there in imaginary reader land had a happy kwaanzaaaaa or Xmas or what have you.

Now to baseball.

Its been a fast and crazy off season, but the World Champion Red Sox seem to have settled on an opening day lineup. I hesitate to call it anything more than that, because, well, you never know with Theo, but we do have a pretty good idea about which players will comprise the 2005 Red Sox who will run out onto the field at Yankee Stadium for opening day this coming April.

Down in the Bronx, and just like last off season, the Yankees are spending money like the world is at an end. This is even before they add the two guys who will presumably be the face of the organization in 2005, in Carlos Beltran and Randy Johnson. As soon as those two get to the Bronx everyone will start handing the 2005 World Series trophy to the Yankees.

I'm going to preemptively call a halt to that preemptive prognostication. Now, I realize that pitching is everything, but I thought I'd check in on the offenses and focus on changes in the two team's lineups in this post.

Despite adding A-Rod and Sheffield the Yankees still ranked behind the Red Sox in offensive output last year. In 2004 the Red Sox led all teams in runs with 949, which is 52 more than A-Rod's Yankees could muster. The Sox also had the majors' highest on base percentage (.360), slugging percentage (.472) and (of course) the highest OPS (.832).

There have been changes in both the Fens and the Bronx over this off season and so I'd like to present a rudimentary study exploring how productive the 2005 Red Sox offense might be compared to that of their rivals.

Of course, I'm going to make a number of assumptions that will no doubt render my argument inaccurate almost immediately. But go with me.

First, I'm going to assume that the Yankees will sign Carlos Beltran. That may not happen (he has a number of other suitors) but with Scott Boras as his agent and guiding force, I think the smart money has him taking the most money, which will inevitably be flowing from George Steinbrenner's ample wallet. Second, I'm going to assume that Theo Epstein trades Doug Mientkiewitz and keeps Kevin Millar's offense at first base (as well as for the potential of a Miller to Mueller to Millar double play). Third, I'm going to assume that the Yankees won't be able to get rid of Jason Giambi and with Beltran in center field and Bernie Williams at DH, will have to stash him at first base (unless Williams plays first and Giambi plays DH, either way I'm going to include his bat in this comparison). Finally, fourth, for the purposes of this simple study, I'm just going to look at the starters and assume that any drop off from occasionally playing bench players will be more or less equal for both teams.

For the comparison I'm going to go by a simple stat, OPS, which most people (most importantly myself) can comprehend, but I'm going to make most guesses based on the average of the past three years for players. I'll throw in a bit of wiggle room for myself to temper the raw numbers in certain situations.

So, let's get to it! In 2004, the year the Red Sox won the World Series (have I mentioned that?), the Boston lineup looked like this:

1. Damon CF
2. Belhorn 2B
3. Garciaparra/Cabrera SS
4. Manny LF
5. Ortiz DH
6. Millar 1B
7. Veritek C
8. Mueller 3B
9. Kapler RF

while the Yankees lineup looked like this:

1. Jeter SS
2. A-Rod 3B
3. Matsui RF
4. Sheffield LF
5. Williams/Lofton CF
6. Posada C
7. Sierra DH
8. Clark/Olerud 1B
9. Cairo 2B

I might have the order a bit off, but I know if it fluctuated a bit, the basic players are still correct. The 2005 lineups (with the above caveats are below)

1. Damon CF
2. Renteria SS (new)
3. Manny LF
4. Ortiz DH
5. Nixon RF (new)
6. Veritek C
7. Millar 1B
8. Muller 3B
9. Bellhorn 2B

New York
1. Womack 2B (new)
2. Jeter SS
3. Beltran CF (new)
4. Sheffield RF
5. A-Rod 3B
6. Matsui LF
7. Giambi 1B (new)
8. Posada C
9. Williams DH

I've marked bats that were not prominently displayed in the '04 lineups, but will be so in '05 as new. The Red Sox are trading a season of Garciaparra/Cabrera for a season of Renteria, and a season of Kapler for Nixon. The latter is definitely an upgrade. We'll see about the first in a second. The Yankees are exchanging Cairo for Womack, probably a downgrade, Beltran for Williams in center field (huge upgrade), and the Clark/Olerud combo for new improved Giambi (now with less flaxseed oil!).

In 2004 Nomar had a .867 OPS in 38 games for Boston. His replacement, Orlando Cabrera, had a .785 OPS in 58 games for Boston. The other 60ish games were staffed by Pokey Reese (.574 OPS in 96 games, some of which came at shortstop), and Caesar Crespo (.380 OPS in 52 games, some at short). In short, the Sox got some pretty piss poor offensive production from the shortstop position without Nomar in the lineup. Cabrera did a good job once the post season rolled around, and obviously fit into the clubhouse, but between him, Crespo and the defensively amazing, yet offensively impotent Reese, the Red Sox can only do better at the position in 2005. Maybe this is why Epstein was willing to pay so much to bring Renteria into the fold. A little stability goes a long way. I counted all Nomar's 38 games, all Cabrera's 58, 56 for Reese and 10 for Crespo. This may not be quite historically accurate, but I bet it's close. Based on those numbers, I calculated the OPS that the Sox got out of the shortstop position last season is around .693. Renteria's average OPS for the last three years is .802. Thats a 100 point jump in OPS at shortstop for Boston if Renteria has just an average season.

In right field the Red Sox plattooned Gabe Kapler, some of an injured Trot Nixon, a bit of David McCarty and some Kevin Millar. Mostly it was Kapler though. Kapler had an OPS of .700 last season. Millar hit better and played about as much as McCarty did in right so we'll call it even and leave the number at about .700. Assuming Nixon is healthy, he'll get the vast majority of playing time next season. Nixon's OPS numbers for the last three seasons (including last season) are .808 .975 .887. It could be argued that after returning from injury Nixon will once again join the best right fielders in baseball, but I'd be content if he just put up an average year (for him) of about .875. If he does that, he'll be bettering the Red Sox output from last year at his position by .175 OPS points.

So, reasonably the Red Sox two major lineup changes have netted them .275 OPS points. It's reasonable to expect that Manny and Johnny Damon won't be as productive next season as they were in '04, so we could call the offense essentially unchanged as far as output potential goes.

The Yankees changes have been stranger, for sure. First, they decided that Miguel Cairo wanted too much money, so they signed Tony Womack to take his place. Womack had a good year for the Cardinals last year. However, take a look at his last four seasons:

2001 .652 OPS
2002 .678
2003. 520 (a quick average, as he played for three teams that year)
2004 .735

While 2003 seems a bit low, 2004 also seems a bit high. In fact last year was Womack's highest OPS since getting into 17 games for the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1996. In other words, I wouldn't expect him to be anything more (or less) than an offensive sinkhole in '05. When you contrast what the Yankees got out of Miguel Cairo in 2004 (.763 OPS) with what they should expect out of Tony Womack in 2005 (.620) you get what we like to call a negative differential of -.143. Will that be cancelled out by improved defense? Well, I've never seen Womack play other than in spring training last season (he fled the Red Sox camp when he realized he wouldn't be starting anywhere) and in the World Series when he wasn't doing much of anything (two singles in eleven at-bats with a .432 OPS), but everything I've read on the subject seems to agree the answer is no. Just a guess, but the Yankees will likely be looking for a second baseman when next year's trading deadline roles around.

The next change they made (or will make) in New York, is adding Carlos Beltran's .920 OPS to their lineup. Due to his massively inflated salary it won't replace Bernie Williams' bat in the lineup so much as it'll replace his glove in the field. I suspect that Williams will be moved to a first base and DH platoon role, though he is likely to spell Beltran in center occasionally. For our purposes here, I'll say that Beltran's bat will be replacing last year's Yankee's DH, who was usually the homer-or-nothing-at-all Ruben Sierra who appeared in 107 games and posted an OPS of .752, though an on-base percentage of .296. It's true that Sierra wasn't the DH every day. Sometimes it was Tony Clark (.755 OPS), or John Olerud (.763). Still, their numbers are all remarkably similar. Replacing all those plate appearances with Beltran is a huge upgrade and more than makes up for the switch over at second base.

Where the Yankees are likely to regress is at first base. Olerud and Clark covered first for the Yankees last year (when they weren't DHing) because Jason Giambi was out with just about every ailment in the book. You name it, he had it. Giambi's health is still up for questioning coming into the 2005 season. The leaked testimony confirming his use of steroids comes as little suprise to anyone who compared pictures of his pre2004 form to the Giambi that showed up at Yankees training camp for the '04 season. Its highly questionable if he'll ever gain his strength, all-star stroke, or even his health again. However, for the purposes of this, I'm willing to say he'll be the primary first baseman for the Yankees in 2005, maybe splitting time with Bernie Williams at DH and first base. Either way his bat is likely to be in the lineup. It won't be an easy year for Giambi. He's going to be the subject of vitriol from even his home fans the likes of which haven't been seen since Roberto Alomar spit on an umpire in the mid 90's. Playing on the road will likely be worse. Still, his contract combined with his now sullied reputation combine to make him utterly untradable, even for a team willing to eat almost all of his salary like the Yankees surely are.

Last season, for a 100 win team, the Yankees got remarkably poor production out of their first base position. Unless they are willing to eat all Giambi's deal and sign a guy like Delgado, they're likely to be in the same predicament this coming season as well. Olerud was not offered a contract, and Clark's el foldo down the stretch makes it unlikely that New York brings him back. More likely they'll try to teach Williams to play first, and give his knees a rest by playing Giambi or someone they drag in off the street. In either case they aren't likely to improve on last year's .750ish OPS at first base. Williams is getting years older by the day, and Giambi might be healthy, but I wouldn't put a dime on it. It's quite likely they'll both miss a good bit of time this year which the Yankees will have to fill by signing a stopgap. The OPS they get from first base in 2005 will probably be in the low .700s.

So, what does all this mean? Well, it doesn't mean much, but in the course of this study, it looks like, though there have been some changes, the two teams offensive outputs will be quite similar to their outputs in 2004. I'd say the Red Sox probably have more upside mostly due to the old age of the Yankees players. The older players get, the more the tend to decline and maybe more importantly get injured. Sheffield, Williams, Womack and Giambi are all significant injury risks going into the season for New York. Nixon is the only Red Sox who missed any time the last couple years and he figures to be healthy in 2005.

For the Yankees to win the AL East again, offensively they're going to have to sign Beltran, avoid injuries to Williams who can still be a productive bat at the DH, and get some production out of Giambi. To me, the Red Sox have fewer question marks. They've upgraded at shortstop and in right field, and the only downgrade should come either through injuries or the normal down trending due to aging.

Thursday, December 16, 2004

Loading Up

I have to pack to go to San Francisco tonight, so this will be abreviated. Not like anyone reads this, or should, but I'll act like someone might and go ahead and apologize for the substandard size of this post.

Theres been some big news in baseball today with the signing of Sexson and Beltre by the Mariners, and the trade of Tim Hudson to the Braves by the Oakland Beanes. Big news indeed. But you'll notice the Red Sox weren't involved in any of those deals. I'll probably run out of things to write about and have to go back and write about how dumb the Mariners are, or how important the Hudson trade was, but for now, I'm more concerned about the Red Sox.

Did we pay too much for Renteria? The more I read the more I think we did. The only thing is I'm not sure who else we could have got. I know thats not a good excuse for overpaying. Theres always someone who can fill the bill and hold the place until theres something better on the table. Renteria is going to be making $10 Million a year. Miguel Tejada makes just $2 Million more a year and undoubtedly is more than $2 million better than Renteria. Derek Jeter makes just $10 Million more, and...Ok, Ok, bad joke.

Anyway, time to throw a bunch of crap in my bag and hit the road. I'll probably write again this Tuesday. Something to mark your calendar by...

Wednesday, December 15, 2004


Well, that didn't take long, huh? About 24 hours after Pedro bolted for the warmth of Queens and the architectural beauty that is Shea Stadium, Theo took the $40 Million that had been earmarked for pitching and redirected it.

Edgar Renteria is a good shortstop, and from all accounts will fit in well with the Red Sox. While defense is difficult to quantify, it certainly looks like Edgar knows what he's doing to the left of second base. As for hitting, well he's a couple steps above the lovable Orlando Cabera.

Renteria doesn't have much power, but seems to be a selective hitter (over 4 pitches per at-bat on average last year, which is way above league average) who probably will bounce some doubles off the monster in the next four years. Also, he gets on base at almost a .350 clip, which is good.

Theo might have overpaid a little bit, but theres little doubt that the Sox GM paid market price for a 29 year old all-star shortstop. The signing of Edgar does three things. 1) It spends all the money that was saved after Pedro headed south, 2) it fixes the Red Sox at shortstop for the next three years, and 3) it sets up both Hanley Ramirez and Dustin Pedroia as trading chips which can be used towards getting some more of that precious pitching.

The one question that this deal poses for me: does this signing hinder the Red Sox pursuit of more starting pitching? I doubt that it does. I keep hearing AJ Burnett and Matt Clement's names bandied about. (always wanted to write 'bandied about', though now that i've done it it's quite a letdown.) While neither of those is likely a replacement for PEDRO, they are certainly a decent replacement for Pedro, our former #2 pitcher.

The Sox will never be able to get another Pedro circa 1999, but if Theo can come up with someone who can suitably replicate Pedro's 2004 stats then the Sox should be set for the '05 season.

If I were Theo, I'd make a run at trading for Burnett, but I'd keep Arroyo out of the deal. It won't do the Red Sox much good to pick up a starting pitcher if they have to get rid of one at the same time. If it isn't doable, then grab Clement. Not that it's that easy, but if you want to defend the World Series title, then we're gonna need another pitcher. Unfortunately it's that simple.

Good job with Edgar, Theo. Now get back to work.

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

What Now?

Pedro's departure from Boston leaves a hole the size of the big dig in the Red Sox rotation. Schilling should make his thirty starts, despite reports that he'll miss a game or two at the beginning of the season while recovering from his ankle surgery. But after that, David Wells and Tim Wakefield are both old men, and I don't inspire the ol' confidence. This is a World Series winning team, but it looks increasingly likely that they'll start the season without a World Series winning starting rotation.

That doesn't mean they can't compete. You can't look at the guys that the Cardinals threw against Boston in the series and think that a Schilling, Wells, Arroyo, Wakefield and godknowswho rotation is any worse. So, lets look at some of the Red Sox options here:

Option 1: Compensate for loss of pitching with more offense
Also known as 'panicing' this option involves throwing $40Million or more at Edgar Renteria, trying to sign a big time first baseman like Carlos Delgado, and then identifying the best available free agent starting pitcher and making sure he ends up in Boston. It's looking like the Sox are after Renteria, and with good reason. But I don't think they'll freak out, at least not to the extent that their fans would like to see.

Theres certainly a place for Renteria on this team, and probably a place for Clement too, though there are reports that he's this close to signing with Anaheim. The Red Sox already have two pretty decent first basemen, at least with the bat anyway, so signing Delgado is unlikely unless they're looking to trade Mientkewitcz and Millar. Theo will definitely try some different things, but he's not likely to put the team in a bad position by over-compensating for the loss of Pedro.

Option 2: Greedily grab best pitchers still available on the market
This would be get Clement, Millwood or Perez. Once again, I don't think Theo Epstein will be chasing anyone who he feels doesn't fit with the Red Sox, either in terms of dollars or years. Many people seem to be high on Clement, and he can strike guys out, which is a valuable comodity, but he just turned 30 this past July, has a career ERA of 4.34, and has never pitched in the American League before. I'd be careful, and I think Theo is. A guy I might look into, as a stopgap, is Millwood. Last year he was the victim of some unfortunate defense by the Phillies. He didn't pitch great, but has a number three, which is where the Sox would slot him, he would fit in well, especially at minimum money. Maybe a one year, $4 Million deal.

This option shouldn't be dismissed out of hand. I'm not someone who advocates overpaying for anyone and I'm happy that the Sox didn't overpay for Pedro, but at the same time they must realize that they need to cover the hole in the rotation.

Option 3: Try to make a trade
I know Epstein has been trying to get Tim Hudson, and maybe in a couple years this type of deal could be consumated, but right now all the decent prospects in the Red Sox system are too far down to help a major league team in the near future. This will prevent them from getting a guy like Tim Hudson, and most likely will prevent them from grabbing an AJ Burnett from Florida.

Option 4: Wait
This is probably closer to what the Red Sox will do. I'm sure they'll look at all the free agents, maybe even sign one, and I'm sure they'll explore a million trade options, but the hard truth is that there just isn't anyone very good out there right now that they can get. Things might change later, but for now this looks like the most likely option.

Still, there is one name that all Red Sox (and I imagine Yankees) fans should be aware of right now. Ben Sheets has one year remaining on his contract with Milwaukee. A year from now he'll be 27, which is younger than Clement, Pavano, Wright or Benson are this year. Last year with Milwaukee he gave up 0.98 WHIP (walks + hits/innings pitched). In other words he allowed just under a baserunner per inning pitched. He also averaged over 10 strikeouts per 9 innings (K/9) and walked just 1.22 per 9 innings (BB/9). Thats incredible, and don't think for a second that every big market team out there isn't getting ready to trade for him at the deadline, or sign him to a contract after next season, once Milwaukee realizes there isn't have enough money in the state of Wisconsin to keep him in Miller Park.

Theo knows that even the Yankees don't win the World Series every year. Whats more, he's got to keep the long term competitiveness of the Red Sox in mind at all times, which is why you won't hear any stories about the Red Sox doing something stupid and signing, oh, say, David Wells to a two year contract...

Wait, what?!?

Monday, December 13, 2004


Pedro is going to New York after all, just not the borrough that we thought. Omar Minaya, apparently suffering from the largest case of penis envy in all of baseball history, has inked the ever flakey pitcher to what appears to be a four year $50 Million deal. Minaya's overwhelming need to make a splash in his first job as a real general manager, if you can call the Mets a real organization, has led him to plead and beg at the doorstep of just about every big name player available. Sammy Sosa? No, ok, uh... how about Carl Pavano. No? Anyone have Richie Sexson's number? No? Ok, uh... does anyone want to play in Flushing? How about Pedro!?!

The Mets negotiate like a tired mother who's fourth child is asking for a candy bar in the checkout line at Safeway. If you sat in the lobby of the Anaheim Marriot you could almost hear Minaya's voice through three floors above, whining, "Pleeeeeeeease, Pedro, pretty pleeeeeeeease...!" I'm impressed that Minaya held out as long as he did before he gave Pedro everything he wanted.

Ok, so I'm a bit bitter about this.

I'm sure you'll find other members of Red Sox Nation who welcome this deal. It's time to move on, they'll say. It was time to unite the clubhouse. We don't to put up with Pedro's antics any longer. Well, this is just one man's opinion, but if Pedro's antics include winning baseball games, I'm all for putting up with them.

I saw an interesting stat today. I'm paraphrasing here, but Pedro's ERA last year was about 3.90, which is often sited as proof of his decline. There could be some validity to that, but consider this: aside from four particulary bad starts last year, Pedro's ERA was under 2.90. Everyone has a couple bad outtings. Just ask Roger Clemens, who's lousy start came in front of a national TV audience at the All-Star game in Houston. (Thanks for homefield, Roger!) The point is that while the Pedro of 1999 is probably gone for good, the Pedro of 2004 is still one of the very best starting pitchers in all of baseball.

So, fallout time. Without Pedro, the Red Sox rotation goes from world-beating to average. Schilling is still a great pitcher too, but he'll be 38 this year. The guy who's scheduled to follow him in the rotation. David Wells, is 42. Wells is a good number three starter, but a mediocre number two. If the Red Sox want to win one hundred games next season they're going to have to go get another high quality starter. The problem with that is there aren't any more good starters available on the market. Pavano is gone. So is Pedro. That was pretty much the upper echelon right there. Matt Clement is still available, but no matter how good his peripheral numbers are, it's doubtful he'll end up as a good number two guy. And it's even more doubtful that he'll end up in Boston.

This does open up some money for the Red Sox to play with. Edgar Renteria is still out there, and I would expect that Theo will try is darnedest to get him to sign on the dotted line as soon as possible. But the upgrade between Orlando Cabera and Renteria, if it happens, isn't going to make up for the loss of Pedro Martinez. Signing Renteria does allow for the possibility of trading shortstop prospect Hanley Ramirez, possibly to Oakland in a deal for Tim Hudson, or to Florida for A.J. Burnett. Hudson would be a great addition, but Oakland doesn't need Ramirez, who likely won't be ready for the big leagues until 2006. Burnett would be good pick up, but he doesn't fill the bill of a number one guy like Pedro or Hudson.

This is the crux of the Red Sox newly minted problem. They didn't want to pay Pedro what turned out to be the going rate. Thats fine. I'm all for running an organization intelligently, and for not overpaying for an older player. Obviously Theo Epstein had enough questions about Pedro's health that he opted for something else. My question is, what else is there? I'm open to see what Epstein, who so far in his short tenure has shown himself to be enormously adept at wheeling and dealing, can do.

As for the Mets, their rotation obviously just got a whole lot better. They'll face the inevitable health questions (how soon will is arm actually fall off?) and of course they'll have to deal with Pedro's more flakey moments, which are sure to come. Despite all that, this deal improves the Mets a whole lot, and it improves the Mets rotation even more. This signing pushes every starting pitcher in the rotation down one slot. Kris Benson is not a particularly good pitcher, but he'll be much better as a number three or four than a number two or one. Same with Tom Glavine.

Will this help the Mets make the playoffs? Well, it won't hurt. The NL East looks to be a division where a team that wins 92 games could come home with the crown. The Phillies are not a well run team, though they probably have more talent than the Mets. It doesn't seem to matter who the Braves suit up, so long as they are wearing an "A" on their hats when they take the field. If the Marlins young pitchers can stay healthy then they could be a force, but I'll believe that when I see it. That and they lost the 18 wins that Pavano gave them last season as well.

This whole deal is a bucket of ice water on the head of a still celebrating Red Sox Nation.

This offseason isn't done yet. The Red Sox could still upgrade their rotation by getting any number of guys. They could get younger. They could get closer to that ever elusive 'payroll flexibility' that you hear so much about. Heck, they could even get better. But, for now, it's looking like this offseason marks the end of the Red Sox oh-so-brief run at the top of baseball.

Sunday, December 12, 2004

Pavano joins the Evil Empire

Sunday morning, and the rumors are flying fast and furious around the lobby in Anaheim. Wright to the Yankees.. and then oops! Nevermind, he failed his physical, and then, nevermind again, he passed another one. He's back even though he never left. But in the downtime between Wright failing his first physical and passing his second, the Yankees managed a coup by scooping Carl Pavano out from under the Red Sox, Tigers and Orioles. (get it? Coup and scoup in the same sentence? Ok, ok, i'm sorry...)

So, Pavano to the Yankees. [One question about this: Was there ever any question where this guy was going? I think this whole Carl-a-palooza thing was just an excuse to get some free dinners.] This isn't any kind of suprise, but there is some question as to how good he'll be, not only in the American League, but in the AL East. He had an outstanding season last year, but it's up for debate how his stats will translate to the junior circuit. Pavano's K/9 have been dropping for the last three seasons, though not dramatically, and his K/BB ratio has been increasing over that same time period. So he isn't striking as many guys out as he was, but he is walking even fewer. Basically, the guy isn't Roger Clemens, but then he's not Casey Fossum either.

If you look at the money the Yankees gave him (a reported 4 year deal for $38 Million), they might be overpaying a little bit. Consider the guy has a losing record over his career. But if after four years he has managed to average 15 wins a year, a very likely scenario given the Yankees offense, nobody will think the Yankees got hosed, even if his peripherals aren't what the more statistically minded would like. And when you take the crazy money that's been throw around by the Diamondbacks and the Mets this almost looks like a bargain. Granted there are not two more incompetantly run organizations than the Diamondbacks and the Mets, but they've driven up the market prices for starters with their collective idiocy, so in that light this doesn't look too much like overpaying.

Adding Pavano probably isn't going to put the Yankees over the top in the American League, but it won't hurt. If it doesn't turn out like NY wants it to, then they'll just fire up the ol' printing press, make some more money and grab someone else next year. In truth, they're likely to do this one way or the other.

With the signing of Pavano, the Yankees do improve their rotation, but how much? Well, I suppose that depends on who Pavano replaces from last year. I'm guessing that when all is said and done he'll end up replacing Kevin Brown, who was thought to be the Yankees number two or three going into last season. For now the Yankee rotation looks like this:

1. Mussina
2. Pavano
3. Wright
4. Vazquez (yes, as of now he's the number 4 guy)
5. Brown

Thats not half bad, and if they are able to pull off a trade for Randy Johnson then their rotation will officially go from good to scary.

For a Red Sox blog, this is a lot of talk about another team, but when you are a Red Sox fan that really means you follow two teams, the other being the Yankees. Unless the Orioles pull Tim Hudson out of their hats I don't see much of a change in the AL East. For the forseeable future this division will be won by either Boston or NY.


In other Red Sox news, there have been rumors about the Red Sox signing Edgar Renteria, who's name I'll have to learn how to spell if indeed they ever do ink him. Jason Stark of says that the rumors are a bit over blown and that nothing has been done yet. As soon as I come across something confirming this one way or the other, I'll post it here.

Saturday, December 11, 2004

First. Post. Ever.

Welcome to Fenway Park Effects, my World Champion (can't write that enough) Boston Red Sox blog.

First, a few things about me, which will become obvious to anyone who reads this on any type of regular basis. I'm not writing this to win any poetry awards, or to get a job at as a columnist. As such, I'm not going to try to blow anyone away with my mastry of grammar or spelling, or my grasp of the english language. This is because I have no mastry of grammer or spelling, or the english language. In fact, I'm terrible at all three. I often switch tenses in the middle of a paragraph, or even in the middle of a sentence. As for spelling, I often misspell the word "misspelling." I offer this as a warning.

As for baseball, I consider myself somewhat educated on the topic, as I pretty much read everything I can find on it. I'm not a math genius, but I do have some grasp of newer baseball metrics as well as a general grasp of normal baseball statistics. Much like everyone else, I did read "Moneyball" and was blow away. I'm not Bill James or the guys at Baseball Prospectus, though I wish I was.

As for the Red Sox, I've been a fan since I was drafted by the Annandale (VA) Red Sox in Little League back in the early 1980's. I've written some pieces on this before, and will probably post them here when I get a chance. I lived in Boston for a short while, saw Pedro throw eight shutout innings against Bartolo Colon (then of Cleveland) from about 6 rows behind the Sox dugout. I now live in Philadelphia, where there are a suprising amount of Red Sox fans, though due to our proximity to New York, fans of the Evil Empire are abundant as well.

As for this blog, I've never done a blog before, but I have written articles about the Red Sox, and I hope that someone out there in internet-land will enjoy what passes for insight here at Fenway Park Effects.

Thanks for Reading.

It's a strange time to be a Boston Red Sox fan, thats for sure. Not only did we beat the Yankees, but we won the World Series. I'm sure there will be more posted on this site about that, but for now I'll just address the Red Sox's offseason moves. In that vein, the Red Sox latest move was giving David Wells a two year deal worth as much as $13Million a year. Thats David Wells who said he wanted to blow up Fenway Park. Thats David Wells who pitched for the Yankees not once but twice. Thats David Wells who will be 42 years old when the season starts.

Despite all that, I do like this deal, and I like it on a few different levels.

First, vindictively, I'm sure this will somehow serve to upset George Steinbrenner, and anything that upsets him is great by me. Hopefully Steinbrenner gets so upset that he decides to give Carl Pavano a ten year $200 Million deal.

Second, I don't have Well's stats in front of me now, but I know he had a sub-4.00 ERA last year for the Padres, which is very good. I do think that it would be a miracle if he was able to put up numbers like that pitching in Fenway Park, which contrary to popular opinion is actually a pitchers park, but is not nearly the pitchers park that Petco in San Diego is. Also the change to the American League will inevitably drive his numbers up, and pitching four or five times against the Evil Empire will also drive his numbers up too.

But, all that aside, Wells eats innings, and he's not going to be called on to be the number one or even the number two pitcher in Boston. The Red Sox are aparently very close to resigning Pedro Martinez (more on this topic later) and they also have Curt "Bloody Sox" Schilling to top off their rotation. Wells most likely won't be facing the top pitchers in the league, and if he is able to throw six innings and give up three or four runs he'll likely win a lot of games for Boston.

I think this signing signals the end to Theo Epstein's pursuit of Carl Pavano. Pavano is a good pitcher, but probably not the pitcher that everyone thinks he is. He had a great year last year, but there are a number of questions about him that would preclude giving him $10Million a year for the next four years. Not that I'd be upset if he decided he wanted to sign with the Red Sox, in fact I think he could be very successful in Boston (or NY for that matter), but I'm not sure he's worth what he's asking for, and it is entirely possible that half a season into his four year deal everyone will be looking at him like they are now looking at Javier Vazquez. In other words, he doesn't strike enough guys out that he's likely to be a number one guy.

But I'm getting off topic. Wells. The big question about Wells is his conditioning and therefore his health. If Wells is healthy I have no doubt that this is a good signing for the Red Sox. But, if he's not, he's not going to be a big huge drain on the Red Sox salary-wise because his contract is heavily incentive-laden. We'll see how this works out, but like the Mantei deal (only $750K for a guy who could be a great setup man) the Red Sox have added another guy who can flat out pitch, and for not too much money. Theo wins another one.