Monday, March 27, 2006

The four stories of the off-season

The off-season is rarely a good time. I mean, unless Theo Epstein is having Thanksgiving dinner with Curt Schilling or Josh Beckett is searching the classifieds for a place to stay in Boston, there's not a whole lot to like about it. There's no baseball on TV, the weather outside sucks, and the littlest issue becomes a front page story. This October-March the headlines were littered with stories about Theo Epstein, Manny Ramirez, David Wells, and Johnny Damon. I avoided most of those stories because I, quite honestly, don't care. For the most part they were, and still are, non-issues. But they were a part of the offseason and I did say that I was going to give a little review of the offseason, so here we go. I'll give you four paragraphs about the offseason's four big stories.

Nobody actually thought that Theo Epstein was going to leave the team. We all figured that it was a sure thing that he'd be back. The deadline was approaching and the papers were reporting that a deal was close. So we were all pretty surprised when Theo said that he wouldn't be back. Why? We never did get any clear reasons. We all blamed Larry Luchino and the curly-haired boyfriend, but we were never given any actual reasons as to why Theo and the Sox parted ways. Theo Epstein was the only GM in the last 86 years to bring our team a World Series win so it was only natural that most Sox fans were getting a little nervous. Personally I saw no real reason to worry. Epstein has done a great job with the Sox, sure, but he's not the only guy in the front office. He has the final say, but he has surrounded himself by so many intelligent baseball people that his departure was not the end of the world. The only time I was even a little nervous about our situation was when the Jim Bowden rumors were floating around. When the Jed Hoyer and Ben Cherington were promoted I was pretty happy. They were part of the team that advised Theo. They're both smart guys who know what they're doing. They know the system, they know the Red Sox philosophy, and they weren't about to turn the bus around and go in the opposite direction. They would've done just fine. Then Theo came back. Whatever. As far as I'm concerned, everything is back to normal and all the stories and all the whining done on WEEI was for nothing. The two GMs made several moves while Theo was away and they were all good ones. The question came up, "How would things have been if Theo had never left? Would he have made those moves?". The answer to those questions is easy and obvious. Things would've went the same as they did go. And Theo would've acted just as the dual headed GM monster did.

What about Manny? Personally I don't like the guy. The whole "Manny being Manny" thing makes me sick. His lack of hustle, constant mood changes, kid-like tantrums, and even his hair are a disgrace. He does have one saving grace, however. His swing. I'm glad he wasn't traded. I never actually thought that he was going to be traded. He only has a few more years left on his contract and the money he's still owed isn't a huge deal to the team like the Red Sox. But there are few teams out there who would be willing to take it on. Any deal that involved moving Manny would've left the Red Sox getting less than face value in return and I really don't think that the Sox were willing to do something like that. He's one of the game's best hitters and he can single handedly turn an average line up into a good one. When the line up is already good as the Red Sox line up is he makes it a great one. Boston took a few hits to their offense during the offseason, but they're still one of the top run scoring teams in the game and a large part of that is thanks to the return of Manny Ramirez. As for him not showing up to spring training with the rest of the team...well, you have to be a real jackass to actually care that he showed up on time, a few days after the rest of the team.

Johnny Damon sold out. Anyone surprised? I'm not. Have you ever read the guy's book? I do not recommend it. I received it as a birthday gift so I figured I might as well put it to use. I read it and I was amazed at how absolutely dumb this guy is. The team was going around saying "we're just a bunch of idiots" and in Johnny Damon's case it really was true. The guy is D-U-M, dumb. Not to mention he is so incredibly full of himself. If you asked him to list the top ten players in the major leagues he'd name himself ten times. He believes that he is one of the elite players in baseball and he believes that there is nothing he can't do. For a man with his lack of intelligence and belief that he's the greatest thing alive it wasn't much of a surprise when he just took the offer that gave him the most money. Sure he told us many times that he'd never play for the Yankees, but morals and decency don't mean much to a guy like him. Obviously baseball is a business. The players don't owe the team or the fans anything. And the Sox/Yankees rivalry means a lot more to the fans than it does to the players. But Damon really is a despicable human being. I can't wait to be there for a Sox/Yankees game. I will be one of 35,000 people to boo him until we are all blue in the face. And he will deserve every boo.

So, David Wells doesn't like Boston. He doesn't like all the attention he gets and he'd rather be on the west coast. So why, exactly, did he love playing for the Yankees so much? And why did he sign with the Red Son in the first place? He finally takes back his trade offer after realizing that no one will give Boston anything in return for a 300 pound 43 year old, and what does he do? He starts calling everyone from Terry Francona to Bud Selig idiots. He also has a big issue with starting the year on the DL, something he'll tell anyone within earshot. He's becoming a distraction and, despite a solid track record it's only a matter of time before his weight and age make him a liability on the field. The one bad thing about the Arroyo trade is the fact that David Wells wasn't dealt instead. With all that said, I don't mind Wells so much. He's actually a little entertaining. While Damon's stupidity and attitude was a bit annoying, Wells' stupidity and attitude is pretty amusing in a "Carl Everett doesn't believe in dinosaurs" kind of way.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Off-season overview

We all knew going into this winter that it was going to be a big one. There hasn't been a quiet off-season since Theo came into town and we were prepared for a lot of stuff to go down. Even being ready for it, there were a lot of moves that caught us off guard and there was even more turnover than we thought there was going to be. The team lost Kevin Millar, Mike Myers, Bill Mueller, and Johnny Damon to free agency. They also made four pretty bid trades to shake things up a bit and fill in the holes. I'd like to make up for lost time and get into those moves before the season starts, but first here's a quick recap of how the off-season went down.

10/15/05 - Released Adam Hyzdu. Sent Chad Harville, Mike Stanton, and Jeremi Gonzalez outright to Pawtucket. All three refused the assignments and became free agents.

11/02/05 - resigned Mike Timlin to a one year deal

11/18/05 - released Gabe Kapler

11/24/05 - Traded Hanley Ramirez, Anibal Sanchez, Jesus Delgado, and Harvey Garcia to the Florida Marlins for Josh Beckett, Mike Lowell, and Guillermo Mota in return

12/01/05 - Traded a player to be named later to the Chicago Cubs for Jermaine Van Buren

12/07/05 - Traded Doug Mirabelli to the San Diego Padres for Mark Loretta

12/08/05 - Selected Jamie Vermilyea in the Rule 5 Draft. Traded Edgar Renteria and cash to the Atlanta Braves for Andy Marte

12/14/05 - The Los Angelos Dodgers signed Bill Mueller to a two year deal

12/15/05 - The New York Yankees signed Mike Myers to a two year deal

12/20/05 - Signed Rudy Seanez to a one year deal. Tony Graffanino accepted arbitration. Non tendered Wade Miller and Chad Bradford making them free agents

12/23/05 - Signed John Flaherty to a one year deal

12/23/05 - The New York Yankees signed Johnny Damon to a four year deal

01/06/06 - signed JT Snow to a one year deal

01/12/06 - The Baltimore Orioles signed Kevin Millar to a one year deal

01/12/06 - signed Julian Tavarez to a two year deal

01/19/06 - signed Bronson Arroyo to a three year deal. Signed Willie Harris to a minor league contract t

01/27/06 - Traded Andy Marte, Kelly Shoppach, Guillermo Mota, and a player to be named to the Cleveland Indians for Coco Crisp, David Riske, and Josh Bard

02/06/06 - Designated Roberto Petagine for assignment and lost him to the Seattle Mariners

03/20/06 - Traded Bronson Arroyo and cash to the Cincinati Reds for Wily Mo Pena

03/24/06 - claimed Hee-Seop Choi off waivers

And who could forget the big stories of the '05-'06 off-season....

- The Theo Epstein/front office dance.

- The Manny Ramirez trade demand/I hate Boston tantrum/permission to arrive on time to spring training.

- David Wells being a big, fat ass.

- Johnny Damon taking a shot at the Red Sox every time someone puts a mic in front of him...But really, he's moved on. He swears.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Arroyo for Pena

Sometimes I wish I had the drive to update this every day and keep up with it. But I do get bored easily and I'm the type to move from project to project, never having finished the last project that I was working on. After a little while posting here I felt I had to post every day. It became to feel more like a job than a fun hobby. So I gave it up. Times like these, however, make me want to come out of retirement.

It has been one hell of an offseason for the Sox. We've all heard how it's been a very turbulent one and that there is too much turnover. Some of you have probably even thought that yourselves. There's even that laughable little theory going around out there where people are saying that the Blue Jays are better than the Sox. To me this has been one of the best offseasons for the Sox in a very long time. They have made trade after trade, improving the team and getting the better end of the deal every single time. They've signed some low risk players who have the potential to help the team while allowing Damon to walk. They've improved their defense, added depth to their pitching, and became a younger team. Their offense may not be a record setting machine anymore, but they are still top five in the league. They are going to score some runs. They're a better team than last year. There's no logical way that anyone can dispute that.

Today the Sox made another step to improve the team. From out of nowhere it was announced that the Red Sox dealt Bronson Arroyo to the Reds for Wily Mo Pena. Pena isn't my first choice in Reds outfielders (the thought of Adam Dunn in a Sox uniform makes me giddy), but for Bronson Arroyo? I will certainly take that deal. Is Pena a star? No. He's a one dimensional player who doesn't take a walk, isn't very good on the bases, and doesn't play very good defense. But he sure can hit the ball hard. His best asset? His ability to crush lefties. He's the perfect platoon partner for Trot Nixon. All the Sox had to give up in return was Bronson Arroyo, Boston's most overrated "star".

Today is a good day for Sox fans. So long, Bronson! Take a few pink hat wearing fan girls with you on your way out, please. And hello, Wily! You'll love it here.

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