Friday, December 27, 2013

Different Jersey Number for Xander Bogaerts

The season of Bogaerts is almost upon us and instead of wearing #72, Xander Bogaerts will now be wearing #2. The number is available now that Jacoby Ellsbury has moved on.

#2 is a classic number and you can already start to picture it displayed proudly in right field alongside #1, #4, #6, #8, #9, #14 and #42. Am I getting ahead of myself? Of course I am but Xander sure looks to be special.

All that needs to be done now is to sign Stephen Drew and move Xander over to third base. As I have mentioned before, the best Red Sox team is one in which Drew is at SS and Xander is at third base.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Do These Sox Fit A.J. Pierzynski?

A.J. Pierzysnki wasn't the best decision by the Red Sox but it was much better than signing Jarrod Saltalamacchia to a multi year deal.

The best option would have been to sign Brian McCann. It was the one move the Yankees got right this offseason.

Living in Braves country I get to see a lot of McCann and he would have been perfect for the Red Sox. He can hit and I believe he will be able to hit through the life of this new contract. When all is said and done, he will be worth the money and then some for the Yankees.

The Red Sox have some young catchers in the system. Christian Martinez and Blake Swihart look to be the future. McCann could have been the perfect bridge. He could have caught for this year and next and then move into the DH role for David Ortiz (assuming Big Papi signs another one year extension and retires). Nobody can replace the impact of Big Papi in the lineup but McCann would be formidable in that role. If I were the GM, I would have went hard after McCann just like I did here in my addicting text sim baseball game.

McCann and the Yankees made a great decision though, Yankee Stadium is made for McCann.

Pierzyski's appeal is he just signed a one year deal. He comes with the baggage of being disliked by teammates though. However, he reportedly turned down two year deals to come to Boston on a one year deal. You like it when guys are eager to play for your organization.

David Ortiz has known AJ since they were teenagers and he has nothing but nice things to say about him. AJ's best friend is Johnny Damon who has gone on record saying he is a great teammate.

Then there is the matter about his actual production and place on the team. He has hist .321 for his career at Fenway Park but has yet to hit a homer. It is the only AL park in which he has not homered. His OBP is particularly impressive and Fenway isn't really suited for his offensive game. Defensively he is aging and average.

Pierzynski is on board with his role of sharing time with David Ross. He feels that cutting back on his games may help his production.

AJ is used to wearing #12 and that is his preferred choice. However, now that Mike Napoli has signed that number is no longer available. Pierzynski instead will wear #40 in honor Ken Harrelson who wore that number when he came to the Red Sox in 1967. Obviously, AJ and Hawk formed a pretty good friendship while AJ was with the White Sox.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Boston Red Sox Need Stephen Drew

All signs point to Stephen Drew returning to the Red Sox. This is great news! It is great news because Stephen Drew at shortstop for the Red Sox makes them a better team in 2014.

It is also great news because I get to fight on twitter with Red Sox fans who think Drew is awful, overpaid and a pussy.

The Drew bashers are a special breed. They are vehement with their hatred of Drew but never seem to have the facts to back up their hatred.

The combination of Drew and Xander Bogaerts on the left side of the infield is much better than the combo of Bogaerts and Will Middlebrooks. If you disagree, then you just weren't watching the playoffs last season.

I know Drew slumped in the playoffs with the bat, but he was perfect with the glove and defense is just as important if not more important in the playoffs than the bat. The ALCS should have taught you that as the Tigers lack of defense helped the Red Sox get to the World Series.

The defensive aspect is lost on so many. If you save two runs with your glove, it means the same as hitting a two run double. Are we clear on this?

Then there is Game 3 of the World Series. Middlebrooks entered the game and the crazy inning begins on an infield single that Bogaerts, now at SS, struggled to get to. I love Xander but he is a pretty average defensive SS. Drew makes that play easily. If you disagree, you were not watching the rest of the postseason.

The controversial play to end Game 3 starts of course with the great play by Dustin Pedroia and ends when Middlebrooks is unable to catch the throw from Jarrod Saltalamacchia. Middlebrooks flat out whiffed. Middlebrooks is a very average defensive third baseman. Bogaerts probably makes that play. He appears to have much softer hands and better reaction time on the hot corner than Will.

Let's talk offense, I keep hearing how Drew can't hit. Well, if the Sox sign Drew he will be replacing Middlebrooks in the lineup. So it comes down to who would you rather have, Middlebrooks at third base or Drew at shortstop? Well, if you go by OPS, the nod goes to Drew .777 to .696. So Drew is better offensively and defensively than Middlebrooks.

With Drew in the lineup you get to put Bogaerts at third where he is better defensively than he is at SS. What I am trying to say is that with Drew, the left side of the Red Sox infield becomes better defensively AND offensively. Imagine that!

Let's now talk about the notion that Drew is always hurt. I am sure you have heard this. This is the same thing that followed his brother J.D. Drew, who I also like to defend.

Below is a picture and here is an article from a site that likes to bash Drew.

Let's break this down. His first full season in the majors was 2007 and he appeared in 150 games that year. He followed that up with seasons of 152, 135 and 151 games played. Then in July of 2011, in his 86th game (that's a lot at that point in the season) he broke his ankle. He was out for the rest of that season and missed a lot of time the following season appearing in just 79 games. Then he came to the Red Sox last year and played in 124 games. What a wicked big pussy huh?

Remember J.D. Drew? He was considered a big pussy too and Red Sox fans would long for Trot Nixon. Nixon was tougher after all. He was a dirt dog and just played harder. I love Trot Nixon but he was not as good as Drew. They had similar offensive numbers but even there Drew edges out Trot in OPS .873 to .828. Defensively it is not close. Drew rivals Dwight Evans as the greatest defensive right fielder in Red Sox history. 

As for Trot being tougher and Drew being a pussy? In Drew's five years in Boston he averaged 121 games played. In Trot's last five years in Boston he averaged 114 games played. 

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Jacoby Ellsbury Leaves the Red Sox for the New York Yankees

Many Red Sox fans are angry that Jacoby Ellsbury is now a Yankee. Some of the tweets have been pretty embarrassing. They were so embarrassing that Deadspin highlighted the stupidity of some Red Sox fans. 

 Ellsbury is not a traitor or even a "trader". The Yankees are a great fit for him. The Yankees had the money, the years and play in a ballpark that fits his swing.

We won't know exactly what the Red Sox were offering but I am guessing it wasn't close to the Yankees offer. It wouldn't make sense for the Sox to sign Ellsbury to this deal. The goal of a well run organization is to build a team from the farm system up. This is not always possible of course but in this situation it was for the Red Sox.

Jackie Bradley is the future for the Red Sox just like Evan Gattis is for the Braves. When you have the young replacement in place, and under team control for the league minimum salary, you don't re-sign the 30 year old veteran that is blocking him to a 7 year deal for over $150 million. You save that money to re-sign players and sign players in areas where your farm system is not producing. The Red Sox were smart to let Ellsbury walk just like the Braves were smart to let Brian McCann walk.

Xander Bogaerts and Jackie Bradley are important because they can be impact players at a very low salary. This enables the Sox to use their resources to improve the team in other areas. You don't spend money on getting a third car when you need to fix the roof on your house. It was a no-brainer for the Red Sox and Ellsbury. Nobody needs to be mad at either of them.

Ellsbury is a very good player but he is not a superstar. The problem is he is being paid superstar money. This could cause an issue with what Yankee fans expect of him. Could he become the 2011 Ellsbury again? Maybe, but not likely. Ellsbury and the Red Sox are the winners in this deal.

Monday, November 11, 2013

2013 Boston Red Sox Prediction

The Red Sox are the World Champions and it is time for me to gloat. I am not gloating to the Yankee fans, already have done that. It is now time to gloat to Red Sox fans, you know the Red Sox fans who were predicting doom and gloom before the season began. They were all over the place. They were on twitter, message boards, on the comment section after every Red Sox article. I made the mistake of trying to persuade them otherwise but I was called a "Pink Hat", a "fan boy". I did not predict the Red Sox would win it all but I did predict they would make the playoffs and be in contention for the division going into the final week of the season. Don't believe me? Well, here is the post from April 1st.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

The 2004 Boston Red Sox Still Bother the New York Yankees

It has been 8 years and 11 months to the day since Mariano Rivera blew a save in Game 4 of the ALCS. It still makes me smile and it apparently still bothers Yankee fans. Case in point, Keith Olbermann. You can just feel the pain oozing out of him. It is beautiful. I don't want to pick on Keith. His politics differ greatly from mine and he is a Yankee fan. However, he is very good at what he does. His return to ESPN and his new show is the best thing on TV right now. Every night he is phenomenal. His monologues are so well written and delivered perfectly. He may be a bit crazy, most geniuses are. At his core he is a baseball nerd, just like I am. Politics and the Yankees aside, I agree with him on just about everything else. Here is the clip. Enjoy

Friday, August 23, 2013

Soul of The Game: Jackie Robinson Movie

Baseball has a lot of issues and the black eyes on the game are visible. However, baseball is not only great but it will always be important. 50 years ago this week Martin Luther King gave his famous "I Have a Dream Speech" during the historic march on Washington. Keep in mind that it was baseball that got the ball rolling in this country when it came to desegregation and equal rights to blacks.

16 years before MLK inspired so many with his speech, it was Jackie Robinson and Larry Doby entering a brave new world for race relations. Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat on a bus eight years after Jackie and Larry. Baseball does a lot of things wrong but this is one thing they got right and not only did they get it right, they were first.

Is there a march on Washington without Jackie and Larry? Is there a Rosa Parks? We will never know but it is easy to see that MLB shattering the color barrier made it a lot easier for there to be a Dr. King and a Rosa Parks. So while you celebrate the 50 year anniversary, don't forget about baseball and the role it played.

While we are on the topic, let's talk about movies. I have yet to see 42 as of yet. I am sure I will eventually see it but the reviews have me a little hesitant to see it. It sounds like a great movie to show youngsters who don't know the story but for baseball nerds like me it sounds like a very superficial Hollywood production. Once again, I have not seen it so I don't want to kill the movie. I just wish Spike Lee had the opportunity to make the movie. I want a movie that has more depth to it and really gets into the mind of Jackie. I don't think 42 does that.

My favorite movie on this subject still is Soul of the Game. If you have not seen it, you need to. The only bad thing about the movie is no mention of Larry Doby. I have a soft spot for Larry. He was born and raised here in South Carolina, was a great ballplayer and made his debut just a few months after Jackie. We seem to only celebrate the first. Larry gets short changed. He went through all the crap that Jackie had to endure but without all the adulation that would eventually come to Jackie. It is sad when you think about it. I always make it a point to let kids here in South Carolina know all about Larry Doby. If you bring up Jackie, you need to bring up Larry as well. He deserves it.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Baseball, Betting and Baseball Betting Dorks

I love baseball, I love podcasts and I love gambling. It is no surprise then that one of my favorite podcast episodes of the year belongs to Chad Millman and Gill Alexander. Gill lives in California and during the week he goes to Vegas, bets baseball and stays in the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino. He was guest on the Beyond the Bets Podcast with Chad talking about this lifestyle. Many other professional gamblers come on the podcast with Chad and talk about how their life is not as glamorous as people think and how it really is a grind. I am sure all of that is true but Gill seemed to love his life. I tweeted to Gill that in my next life I want to come back as him.

Here is the podcast episode. It is a must listen. It is back from June. Needless to say I got behind in my podcasts.

Gill also does his own podcast called Betting Dork. Tons of great podcast dealing with MLB betting. Check it out.

Speaking of baseball betting, here is the latest from the Basement Bookie on how he bets baseball and also releases his baseball picks for tonight.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Will Middlebrooks is Angry

I didn't get much reaction when I first posted about Will Middlebrooks playing with two broken ribs. However, that all changed when I revealed that Middlebrooks was my source and I went ahead and posted the direct message twitter conversation as the proof.

Peter Abraham quickly followed me on twitter to scold me over direct message saying that it was awful of me to try and hurt Middlebrooks like that.

The truth is I posted the Middlebrooks conversation in an effort to defend him from his growing critics. When Middlebrooks first told me that he was going to play through the injury and keep it quiet I had a bad feeling that it would not end well.

Middlebrooks followed me again on twitter briefly to contact me via direct message once I posted the story. He was not happy. He accused me of trying to stir things up and mess with his career. We went back and forth for a while and I tried to explain to him the exact opposite.

Middlebrooks is listed as going on the DL with back spasms. Very few people go on the DL with back spasms and since he does have two broken ribs this stint on the DL will probably last a bit longer than most fans realize. Middlebrooks is setting himself up to be labeled soft when the truth is he is anything but soft. Jacoby Ellsbury knows all about trying to deal with that unfair label. Middlebrooks insisted he did not need my help and wanted to do things his way. He calmed down a bit at the end and insisted he was not worried about the fans perception of him. It was clear that he did not want to deal with the issue with the media though.

Middlebrooks has every right to be upset. I did promise I would not post the information. However, our original conversation puts Will in the best light. He comes off as a team first guy who doesn't care about individual numbers but only wins. He also comes off as one tough as hell ballplayer. A far cry from the growing perception that he is a flash in the pan who has regressed defensively and now has to go on the DL because he can't handle "back spasms". My intent was to do Middlebrooks a favor.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Will Middlebrooks Admits to Two Broken and Separated Ribs

Will Middlebrooks was placed on the disabled list with back issues but as was reported on this blog weeks ago he has been playing with two broken and separated ribs stemming from the collision with David Ross.

My source was Middlebrooks himself who told me about the injury the day after it all happened through twitter direct messages.

It all started when one of those basic idiots on twitter was tweeting Middlebrooks about how awful he was playing This happens a lot on twitter. It usually comes from the guy living in mom's basement in hopes that they can get a rise out of the player. A buffet loving Mets fan tried this with Chipper Jones on twitter a few months back and Chipper fired back along with all his fans. Shockingly, the Mets fan who dished it out could not take it and went to the media to call Chipper a bully. I blogged about that here.

Middlebrooks kept his cool with this guy but I tweeted at him instead. Next thing I know Middlebrooks began following me on twitter and sending me direct messages. The next game was when Middlebrooks would collide with David Ross. I tweeted Middlebrooks the next morning about his great defensive play and how I hoped he wasn't in too much pain. Will responded via direct twitter message that he had in fact broken and separated two ribs.

Below is the pictures of our conversations and as you can see the last message I sent did not go through as Middlebrooks had stopped following me by then making it impossible to send him a direct message.

Will has been taking criticism about his play which is Will's fault for not coming out and being honest that he was trying to play through this painful injury. It is clear the pain was affecting his play, especially in the field. The DL stint is exactly what he needs.

Click on pictures to enlarge.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Will Middlebrooks Playing with Two Broken Ribs

The Red Sox have dropped six of their last seven and the bandwagon is quickly emptying out. Bad luck, sloppy play, poor pitching and injuries have been the main issues. One of those injured is Will Middlebrooks. He is hurt much more than he or the Red Sox have led you to believe. An inside source has told me that Middlebrooks has two broken and separated ribs. The third baseman was and is hell bent on playing through it. Apparently he was able to convince the Red Sox to let him play but also to keep the details of his injury quiet.

Middlebrooks is the ultimate gamer and feels the team needs him out there. The Red Sox do not have many options to replace him at this point. Middlebrooks wanted to keep it quiet because he did not want to be questioned on a nightly basis about playing with two broken ribs.

I applaud Middlebrooks for his toughness and his desire to not let the team down. This could very easily backfire in a number of ways. It sets Will up to really be crucified by the media and fans. He already was struggling but a healthy Middlebrooks could easily turn it around, an injured one may not. He could then be easily labeled a flash in the pan when the truth is that he wasn't healthy.

 The other scenario is the pain becomes too great, does further damage to his ribs and has to miss significant time. He will then be labeled soft or the new J.D Drew. I can already see the message board goons calling him Wilma Middlebrooks. After all, the ill informed will rationalize that all he had was bruised ribs. Ask Jacoby Ellsbury about perception and reality.

 Coming out and being honest about it would be best for all parties involved. A short trip to the DL so his broken ribs could heal could be exactly what he needs physically and mentally.

 To his credit, Middlebrooks seems to understand how this can backfire but it does not seem to bother him. He joked about how he was already struggling and hearing it from the fans. He believes in himself though and is only worried about the team. He truly believes that him being out there playing through it gives the Sox the best chance to win.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Chipper Jones Gets Even with Mets Fan on Twitter

I blogged the other day about Chipper Jones and how it would be very strange without him playing this season. I am back on the Chipper Jones topic again today but this time for a different reason and it involves the pathetic Mets and their equally pathetic fans.

As you may already know Chipper kind of owned the Mets during his career. A career .949 OPS with 49 homers and 159 RBI can make a pathetic Mets fan act even more pathetic. That was on display this past Friday as Chipper was tweeting while watching college basketball

Oh is that how they play basketball at Kansas?? Cheap shot bruh! Don't mess with another man's nuggets!

This got an innocent tweet from a Phillies fan in response

Which then led to this response from Roth

Isn't that special? Young David is proud of himself. He helped make Chipper mad. All those years of yelling "Larry" never could do it but now he got his revenge. As I said, it is not only the Mets franchise that is pathetic but also their fans. Be proud Mets fans

Monday, April 1, 2013

New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox Will Make the Playoffs

Call me crazy but I disagree with just about everyone. The experts all seem to think that both the Red Sox and Yankees will miss the playoffs and many of them have them finishing neck and neck for last place in the division. Not me.

I actually like this Red Sox roster. I like it a lot and I think they are much better than people give them credit for. I love this by the way. It is much better than having everyone picking you to win it all.

The Tampa Bay Rays are for real and I think they will more than likely win the division. However, I think the Red Sox will be in contention to win the division during the final week of the season. I see the Yankees in a battle for the second wild card spot.

The Blue Jays are the new "it" team. I am not buying it. They have a suspect rotation and an awful bullpen. An awful bullpen can demoralize a team. The pressure will also be on the Blue Jays. I see the Jays getting off to a tough start and caving.

The Orioles are good but not as good as they were last year. The breaks will not fall their way this year. They won't be awful but they won't be in the playoffs either.

How would you guys like a Red Sox vs Yankees one game wild card playoff game? Sounds good to me

Friday, March 29, 2013

Life Without Chipper Jones

Chipper Jones will be throwing out the first pitch on Opening Day. That is great news and it is awful news. It makes me feel old. I grew up in Upstate, NY as a die hard Red Sox fan. I came south for college in 1993. A very young Chipper Jones made his debut on September 11th of that year. I was living and going to school in Columbia, SC and I was officially in Braves Country. I loved it!

My allegiance to the Red Sox never waned but I quickly became attached to the Braves and it mainly had to do with Chipper. He was a big time prospect and someone you could latch onto as the face of a franchise.

Chipper sat out the 1994 season because of injury but came back to help lead the Braves to the World Championship in his rookie year. Not a bad way to start a career.

Chipper was the first baseball player I really liked that was around the same age as myself. My other favorite players were always grown men when I was just a boy. It wasn't a big deal at the time but the last few years it has been strange. Chipper started to age the last few years. More injuries, more games missed and I started to feel old with him. I seemed to become an even bigger fan of his the last few years.

We both were dealing with age and you knew his career was coming to an end. He made it official before last season and a year ago I could not wait to enjoy him for one more season. It was an incredible season. Chipper had aged but he could still play and he could definitely still hit. It was incredible to watch him last season but bittersweet. He was facing his baseball mortality and it felt like I was facing mine. When I watch baseball I still feel like a kid. I love that about the game but watching Chipper age and retire would remind me that I am not a kid.

Opening Day is a few days away and there will be no more Chipper Jones. I am still excited for the season like I always am but that realization is like a kick in the gut. Chipper will throw out the first pitch on Monday and I will try my best to still feel like a kid.

Follow me on twitter @thepeskypole6