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Showing posts from February, 2015

Ted Williams: An Immortal Man

Ted Williams is the subject of the latest ESPN 30 for 30 Short. The title of the piece is called An Immortal Man and it focuses on what happened to the body of Ted Williams after he died. This is not the most fun topic as the details are pretty gruesome. You also get the feeling that this is not what Ted Williams would have wanted. That fact alone, makes the story pretty sad and disturbing. You can check it out here.

A little over three years ago I did an interview with Bruce Spitzer who wrote a book called Extra Innings. It was a fantasy novel about Ted Williams coming back to life and playing baseball in the future. It is a great book because not only does it deal with Ted Williams the baseball player but Ted Williams the person. As great as Teddy was on the field, he struggled off of it with relationships.

Here is the podcast I did with Bruce Spitzer. You can also buy the book at a discount price if you click on the link below:
Extra Innings: He was the greatest hitter of all …

Could Papelbon Return to the Red Sox?

Francisco Rodriguez signed with the Brewers today giving the Phillies one less trading partner for the services of Jonathan Papelbon. The Phillies have been trying to trade Papelbon for nearly two years and it looked like a deal with the Brewers was close to happening.

The Blue Jays now appear to be the leading candidate. What about the Red Sox? The deal would make no sense now for the Red Sox, but if the Phillies do hold on to him and Koji Uehara struggles, wouldn't Papelbon fit nicely?

There is a ton of angst about the Red Sox rotation but I am more worried about the bullpen uncertainty. As rumors swirl about the Sox trying to trade for Cole Hamels and Cliff Lee, their best option might be the familiar face of Jonathan Papelbon.

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Drew Smyly Not Happy with Yoan Moncada's Money

Drew Smyly of the Tampa Bay Rays was not happy about Yoan Moncada and the signing bonus he received from the Red Sox yesterday. Because Moncada is from Cuba, different rules apply to his draft status. If Moncada were an American, he would have to enter the draft and negotiate a capped bonus with the team that drafted him. . 
Moncada, instead, was a free agent amateur and signed yesterday with the highest bidder, the Red Sox, for just over $31 million dollars.
Smyly has a point, why should Moncada get to circumvent the system because he is not from the United States?
There has been a push for one worldwide draft which would solve this problem. Keith Law, for one, is not in favor of that. As Law explains on Twitter, he is opposed to anything that artificially caps signing bonuses and transfers wealth from players to owners.
What is the solution? Before there ever was a draft, all amateurs were free agents and could sign with any team they liked, usually the highest bidder. This is how…

The Yoan Moncada Signing and How it Affects the Red Sox Roster

The Red Sox appear to have won the bidding war on Yoan Moncada. Nine teams were after Moncada, including the Yankees. The Red Sox reportedly offered $31.5 million, the Yankees reportedly went as high as $25 million.

The tax on Moncada is at 100% so the official cost to the Red Sox will be around $63 million, if the reports are correct.

Moncada can play second base, shortstop and third base. He is just 19 years old and is thought to be two years away from being ready for MLB. He is highly regarded among scouts. If he were eligible to enter the draft this year, the general consensus is that he would be in the mix to be the #1 overall selection.

Where will he play? The Sox have Dustin Pedroia signed for seven more years, Xander Bogaerts is the supposed shortstop of the future and Pablo Sandoval was just signed for five years to play third base. 2017 appears to be the year that Moncada will be ready for a spot in the lineup. At that point, David Ortiz will likely be gone and Pablo …

Hanley Ramirez Flying Under the Radar

The Red Sox had a busy offseason but perhaps their biggest move has been talked about the least. Hanley Ramirez just entered his thirties and is a career .300 hitter who has played the majority of his career in pitcher friendly ballparks. He is a right handed hitter with power, coming to play ball in Fenway Park, yet nobody is talking about him. The focus instead has been on Pablo Sandoval, the blooming stardom of Mookie Betts, the new ace who is trying to prove he is an ace in Rick Porcello. What about Hanley?

While I worry about some free agents making the transition to Boston, I don't think Hanley will have these issues. If anything, I think he will thrive this year. True, he has to learn a new position and there are questions about staying healthy, but is it so unreasonable to think that the Red Sox may have acquired a guy with the ability to carry the offense? The great Peter Gammons tweeted out this interesting stat today:

Hanley Ramirez's career numbers are .300/.373…

Will Pablo Sandoval Be a Big Fat Flop in Boston?

Pablo Sandoval reported to camp yesterday looking a bit out of shape. Red Sox fans are officially in panic mode. Does his weight really matter? This is an issue the Giants have dealt with over the years and one Giant coach explained that Sandoval's weight will always be an issue. Is this why the Red Sox should be concerned?

I am more concerned with his bloated contract. Pablo Sandoval is a very good player getting paid a salary that a superstar gets. Sandoval is not a superstar. Pablo grew up in the Giants organization and for the first time in his career he is changing teams. Not only is he changing teams but he is doing so with a big salary. The natural tendency is to press and try to show your new team and fans that you are worth the money. The contract also has a way of making you try to be something you are not. Carl Crawford found that out the hard way. The big contract the Sox gave Carl made him think that he needed to hit home-runs and drive in runs. This isn't why …

The Fascination with Alex Rodriguez

Alex Rodriguez is in the news again and it is tough not to watch, read and listen to the stories about him. Say what you will about him, he is fascinating. A day after his handwritten apology, comes this very long feature piece on AROD, titled The Education of Alex Rodriguez. It is a great read, regardless of what you feel about him.

The article goes into his life during his year away from baseball. How sincere is it? Well, as we all know Alex has given up the right to get the benefit of the doubt treatment. However, it is very telling. Pete Rose has gone on record saying Alex is one of the most insecure athletes he has ever met. That comes across in the article. He is ashamed he never attended college, he is always trying to make himself smarter, trying to learn new things. He doesn't address the reasons for his PED use in the article but it isn't a huge leap to see how someone as insecure as Rodriguez would turn to PED use and not be able to give them up.

I want to like AR…

How Important are Those Recruiting Rankings?

Over the last nine years Clemson has out-recruited the Gamecocks in all but two years. I say out-recruited based on the class rankings that are churned out as the letters of intent come faxing in around the country. Do these rankings really translate to success on the field? Yes and no. The Gamecocks have beaten Clemson six times in the last nine years but as I mentioned have only had a higher ranked recruiting class twice. Is this because the Gamecocks have developed their players better or is this because the evaluators of these high school kids are not always right. I am sure it is a little bit of both. However, Clemson just landed the 4th best recruiting class in the country while the Gamecocks finished at 21. Clemson fans are excited. They should be. Gamecock fans are in panic mode. They shouldn't be. The data above should make that clear.

Clemson's best class was in 2008. However, the highly rated class didn't do it on the field. They compiled a 32-22 record over fo…

Legalizing Sports Gambling Shouldn't Help Pete Rose's Case

Each day I am more impressed with Rob Manfred. The latest is his willingness to join Adam Silver in support for legalizing sports gambling. This news has sparked fans to suggest that the ban on Pete Rose should now be lifted. Not so fast. Legalizing sports betting should only make the rules more strict when it comes to participants gambling on games,  Legalizing sports betting is to gain control of an underground activity and regulating it. What Pete Rose and Shoeless Joe Jackson did can destroy the integrity of the game. It is not a hypocrisy issue either. It is an integrity issue. MLB does not have a problem with gambling, they have a problem with the integrity of the game being compromised by a participant gambling on the outcome. If sports gambling is legalized, all professional leagues need to be strict and enforce that anyone caught gambling on their own games is banned for life. It is the only way it will work.

Manfred has acknowledged that Rose's attorney has contacte…

Blake Swihart Named Top Catching Prospect in Baseball

Keith Law released his top prospects by position and Blake Swihart was at the top of the list for catchers in all of professional baseball. Law has Swihart rated as the 10th best prospect overall.

Here is Law's breakdown of Swihart:

Why the Anthony Ranaudo Trade Makes Sense

The Red Sox traded away Anthony Ranaudo last week and it left me a bit puzzled. I thought Ranaudo had a chance to be a significant piece in the Red Sox rotation for years to come. I also knew he could end up being a nice trade piece this July to acquire an ace. Neither of those things will happen.

The Red Sox ended up trading him for a 25 year old spot starter/reliever by the name of Robbie Ross of the Texas Rangers. On the surface it felt like the Sox had been taken. While Ross's numbers were awful last year, his numbers when he was in the bullpen were very good. He is left handed and could be the Sox replacement for Andrew Miller.

Still, a potential quality arm in the rotation for a left handed middle reliever? Not good, but that depends on how you view Ranaudo. Keith Law is not necessarily sold on Ranaudo. Law was asked in his chat this week about Ranaudo's chances of sticking as a starter and he answered "little to no shot". If this is true, the Sox traded a …

Blake Swihart vs Christian Vazquez: What will the Red Sox Do?

Blake Swihart was named the top prospect in the Red Sox organization by Keith Law and the 10th overall in MLB. Christian Vazquez came up last year for the Red Sox and is slated to be the everyday catcher for the 2015 season. What will the Red Sox do?

Blake Swihart appears to be a September call up this season with next year being the target date for being an every day major league player, The question then is what to do with Christian Vazquez? Vazquez is the superior defensive catcher while Swihart is the superior offensive catcher. Swihart has made great gains in his defense though and the gap is no longer that wide. Offensively Swihart has the opportunity to be a superstar. Keith Law was asked on his weekly chat of Swihart might be moved to first base. Law feels that would be a mistake. He is too good of a defensive catcher and while he might not be quite as good as Vazquez the combination of offense and defense tilts toward Swihart. It will be interesting to see what the Sox do…