Archive for July, 2009

Theo does it again, or does He?
July 31, 2009

He didn’t get Roy Halladay, but then Theo Epstein didn’t give up Clay Buccholz or Daniel Bard (Or Michael Bowden either) on todays trading deadline day since that is what it would have taken, at least, to acquire Halladay. So what did Theo do- How does acquiring 3 time all-star Catcher/1st Baseman Victor Martinez from the Cleveland Indians sound?

The Martinez acquisition should sound pretty good considering Epstein gave up Red Sox pitching prospects #4, 5 and 6 instead of prospects #1, 2 and 3. Gone to Cleveland is Justin Masterson and 2 former 2 minor league pitchers- former #1 draft choice Nick Hagoden and Bryan Price. I like Masterson and he has a chance to be a pretty good pitcher and either Hagoden or Price could be pretty good but Martinez is already good and a much needed addition to the slumping Red Sox offense.

Now Jason Varitek (and George Kottaras) may not be as excited because Martinez should cut into their playing time. Mike Lowell also has to wonder how his playing time will be affected as well because Theo also pulled the trigger on a 1st baseman for 1st baseman trade.

Gone after just 6 games is Adam LaRoche and his 7 million dollar salary, in exchange for defensive minded 1st baseman Casey Kotchman, and his 2.8 million dollar salary. Oh Yah, the Red Sox sent along a check for 1 Million dollars to cement the deal.

I am usually a tough person to please on these deals but I think they both look good on the surface. I couldn’t figure out why the red Sox acquired LaRoche and his 7 Million dollar salary from Pittsburgh a week and half ago hoping that they had something else in mind. The Martinez acquisition should answer a few of their concerns- the teams offensive slump and Varitek’s annual wearing down in the 2nd half of the season. And oh yah, life after Varitek- Martinez and Kottaras does not sound bad.

Check back with me in about 2 months to see how much I really like this deal, but for now I give it an A- (I can’t give it an A, not yet anyway)

-MD

No denials from Brady and Belichick
July 31, 2009

Tom Brady this morning was asked if he wanted to recant his previous statement that his wife Gisele is pregnant and he offered no denial instead quoting David Ortiz “I don’t have all the information but once I do you will be the 1st to know.
And Bill Belichick was asked if he has ruled out signing Michael Vick and Bill said he hasn’t ruled out anything leaving that door slightly ajar. He caught himself and retreated a little but still left the door open.
Much more coming up on NewsCenter5 at 5 and 6.
-MD

David Ortiz Day
July 30, 2009

On a day that David Ortiz will never forget for all the wrong reasons, he managed to take a page out of his clutch hitting history to hit a game winning 3 run home run…he hit it in the 6th inning, but it still turned out to be the winning runs overcoming a 5-3 deficit on the way to a 8-5 win.

Now the bad news which you know by now- David Ortiz tested positive in 2003 for performance enhancing drugs. Despite Theo Epstein’s post game comments in which he said that he was blindsided by this and as much as you love David Ortiz, can you truly be surprised at this news? His home run totals since 2002 have gone from 20 to 31 to 41 to 47 and then a Red Sox record 54 in 2006. Now Ortiz also has had alot more opportunities to hit home runs as his at bats  went up from just 412 plus 43 walks to a career high 601 in 2005 with 102 walks which is 248 more chances. Red Sox fans want to believe that Ortiz did not get unnatural help.

Now after today’s game and after Ortiz issued a statement saying that he is going to look into this positive test, he faced the media. 99% of athletes would have snuck out a back door, but Ortiz faced the music. He really had no answers other than to say that he was going to look into it.

It is curious that Ortiz was not told about his positive test until today, by a writer, who found out from a lawyer, 6 years after the fact. 6 years? Do fans really care? I’d say a little, and there are alot of disappointed fans but but most of them share the philosophy of  Raiders owner Al Davis when he uttered his now famous saying of  “Just win baby”.

Red Sox fans biggest concern is that Ortiz’s production has gone down, from 54 Home Runs in ’06 to 35 home runs in ’07 to just 23 Home Runs in an injury riddled ’08. And the nature of last years injury is the alarming issue. Skeptics say that it is the kind of injury suffered by former steroid users. And then there is this years awful start. His resurgence in the last month and a half has him at 14 Home Runs with the realistic projection of 20-25 Hrs for the season which would be another decidedly down year for Ortiz who just 3 years ago hit 54 Home Runs.

It’s been a day that has Red Sox fans asking alot of questions. I’m sure David Ortiz has a few questions of his own. I’m not sure the answers are going to make anybody feel any better.

-MD

Tom Brady the new Johnny Unitas
July 30, 2009

1st word out of Patriots training Camp is that Tom Brady is wearing high top black cleats ala Johnny Unitas. And oh yah, so far he looks just fine completing the majority of his passes.

Randy Moss was the only notable absentee but practiced this afternoon. This morning’s practice was stopped about 15 minutes early because a rainstorm which had started 15 minutes earlier turned into a thunderstorm and Bill Belichick got his troops off the field. Afterwards Belichick was his usually understated self saying that not only was it nice to have Tom Brady back on the field but the other players (Adalius Thomas, Lawrence Maroney, and Terrence Wheatley who you might not know much about now but he received plenty of playing time on todays 1st defense) who did not finish last season because of injuries.

For you football diehards the Patriots defense today played alot of time with 4 defense lineman (the 4th was BC rookie Ron Brace) with just 3 linebackers with Gary Guyton joining Adalius Thomas and either Tedy Bruschi or Jerod Mayo. Once the season starts Mayo will not be sitting out much at all. 

More tomorrow when we will hear from both Tom Brady and Randy Moss

-MD

Much more coming up on NewsCenter 5 at 5 and 6
-MD

So whose Numbers are those anyway?
July 28, 2009

I’d say that the better part of you know exactly who belongs to the retired numbers on the facade in Fenway Park’s Right field. But just in case you need a refresher course on the day Jim Rice’s #14 will take it’s place up there- here goes.

#1- Bobby Doerr. 2nd baseman extraordinaire who hit 223 Home runs (and had over 100 rbi 6 times) -one mark Dustin Pedroia will never come close to. But more importantly-one of THE nicest guys ever to don a Red Sox Uniform. Played for the Sox from 1937-1951- 9 time All-Star. Elected to Baseball’s Hall of Fame in 1986.

#4 -Joe Cronin spent over 24 season with Red Sox as Player, Manager, and General Manager. Made 5 all-star teams as a member of the Red Sox (as a shortstop), won over 1,000 (1,071) games as a Red Sox manager. Was also president of the America League. Elected to Baseball’s Hall of Fame in 1956

#6 -Johnny Pesky -89 year old Legend. Might be tied with Bobby Doerr as nicest Red Sox player ever. His number finally retired last year.

#8 -Carl Yastrzemski -LF  23 Years with the Red Sox, Triple Crown winner in ’67. More Games played, AB’s, RBI, Runs scored, Hits, Total bases, Extra Base Hits, Doubles than any other Red Sox Player. Elected to baseball’s Hall of Fame in 1988.

 #9 -Ted Williams-LF. The Greatest Hitter who ever lived. Need I say more?  Whatever career Red Sox records Yaz doesn’t hold, Williams probably does including most Home Runs with 521, a mark which will probably stand forever. Oh yah-highest career batting average as well at .344, Another mark which will stand forever. Elected to Baseball’s Hall of Fame in ’66.

#14 Jim Rice-LF . Recent inductee into Baseball’s Hall of Fame.

#27 Carlton Fisk-C  The Jason Varitek of the 70’s and 80’s, only better. Actually played more games with the White Sox, but his 9 plus years, 7 of those on the All-star team and being raised in New Hampshire put his number up there. Elected into Baseball’s Hall of Fame (13th catcher) in 2000.

#42 Jackie Robinson-2B. His number was retired in every ballpark in America in 1997  to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Robinson breaking Baseball’s color barrier.

-MD

Why Did the Red Sox really acquire Adam LaRoche
July 22, 2009

Every year Theo Epstein makes some kind of deal before the trading deadline to bolster his team. No one will ever forget the Nomar trade for Orlando Cabrerra and Doug Meintkevich. Last year it was Manny for Jason Bay. And in ’07 it was the very forgettable Dave Murphy for Eric Gagne. I doubt this years deal will rank anywhere near the Nomar deal. Red Sox fans just hope that it is not nearly as bad as the Gagne deal.

His name is Adam LaRoche. He’s an average 1st baseman who makes over 7 million dollars a year. He comes from the Pirates. This season he has 12 HRs while knocking in 40 runs with a .247 average but has hit just .109 since July 4th. .109?? The Red Sox already have a couple of guys (Bay, Drew) who have been slumping the last few weeks. Pure and simple- he is insurance in case Mike Lowell’s hip doesn’t hold up. The Red Sox gave up 2 average to above average prospects.

Besides LaRoche being an insurance policy for Lowell (and an expensive one at that), he is also a former teammate of Jason Bay who you may remember is a free agent at the end of this season. Having Laroche around certainly can’t hurt the Red Sox chances of re-signing Bay.

Theo also traded Julio Lugo to St Louis for OF Chris Duncan. Consider that deal a success If Theo got St Louis to pay any of the 13 1/2 million left on Lugo’s contract. Duncan just adds depth to the outfield position and will probably not make it to the majors unless the Red Sox suffer an injury.

-MD

Buchholz Called up-6 man rotation
July 12, 2009

Terry Francona just announced that Clay Buchholz will be called up after the all-star break and will start the Red Sox next game Friday night in Toronto. So who is out of the rotation?-Nobody (unless you count Daisuke) . The Red Sox will start the 2nd half of the season with a 6 man rotation.

Since Josh Beckett and Tim Wakefield are going to the All-Star game and will in likelihood pitch at least one inning- they will be given the most rest over the break. After Buchholz on Friday night, Brad Penny and Jon Lester will also pitch in Toronto to be followed by John Smoltz, Josh Beckett and Tim Wakefield in Texas the following Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.

At first glance Tim Wakefield gets ,by far, the biggest break -14 days- in between starts. That could raise some questions as to why you would give Wakefield, who has had his best start ever, such a long rest.  Then again Wakefield is about to celebrate his 43rd birthday at the beginning of August and he is most likely to pitch more than Beckett in the All-Star game on Tuesday so his next start will be 8 days after the All-Star game.

This should quench Buchholz’s thirst to get called up and get a start in the majors after his successful year so far at Pawtucket. After his 1st start next friday night, depending on what kind of success he enjoys, another decision will be made. It’s a good situation to have -having to make a decision to narrow 6 good pitchers to a more workable rotation of just 5 pitchers.

-MD

Huge Celtics addition
July 5, 2009

This may be the biggest NBA free agent signing of the off season leaving no doubt as to the Celtics desire to win another World Championship (watching Kobe win it all can do that to an entire organization). Final details of this signing should be worked out by wednesday, but Rasheed was really wooed by the Celtics full court sales pitch on their road trip to his house last Thursday since he didn’t even listen to the sales pitch by San Antonio and Orlando

34 year old Rasheed Wallace is listed at 6-11 and 230 pounds but plays (and probably is) about 15-20 pounds heavier. He is exactly what the Celtics need considering the state of poor Leon Powe’s blown out knee and the tenuous state of Glen Davis’s status with the Celtics. Unfortunately Wallace’s signing probably signals the end of the Big Baby ERA here in Boston since there will be alot less playing time left for Davis with Wallace in a Celtics Uniform. Now look for San Antonio to make a big play for Big Baby.

By the way-Rasheed’s production has not gone down much even tho he’s been in the League 14 years (since being drafted 1 spot in front of Kevin Garnett). He averages 12 pts a game and still shoots 36% from 3 pt land. He is going to open up the middle for Rondo. The start of the season, and the playoffs cannot come soon enough.

-MD

Need For Sheed
July 5, 2009

Just traded text messages with Mike Dowling, who has confirmed that the Celtics have agreed to terms with big man Rasheed Wallace, late of the Pistons.

We believe it’s a 2-year deal for the Celtics’ mid-level exception, which, once the salary cap is determined, will be a little less than $6 million per season.

Wallace is definitely one of the league’s more charismatic players (for better or worse) but he’s also one of the best when he wants to be. The solid outside shooter and defender was the centerpiece of a Pistons team that was always in the title chase (and won it all in 2004). You have to think the intensity of Kevin Garnett and the professionalism of Ray Allen will keep ‘Sheed focused on the big picture.

The Celtics definitely need another big man, especially with Leon Powe out for the long term rehabbing his knee injury. I truly hope this signing doesn’t mean the end of Leon’s time with the Celtics as has been rumored. It’s not unreasonable to try and get him to sign a minimum deal while he rehabs. Maybe it’s wishful thinking as Leon has been a great guy (and a great story) to cover over the past two years. He’s earned his spot here in Boston.

Two other players to watch now that ‘Sheed is off the table. Big Baby and David Lee. Baby is a restricted free agent and allegedly courting a lot of interest. The right offer from another team may be too much for the Celtics’ tastes. Lee also stands to benefit. Teams like San Antonio that were in on the Wallace sweepstakes might turn their attention to the Knicks double-double man.

Mike is still working the phones. Check out SportsCenter 5 OT tonight at 11:25 for updates.

–SI

Wakefield, finally, an All-Star
July 5, 2009

Oh, those baseball players are such jokers.

Before today’s game Tim Wakefield was called into the Managers office. Already in the office was Dustin Pedroia, Kevin Youkilis, Josh Beckett and Jonathon Papelbon all of whom had their all-star stuff with them. Wakefield has played more years in the majors than all 4 of those guys combined but they made Wakefield wait until the very end before they told him he had made his 1st all-star team. It’s about time.

Over the last few days Wakefield had done his best to downplay the importance of making his 1st all-star team stressing that he had no control over it. The soon to be 43 year old Wakefield emphasized that he had 2 world series titles on his resume so an all-star appearance wasn’t that big of  a deal. Rubbish.  Put this one into the category of good things happening to good people

Wakefield, who has now made more starts than any pitcher in Red Sox history, will take his 10 and 3 record and his entire family to St Louis next week for the 80th annual mid summer classic. Tampa Bay manager Joe Madden now better make sure that Wakefield gets into the game.

-MD