Friday, December 11, 2015

R.I.P. Mr. Schayes

 
I was driving to pick up my kids yesterday afternoon when I happened to look down at my phone and see this tweet from Darren Rovell:
I saved the picture to my phone and sent it in a text to my father and his new iPad, hoping to make his day. I then walked into the daycare to pick up my daughter.
When I returned to the car with my daughter I had a reply from my father:

 Dad: That is when basketball was basketball. That is his autograph or at least a good forgery

 Me: Darren Rovell tweeted it out. I figured it would make your day.

 Dad: Yes it did. If there were a three-point shot in his day he would have averaged 5-6 more points a game. He was known for the two handed set shot. The radio announcer would go "Set shot Schayes, yes! yes! yes!" It is still the best autograph I ever got.

I knew it would make my father's day because Dolph Schayes resides on the Mount Rushmore of his childhood. There is Jim Brown, Willie Mays, Ernie Davis and Dolph Schayes.

I drove away in my car headed for home while listening to sports radio when I heard the bad news. Dolph Schayes had passed away. It all made sense now as to why Rovell would be tweeting about Schayes. Even worse it was clear my father did not know yet.

My father, with iPad in hand, started to google the name of that Syracuse Nationals radio announcer whose call he could still hear in his head six decades later. During this search my father got the bad news for himself. Mr Schayes was gone.

When I got home I texted my father the bad news that he had already discovered on his own.

Dad: He was my favorite player of all time. I copied his set shot as a kid growing up in Syracuse. He was the man. RIP Mr Schayes. Sad day.

I then went to the internet later that night to find some articles and video clips to send to my father. He responded a couple hours later:

Dad: Thanks. We were out drinking a PBR for Dolph. Great video of the high arching set shot on the end of PTI today. Lucky to have seen him play so many games. I used to sit on the stage behind the basket for 50 cents a ticket. Think about that for a minute. I was able to see the best, up close and personal. Dolph, Ernie, Jim and Willie. I wouldn't trade my time period with anyone!!

R.I.P.  Mr. Schayes

SchayesRussell

Here is a short video biography put out by the NBA  Great job by the NBA with this video.

   

Monday, December 7, 2015

Jose Fernandez and the Red Sox: Make it Hurt So Good


The Red Sox have made three deals so far this off-season. They got their fourth outfielder in Chris Young, their closer in Craig Kimbrel and of course there ace in David Price. Dave Dombrowski stated those were his goals this off-season and now says he is done with the major deals.

Does he really mean that? Dombrowski also made a statement that there would be some pain this off-season meaning that some fan favorites and touted prospects will be on the move. That has not happened yet. Dombrowski is known for trading prospects for superstars in their prime. Acquiring Kimbrel was a classic Dombrowski move but it wasn't really painful. The prospects the Sox gave up weren't the ones that have captured the imagination of Red Sox fans.

So when is the pain coming and could it be coming in the acquisition of Jose Fernandez? There is a report that the Marlins are listening to offers. The Dodgers are said to be one of the teams making offers along with two unnamed teams. I find it hard to believe that a team led by Dave Dombrowski is not one of those other teams. Can you imagine a rotation with Price and Fernandez at the top? How much pain would it take to get him? Is there a way the Sox could get him without giving up Yoan Moncada and/or Xander Bogaerts? If there is a way, Dombrowski has to make the move. The Red Sox starting rotation still needs to be bolstered. David Price was a huge piece, but the Sox need one more. Make it hurt so good.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Fisk, Carbo and I Had to Go See About a Girl


40 years ago tonight Game 6 of the 1975 World Series took place. The Red Sox would win the game but not the series. They would have to wait 29 years and six more days for that to finally happen again. The game still lives on though. Carlton Fisk hit one of the most famous home-runs in baseball history while Bernie Carbo became an unlikely hero.

The game also inspired one of the great lines from one of the best scenes from a very good movie, "I had to go see about a girl"

Happy 40th to Pudge, Carbo and of course Sean Maguire who met his late wife on this night in 1975.

Here are some clips to celebrate:


Bernie Carbo's Three-Run Homer: Without it, Fisk never gets the chance to hit that famous homer.





Carlton Fisk Ends it in the 12th inning:



Sean Maguire just had to go see about a girl:




Will Hunting steals Sean's line :



For the complete video of Game 6 of the World Series, here you go:




If you can't get enough of that night, you can always buy the painting which is titled Classic Fenway Clout. You can buy it here on BaseballVintage.com

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Betting on the World Series Winner

Bet at William Hill baseball


The Blue Jays winning it all is the best possible news for the Red Sox. Big changes needed to be made this offseason for the Red Sox and there is nothing quite like a division rival winning it all to bring that into focus. Of course the Yankees are also a division rival but what self respecting Red Sox fan would ever pull for that?

Can the Blue Jays do it? Despite being one game back of the Yankees for the AL East crown, all signs point to the Blue Jays winning the division. These same signs also show the Blue Jays as the best team in baseball. Baseball Reference uses the SRS rating which stands for Simple Rating System. The rating system combines run differential with strength of schedule. The Blue Jays have the best run differential and the second best strength of schedule. This gives them with the highest SRS in baseball. Coincidentally, the Red Sox have played the toughest schedule in baseball to this point in the season.

While the analytics have the Blue Jays the best team their World Series odds are not listed as the best. Bet at William Hill Baseball has the Blue Jays at +600 to win it all. This is tied with the Cardinals for the second best odds behind the Kansas City Royals who are at +450. The Royals have the 4th best SRS in baseball.

What about a sleeper? How about the Orioles? The Orioles of course are another division rival and they are tied with the second best SRS in baseball. They currently sit 4 games back in the AL East but have a one game lead for the final wildcard spot. Their odds at Bet William Hill Baseball are a very appealing +3000 which is just the 13th best odds on the board.

What about the overrated teams? Well the Dodgers and Mets sit at 11th and 14th in the SRS standings but they have the fourth and fifth best odds to win it all. According to Bet at William Hill Baseball the Mets have +800 odds while the Dodgers have +700. The Mets and Dodgers are similar though in that they are both loaded with big time pitching and when it comes to the postseason, a pitcher can take over like no other player. The Mets and Dodgers have more than one pitcher who could do this.

The best bet is the Blue Jays but if you are looking for a possible big payout, look into the Orioles. If you really feel like taking a gamble, pretend it is 1979 all over again and Bet at William Hill Baseball on the World Series matchup of the Orioles vs Pirates. The odds for that matchup right now is +11000  Good luck.




Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Aloha Means Goodbye




Shane Victorino was traded yesterday. It was the right move to make as the Red Sox go into 2016 preparation mode. The trade ends Victorino's career in Boston. While he was injured often the last two years nothing can take away the 2013 season where he was one of the most important players on the eventual World Champions. His career in Boston can be summed up best by the 7th inning during Game 6 of the 2013 ALCS. The Sox were down 2-1 and the bases were loaded. Victorino walked to the plate as Bob Marley's Three Little Birds blared over the speakers. The fans began to sing along and Victorino went deep sending the Red Sox to the World Series. Everything truly was going to be alright. Aloha!




Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Red Sox Missed Out on deGrom




Jacob deGrom lowered his ERA to 2.18 last night as he beat the Washington Nationals. He is the kind of pitcher the Red Sox need. Sadly, he was real close to being on the Red Sox. According to the great Peter Gammons, Ben Cherington wanted deGrom when having trade talks with Sandy Alderson back in 2012. The Mets needed a catcher and wanted Kelly Shoppach. Cherington had his eyes on deGrom. Alderson was fine with the deal until he checked with some of his minor league scouts. The scouts were pretty clear that deGrom wasn't a guy that should be traded. Alderson took the advice of the scouts and the Mets ended up getting Shoppach for Pedro Beato. Beato would throw just 21 innings after the trade and is now out of baseball.

This news does give you confidence in Cherington's eye and while mistakes have been made it makes you wonder if the mistakes are those made by Cherington or those made by John Henry and company? Ownership screwed up the Jon Lester talks and he easily could still be with the Red Sox if he wasn't low balled in the spring of last year.

With a little luck and common sense the Red Sox rotation could be Lester, deGrom, Clay Buchholz, and Eduardo Rodriguez. What about the fifth guy? How about Cole HamelsYesterday we posted why the Sox still need to trade for Hamels and in this scenario he would definitely make sense.

Even more impressive is how inexpensive that rotation would be. deGrom and Rodriguez make the league minimum and are under team control, Clay makes $13 million and Lester could have been signed by the Sox for $20 million a year for six years or the same deal the Sox were willing to give Rick Porcello. (Sorry if that makes you vomit.) Hamels would round out the rotation adding $23.5 million to the payroll rotation. $57.5 million for a rotation of Lester, Hamels, deGrom, Buchholz, Rodriguez. The current Red Sox rotation is right around $46 million. You have my permission to vomit now.




Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Red Sox Need to Buy at Trade Deadline





The 2015 Red Sox season is over in mid July once again. This makes the Red Sox sellers but do the Red Sox have anything to sell? I think Jared said it best on twitter:

Do the Red Sox have to be sellers? The Red Sox need help for next season. They need pitching and the best way to get pitching for next year is going to be at the trade deadline this year. They must trade for Cole Hamels. How much will they have to give up? It is a given that the Phillies will want at least one guy from the group of Eduardo Rodriguez, Brian Johnson and Henry Owens along with the next tier of prospects to complete the trade. It is desperation time for the Sox. If Hamels gets traded elsewhere the Sox will then have to overpay in the offseason for Johnny Cueto or possibly David Price. Cueto looks like he is on the verge of breaking down and I think he is going to be a disaster for any team that signs him in the offseason to a long term lucrative contract. I have this awful feeling that team will end up being the Red Sox. It will be a move that stinks of desperation. We have seen moves like this in the past and it never ends well.

  Price is a very good pitcher, a much safer bet than Cueto but it is no guarantee he will make it to free agency and he will still command much more money then Hamels has left on his deal. Throw in the fact that you have no idea how Cueto or Price will adjust to being in a market like Boston and Hamels looks even better. If you can pitch in Philadelphia you can usually handle the atmosphere in Boston. See Curt Schilling.

Sellers? These Red Sox need to be buyers and they better hurry. Next season and seasons to come depend on it.



Thursday, May 28, 2015

Can Eduardo Rodriguez Save the Season?

Eduardo Rodriguez

It is getting late real early for the Red Sox and tonight they turn their season over to a rookie, Eduardo Rodriguez. The Red Sox need a spark and they need one fast. They may play in a division without a team that is capable of running away with it but you don't want to get behind too many teams as we head into June.

Rodriguez is ranked as the Red Sox #4 prospect, Keith Law ranked him the 29th best prospect in all of baseball. What makes it even better is that he was acquired last year from the Baltimore Orioles for an Andrew Miller rental. Miller is now with the Yankees but the Red Sox still have Eddy.

From Keith Law:

Rodriguez faced 29 batters this spring, punching out nine and walking none. The last stat is the only one here I think has much if any significance in the tiny spring training sample, especially because Rodriguez's deficiencies as a prospect were areas such as command and feel for pitching. He has two plus pitches, with the breaking ball gradually improving. Getting him for two months of Andrew Miller looks like a genius move by Red Sox GM Ben Cherington.

Rodriguez has been just as impressive this year in Pawtucket where he is 4-3 with a 2.98 ERA. In a little over 48 innings pitched he has struck out 44 and only walked 7.

Can he save the season starting tonight? Can you imagine how different the Sox could look later tonight if Rodriguez goes out and looks like the real deal? It could be the kind of look that sparks this team to life.




Friday, May 15, 2015

Rumors, Praise and Questions about Jackie Bradley's Future with Sox

Jackie Bradley Jr. is back up with the Red Sox where has been used mainly as a fourth outfielder since his call up, in 8 at bats he has yet to get a hit. Dating back to last season, he is now 0 for his last 26. Not good. He did have a solid offensive spring with a new shortened swing and in Pawtucket he was hitting .343 with an .857 OPS. He still needs to prove he can hit at the MLB level though


JBJ was called back up to the majors as the Sox were facing the Blue Jays. John Gibbons, manager of the Blue Jays, raved about Bradley calling him the best defensive center fielder he has ever seen play. JBJ was up for the Gold Glove last year but didn't get it. Ironically, many feel he deserved it but his bat kept him from winning it. Gold Gloves are not always given to the best defensive players. It is more of a popularity contest. Derek Jeter is proof of that. Bradley turned 13 double plays from the outfield last year, next closest was 5. He also had 18 assists. Those are mind boggling numbers. His .180 batting average is just as mind boggling though.

His defensive prowess has many wondering why the Sox don't put him in center field when he enters the game. John Farrell explained that JBJ is not going to be a full time starter and he doesn't want to move around Mookie Betts who starts in center field. Betts is a decent defensive center fielder but he is still learning and there have been a few balls he didn't get to that JBJ would have.

Does Bradley have a future with the Red Sox? With Betts and Rusney Castillo, it doesn't look good. Will JBJ be better off with a change in scenery? Very possible. The latest rumor had the Sox offering him to the Mariners for Charlie Furbush of the Mariners. It is clear that JBJ makes an impact on the defensive side, if he can prove he can it, he will be a force in MLB just like he was in college with the Gamecocks.



Tuesday, May 12, 2015

ESPN Mocks Derek Jeter

David Schoenfield, an ESPN blogger, has a piece up about the Yankees and that they are a really good team. I hate to toot my own horn and I hate even more to be right about this, but I warned you all right here that these Yankees were much better than the credit they were getting from the so-called experts. How good are they? Well they have the 4th best run differential in baseball while playing the third toughest schedule. That combination makes them the best overall team in MLB up to this point if you use the Simple Rating System or SRS.

It is what Schoenfield says at the end of his piece that caught my eye:

Back in April, Derek Jeter said of baseball, "I don't miss it at all."

After last year's worldwide retirement tour, nobody is missing Jeter, either -- least of all, his former team.

Well played David, well played.

You can read his full blog post here.




Tuesday, May 5, 2015

James Taylor and Angels of Fenway

One of the few bright spots of this past weekend was James Taylor releasing and singing his brand new song called Angels of Fenway. The song is inspired by the 2004 Red Sox and here is an interview James Taylor did with Steve Buckley and then sings the song afterwards. Very cool!




The Legacy of Ted Williams

Wright Thompson of ESPN has done it again with an incredible piece on the life of Ted Williams. This piece centers around his daughter Claudia Williams and her struggle with being the daughter of a very complicated man. The story goes into great detail about the decision to be frozen after death and what Claudia has planned for the future. Check it out here. It is a must read!



Thursday, April 30, 2015

Top MLB Players Under 25

Keith Law posted his list of the top 25 players in MLB under the age of 25. His rule is that they can't turn 25 at any point in this season. The Red Sox had two make the list in Mookie Betts and Xander Bogaerts

Betts is listed at #5 while Bogaerts is listed at #8. Two top ten guys who are both position players at key spots like CF and SS is pretty impressive and bodes well for the future.

There was not one New York Yankee to make the list however the Braves seem poised to go back to the formula that worked in the 1990s. They have three guys on the list, all pitchers. Shelby Miller at #21, Julio Teheran at #22 and Alex Wood at #23. The dismantling of the Braves this past offseason was disheartening especially living here in Braves Country, but the future does appear to be bright.

The top 4 on the list are Mike Trout, Bryce Harper, Manny Machado and Yasiel Puig.


Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Clay Buchholz: The Mental Midget

As I went through my twitter timeline last night I saw a lot of angry tweets from Red Sox fans as they endured watching Clay Buchholz pitch. It made me sigh in relief. I used to be one of those people. Those days are gone. I officially gave up on Clay Buchholz ever becoming a top pitcher last year. Curt Schilling has been saying this for a while now, he has the stuff just not anything in between his ears.

Opening Day did make me raise my eyebrows a bit, I even thought to myself that maybe I was wrong. Maybe the role as "ace" will transform his fragile head. Nope. Clay is the classic front runner. He is great when he is feeling great, all his pitches are working and the umps are giving him the calls. Give him a just a little adversity and he folds like a cheap suit.  Much like the Daisuke Matsuzaka era, I can't stand even to watch Clay pitch. I did watch Opening Day, only because it was Opening Day. However, I make a conscious choice not to watch games in which he pitches. I still follow the score on twitter and my various MLB apps, but I am not going to subject myself to watching him throw a pitch from the mound. It is excruciating. The good news is that when he does get shelled early and the bullpen is called early, I can start watching the game and catch a good bit of it like last night for example. Give up on him Red Sox fans, it will make games like last night easier to deal with, it has for me. As for the angry tweets, stop them. It is a lost cause.  The funny ones? Keep those coming.


Thursday, April 23, 2015

Chris Rock on Blacks in Baseball

Is the future of baseball in trouble? Chris Rock uses humor and a lot of truth to talk about why black people no longer follow baseball and why baseball could have some issues in the future because of it.





Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Is Major League Baseball Snubbing Roger Clemens?

I have come full circle and I am home again. It is good to see you Roger Clemens.

Roger Clemens was my boyhood hero. He could do no wrong. Roger didn't ask out of Game 6 of the 1986 World Series, John McNamara took him out against his will. Roger didn't leave Boston, Dan Duquette shoved him to Toronto. I always defended Roger especially against the likes of Will McDonough and his attacks on my hero who he labeled The Texas Con Man.

Then it all changed, Roger became a Yankee and then he started lying and lying and acting as if everyone was as dumb as he turned out to be. I would become a Roger Clemens basher and it was fun.

It is changing again and it has to do with Major League Baseball and their Franchise Four promotion they are doing for this year's All Star Game. In case you haven't heard, each baseball franchise has eight all time great players listed on an online ballot and the fans vote for the four best, The Franchise Four. You can also write in a player's name if he is not listed as one of the eight.

The other part of the voting is the Franchise Four; Greatest Living Players. The fans vote for this as well. MLB lists eight of the greatest living players on an online ballot and the fans decide which four are the best. There is also an area once again where you can write in a player's name who is not listed.

This will all culminate in what is sure to be a great ceremony at the All Star Game in Cincinnati this July and it appears that MLB wants nothing to do with Roger Clemens.

Roger Clemens is not listed on the ballot for the Boston Red Sox or The Greatest Living Players. Maybe his career doesn't measure up to be on either of those ballots? Let's take a look.

The Red Sox ballot consists of Dwight Evans, Carlton Fisk, Pedro Martinez, David Ortiz, Jim Rice, Ted Williams, Carl Yastrzemski and Cy Young.

Roger Clemens has the third highest WAR, while playing for the Red Sox, in Red Sox history. Only Yaz and Ted Williams amassed a higher WAR in their Red Sox careers.

The Greatest Living Players ballot consists of Hank Aaron, Johnny Bench, Rickey Henderson, Barry Bonds, Tom Seaver, Sandy Koufax, Pedro Martinez and Willie Mays.

Roger Clemens has a career WAR of 140.3 which puts him behind only Mays, Aaron and Bonds on the best career WAR among living players.

Maybe they are keeping him off the ballots as a way to punish him for the steroid issue, I would not have an issue with that except Barry Bonds shows up on three ballots. He is on the Greatest Living Players ballot along with the Giants and Pirates ballot. Is there really a difference between Bonds and Clemens? I actually think they have the same exact circumstances, both great players before they took PEDs and then they became immortal players thanks to their chemically enhanced numbers.

I hate to defend Roger but how can a guy with the 8th highest career WAR in MLB history along with the 9th most wins in baseball history not be on a single ballot? I know you can write his name in if you choose but not being listed puts him at a very distinct disadvantage. Has it been done on purpose? It seems so, yet Bonds doesn't seem to be getting the same treatment. Maybe this is MLB's way of making me a Roger Clemens fan again. I am back to defending The Rocket. So go write in his name in the name of justice, well...maybe we shouldn't use the word justice when defending Roger.



Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Is Mookie Betts the Next Nomar Garciaparra?

It is Mookie's world and we are all just paying rent. Has there ever been a more exciting player in Red Sox history? I can't think of one in my lifetime. The closest I can think of is Nomar Garciaparra.

In his prime, Nomar could take over a game with his bat and his glove. All you have to do is look at the 1999 postseason to see that and in particular Game 5 of the ALDS vs the Indians.



Despite Nomar's greatness and dominance, Mookie just seems on a different level. He used Opening Day at Fenway Park to rob a home run of all people Bryce Harper, he then stole two bases on one play and then for good measure sent a shot over the Monster for a three run homer. There have been and will be greater players than Mookie, and this is just the start of his career, but he is quickly becoming one of those guys, one of those guys who is worth the price of admission all by himself.

In case you missed it, here are the highlights from the Mookie show yesterday

Pawtucket and Greenville Stocked with Talent

Keith Law ranked the best rosters in minor league baseball and not surprising the Boston Red Sox have two minor league teams on the list.

The Pawtucket Red Sox and the Greenville Drive are loaded with future Red Sox stars and both made Keith Law's list of the most talented minor league teams this year. Here is what Keith Law had to say about both of them.

Pawtucket Red Sox (Triple-A)

Six of my top 10 Red Sox prospects from late January (before Yoan Moncada signed) will start the season with the Pawsox, including three of the team's five starters in Henry Owens, Eduardo Rodriguez and Matt Barnes, as well as their top overall prospect, catcher Blake Swihart. Fourth starter Brian Johnson is no slouch himself and might have the highest floor of any of their pitchers; he's a four-pitch guy with command who doesn't have a huge fastball or single dominant pitch. The Pawsox can play an all-prospect infield, with Garin Cecchini and Deven Marrero both potential average regulars, and Sean Coyle and Travis Shaw at least likely to get some big league time as emergency call-ups or bench players. The outfield has Jackie Bradley Jr., who has exhausted his rookie eligibility (meaning he's ineligible for my prospect lists) but whom I still project to end up someone's every-day centerfielder, as well as 27-year-old Cuban outfielder Rusney Castillo, too old for my rankings but technically a rookie and likely to spend most of this year in the Red Sox's outfield.

Greenville Drive (Class A)

The Drive will have a good problem in a few weeks once Cuban infielder Yoan Moncada arrives from extended spring training; they'll have him, third basemen Rafael Devers and Michael Chavis, and shortstop Javier Guerra all fighting for playing time at three infield spots. Moncada was a shortstop as well, but won't play there in the long term, likely moving to second or third base, but the logjam probably means we'll see all four players switch positions frequently and get some time at DH too. Outfielder Nick Longhi has real power potential from the right side, signing with the Red Sox for an over-slot bonus of $440,000 in the 30th round in 2013. The rotation has their second pick from last year, right-hander Michael Kopech; 2012 fourth-rounder Ty Buttrey, who received a first-round bonus but has yet to deliver on his promise; and lefty Williams Jerez, signed as an outfielder in 2011 but converted to the mound after 2013, showing immediate arm strength and surprising control out of the chute.



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Saturday, April 11, 2015

Miley and Leon are Perfect Together

Friday night turned into an epic Red Sox/Yankees game but before it got crazy the story was Wade Miley. I had my doubts about Miley coming into the season. National League pitch to contact pitchers coming to the AL East usually does not end well. It still might get ugly, but he was impressive in his first start, more than that, he was a delight to watch. He worked quickly, threw strikes and pitched to contact. He was the anti- Daisuke Matsuzaka and much different than how Clay Buchholz pitches on most nights.

Sandy Leon made his first start behind the plate on Friday. I was also impressed. He did not get a hit but he is your classic great defensive catcher. Christian Vasquez is going to be tough to replace but Leon is awful impressive behind the plate. He made an incredible throw to nail Bret Gardner trying to steal second base and thwart a Yankee rally. At the time, it seemed like one of the final nails in the Yankee coffin. That final nail of course did not come for several more hours.

Are Miley/Leon going to be paired together all season? It looks that way and I am looking forward to seeing it again.


Friday, April 10, 2015

The Yankees are Still The Measuring Stick

The so called experts have the Yankees not contending in the AL East this year, don't be fooled. This Yankee team is much better than people think and they may just be the best in the division. I hate to be the bearer of bad news on this, but the Yankees are not going away.

They have the best bullpen in the division and their rotation is very good. Do they have questions? Of course they do, they also have a lot of talent.

The difference is this year they are playing the underdog role. They have no pressure on them. There are people talking about how the Mets are getting ready to take over New York City. This is a bad scenario for Red Sox fans. The season series starts tonight. Don't sleep on these Yankees.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Keith Law Still High on Blake Swihart

Keith Law released his updated Top 50 Prospect List today. Blake Swihart still sits at #10 overall and is the highest Red Sox prospect listed.

Yoan Moncada, who signed after Law released his initial list, comes in at #16. 

The Red Sox don't appear willing to give up Swihart in a deal for Cole Hamels, especially now with the injury to Christian Vasquez.

Here is what Law had to say about Swihart:

The Red Sox won't give him up for Cole Hamels, and I don't think I would either. He's a super-athletic catcher with outstanding receiving and throwing skills, a good approach as a hitter and developing power. It's a potential All-Star set of tools and skills at a position that half of the clubs in baseball are trying to fill every winter.

The Red Sox have a total of four prospects in the Top 50. Here is Law's breakdown of the other three:

Yoan Moncada at #16

Moncada received a record $31 million bonus from the Red Sox, which doesn't reflect the 100 percent penalty the team paid for signing him or the draconian restrictions they'll face the next two years in the international amateur market. He's a massive kid for a 19-year-old, well filled out with power from both sides of the plate yet with enough athleticism to stay on the dirt in the short term, most likely at second base. I expect him to start out in A-ball and move up quickly if he shows he's too advanced for either low- or high-A.

Henry Owens at #21:

I don't see how any GM could get a call from the Red Sox without asking for Owens in any major deal, as Owens continues to rack up strikeouts as he moves up the ladder, reaching Triple-A last year at age 21. He was wild and ineffective in his spring training stint this year, but given his track record in real games, I don't think anyone should be concerned about him throwing strikes.


Eduardo Rodriguez at #29:

Rodriguez faced 29 batters this spring, punching out nine and walking none. The last stat is the only one here I think has much if any significance in the tiny spring training sample, especially because Rodriguez's deficiencies as a prospect were areas such as command and feel for pitching. He has two plus pitches, with the breaking ball gradually improving. Getting him for two months of Andrew Miller looks like a genius move by Red Sox GM Ben Cherington.





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Saturday, March 28, 2015

Forgetting Derek Jeter

I joked this would happen when the Yankees traded for Didi Gregorius. My joke has become a reality but even faster than I thought and not from Yankee fans but from actual Yankee players. In this piece by Ken Rosenthal, Yankee players gush over the defense by their new shortstop. It is almost like they haven't seen a shortstop with range in their lifetime....anyway...let's take a look at some of these quotes, most notably the ones from Alex Rodriguez

AROD seems to go out of his way to praise the defense of Didi. A well-played passive aggressive move by AROD. I defend AROD in this case especially since out of pure pettiness Jeter made AROD's life as a Yankee much harder than it had to be. This started in 2004 when a below average defensive SS in Jeter refused to change positions in favor of AROD who was the best defensive SS in the game.

“Didi is unbelievable, as good a shortstop as I’ve seen,” first baseman Mark Teixeira said. “And I’m not overexaggerating.”

“He has a rare combination of speed and explosiveness. But what you don’t see is an incredibly strong arm that is so accurate. That combination is lethal,” Rodriguez said.


“What you see in a lot of young players are 6 or 7 arms, but then their accuracy is 3 or 4. Which is normal, par for the course. As they get older, they go from a 7-1/2 arm to about a 5-1/2 or 6-1/2 and their accuracy goes to about 6. But when you have that combination at 25 years old of crazy range, 7-plus arm, 7-plus accuracy ... even Ozzie [Smith], he had 7 accuracy but he didn’t have 7 arm strength"- Alex Rodriguez




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Friday, March 27, 2015

How Believable is David Ortiz?


When it comes to athletes and PED use the rule of thumb is to not believe a word out of their mouths, We have been burned too many times. David Ortiz came out swinging in this Players Tribune piece about his innocence when it comes to being a cheater. He uses two defense mechanisms synonymous with PED users and liars. The first is that "he never knowingly" took any PEDs. This is out of the Barry Bonds playbook. His second defense rationale is to point to his lack of failed drug tests. This has been used by the likes of Lance Armstrong and Alex Rodriguez, not exactly great company. Until there is blood testing the argument that you never failed a test is a bit flimsy. Does this make Ortiz a liar? Not necessarily.

It is now 2015, Ortiz showed up on the list of those who failed a test in 2003. It has been 12 years and in that time Ortiz's name has not been brought up in any new allegations. There hasn't been a supplier that has come forward, his name has not surfaced in any federal investigations of PED labs. Either David Ortiz is the smartest cheater ever or he is telling the truth and has been clean. I realize I am biased, but I find it hard to believe that if Ortiz has been a rampant user for the last decade plus that he has managed to keep it quiet. The world is too small now. I am not naive though, I realize there could be a breaking news story tomorrow that the Federal Government is investigating some drug lab and Ortiz's name is at the top of the list and has been a client for the last decade. However, as each day passes, and we get further away from 2003 you start to find Ortiz's explanation logical. He says he was taking supplements over the counter from GNC and the only explanation he has for his failed test in 2003 is there may have been something in what he was taking that was tagged as illegal by MLB. This explanation does hold merit because there are things you can get over the counter at a place like GNC that MLB does consider illegal. If Ortiz is telling the truth, his anger is justified. If he is lying, he joins a growing list. I believe him....until further notice.


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Thursday, March 12, 2015

Trying to Predict the AL East


Trying to predict the AL East for 2015 is not easy. There doesn't appear to be a great team and there definitely is not a bad team. You could make a case for each team winning the AL East and for each team coming in dead last. The experts have jumped on the Red Sox as the team to beat. They have had the sexiest off-season. The experts also seem to be abandoning the Tampa Bay Rays as contenders. The Blue Jays season may have just ended with the season ending injury to Marcus Stroman. While Cole Hamels could be the guy to take one of these teams over the top. I decided to look at talent to see where each team ranks in the AL East. I turned to Eric Karabell of ESPN and his Top 250 fantasy players for 2015. I realize that fantasy projections are much different than the pieces you need to make a championship team. However, I do think this can give you to some insight on overall talent on each team.

What We Already Knew:

The Boston Red Sox have the best lineup in the AL East. They have eight position players in the top 250, most of any team in the AL East. Hanley Ramirez leads the way at 24th overall. The question marks are Mookie Betts and Rusney Castillo. Betts continues to get praise. One scout says he could be an All Star this year. His 89th overall ranking might be low. Castillo is a big question mark. He is battling injuries right now and there is some concern over his plate discipline.

The other thing we already knew is that the Red Sox have pitching issue. Not one starting pitcher for the Red Sox made the top 250 players. Koji Uehara was the only pitcher for the Red Sox to make the list period. There is a chance the Sox go out and get Hamels or they may have an ace already in their system ready to step up. Keep an eye on Eduardo Rodriguez.

What We Didn't Know:

The Tampa Bay Rays are the most balanced team in the division and might just be the best. Their over/under win total in Las Vegas is sitting at 79. You might want to jump on that.

BostonRankTorontoRankNew YorkRankBaltimoreRankTampa BayRank
Mike Napoli145Russell Martin233Brian McCann188Matt Wieters190Asrubal Cabrera231
Dustin Pedroia75Edwin Encarnacion7Mark Teixeira235Chris Davis54Evan Longoria35
Pablo Sandoval103Jose Reyes44Chase Headley214Steve Pearce187Steven Souza100
Xander Bogaerts163Jose Bautista6Jacoby Ellsbury22Manny Machado110Alex Cobb69
Hanley Ramirez24Dalton Pompey247Brett Gardner81Adam Jones12Chris Archer160
Mookie Betts89Aaron Sanchez213Masahiro Tanaka91Steve Pearce187Drew Smyly167
Rusney Castillo90Dellin Betances105Kevin Gausman228Jake Odorizzi200
David Ortiz58Zach Britton154Jake McGee237
Koji Uehara118Brad Boxberger246
8 Postion Players935 Postion Players1075 Position Players1486 Position Players1233 Position Players122
0 Starting PitchersNA0 Starting PitchersNA1 Starting Pitcher911 Starting Pitcher2284 Starting Pitchers149
1 Relief Pitcher1181 Relief Pitcher2131 Relief Pitcher1051 Relief Pitcher1542 Relief Pitchers242
9 Players966 Players1257 Players1348 Players1409 Players161




BostonTorontoNew YorkBaltimoreTampa Bay
Position Players1st3rd4th2nd5th
Starting Pitchers5th5th2nd3rd1st
Relief Pitchers3rd5th2nd4th1st
913897

The balance of the Rays gives them first place predicted finish followed by the Yankees, Red Sox, Orioles and Blue Jays. Marcus Stroman was ranked #168 before he was injured. His presence would have given the Blue Jays the third best starting pitching but it still would have left them in last place in this prediction.

How accurate will this turn out to be? That remains to be seen, but what it does show is that these teams are all bunched up together and it will really come down to who can stay healthy and who makes the best trading deadline moves. Stay tuned.