Saturday, January 31, 2009

** Jason Varitek Returns To Boston **

The captain is officially back. Jason Varitek and the Boston Red Sox agreed on a last minute deal Friday that will pay 'Tek five million dollars for his services in 2009. The Sox hold a $5 million option for 2010. If they decline, Varitek can exercise a $3 million player option that includes up to $2 million in performance bonuses. Those bonuses have to do with the number of games he will be able to play. If he catches four out of every five games, that would give him approximately 130 games played in 2009. I don't think the Boston powers-that-be want him to be out there for 80% of the games, however. He's going to need a couple days off every five days or so. Then maybe his hitting stroke will return to him. I sure hope so. Sox owner John Henry said this last night via email...

“I’m very happy that he chose to remain with us,” Red Sox owner John Henry wrote in an e-mail last night. “He’s the captain. He has done everything he could to help this team win championships each year - more than anyone asked."

I also am very happy he's coming back, and so is the entire Boston pitching staff. Few of us regular fans have any idea about the little things he does, the preparation with his pitcher of the day and his knowledge of the strengths and weaknesses of that day's opposing club's hitters, to fully understand how important he is in the clubhouse and behind the plate. This move, however, does not mean that the Red Sox will not trade a young arm in return for a young catcher like Saltalamacchia. That remains to be seen. But the captain is back and the 2009 version of the Boston Red Sox seems to be complete. May success, good health and good luck follow them like bright shadows throughout this 2009 season.

I hope your weekend will be a great one. It's another frigid morning, but I think I'm slowly getting used to the cold weather. I'm sure I'll be fully adjusted to it by the time the first warm breezes of spring hit me in the face...I can't wait. I'll write a Super Bowl post first thing Sunday morning with my prediction included. Click on the title for more on 'Tek and the Sox and as always, BE WELL. L' life. Hold on to it, it's all we have.

Friday, January 30, 2009

David Wells Speaks Out About Joe Torre

David Wells sure had a lot to say about his former manager Joe Torre and his new book. His comments are entertaining and downright honest. The original article is in the NY Daily News. Asked what he'd say to Torre about the book, Wells replied...

"I'd probably just knock him out. I probably wouldn't say anything. I'd probably laugh at him. It's easy to say things when you leave."

Maybe some of David's remarks stem from this passage in Torre's book...

"The difference between Kevin Brown and David Wells," Torre says, "is that both make your life miserable, but David Wells meant to."

Wells' clubhouse clashes with his manager were somewhat legendary. He said this about that...

"I wasn't there trying to make Joe's life miserable, I was there trying to win," added Wells, who used the loud music to pump himself up before games. "He fined me for wearing a Babe Ruth hat, that's pretty shallow. I threw the money at him and said, 'Go buy a pair of rims for your car.' Joe called guys out from time to time," Wells said. "He always said you'll never hear anything from him in the media or the papers, and that was BS ... Joe didn't respect a lot of people in my eyes."

When asked about Torre's comments about AROD, or A-FRAUD, as Torre called him, David had this to say...

"If he (AROD) goes out there and he's not playing up to expectations, he's going to hear comments about Joe Torre's book and how he wants to be Derek Jeter. He's going to take a lot of flak for that, and that's going to hurt. He is a sensitive guy, he does care what people say about him. "If it affects him," Wells added, "it's going to hurt the Yankees."

Aw schucks, David. What a terrible thing that would be. Sympathy for the devil, as the Sones wrote and sang? Maybe. I'll link the entire article and you can read it by simply clicking on this post's title. It's easy. Now, on to Varitek.

I was reading Jere's great blog, A RED SOX FAN FROM PINSTRIPE TERRITORY (on my link list, near the top...a must read, everyday), and his latest post mentioned a rumor that suggested that Jason Varitek will refuse Boston's five million dollar offer and hold out for more money from the team. Wow...I was under the impression that 'Tek WANTED to come back to his team, but if he did try to hold out for more cash, that would be the end of his Boston career. Caput, finis, see ya lata, alligatah. Theo would trade a young arm and acquire one of the three twenty-something catchers that I've mentioned in countless earlier posts. 'Tek would be history...instantly, at least Boston history. Been nice knowing you, Jason. That's why I don't think he'd do that. I've been wrong before, but five million (minus 50% divorce money and another 50% Uncle Sam money) is nothing to sneeze at. Well, maybe a little sniffle. If his heart belongs in Boston, he'll come back. It's not up to his agent, Scott Boras(s), it's up to him. We'll see, won't we? And that word should come down late today or Saturday. I'll be on top of it.

Thanks for stopping by, have a great Friday and don't forget to click on the title for the entire Wells article. As always, BE WELL. Stay's down to five degrees above zero yet again here in north central Connecticut. Brrr.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Manny But No Varitek...

This, from Dylan Hernandez of the LA Times, just came across the wires. No, there is NO word from Varitek or his agent Boras(s)...

"Thoughts of a season without Manny Ramirez have unsettled Larry Bowa.
Instead of looking forward to the start of spring training, baseball's most famous third base coach said he finds himself imagining what the Dodgers might look like this season if Ramirez isn't re-signed. There's still no sign of Manny Ramirez. It's not a pretty picture.
"Without Manny in the lineup I won't say we can't score runs, but we'll be like we were at the beginning of last year," said Bowa, who was Manager Joe Torre's right-hand man with the New York Yankees and first hire with the Dodgers. Manny is sort of that constant in that lineup, Bowa said."

Wow, what an imagination, Larry Bowa. Wait until Manny becomes MANNY, the real one...he's getting desperate, now. So is his agent. I'm awaiting any Jason Varitek sightings.

Varitek Clock Ticking. 'Tek Tock 'Tek Tock...

With twenty fours hours to go until the Jason Varitek deadline expires like a deflated heavier than air balloon, a decision from him and his agent, troublemaker Scott Boras(s), has to be iminent, one way or the other. Remember, and I'm not saying this is the reason for his delayed decision, but because he's going through a divorce, Varitek sees his $5 million instantly chopped to $2.5 million. Then Uncle Sam chops it in half again. That would leave him with roughly a little more than a quarter million smackeroos. Hey Jason, that's a heck of a lot better than nothing, nada, zilch, zippo.

In other Red Sox news, again, there isn't any. The center of Red Sox Nation and the team itself is focused on Jason's decision. I think that if he decides to sign with the team he loves, the Sox will go with him as the primary behind-the-plate guy with Bard as his two games out of every five backup. This would prevent 'Tek from playing four out of every five games. If he and his agent decide to say nay, the Sox will, in my opinion, trade a young not-in-the-major-leagues-yet pitcher (Buchholz?) to obtain either Saltalamacchia, Teagarden or Montero, all young and talented with Teagarden being the best of the far. We'll know by Saturday...the decision will probably not be announced until then.

I'll keep you posted the second I hear anything. I think it would be great to see him back in a Boston uniform once more, but if he decides to move on, good luck to him always and Theo, MAKE THAT TRADE. As always, BE WELL. The new Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band album WORKING ON A DREAM is totally amazing. It went on sale this past Tuesday and I give it five stars (******). He and the band are just a perfect sonic match, much like THE RISING and MAGIC, his two other albums from this, the 21st century. He and the guys will be playing the Super Bowl halftime show...don't forget. Click on the title for more on the 'Tek Tock 'Tek Tock situation and thanks for being here. Your comments are always welcome and always answered. See ya.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Varitek/Boras Deadline Is Friday...Jon Lester Comments About Life Without 'Tek

Boston's Jon Lester and the Yankee's Joba Chamberlain were together Tuesday night on a stage at the Sacred Heart University basketball gym in Fairfield, Connecticut, speaking to a student audience not much younger than they are. Jon Lester seized the moment when asked about the possibility of not having Jason Varitek as his catcher and teammate...

“I don’t want to think about that,” Lester said. “If I had to build a team, he’s the guy that I would pick to start my team around.”

Boston has clarified the deadline issue...Varitek and his agent, Scott Boras(s), have until midnight Friday, January 30th, to make their decision about 'Tek returning to the Sox. Last year, Jason batted a meek .220 and, get this, only .187 after May 21st. That's right, I said .187!! So his options are few...probably the Red Sox offer is the only one on the table. So, and I'll yell this as loudly as I can, Jason, TAKE THE DAMN OFFER. DO NOT listen to your pig headed agent. He's a complete idiot and he's the one who got you into all of this trouble. If you had accepted arbitration, you'd be inked, right now, to a ten million dollar deal for the upcoming 2009 season. Scott Boras(s), in this case, has failed his client miserably. The thing that gets me is this...if the offer IS the "only deal in town" for Jason, what's he waiting for? If he (and Boras) think the Sox will up the money figure, they're delusional. One thing still sticks in my mind like a sharp and long thorn in my side, or somewhere else even more painful. He batted only .187 for the last two thirds plus of the 2008 season. I still can't believe that anemic number. But, as Lester said, he makes the pitching staff the cohesive and effective unit they are. For that reason alone, I want him back. I hope you do, too.

It's snowing here once again on this Wednesday early morning. The temperature is a relatively mild 20.7 degrees F. but the snow is forecast to change to sleet and ice by noontime, and that's when it'll get rough. Most schools are already closed...good for them. Oh, you can click on this post's title for more on the Jason Varitek saga, a wistful fairy tale that, for better or worse, is nearing its end. I'd love to read and respond to any and all of your comments. They've been few and far between, however. As always, BE WELL. See ya.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Varitek Deadline Set By The Red Sox...Pettitte in Yank's Rotation

Jason Varitek and his agent, Scott Boras(s) have until Saturday to take Boston's one year $5 million offer. The Red Sox would hold a second year $5 million option. Should the club decline that option, Varitek would have the option to return to the team in 2010 and earn $3 million. That means two years at $8 million...had he accepted arbitration, he would have pocketed $10 million for 2009 alone. Nice job, BorASS. Hey 'Tek, take the five mill and work on your hitting. We all know you can catch the baseball.

In pinstriped news, Andy Pettitte has agreed to a $5.5 million base salary to join the Yankees very talented five man rotation. Performance bonuses could bring that figure up to $12 million...not bad for a guy who was virtually a .500 pitcher in '08. But good for him, I guess. The Yankee's formidable rotation consists of CC Sabathia, Chien-Ming Wang, AJ Burnett, Joba (the hut) Chamberlain and Pettitte. That's a quintet any club would kill for. Red Sox fans will have to hope that the Yankee bullpen will live up to its awful potential.

Getting back to 'Tek, I don't blame the Red Sox for putting up the deadline...pitchers and catchers report in less than two weeks. 'Tek has no other offers out there, at least ones that have been made public, and he has said he wants to come back to Fenway and his fans and teammates. I bet he will, Borass or no Borass.

That's a wrap for this Tuesday, the day before another dump of snow here in beautiful north cental Connecticut. Click on the title to be transported to the SI Red Sox homepage. From there, as I said in an earlier post, you can go anywhere. As always, BE WELL. See you...soon.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Red Sox Are Waiting For A Varitek Decision, But They Won't Wait Long!

The Boston Red Sox are running out of patience, fast. In what has turned out to be a long free agent off season for them, Jason Varitek, guided like a puppet by his agent, Scott BorASS, has made the club he wants to play for wait and wait and wait. Well, that wait WILL NOT last long. It is believed that Boston has already offered 'Tek a one year contract worth between $3 and $5 million. He could have more than doubled his money by accepting arbitration, BUT NOOOO. I fervently hope that the Sox make a trade for one of the three young and talented catchers out there, either Saltalamacchia, Montero, or my favorite because he's the best of the three, Taylor Teagarden. Signing such a player would be a long-term solution to the team's most pressing problem, not a one year medicated Band-Aid...a catcher who can catch AND hit while thowing out runners trying to swipe a base. It's doable, Theo...JUST DO IT.

It's Monday once again, a 1 degree Monday morning. Have a great day and a terrific week. Other than the catcher situation, there isn't much Sox news. When there is, I'll be here. You can click on the title for the Red Sox SI homepage. From there you can take your pick of the numerous articles. I'll see you soon, and as always, BE WELL. L' life.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Torre Rips Idiot Pinstripers...

From the NY Daily News, just now...

"Joe Torre's place in the Baseball Hall of Fame is secure, but his place in Monument Park at the new Yankee Stadium may not be.
According to a new book by Sports Illustrated baseball writer Tom Verducci, Torre was a bitter man by the time he left the Yankees in October of 2007, and he takes a few rips at the team that he led for 12 seasons.
In "The Yankee Years," due to be released on Feb. 3, Torre describes general manager Brian Cashman as a less than supportive ally who betrayed him on several fronts, and says that his star player, Alex Rodriguez, was often referred to by his teammates as "A-Fraud" and was obsessed with his perceived rival, shortstop Derek Jeter.
Of course, it is not entirely shocking that Torre might have bad feelings toward some in the organization, especially Cashman. When he left the Yankees as one of the most successful managers in the history of the game, Torre made it clear that he was not happy with the Yankees' tepid offer — his base salary would have been cut from $7 million to $5 million — to extend his contract for one year based on incentives. He called the deal, which offered him an extra $1 million per playoff round, an "insult," saying it would have been less insulting had George Steinbrenner simply fired him.
"I don't think incentives are necessary," he said then. "I've been here a long time and I've never needed to be motivated. Plus, in my (previous) contract, I get a million-dollar bonus if we do win the World Series, so that's always been there."
His departure after a magnificent reign in which he led the Yankees to four world championships and restored the franchise to its glory days was well-chronicled as it unfolded, but Torre does shed light in the book on several issues that also defined his legacy, perhaps one of the most poignant being when he discovered that Steinbrenner already knew of his prostate cancer diagnosis when Torre went to inform him of it. Torre doesn't say who told Steinbrenner of the diagnosis or if it came from the Yankees' medical staff, but it is clear that he was stunned by the revelation.
According to a source familiar with the book, Torre does not step out of character. He simply recites the facts as he saw them and does not unfairly disparage the Yankees. As has been reported, he reiterates the claim that Cashman did not stand up for him at the crucial meeting with the Steinbrenners in Tampa as the 2007 season wound down and the Yankee brass discussed whether to bring him back or not, even though publicly Cashman had let it be known that he wanted Torre back as manager.
According to the source familiar with the book, Torre confronted Cashman about his role in the meeting and the Yankee GM confirmed to him that he had offered no opinions to the Steinbrenners on whether they should upgrade their offer from the one-year deal to the two-year deal Torre wanted.
Torre is expected to appear on the "Late Show With David Letterman" on Feb. 3, and is scheduled to make a book-signing appearance at the Yogi Berra Museum in New Jersey that day, just before he leaves for spring training with the Dodgers in Arizona."


Varitek, Red Sox Talk More Turkey

This is part of a story penned by the Globe's Tony Massarotti today, Sunday January 25th. After your read it, I'll be back with my comments...

"According to a baseball source, the Sox have formally presented an offer to Varitek's agent, Scott Boras, that could appease the catcher's desire for a second guaranteed season. While the precise value or term of the proposal was unclear, the Sox could ensure Varitek a second year by guaranteeing it outright or making it attainable through an option. In the latter scenario, Varitek could trigger the option through reachable incentives (like at-bats or games played), or the club could grant him a player option for the 2010 season. Another possibility would involve a dual option, first giving the Sox the choice of bringing back Varitek next season (at a higher number) and, subsequently, Varitek the right to return of his own volition (at a lower number than the team's option)."

This is good news indeed. I guess Boston did not want to lose a young pitcher in a trade to acquire a younger guy such as Teagarden. Will Varitek recover his batting skills? It's hard to believe that his numbers will be as dismal as those of 2008...I won't believe that until I see it happen before my very eyes. Welcome back, a bit prematurely, captain.

In other Red Sox news, well, there isn't any, nothing major, that is. I'm glad 'Tek will be coming back. When the terms of the upcoming deal are released, you'll be able to read about it right here. One year or two? I won't know or try to decide until I see Jason after he's had a month's worth of at bats.

Have a great Sunday. It's cold here at 1.3 degrees below zero, but it's warm in the living room where I'm sitting at the keyboard writing to you. No football today but don't forget, the Super Bowl is only a week away. I'm looking forward to the halftime show more than the game itself. Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band will rock the world in what easily should be the best Super Bowl haltime show ever. EVER. So I hope you stay tuned for that joyful 20 minute set. The music will never pauses between songs. That's the way Bruce does it when faced with a specific time limit. My DVR will be going strong. His new CD, WORKING ON A DREAM, will be in stores on Tuesday. I'm buying two, one for me and one for my girlfriend Nadi, who comments sometimes as "anonymous." She didn't know the Red Sox from a hole in the wall, but then she met me. Case closed. She wears her Red Sox '07 bright red hoodie to her classes (yes, she's still in college). Click on this post's title for more Soxiness, and as always, BE WELL. Aloha, shalom, see ya. Be good.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Boston Bullpen...The Magnificent Seven

Well, it's finally the weekend. Hooray! I wanted to discuss the 2009 Boston Red Sox bullpen, which is deeper than it ever has been in many, many years. Starting with closer Jonathon Papelbon and moving on to the lefty Darkman Hideki Okajima, Manny Delcarmen, lefty Javy Lopez, Justin Masterson and newcomers Ramon Ramirez (in place of Aardsma) and Takashi Saito (replacing Timlin), they make a formidible group of guys who can and will save and/or win a ton of ballgames. Using last year's numbers, the staff combined for an ERA of 2.75 while striking out near nine men per nine innings. Those numbers are the best in all of major league baseball. And that's exactly what makes the Sox different from the pinstriped fools from the Bronx. Sure, they have a helluva rotation, but what happens in the sixth or seventh inning and Mo Rivera is saved for the ninth, IF the Yankees are ahead or tied while playing at home. I'll tell you what...plenty of nuttin, honey.

In other Boston news, there has been little change in the intensity of the Red Sox talks with Jason Varitek and his agent, Scott Borass. Little movement has been reported. BorASS said this...

“Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein and I are talking and we are exchanging offers,” said Varitek’s agent, Scott Boras.

BorASS declined to further elaborate and Theo Epstein had an official "no comment." I would be surprised, no, shocked, if the Sox go to Fort Myers with just Bard and a couple minor leagers. I hope they spring the deal and obtain the services of Taylor Teagarden. He would be a Boston Red Sox star for many years to come. See the previous post for more on him, and click on this post's title for more Red Sox sights and sounds from SI dot com. Have a terrific Saturday and a wonderful weekend, and as always, BE WELL. I'll see you tomorrow and your comments are always welcome and always answered. See ya. Have some fun today!

Friday, January 23, 2009

Three Weeks Until Pitchers & Catchers Report...Sox STILL Need A Primary Catcher

Hello and good morning on a still dark and very chilly Friday. In three weeks, pitchers and catchers will report to Fort Myers...just three weeks! The Boston Red Sox are still looking for their number one human backstop. Will it be Varitek? As time goes by and no deal is completed, I don't know the answer to that. But there are three other names, young guys, that Boston has to keep in their thoughts. They are Jarred Saltalamacchia and Taylor Teagarden of Texas and Miguel Montero, who plays for Arizona.

1) Montero...known for his pitch-calling skills more than anything. Low offensive numbers, so far...remember, he's young.

2) Saltalamacchia...good batting prowess but still developing as a catcher...he's young, too.

3) Teagarden...the most complete package, with better batting and catching skills than the other two. It will take more to get him, however. I say so what, Sox. GO FOR IT!!

If the Red Sox ink Varitek within the next two weeks, those names will stay just that...names without faces. I think the club we love should (gulp) part with a player and complete a trade that would make Tayler Teagarden our everyday catcher, with Bard as his backup. As much as I like Varitek, and I do, it is clear to all of us that his batting skills have eroded too much. He's a hole in the lineup that must be plugged, and his agent, Scott Borass, is not helping matters by inflating his value so obscenely. It's been almost two weeks since 'Tek met with Sox owner John Henry and still no deal has been struck. That does not bode well for the team captain. Time is running short...the sand is pouring into the bottom of the hourglass rapidly. Something will happen...soon. Go for youth, Theo. Just do it. Period. If it means trading Buchholz for a 24 year old guy who will develop into an All Star caliber catcher, it would be worth every penny, or in this case, player.

That's a wrap for today, Friday, January 23, 2009. Have a great upcoming weekend and click on this post's title for more Red Sox news, SI style. As always, BE WELL. Shalom...l'chaim...cheers & cheerio. Skol, too.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Former Patient Jon Lester Wins Hutch Award...Truck Day Will Be February 6

The following is part of an article I found at the Seattle Post Intelligencer website dated Wednesday, January 21st...seems like yesterday...

"Wednesday, for the first time in 44 years of its existence, the Fred Hutchinson Award winner was someone who has walked the same path as the children who occupy the Hutch Center. Puyallup's Jon Lester is the first former Hutch Center patient to win the award, given annually to a major leaguer who has exemplified the honor, courage and dedication of Seattle native Fred Hutchinson, a big league pitcher and manager who died of cancer in 1964."

"It's very special to me to be the first patient to have won the Hutch Award," Lester said Wednesday morning at Safeco Field. "It's a special feeling I really can't put into words what it means to me and my family."

Jon, you mean SO much to all of us here awaiting the games of summer. Last year, Jon had a record of 16-6 with a sparkling ERA of 3.21. He will be the solid number two guy in the rotation in 2009, and with a healthy Beckett, they will make quite a great one-two punch. Add that dynamic duo to Matsuzaka, Penny, Smoltz and Wakefield and you have the makings of a great starting pitching staff. Now if the injuries stay away, these guys can and will play!

I want to add a quick reminder...Truck Day will be coming up at supersonic speed. The big rig(s) will pull out of Boston, the Hub of the Universe, on February 6th, just a scant 15 days away. The trip to Fort Myers, Florida will take three days. Get ready to get ready!!

Thanks for popping in, have a great Thursday, and as always, BE WELL. You can click on the title of this post to be cosmically transported to the Sports Illustrated Boston Red Sox homepage. From there, you can go almost anywhere. I'll see you soon.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Papelbon Gets His Fair Share

The Boston Red Sox avoided arbitration hearings and paid closer Jonathon Papelbon an 806% raise. He will now make $6.25 million for his services in 2009. Yes, it's only a one year deal, but the club is still open to a long-term contract. Assistant GM Jed Hoyer had this to say about the prospects of a multi-year deal...

"We did have some discussions along the way," assistant GM Jed Hoyer said. "I would say certainly those discussions are open and we may pick them up going forward. I think both sides felt like in the interest of time and not exchanging numbers for an arbitration hearing, the best thing to do was to agree on a one-year number today. But we are certainly open to exploring those ideas, and I think their side is, too."

His 2008 salary was $775,000 and he earned his raise with continued success and fist pumping Paps style saves. It was the largest salary bump EVER for a relief pitcher in his first year eligible for arbitration. Lefthander Javie Lopez was also inked to a one year $1.35 million deal. The bullpen is complete and it looks good, top to bottom. Sideways, even. The rotation is set, too. And the lineup is complete, right down to a fourth outfielder. We'll miss Alex Cora, but a healthy Lugo coupled with Jed Lowrie, Pedey, Lowell and Youk sounds pretty darn good to me. Big Papi David Ortiz' health remains a concern...he says his wrist is fully healed but the wrist has to take a lot of stress with every swing of the bat, even in the on deck circle. I have hope and faith that his numbers will improve from last year...they have to. Our cleanup hitter will be #2 MVP runner up Kevin Youkilis, so Papi will get good pitches to hit. Whether he takes advantage of that remains to be seen. On the whole, with good starting pitching, this team will go far. I'm not worried about the late inning relief. We need a 100% healthy Mike Lowell, though. If he's not, that will hurt bigtime. But I like to look at the positives...that's just the way I am, in baseball and in life.

Thanks for stopping in. I hope you enjoyed Inauguration Tuesday...I certainly did. You can click on the title of this post for the Boston Herald Red Sox homepage...there's a great article on Big Papi that I'm sure you'll find interesting. As always, be well...I hope your Hump Day Wednesday will be a great one. As always, BE WELL. L'chaim, to life.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009


Hello. It's Tuesday afternoon at almost 6pm est. I loved this day. The outpouring of love, the inaugural speech...the WHOLE day. God bless our new President and his family and the United States of America. Our home. Forever...

Wow. Speechless

**Jim Ed Rice...1982 Life Saver**

Good morning on this Inauguaration Day Tuesday. Finally, Bush takes his leave and hope returns. God bless the new President. May he have a long, successful and healthy tenure. OK, how about a baseball memory that I will never forget. Sean McAdam of the Boston Herald wrote an article today about an event that happened during a Red Sox game on August 7, 1982. A four year old, Jonathon Keane, was sitting in the second row on the first base line at Fenway Park. I've sat near there before...if you don't pay attention during the pitcher's delivery, a line drive foul ball is liable to smack you right on the head. And that's exactly what happened to Jonathon. It came off the bat of Boston first baseman Dave Stapleton and hit the young lad on the right temple. He was visibly bloodied. Jim Ed ran out from the dugout, picked up the youngster gently in his huge arms and carried him into the clubhouse to a waiting ambulance. I remember it as if it was last season, even though I only saw the game on television. Jonathon is now 31 and lives in North Carolina. He'll never forget that day, either. Jim Ed had this to say about his quick actions, all these years later...

“There’s a big reaction from that,” Rice said. “People always say, ‘What happened to the kid?’ ”

And here's Jonathon himself, and then Jim Ed once again. Jonathon closes out the quotes...

“What he did saved my life,” Keane said. “In those types of situations, most people freeze. He was really quick to react. That’s heroic in my eyes.”

“I had two kids at the time. It was just a reaction,” Rice said. “It wasn’t anything where you could sit there and plan or anything like that. I knew doctors were in the ballpark. Why not pick the kid up and bring him in the clubhouse where he could have medical attention?”
“That picture (of Rice with Jonathon in his arms, safe but bloodied) is in a collage upstairs in Fenway Park. When I go upstairs, I see that picture,” Rice said. “When I come to Fenway Park, every time I look at the park . . . that’s the thing I think about the most.”

“I think what he did speaks volumes about his character,” Keane said. “He really did save my life. There’s no question about it.”

Those memories still bring tears to my eyes. Those tears are a testament to the man himself, Hall of Famer Jim Ed Rice. If' you'd like to read the entire article and see that famous picture, simply click on the title of this post. I hope your Tuesday will be terrific, and again, good luck to soon-to-be President Barak Obama. God bless him, and every one of us. As always, BE WELL. L'chaim, to life. It's all we have, so hold on to it.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Jim Ed Rice Speaks Out About Steinbrenner's Mega-Spending

Good morning and happy Martin Luther King, Jr. day. Remember the man and what he stood for on this Monday January 19, 2009, inauguration eve day. Wow, will DC be a special place tomorrow as the world watches! I can't wait. On a baseball note, I came across an article written by David Lennon on Newsday dot com that I found very interesting. Hall of Famer Jim Ed Rice reflected about the New York Yankees' mega-spending during his 1975-1989 career with Boston. Evidently, he is still bitter about the many players bought by George Steinbrenner, purchases that led to world championships, players such as Catfish Hunter, Goose Gossage, Dave Henderson and Reggie Jackson. Here's a little bit of what he said. My comments will follow...

"During that time ('75-'89), Steinbrenner spent more money than the Red Sox," Rice said. "He had more free agents. So when you get the best free agents, and you get the superstars from other ballclubs, that's what made you have a better team. The more money you can spend, the better you should get."

But then, Jim Ed compared the Yankees' current open wallet policy (Sabathia, Teixeira, Burnett et al) to the approach of Theo Epstein and the Red Sox...

"If you look at the Red Sox now, you see them bringing guys up in the organization," he said. "That's why Theo has been the person he's been over the last couple of years. He'll bring young kids up and stay within the organization. The Yankees haven't won in the last eight years. What do they do? They go out and buy high-priced players in the hope to get back the winning percentage they had 10 years ago."

Truer words have never been spoken. The pinstriped zebras spent more than $400 million this offseason for three, yes, THREE players. I'm sure they'll win more games than they did last year...that's just about a given. But can they come together as a team, a united group of men who play and win baseball games? The future knows all, and we'll watch it unfold before our very eyes, live and in living color, as NBC's promo said before each television program broadcast in that then new format. Yes, it was a long time ago when color television came into our lives, but I remember it well. I was a young kid who was fascinated with getting the color "just right" for my Dad when we were all in front of the TV after dinner. Those were the days. Boy, am I all over the place! Back to baseball. I want to thank Jim Ed for speaking out...after all, he's one of the best players who ever lived. He's getting the recognition he deserves...finally.

On a final note, I want to wish you a happy and healthy holiday. It's been more than 40 1/2 years since we lost the voice of Martin Luther King, Jr, but his spirit lives on. It always will. Click on the title for the "I HAVE A DREAM" speech. Thanks for stopping in yet again, I hope your weekend was terrific, and as always, BE WELL.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Martin Luther King Jr. We will ALWAYS miss you.

Put your sound on and click on this post's title. Rest in peace, MLK Jr. You will never be forgotten. This is magic...always will be. PLEASE WATCH IT, TONIGHT OR TOMORROW. Simply click on the title. It would mean so much to me. Thank you.

A Quick Manny Update...Boston's Pitching Depth

It's way early on Sunday morning. I woke up around 3am EST and just couldn't go back to sleep. I listened to half an hour of the Howard Stern show on sat. radio, but it was so funny that going back to sleep was impossible. And that's why I'm here after breakfast and taking my blood sugar level writing this post. It's 4:20am EST...daylight is still 2 1/2 hours away, but in a strange way, it's a very peaceful time of day. The phone's not going to ring, CNN is on the telly and all is good.

Manny Ramirez still remains homeless, almost unwanted, but I'm sure some team will pick him up at a reduced clearance "getting rid of inventory" price before Spring Training commences. Will it be the Yankees? They've been mum. So who knows...for a guy who wants to play three more years, Manny has been fairly quiet. I guess he's letting his agent do all the talking. I could care less, though, but it would be great if he stays in the National League.

On to the Boston Red Sox pitching situation. They've made all the 2009 moves they're going to make, and the average age of the starters is only 31...the bullpen's average age is just 30. Theo Epstein had a few words to say about Boston's blend of seasoned veterans and young soon-to-be starters. Here you go, and then I'll be back with a comment (or three) of my own...

“I think the luxury of the depth we have should give us the luxury of allowing our young arms to develop at their own pace, that’s really valuable,” general manager Theo Epstein said recently. “You never want to rush a guy with only limited time at Triple A into the big leagues for an extended stretch because you don’t have anyone else. You want to bring them up when they’re ready. All of our guys have developmental goals left to be attained. I think they’re all talented, I think they’re all on the cusp of pitching in the big leagues when we need them to, but this allows them to develop at their own pace.”

“Our bullpen was bad the first half of last year, everyone was crying for change, turnover, change - and we said we think we can address this internally, through Masterson, through just getting guys like Okajima back on track and that’s exactly what happened, by the second half of the season, into the playoffs, the bullpen was a strong suit,” Epstein said. “I think it’s actually been that way most years - everyone rips on the bullpen and by October, it’s a strength. Maybe this year, it’s a strength from the get-go, we’ll see.”

Peter here, and I echo Theo's thoughts. This upcoming year's bullpen is a blend of young and old, but it's solid top to bottom, sideways and diagonally. And even though the starting rotation has two guys over the age of 40 (Wakes and Smoltz), it's also rock solid. If Beckett has regained and can maintain his good health, unlike last year, that would be a huge boost. Jon Lester is Jon Lester...look for continued excellence. Matsuzaka, when he has his control, is one of the best. Brad Penny? I'm not familiar enough to comment...yet. Wakes is Wakes, probably a near .500 pitcher and an inning eater. And John Smoltz? If he has healed fully, and all things I've read and heard suggest exactly that, he'll be amazing. I just have one of my "feelings" about his 2009 season. I hope those "feelings" are on the ball...the Sox will be hard to stop if he wins 15 games. WOW!!

(Yawn)...oops, sorry about that. It's still eeriely early. For now, believe it or not, I'm out of words. That little voice in my head that tells me which words to type is strangely silent. I'm not worried, he'll be back. Maybe it's too early for him. I hope you, my Constant Readers, were able to sleep as late as you wanted's Sunday! You can click on the title of this post to be transported to the SI Red Sox homepage, always a source of delight. Thank you from my heart for stopping by. BE WELL...shalom...l'chaim...arividerci...ciao...see ya.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

**Varitek And Henry Meet**

Tony Massarotti of the Boston Globe posted the following article at 11 PM EST Friday night. Hopeful news? I hope so and I hope the captain and the team can work this out. Read this and then I'll be back with a few words. Thanks...

"Red Sox catcher Jason Varitek and owner John Henry met for approximately 90 minutes near the player's Atlanta-area home tonight, but it remains unclear as to whether Varitek is any closer to returning to the team. Communicating via text message after the meeting, Varitek would say only that the meeting "went OK" and that there was "nothing to report." The Red Sox’ captain and longtime catcher said he met with Henry "to speak about how I feel" and answered "yes" when asked if his desire was to return to the team for the 2009 season.
Varitek declined comment when asked if the Red Sox similarly expressed a desire for him to return. He also declined to address any specifics as to why he remains unsigned less than four weeks before pitchers and catchers are due to report to spring training.
Henry could not be reached for comment. According to a baseball source, it was Varitek who requested the meeting."

Peter here...when asked, Theo Epstein had this to say about the chances of Jason returning to the Red Sox for the 2009 and maybe 2010 seasons...

"There's still some unfinished business," Epstein said. "Jason's still out there. As I said at the beginning of the offseason, he has been a really important guy here, to this organization. By no means have we shut the door on him. There's still unfinished business there, and also in the pursuit of a younger catcher."

It's Peter, and I'm back once again. Can't get rid of me! I feel this way...I want the club to sign Varitek to a one contract because he will help the pitchers devise their game plans and pitching routine even when he gets a couple days off. Bard should catch two games out of every five, minimum. The club might, however, trade a young arm for a talented catcher in his mid to late 20s...there's always that chance. But if they do pull the trigger and trade, oh, say, Buchholz, they'd better end up with a behind the plate guy who can throw out runners trying to steal second and able to bat at least .275. Boston would be parting with a lot...they should receive equal value or they just plain old shouldn't do it and sign 'Tek to a one year contract worth approximately $3-5 million dollars. Interest in him as a free agent has been dismal and I'm sure he's heartbroken, but we've know all along that he wanted to return to Friendly Fenway. That's where his heart is. The Rangers would be willing to move Jarrod Saltalamacchia, but have reportedly insisted on obtaining pitcher Clay Buchholz, a price the Sox are not inclined to meet. Arizona made Miguel Montero available, but the two sides have been unable to agree on a prospect in return. Both guys are young, experienced and could do a bang-up job.

Well, that's it for now on this frigid Saturday morning. It's actually 2 degrees warmer here in north central Connecticut than it was Friday morning, but it's still cold. The temperature right now is down to 7.3 degrees F. BELOW ZERO. I don't even want to go out and pick up the newspaper on my front doorstep, but of course I will. Have a great Saturday and a terrific weekend. If anything breaks in Red Sox news, I'll be on top of it, so you will be too. You can click on this post's title for more Soxiness from the Boston Herald. Your comments are always welcome. BE WELL. L'chaim (to life). Here's to you, Mrs. Robinson. Joltin' Joe has left the building, and so have I.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Youkilis Locked Up!!!

And I don't mean behind bars. This is from last night's Boston dot com Globe, joyous news...

"Multiple baseball sources confirmed today that the Red Sox and first baseman Kevin Youkilis reached agreement on a four-year, $41 million contract extension through 2012, a deal that also includes a $13 million club option for 2013 that could bring the deal to $53 million over five seasons.
Should the option be exercised, Youkilis's contract would be worth an average of $10.6 million over the next five seasons.
While a precise breakdown of Youkilis's deal was not available, the four-year, $41 million package includes a $1 million buyout in lieu of the $13 million option. If the Sox exercise the option, Youkilis would lose the buyout in exchange for the $13 million salary in 2013, bringing the total value to $53 million."

FINALLY. $53 million...that's more like it! This signing means the Red Sox have the right side of their infield locked in through at least 2013. Dustin "Pedey" Pedroia, the AL MVP, and Kevin Youkilis, the second runner up in the AL MVP voting constitute the best right side of any infield on the planet. I don't think anyone will debate me on that statement, Teixeira or no pinstriped Teixeira. This is great news for Red Sox Nation and Red Sox International. I'm very happy, almost delirious, because I thought the club was going to saddle Youk with another one year deal. Now we have our gold glove caliber contact hitter for years to come, and with a healthy Mikey Lowell and either Lowrie or Lugo, who might take over the recently departed (we'll miss you bigtime) Alex Cora's role as backup infielder, the Boston infield will be solid as a rock. With Bay in left, Jacoby in center and JD in right, we're all set in the outfield, too. Mark Kotsay will be the backup first baseman/outfielder, and the official fourth outfielder will be our hometown guy, Rocco Baldelli. We're all set except for one position...catcher. I expect the unexpected when the Red Sox fill that need, and they'll fill it soon. Will they sign 'Tek to a one year $10 million deal? Will they trade a young pitcher whose future is unimaginably positive for a catcher in his prime? I do not know, but whatever happens will happen sooner rather than later. Take your choice and leave me a comment. If I had to guess, they'll trade a young pitcher to land one of the two catchers they covet. And all I know is that it has to happen, and happen quickly. Believe me, it will. As to who it will be, I'm clueless with many guesses. Sometimes, that's the story of my life. And most of my guesses, about ANYTHING, are usually on the money.

Yesterday I and my brother and comptroller had a lawyers meeting for my company, which is a bedding/futon manufacturer. We make the best of the best, and I just wanted to thank Gary, our lawyer in these matters and a regular reader, for being so precisively helpful. He made the things that were tough for me to understand clear and concise. He's a nice guy with a great family and he's a Red Sox fan. Thank you for yesterday, Gary, and I hope you and the kids have enjoyed the Red Sox DVD set that you won in my contest a few months back. Yesterday, you made everything so easy. Stay in touch.

Stay warm! Yes, Constant Readers, it's very cold here, cold and dark at 5:55am EST. The temperature is still slowly dropping. Right now, it's 8.4 degrees F. BELOW ZERO. But that's nothing compared to Cold Spring, Minnesota. That's where my girlfriend lives, and it's in the center of the state just north and west of Minneapolis. When I asked her to give me a temperature check before she had to start her day, as she always does in the winter, (I already knew via weather channel dot com), she told me it was 30 degrees BELOW ZERO. Wind chills, which she did NOT know, were approaching minus 50 degrees. That's too cold for me, and it was for her school, too. None of the busses would start...she had a day off. Good for you, Nadi.
I love ya!!

That's it from here now. I'll be home to answer any of your comments so please leave some if you can. If Boston fills their need for a catcher, I'll write a post, too. The last piece of the 2009 puzzle...for now. Click on the title for more Soxiness, and as always, BE WELL. Aloha and shalom. Ciao.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

YAZ Speaks Out About Jim Ed Rice...& More

Carl Yastrzemski, who survived a triple bypass heart procedure last summer, was thrilled to voice his thoughts about his replacement in Fenway's leftfield...Hall of Famer Jim Ed Rice. Who else better? After all, he is the greatest living Red Sox player, bar none. Yaz took over the outfield spot vacated by Ted Williams, himself a Hall of Famer. And then came Jim Ed. The following quotes were "borrowed" from an article penned by the Boston Globe's Dan Shaughnessy. First up, Yaz speaks out on the Williams to Yaz to Rice leftfield progression and how each Hall of Famer stayed with Boston for their entire careers, a rarity these days...

"I don't think any other team can say that," said Yastrzemski, speaking over the phone from Florida. "It's unbelievable. And it makes me happy that we all played our entire career for the Red Sox."

Jim Rice said this about the master of the monster upon learning that his vote total was good enough to get him into the Hall, deservedly so...

"Most of all, my hat goes off to Carl Yastrzemski, because if Yaz had told Zim at that time, 'I'm still playing left field, I don't want to go to first base,' I would have been sitting on the bench," remembered Rice. "But Yaz came out in left field and said, 'Jimmy, I'm going to show you how to play left field.' Yaz took two balls off the left-field wall and said I could have it."

And Yaz said this about that...glowing words...

"It was very simple," said Yastrzemski, the maestro of the Monster. "You wanted to have his bat in the lineup. I just talked to him about the Wall. It had just been converted from tin to fiberglass and the bounces were more true. I give Jimmy credit. He worked hard out there. And Johnny Pesky hit him a lot of balls. Pesky did a lot for him."

Jim Ed then brought up the fact that when, as a rookie in 1975, the summer of JAWS, Yaz gave him a glove...

"Yaz played with only one outfield glove and I have it at my home," said Rice. "He asked for it one day and I said, 'I can't give it back, it's mine.'

Yaz' response?

"Yes, I gave him a glove, but it was one of the ones I hadn't broken in yet," he said. "I used the same outfielder's glove my whole career and I've got it at home. You could say it's pretty well broken in. It's probably only half of the size of the ones they use today.

Peter here. All I know is this...I've seen Carl Yastrzemski play Fenway's leftfield too many times to count. Any baserunner who tried to stretch a single into a "wallball" double was literally DEAD MEAT, seasoned and aged prime meat. He was the best leftfielder I ever saw while at Fenway. That's not a diss on Jim Ed Rice, it's a testament to Yaz...he was THAT good. Carl sums up his thoughts right here...

"I'll say this about Jimmy: He was overdue for the Hall of Fame. I couldn't understand that. One of the greatest things I remember about him came when Don Zimmer was manager, probably in 1977 or '78. We had played a game and I went into Zim's office and he'd already started to make out the lineup card for the next day. There were only two names on his card: my name and Jim Rice. Zim said, 'You two go to the post every day, so I put your names in there the night before.' I took that as a tremendous compliment."

Peter again...I've always loved Don Zimmer, even after he donned pinstipes. He knows the game of baseball, which is so much more than I can say about some managers of this era. But I wanted to stress that Yaz is feeling great after his heart procedure (he almost died) and has quit smoking. The longer he is around, the better. His 1967 MVP season, witnessed live by yours truly and SO many others, was a marvel to behold. Every time our Red Sox needed the big hit, number 8 was at the plate. He played the Green Monster like it was his own...after all, it was. He could play those line drives off the wall, catch 'em barehanded and throw to second base while the runner was 30 feet from the bag. He knew it, we knew it, but so many hitters challenged him when they hit scorching wall-banging line drives. And most of 'em were, as I said before, DEAD MEAT.

OK, I'm finished for now. It was so nice to relive the glory days when Yaz was in left, Dewey in right and Reggie Smith, number 7, in center. "Those were the days, my friends, I hope they never end." But they did. George Harrison put it perfectly... "All things must pass." They might have, they did, but the memories will live in my heart. FOREVER.

Here's to all of your tomorrows. I linked this post's title to the original Globe article. Just click on it. As always, BE WELL. L'chaim. Thank you for being here...your comments are always welcome.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Smoltz Completes The Red Sox Pitching Roster...A Catcher Is The Last Piece Of The Puzzle

John Smoltz, the newest member of the Red Sox, was introduced to the media on Tuesday and proudly held up his new Boston jersey. He'll be wearing number 29 and might be ready to pitch well before we had all thought. Theo Epstein said John breezed through his physical and astoundingly might be ready to pitch by the BEGINNING OF THE SEASON! Here's part of what Theo had to say...

“The reason that we’re acquiring John Smoltz is to put him in a position to get back to 100 percent and dominate in the most important times of year for us,” said Epstein, “that works backward from October, the stretch run, the second half of the season. I like the depth of our staff. You’re never deeper than you are the day before spring training begins, when no one’s thrown in anger yet,” Epstein said. “We’re aware that this year 30 teams are going to be out there looking for pitching depth. We’re trying to add as much depth as we can now so that hopefully we can wait as long as possible before we have to find someone."

Peter here, and here's some of what the man himself said to the assembled media...

“The uniform has changed but the desire won’t change, or the work ethic,” said Smoltz, who since 1988, exclusively with the Atlanta Braves, has won one world championship and one Cy Young Award. “I think the opportunity to build this team as general manager Theo Epstein has to win another championship is certainly right up there with all the other teams in this league.”

Peter once again...these quotes came from an article penned by the Boston Herald's Michael Silverman. When I first read it a little earlier, the "eye-popping" moment came when Theo said that Smoltz passed his physical with flying colors and might, repeat might, be ready to pitch by the beginning of the season. Wow! We have six starters in the rotation now, so God forbid if an injury occurs, we are covered. Beckett, Lester, Matsuzaka, Smoltz, Penny and Wakefield make for a deep and talented starting rotation, but Boston will only have five of those guys actively pitching every fifth day. Who will they leave out? My guess is Tim Wakefield, although he's fairly useless coming out of the bullpen unless it's in the very early innings. That would mean that the starter of the game got shelled, so we don't want that. I'm stumped...when Smoltz is ready, who would you remove? I'd like to know with a comment if you can.

Boston has to find a catcher, although I'm not sure if they will. I don't see why they haven't inked Jason Varitek to a one year $10 million deal...that's what he would have received had he accepted arbitration. Ten mill...not bad. I'm certain Scott Borass (misspell intended) talked him out of that one, though. Hey Scott, you greedy f*cking fool, the economy is down and so are the free agent signings so far. 'Tek wants to come back to HIS team...make it happen, you pig.

Wow, I got that off my chest. I never liked that guy anyways. All the pieces of the 2009 puzzle are in plus except for one. I say "great job, Theo." The Yankees trumped us with their acquisition of Teixeira, and they will be the prohibitive favorites to win the AL East, but the Sox will pace them every step of the way, day by day, month by month, game after game after game. And that's the way we want it, isn't it? Click on the post's title for more Sox stuff, and as always, BE WELL.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Catcher Miguel Montero A Red Sox Maybe? LOWE To Braves...

This, from the Boston Globe's Tony Massarotti and the Boston Herald's Michael Silverman, just now...

"The Globe's Tony Massarotti writes that the Sox and Diamondbacks have yet to settle on compensation for Montero, a 25-year-old lefthanded-hitting catcher who would be a nice match with Josh Bard, a switch hitter who is better from the right side. According to one major league source, the Diamondbacks are seeking only a comparable prospect in return -- be it a pitcher or a positional player -- but the sides have yet to identify a comparable talent that would make the deal work for both sides.

The Herald's Michael Silverman wrote that "according to one baseball source, the team has been intensifying talks" with the D'backs concerning catcher Miguel Montero. "The Red Sox still believe that the price for gifted Texas Rangers catcher Jarrod Saltalamachia is too high because it still includes pitcher Clay Buchholz," Silverman writes. "The Diamondbacks are not believed to be asking for Buchholz, making a return package of pitching that could include Michael Bowden and/or Daniel Bard feasible."

Peter here. A catcher? No matter who or what it costs, this might be GREAT! I'll be back later. Stats? OK...

2006 ARI 6 16 0 4 1 0 0 3 1 3 0 0 .250 .294 .313 .607
2007 ARI 84 214 30 48 7 0 10 37 20 35 0 0 .224 .292 .397 .689
2008 ARI 70 184 24 47 16 1 5 18 19 49 0 0 .255 .330 .435 .765
Career 160 414 54 99 24 1 15 58 40 87 0 0 .239 .309 .411 .720

Tit for tat, I guess. The Atlanta Braves, pending his physical, have inked pitcher Derek Lowe...Smoltz to Sox, Lowe to Braves.

Red Sox To Announce The John Smoltz Signing Today...He'll Be A Starter

The Boston Red Sox will announce today (Tuesday) their newest team member. He is starting pitcher John Smoltz. Yes, that's right, I typed "starter." When asked where he would end up, in the rotation or in the bullpen, he said this. From ESPN dot com...

"It's going to be as a starter," he said when asked how the Red Sox would use him. "They're going to make sure that I'm ready to not only pitch, but pitch strong down the stretch and into the playoffs because that's what I like to do.'

Peter here. We like it too, John, and it's good that Boston will not try to hurry his elbow operation recovery period and shove him into the fray. After all, they have five starters and two young guys waiting in the wings. Make it six now, but we probably won't see him until mid to late June. And that's just fine. He has to be ready to go six, maybe seven innings before the well-stocked bullpen takes over and secures the victory. He will be a great addition to an already good looking pitching staff, the kind of roster that takes a team into October.

So after yesterday's glorious Jim Rice Hall of Fame Day, which completed the three player Hall of Fame Red Sox leftfield sweep consisting of Ted Williams, Yaz and Jim Ed Rice, Boston has more exciting news in store for Red Sox Nation and Red Sox International today. I couldn't be any happier for Jim Ed. It was a joy to watch him bash the baseball, and I mean BASH. Click on the title to be directed to the Red Sox SI homepage...from there, you can go anywhere. Again, congrats to Jim Ed, good luck to John Smoltz and as always, BE WELL. L'chaim. That means "to life." That's all we have. See ya!

Monday, January 12, 2009


He did it!! This is from the Boston Globe, just now!!

In his final at-bat, Jim Rice has hit a home run.
"Rice, the fierce and feared slugger who spent his entire 16-year major league career with the Red Sox, was at last elected to to the Baseball Hall of Fame this afternoon on his 15th -- and final -- season on the Baseball Writers' Association of America ballot. Rice was named on 76.4 percent of the ballots. Seventy-five percent is required for induction. Rice received 412 of 539 votes, just seven more than the minimum amount necessary.
He will be joined in this year's class by Rickey Henderson, who spent 25 years in the majors and ranks as the all-time leader in runs (2,995) and stolen bases (1,406), and who is widely regarded as the best leadoff hitter of all time. In his first year on the ballot, the 50-year-old Henderson received 94.8 percent of the vote.
Rice, who batted .298 with 382 home runs and 1,451 RBIs from 1974-89 while following Ted Williams and Carl Yastrzemski in the Red Sox tradition of superstar left fielders, is the first player to be elected in his final year of BBWAA eligibility since 1975, when longtime Pirates star Ralph Kiner was chosen.
It has been a long journey to Cooperstown for the 54-year-old Rice, whose candidacy had been a topic of intense debate among writers and fans since he first appeared on the ballot in 1995.
“You have no control over, when you have someone making the decision, not for you, but making the decision determining if you are a Hall of Famer or not. I think a lot of the writers that were voting, they never put a uniform on and went out there and played the game and saw how tough it was to accomplish some of the numbers that some of the players [put up],” Rice told the MLB Network shortly after the announcement. "You just take it with a grain of salt because there's nothing you can do."
Rice's supporters long contended that he was the game’s dominant slugger for a 10-12 year stretch, a notion that is frequently seconded by his peers. An eight-time All-Star, Rice was an elite hitter from 1975, when he was runner-up to teammate Fred Lynn for AL Rookie of the Year, until 1986, when the Red Sox felt to the Mets in the World Series.
He compiled 35 homers and 200 hits in three straight seasons, finished in the top five in Most Valuable Player voting six times, and led the league in total bases four times, including a staggering 406 in during the 1978 season, when he was named the American League MVP after hitting .315 with 46 homers and 139 RBIs in one of the finest individual seasons in franchise history.
His accomplishments became more impressive in retrospect considering they were compiled before the performance-enhancing drug era, which swelled home run numbers throughout the sport.
But those skeptical of Rice’s qualifications also had a reasonable case. His run of true greatness was brief for a Hall of Fame-caliber player, and his skills eroded quickly – he hit just 31 homers in his final three seasons and was essentially finished as an above-average hitter at age 34. Further, they argued, his numbers were inflated by playing half his games in Fenway (he batted .277 on the road in his career), he had little speed and was merely an average left fielder, and he never had a defining postseason moment. (He missed the '75 World Series with a broken wrist.)
Rice, whose reputation during his playing days as being aloof with the media may have hurt him with some voters, said today he doesn't comprehend where his naysayers were coming from.
"I don’t understand about being overrated, the numbers spoke for themselves, and during that time, you look at the guys that played the game and the numbers they put up [and mine stand up]," Rice said. "So as far as being overrated, I have no idea.
"I think what you’re trying to get at is that some of the writers probably said I was arrogant. You know that wasn't true. You want to talk about baseball, I talk about baseball, but I never talked about my teammates. I protected my teammates. I don’t think you should make any excuses, when I felt like as captain of the ball club, I took a lot of pressure off the guys because some guys could handle pressure, some guys couldn’t handle pressure, and I was the type of guy that I got paid to go out and play baseball."
Rice, who received 72.2 percent of the vote last year, falling 16 votes shy, had history on his side this year. Twenty other players have gathered between 70 and 75 percent of the vote and every one of them ultimately made it to Cooperstown – though some were voted in by the Veteran’s Committee. The highest percentage for a player who wasn't elected later was 63.4 by Gil Hodges in 1983, his final time on the ballot.
Peter here on a glorious afternoon. YES! YES! YES! FINALLY. We love you, Jim Ed.

It's Time For Jim Ed Rice To Be Voted Into The Hall Of Fame...We'll Know Today

It's that time of year again, that day, in fact. The results of the baseball Hall of Fame voting will be announced today, Monday, January 12th. One person who is deserving is a leftfielder who goes by the name of Jim Ed Rice. If he doesn't get in this time around, his future chances will be in the hands of the Veterans Commitee. He's been on the ballot for fourteen years and this time around is number fifteen. His vote totals have increased every year. Last year he was named on 72.2 % of the ballots and was only 16 little votes shy of his goal. In his career, he hit .298 with 382 home runs, 1451 RBIs and a .502 slugging percentage.

Jim Ed had a steamy relationship with many sportswriters, one in particular the Washington Post sports columnist Thomas Boswell. Boswell recently said this about Jim Ed. My thanks go out to the Boston Globe for the following wise words....
"In the 'Hank Greenberg Story,' Hank talks intelligently about the supremacy of driving in runs as the competitive core of the game," Boswell wrote in an e-mail. "He said that key RBI hits, not just home runs, were what changed games, decided games, defined players."
"When we could vote, I voted for Rice several times," Boswell wrote. "Don't remember how many years I waited. I certainly didn't vote for him in the first, second, or third years. Obviously, he's the definition of a close call.
"I joked with him a couple of times that I was voting for him, even when it didn't look like he had much chance. I made the case for him with other writers at times: He was a mortal lock Hall of Famer for 11 years until, suddenly, he was finished."
Peter here. I don't know if many of you know this, but Jim Rice suddenly bowed out of baseball because of his growing nearsightedness. He played baseball before the era of soft contac lenses and lasik surgery. We all know how important it is to pick up the flight of the baseball as soon as it leaves the pitcher's hand. Ted Williams could actually see the rotation of the ball on its way to the plate. And if, as Boswell said, driving in runs is the most important attribute of a hitter, I agree. From 1975-1986, Rice knocked in more runs than anyone - 1,276. That's amazing. If the Sox had a man or two on base, more times than not Rice would get them to home plate safely. Case him! He was an electric player with a gun for an arm and an unbelievable presence at the plate...a Hall of Famer for sure.

I'd like you to leave a comment or two with your thoughts or memories of Jim Ed. I saw him play live at Fenway Park so many times, sharing the outfield duties with wall-crasher Freddie Lynn and the best outfielder I ever saw, Dwight "Dewey" Evans. In my mind, those three guys were the best outfield trio ever. You can click on this post's title to be connected to the Boston Globe. Their Jim Ed articles are amazing. Enjoy your Monday, be safe and as always, BE WELL. Shalom and aloha.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

More Saito On A Sunday Morning

Good morning. It's still dark and still snowing here in north central Connecticut, but it's the dry type of snow that looks like it is piling up bigtime but really isn't. Since it started snowing early afternoon Saturday, there are only five inches of new white stuff on the turf. But it's nice to look at, at least it WILL be when the sun peeks over the horizon. But that's enough about winter's cold charms...let's talk baseball, in particular the new Boston Red Sox reliever Takashi Saito. First up, Theo Epstein with an explanation of what approach the Sox have been taking this off season, especially since the Teixeira Yankee signing...

"...what we're trying to do this offseason is accumulate as much pitching depth as we can possibly have, Epstein said. There's not a team out there during the season that isn't looking to gain some pitching. We've taken some educated gambles on pitchers that are geared to build that depth now, at the right price, rather than during the season, when it's very difficult to do, and you have to give up prospects. We feel like if we build a really deep stable of pitching it will serve us well throughout the year. If we build up enough pitching depth, we can trade someone to possibly fill one of the other spots on the club. We're thrilled to add Takashi to our bullpen, Epstein said. He's done an amazing job. He's been just about as good as anyone in baseball. Takashi has been just a dominant pitcher in the major leagues. We already have Jonathan Papelbon at the back end of our bullpen. With the guys we can roll out there, I think we have a chance to dominate."

Peter here, and that sounds dead on accurate to me. I like that word "dominate." A team can never have too much pitching...we Red Sox fans have learned exactly that in the past. I knew little of Takashi Saito until I did some research late yesterday in preparation for writing this very post.

Saito, 38, has played three seasons in America, all with the Los Angeles Dodgers, who originally signed him to a minor league contract when he came over from Japan. He quickly became one of the National League's top relievers. In 2007, Saito saved 39 games, made the All-Star Game, and posted a 1.40 ERA. In his three-year career, Saito has a 1.95 ERA in 189 2/3 innings with 245 strikeouts. And those are great numbers. If his elbow is recovered fully, and Boston gave him an MRI along with an extensive physical examination, he will be good to go by spring training. His eventual role would be a mid-inning reliever, one who could be very valuable if, say, Timmy Wakefield can only go five plus innings (I think we might be seeing that during the season) and Tito Francona needs an effective pitcher to get the team into the seventh inning, where the Boston 'pen is rock solid. Saito will be needed...his health and elbow have to cooperate, however. I hope they will.

And here is what the man himself, the newest member of the Boston Red Sox, had to say about his elbow, and other things. He was attracted to the Sox because he personally knows Daisuke Matsuzaka and Hideki Okajima, our Darkman. Here we go....

"Honestly, it feels great," Saito said through an interpreter. "I'm pretty confident it will hold up through the rest of the season."
"The biggest thing is, flat-out, they're a contender," Saito said. "I think any professional playing a sport is going to want to win. We're always playing for a championship ring, and I think the Red Sox have a very high possibility to achieve their goal. I think that's the biggest part."

Peter again. If he wanted to go to a winning ballclub, well, he sure picked one. I have to wrap this. When you click on this post's title, it will transport you instantly to the Red Sox homepage of the Boston Globe. Once there, you'll find any and all the Sox news you'd want on a Sunday morning. Enjoy your day and the rest of your weekend, and as always, BE WELL. Shalom. L'chaim (to life). See ya soon...your comments are always welcome and always answered. Thanks for stopping in.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Boston Red Sox Sign Reliever Takashi Saito

This is JUST in from the Boston Globe, and Foxsports dot com...

"As first reported by's Ken Rosenthal, the Red Sox have signed free-agent reliever Takashi Saito to a one-year contract with a team option for 2010. The Sox will officially announce the signing later this afternoon, the Globe's Adam Kilgore reports. The deal includes a guarantee between $1.5 million and $2.5 million, according to Rosenthal, and Saito will have the chance to earn more than $7 million if he reaches all of his incentives. Rosenthal reports that Saito has already passed his physical."

Here's more, from the Globe...

"The 39-year-old Saito spent parts of the last three seasons as the Dodgers closer, saving 39 games for Los Angeles in 2007. The righthander missed significant time last season with a sprained ligament in his elbow, and the Dodgers did not offer him a contract for 2009, making him a free agent. With Jonathan Papelbon cemented in the closer's role for the Sox, Saito figures to be a mid-to-late inning reliever in Boston. The Red Sox made an offer to the former Dodgers closer earlier this winter. Saito has battled elbow issues, but the feeling of teams whose doctors have reviewed Saito's medical records is that he might be able to pitch, though not as a closer. While Saito, who will be 39 Feb. 14, won't be in demand, he might warrant a spring training invitation. Saito missed about two months for the Dodgers and was diagnosed with a partially torn tendon in his elbow, but he took an experimental injection instead of opting for Tommy John surgery and was able to make six appearances in September."

OK, it's Peter. This is unexpected. My goodness...39? But another arm cannot hurt...I think. Good luck to Takashi...we have to hope he can help.

Brad Penny Passes His Physical...He Is A Member Of the Boston Red Sox

It's official on this Saturday morning. What's official? Brad Penny, the projected number four starter of the Boston Red Sox 2009 rotation, passed his physical and is officially a member of the Sox. He is part one of the two part "shot in the arm" for the rotation with John Smoltz soon to join him. Brad's best season came in 2007 while he was a member of the LA Dodgers. Check out these numbers...he went 16-4 with a great ERA of 3.03. He was healthy, but not the next year, 2008. He was 6-9 with a 6.27 ERA and was on the disabled list three separate times. But those days are over and his offseason conditioning has been going well. Here is a snippet of what he had to say...

“I was trying to push something I should have rested,” said Penny, who passed a physical for the Red Sox on Thursday. “Even when I was on the DL I was throwing. I was a little stubborn and tried to push myself."
“That’s not the Brad Penny last year. I know that, and hopefully the people in Boston, they know that. I’m real excited. I can’t wait to get out there.”

And of his off season conditioning preparation...

“I’ve had no problems. I’m feeling pretty strong,” he said. “I feel good right now, so hopefully it’s cool."

Peter here, and that sounds "cool" to me. A healthy Brad Penny would be a tremendous addition to the Boston pitching rotation. His turn in that rotation will come after Daisuke Matsuzaka and before Tim Wakefield. The number four slot will suit him just fine, and the Fenway Faithful will cheer for him with an enthusiasm unlike anything else he has ever seen or heard with not a "tomahawk chant" in the park. But you might ask this...when late May or early June arrives, where will John Smoltz fit in, the rotation or the 'pen? Here's my honored and wise (NOT!) opinion. I think the Sox want him to be a part of the starting five even if that means moving Wakefield to the bullpen, which I think would be a disaster waiting to happen. Another way of thinking (I have at least two, maybe more) would entail Wakefield staying in his number five rotation spot and use Smoltz out of the bullpen, where he has
154 career saves. I think that would be a waste. I ask you this...who would be more valuable to the team in the starting five...a .500 Wakefield or a completely healthy John Smoltz. Imagine the rotation that would result...Beckett, Lester, Matsuzaka, Penny and Smoltz. I like that sound of that quintet. But we'll have to wait for early June, if then, for that scenario to materialize. Until then, let's see Timmah strut his dancing knuckleball stuff.

OK, ok, I've gone on long enough. It's a still dark Saturday morning and the weather forecast calls for snow starting between 3pm est and 5pm est here in north central Connecticut. If you go south a little bit, let's say New York City, they might end up with more than a foot of the white stuff. If you take a 90 mile step to the north, you must be Superman. That was an attempt at humor, but what I meant was that the more north you are from the upper midpoint of Connecticut, the less snow you will get. This is a storm sliding east from the near midwest and when it reaches the Atlantic, it will take a slight turn to the east northeast, brushing the easternmost tip of Cape Cod. That's a classic snow track for inland Connecticut, and I'm prepared. I'll write a later post when I see the first flakes fly. Until then, have a great Saturday, stock up if you live in southern New England, and as always, BE WELL. Click on the title of this post for more Soxy stuff. I want to thank you for stopping in once again and I always welcome and answer your comments. Always. Be safe out there. Shalom. Aloha. L'chaim (to life).

Friday, January 09, 2009

KOTSAY BACK For The Red Sox...Smoltz Next...For Sure...Any Day Now

This just in from the Boston's Peter at 4:30pm est Friday...

"After adding one role player yesterday by signing outfielder Rocco Baldelli to a one-year, $500,000 deal with incentives, the Red Sox are poised to add another soon. Mark Kotsay, whom the Sox obtained from Atlanta last August, has agreed in principle on a one-year deal to return to the club, pending a physical and completion of the contract. Kotsay will earn $1.5 million plus incentives.
This season, Kotsay is expected to serve as the Sox’ primary backup at first, as well as an extra outfielder (along with Baldelli) and left-handed pinch hitter."

That's it from here now...thanks for stopping in.

Baldelli Announced To RSN At A Red Sox News Conference...Smoltz Will Have His Soon

Good Friday morning. The end of the week is upon us, thankfully. On Thursday, the Boston Red Sox held a news conference to introduce their newest player, Rocco Baldelli. He will be the fourth outfielder for the club, and that's an important spot to fill. He'll wear Nomar's number five, marking the first time anyone will wear that digit on their uniform since Nomar vamoosed willingly. For those of you who might be unhappy that the club did that, get over it. It's only a number. In fact, Boston should hand out number 21 to a future player (thanks Jere). They will someday. Roger has no chance of the Red Sox putting that number up in the rafters with the hallowed ones. EVER. No chance at all.

Back to the news's what Theo Epstein had to say about the Baldelli signing...

"This is a very exciting day for the organization," GM Theo Epstein said. "We’ve admired Rocco from afar for a long time now as a player and as a person and we think he is a great fit for this organization going forward. Couldn’t be happier to announce the signing here today."

And here are a couple quotes from Rocco on the signing and on the number he will don...

"My family and friends are as crazy as any other Red Sox fans out there," Baldelli said. "I know the loyalty that these people here have for this team and it’s really an honor for me to be a part of it."

And about number five...

"It was brought to my attention that obviously this has always been a special number in this town and I recognize that as much as anybody ..." Baldelli said. "I accept it and I think it’s great and I am very happy about it."

And now on to John Smoltz. Smoltz issued a statement through his agent and said he had little choice except to talk with other teams after hearing what the Braves planned to offer. Here it is, in part...

‘‘I was going to withhold comment until the announcement of my signing with a new team, but I now feel the need to clear up any misconceptions and inaccuracies about the contract negotiations between myself and the Atlanta Braves,’’ he said. ‘‘There were large discrepancies between the offer from the Braves and offers from other teams. I have always loved the city of Atlanta, and it will always be my home," Smoltz said in his statement. "I will cherish my 21 years with Bobby Cox and all my Braves' teammates. I continue to wish the Atlanta Braves nothing but success in the future."

Peter here. Baldelli will make a base salary of $500, 000 with incentives which could baloon that figure to $2.25 million. I hope he gets it all. The Smoltz money details have not been made official, but some wire services report a base salary of approximately $5 million with performance incentives that could double it. Bon chance, John.

That's a wrap for now. You can click on the title of this post to go to the Boston Globe Red Sox homepage. There are a lot of great articles there. As always, BE WELL. Shalom. Aloha. Ciao.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

John Smoltz & Rocco Baldelli WILL Wear Boston Red Sox Uniforms In 2009

This just in from SI dot com...

ATLANTA (AP) -- "John Smoltz has reached preliminary agreement on a contract with the Boston Red Sox, who also agreed Thursday to a one-year contract with outfielder Rocco Baldelli.
A person familiar with the negotiations, speaking on condition of anonymity because the final paperwork had not been completed, said Smoltz will sign a guaranteed deal with the Red Sox worth about $5 million and also have the possibility of earning another $5 million in performance bonuses. The deal was expected to be finalized later Thursday.
Smoltz, the only pitcher in baseball history with 200 wins and 150 saves, had pitched for the Braves since 1988. The 41-year-old is coming off major shoulder surgery that sidelined him for most of last season, but feels healthy enough to pitch at least one more year.
The deal, which also was reported by several other media outlets, means that Smoltz will likely finish his career with a team other than the Braves -- a startling development given his long history with the team. He was an unknown minor leaguer when acquired from Detroit in 1987 for Doyle Alexander, but went on to become a cornerstone of Braves' teams that won a record 14 straight division titles from 1991-2005.
Smoltz apparently turned to the Red Sox after the Braves balked at giving him more than a $3 million deal, the person said. Atlanta general manager Frank Wren declined comment when reached by e-mail, and there was no immediate comment from Boston officials.
Smoltz began his career as a starter, winning 24 games and the NL Cy Young Award in 1996. Numerous elbow problems led him to shift to the bullpen to relieve the stress on his arm, and he set an NL record with 55 saves in his first full season as a closer in 2002.
After three years finishing games for the Braves, Smoltz moved back to the rotation in 2005 and didn't miss a beat, going 14-7 with a 3.06 ERA. He went 47-26 in his second run as a starter, but shoulder pain cut short the 2008 season after only six appearances.
Smoltz tried to pitch one game as a reliever, then underwent surgery to fix what he said were "five or six problems," including his labrum, AC joint and biceps.
While acknowledging that similar operations have end the careers of many others, Smoltz felt encouraged enough about his rehabilitation to begin making plans for the new season."

And from the Boston Globe, just now...

"The rest of Red Sox roster is taking shape, with the club coming to terms today with a pair of well-known players who have battled injuries and health problems in recent seasons.
Shortly after the Red Sox formally announced they had agreed to terms with former Tampa Bay outfielder and Cumberland, R.I., native Rocco Baldelli on a one-year contract, the Associated Press reported that former Cy Young Award winner John Smoltz has reached a preliminary agreement to join the Red Sox, ending his lengthy and remarkably successful association with the Atlanta Braves.
Smoltz, 41, will sign a $5 million guaranteed deal with Boston that includes the possibility of earning another $5 million in bonuses. The Smoltz deal was expected to be finalized later today according to a source familiar with the negotiations, the AP reported.
The Red Sox did not announce terms of Baldelli's contract, but a baseball source told the Globe that he will receive $500,000 guaranteed, and can earn another $1.75 million in bonuses solely for remaining on the active roster -- in other words, his salary would be $2.25 million if he remains on the active roster all season."

And from ESPN dot com...just one sentence...

"The signings of Smoltz, Baldelli and Penny also give the Red Sox the flexibility to consider trading one of their young starting pitchers -- most notably Clay Buchholz, whose name has come up in trade talks with the Texas Rangers, for catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia, as well as with other teams."

Peter here...wouldn't that be nice?

*** Baldelli Ready To Sign With The Red Sox...Smoltz Will Follow ***

Good morning. I awoke to good news on this Thursday morning. Rays outfielder Rocco Baldelli is said to be ready to sign with the Boston Red Sox and become their fourth outfielder. He has been hampered by a mitrochondrial disorder, a disease that causes people to tire easily. A re-evaluation by Boston this offseason determined that Baldelli suffers from a less serious and more treatable form of channelopathy. He has a .281 career batting average with 52 home runs and 234 RBIs, and he'll fit in quite nicely for the Sox. He is expected to sign a one year deal. And wait...there's more good news.

MLB dot com has reported that Braves pitcher John Smoltz will alert Atlanta that he has accepted a $5.5 million offer from Boston. He is coming off shoulder surgery but should be ready to go sometime in May. His career record is 210-147 with a great 3.26 ERA and 154 saves. If he is needed in the bullpen, he has proven that he can do it, but the Sox will want him to be a starter. It all depends on the pitching staff's health, and HIS health. Shoulder surgery takes so much work to come back from in everyday life. Think what kind of rehab a pitcher has to do! Performance bonuses could bring that $5.5 million to $10 million.

What do I think of this? I'll tell you...the Sox need a fourth outfielder and Rocco Baldelli, a New England native, wanted to play for a team near his home base. He got his wish. He'll fill Coco Crisp's role quite nicely and his bat can sometimes be sizzling. As for John Smoltz, Boston has five bona fide starters without him with a couple more waiting in the wings, but Wakefield is injury prone and Beckett is coming off an odd 2008 filled with nagging injuries here and there. He didn't come close to his '07 form. If he does in '09, the Red Sox will be in the thick of it once again. If.

And so it goes, life in the baseball off-season. Ups and downs, twists and turns, all seemingly at once. But it was a good Thursday morning for the Sox. I hope their plans reap a bountiful season and an exciting and long October. I have a great feeling about this. But I've always been an optimist, even in the bleakest of circumstances. As always, BE WELL. I'll link the Boston Globe article...just click on the title of this post. L'chaim (to life). What else is there?

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Mrs. Teixeira's Decision? Sounds Strange To Me...But What Do I Know?

The New York Yankees announced their new $180 million dollar baby to the baseball world on Tuesday. His name is Mark Teixeira, he plays first base and can hit the cover off of a baseball. But how did he finally choose to don the pinstriped uniform of Boston's bitter rival? Here's a blurp from the AP that tells the soap operish story...
"Mark Teixeira sat down with his wife Dec. 12 to have dinner, his regular Friday “date night” with Leigh in Westlake, Texas.
“I’d been asking her for weeks and weeks, ‘Where do you want to go? Where do you want me to play?’ ” Texeira related. “And she said, ‘I want you to be happy. I just want you to be happy.’ And finally, she said, ‘I want you to be a Yankee.’ So that’s when it was done. And once we got the contract figured out, it was a no-brainer.”
When asked about his level of play, he said this...

“I have yet to tap my potential,” Teixeira said.

Red Sox owner John Henry had this to say about the warped negotiations...

“There was no mention of the Yankees, but we felt all along that they were going to get the last call. That’s what you deal with in working with Scott (Borass),” Red Sox owner John Henry wrote in an e-mail to The Associated Press."

When asked to respond to John Henry's words, agent Scott Borass (misspelled deliberately by me, every time) uttered these words...

“I think Boston knows that they got good-faith proposals and they were given proposals, which means if accepted, the player would have signed the proposal,” Boras said. “If teams reject them, they cannot in any way suggest that they were strung along.”

Peter here. Borass is, quite simply, full of sh*t, but he knows how to squeeze every penny from unwitting suitors. I'm glad John Henry stood up to that knucklehead, but I have to admit it would have been so nice to have Teixeira manning first base and hitting cleanup behind Big Papi. But the page has been turned. I'm over it. The only reason I wrote this post was because Mark's explanation that his wife made the call sounded so outlandishly fictional.

The Red Sox have some decisions to make in the five short weeks before pitchers and catchers report. The first one will be to sign or trade for a first string catcher. Josh Bard will be catching Timmy Wakefield's knuckleballs every fifth day, but he will not be an everyday addition to the lineup. I hope he bought a bigger glove...he had problems with Wake's dancing offerings in the past. Boston could also use a right handed outfielder who can hit...Coco is gone, not to be forgotten. I wish him well...his defense is awe inspiring. Are the Sox still debating whether or not to sign Derek Lowe? In my opinion, no. Will they trade Buchholz and someone else for a first rate catcher? Who the heck knows? It's that time of year and Boston knows it has some work to do.

Have a great Hump Day Wednesday. It's already January 7th and it's gently raining outside. The only problem? The temperature is 28.3 degees F, and dropping. I'm stocked up and have no urgent need to take my little four wheel drive car out of the garage. So I won't. It's great in the snow, but NO vehicle is "good" on the ice. If you click on this post's title, you should be instantly transported to the Boston Globe Red Sox homepage. If there is ever any breaking Sox news, I'll be on top of it, and as always, BE WELL. Shalom. L'chaim (to life).

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

More Winter...

The forecast for Hartford County...that's me, right here in Farmington, CT. I can easily take snowfall, but ice? Oh you go...


Peter here...nice, huh? I'll be back later.

FIVE Weeks Until Pitchers & Catchers Report...Already! Time Flies.

Hello and good morning on this Tuesday, January 6, 2009. I've already written 2008 on a couple checks, but I'll get used to the one digit change eventually. On the baseball front, in a little more than five weeks we'll see the Boston Red Sox pitchers and catchers report to Ft. Myers. It's a great parents used to live in nearby Naples. The Sox still have work to do. Sean McAdam wrote a piece in the Tuesday Boston Herald. With his permission, here's a bit of it, and my comments will follow, as always. Here you go...

"In just more than five weeks, Red Sox pitchers and catchers will begin reporting to spring training in Fort Myers, but a number of holes remain to be filled before the roster is complete.

Catcher - The free agent pickings are slim - Gregg Zaun is probably the most intriguing name, but he’s viewed as a remote possibility - so it’s more likely that the club will deal for additional help behind the plate to team with the prodigal Josh Bard.
For now, the asking price on the trade front (read: Clay Buchholz or Michael Bowden) remains too high for the Red Sox’ liking.
With each passing day, it seems more and more likely that Jason Varitek has played his last game in a Red Sox uniform.

Starting pitching depth - John Smoltz remains the top target, essentially filling the role of Bartolo Colon last season as a veteran coming off an arm injury who could provide quality innings by May or June. The Sox have been told they are still among the contenders, but many in the game question whether Smoltz will end a 21-year association with the Atlanta Braves."

Peter here. That's the first time I heard John Smoltz's name bandied about. Our starting pitching is solid with the addition of our number four starter, Brad Penny. But we all know that a team can never have TOO much pitching. Smoltz could only help, but I, too, wonder if he'll ever sever his ties with his beloved Braves. And as for the catching situation, McAdam's paragraph was ambiguous...I didn't "get it." Bard is NOT an everyday catcher...Theo & company know what to do. For once, I don't. But if they have to trade a young pitcher (Buchholz, etc.), don't kid yourself...they will. Varitek or no Varitek, the club will come to Fenway in early April stocked and ready to go when it comes to the guy behind the plate. A right handed hitter/outfielder wouldn't hurt, either. John Henry has the money to spend...but to part with a future star pitcher would be rough. Time will tell. Five weeks and counting. Tick tock, tick tock...

You can click on this post's title for the entire McAdam article. As always, BE WELL. Your comments are welcome and always answered.

Monday, January 05, 2009

VARITEK Talks With Red Sox Resume

Good Monday morning, if there IS such a thing. I hope your New Years weekend was a great one. It was reported this morning in the Providence Journal that talks between the Red Sox and Jason Varitek and his agent, Scott Boras(s) (yes, HIM again) have resumed. What's the captain worth? Here's a bit of the Projo piece and I'll be back with my thoughts...

"Varitek and his agent, Scott Boras, initially wanted a four-year deal worth $40 million, similar to the deal Varitek just completed. In 2008, Varitek was the league’s third-highest paid catcher, behind Jorge Posada and Ivan Rodriguez of the Yankees. As the offseason has worn on, however, no other team has seemed interested in signing the 36-year-old Varitek to a long-term deal, and it is thought that Varitek and the Red Sox are now discussing a shorter contract.
What, then, is Varitek worth? By the numbers, veteran players producing at his level were generally paid between $2 million to $5 million by their teams in 2008, with the exception of the Yankees’ Rodriguez. If Varitek’s price were to drop that low, the Red Sox would probably be happy to bring him back for at least two more years. But if Varitek and Boras stick to their initial demands, the Red Sox will probably go another way, and end up with the same production for half the cost."

Peter here. First of all, it would be ridiculusly stupid if Boras(s) sticks to his original demands (seen above). But he's been known to make dumb mistakes before. Remember the AROD announcement a couple years back before the World Series ended? Sheer idiocy. He's not a god, as he thinks he is, he's a greedy human being who says he cares about his clients when all he cares about is his already oversized wallet. Wow, I wanted to use a couple "expletives deleted," but this is a G rated blog, for the most part.

Where was I? Oh...Boston would be smart to sign Jason to a two year deal for less than $7 million per year. 'Tek's expertise in game preparation is as important as his batting average, and who knows, he could find his swing once again. Yes, he's a couple years removed from being able to catch up with a 92 plus MPH fastball, but you never know. I know THIS...I want him back. Period.

You can click on this post's title for the entire Projo article, written by Daniel Barbarisi. As always, BE WELL. Skol. L'chaim. Your comments are welcome and I thank you once again for stopping in to my little place smack dab in the middle of the "blue nowhere."

Sunday, January 04, 2009

The Fountain Of Youth In MLB

The recession, or whatever you want to call this economic downturn, has hit the free agent market. HARD. Other than the Yankees, and they always love to be the exception to the rule, especially because (oh, the horror!) they missed the 2008 postseason, free agent signings are down. Less than 45% of the declared 2009 free agents have found a home. They are dangling, rich and dangling. But it would be nice for them to know where they're going to end up in '09. Add to that situation the youth movement, maybe by necessity or maybe by smart recruiting, as is the case for the Red Sox. Peter Gammons wrote a piece for espn dot com on Saturday, and here's a bit of it. I'll link the entire article to this post's title, but before you click, read this and then my comments will follow. Here you go...

"...but in baseball's post-Canseco, post-BALCO, post-Mitchell world, the game is different. The game cannot escape its past, not as long as Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds remain media fixations 16 months since their last games, not as long as the Hall of Fame ballot remains a moral issue. We all know that chemists get paid to create better stuff than testing chemists can detect, but the game is different. Back in May 2005, Theo Epstein told his scouting folks, "The game is going to change, and we'd better be prepared for it." Two of the players drafted weeks later, Jacoby Ellsbury and Jed Lowrie, were key elements in a Boston team that won 95 games in 2008.
You could put Jimmy Rollins on Dustin Pedroia's shoulders and they might not be taller than British actor Neil Fingleton, and they have won MVP awards the past two years.
In this post-amphetamine, post-HGH, post-steroids, post-whatever era, 35 is the new 40, or, as Hall of Famer Jim Bunning said in the congressional hearings three years ago, "When I played, when you turned 35, you were old."

Peter here. Gammons' point was this...many teams will be developing their young talent right there, on the field. Look at Jed Lowrie and Jacoby Ellsbury of the Red Sox. They blossomed right in front of our eyes. I'm a Red Sox fan, and everyone in Red Sox Nation and Red Sox International knows that Theo Epstein & Company has excelled at recruiting the right guys each and every year since he's been in Boston. The dividends have and will continue to pay off. The Yankees? They've spent hundreds of millions of bucks this year to acquire three of the best and most valuable players. But they will have to surrender their first, second & third round draft picks. Hey Hal, hey Hankie, pick your seem SO good at choosing the wrong one.

OK, ok, I'm finished. That last paragraph was a colored blur to me. I couldn't type fast enogh...the words were literally pouring into my brain. I can't type that well in the first place, but usually I can keep up with "that voice in my ear." I did! And I hope that little voice never stops. As always, BE WELL, and click on this post's title for the original Gammons piece. Have a great Sunday.

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Is Clay Buchholz Possible Trade Material??

Peter here on Saturday morning, the start of the first weekend of 2009. I hope this post finds you well. I came across a piece in the Friday Providence Journal entitled CLAY BUCHHOLZ A TOP TRADE PROSPECT FOR BOSTON. It was interesting, to say the least. Here's a bit of it and then I'll be back with a few syllables. First up is Theo Epstein with a comment on the young righthander who has already pitched a no-hitter in the majors...

“In our minds, he’s a top-of-the-rotation starter who we control contractually for six years,” said Epstein. “He’s very high-priced, and we value him tremendously.”

How much time does Clay still need to define and refine his pitching skills in the Boston farm system at the Triple AAA level and in Arizona's Winter League? The Sox farm system directer Mark Hazen said this...

“He’s dealt with failure for the first time, and figuring out ways to respond to that,” Hazen said, adding that he expected Buchholz to come in and compete for the major-league roster in the spring."

Peter here. I hope the Red Sox do not include him in any kind of trade...yet. His name was already linked with Jacoby Ellsbury's in the Hanley Ramirez aborted dealings with the Marlins. I think Boston should wait and see...they have five starters with another free agent pitcher (Derek Lowe) possibly joining the club. That's a slim chance, however. Theo & company should watch him carefully in spring training...Buchholz is said to have redeveloped his signature off speed curve and sharpened his 95 plus MPH speedball. Give him a chance, Boston, unless the player coming into town if he is traded will be an essential cog in the 2009 Boston Red Sox puzzle, a puzzle almost completed. More than anything right now, Boston needs a power bat. Yes, believe it or not, that's exactly what they need. It's not life and death if the guys in their five man rotation arrive and stay is if one of them goes down. With more than six weeks to go until pitchers and catchers (another Boston essential need) report, the Sox have some time. I hope they will use that time productively and tweak this team into a post-season threat. Right now, I'm not so sure they are...New York and Tampa Bay will be right up there near the top of the AL East.

OK, that's enough from me for now. Your comments are welcome and if you click on this post's title, you will be redirected to the original PROJO article. Thanks so much for stopping in and as always, BE WELL. Shalom. L'chaim. Good health. Have a great weekend and a great year.