Monday, December 22, 2014

Raving about Rusney Castillo and Applauding the Yankees

Better than Puig?

Alex Cora continues to rave about Rusney Castillo. Unlike his fellow countryman, Yasiel Puig, Castillo doesn't seem to have the attitude issues. He appears to be someone who is a hard worker to go along with his immense talent. Everyone is focusing on the additions of Hanley Ramirez and Pablo Sandoval, it could be Castillo who ends up being the huge impact player next season. You can read more about Castillo here. By the way, why isn't Alex Cora somewhere in the Red Sox organization?

Yankees Step Up

I don't often like to praise the Yankees, in fact I usually like to make fun of them and Derek Jeter. I am still looking forward to the look on the faces of Yankee fans as they actually get to see what a good defensive shortstop looks like this season. Didi Gregorius will make the last ten years of Jeter in the field look statuesque. Anyway, the Yankees did step up this week in light of the awful murders of two NYPD officers. One of the officers killed has two children, the Yankees will pay for their education going forward. Great job Yankees!!

Yell at me on twitter @thepeskypole6

Monday, December 15, 2014

Red Sox Lose Jon Lester

Losing Lester

The Red Sox screwed up. I was happy that the Red Sox did not win the bidding war with the Cubs when it came to Jon Lester. The contract just got way too crazy. I understand why the Cubs did it and I agree with the Sox for not matching their final offer. However, the Sox screwed this up last spring. Lester could have easily signed for about $110 million and that deal would have made perfect sense for the Sox. Instead they offered him $70 million. The Red Sox then made a $140 million offer this past week, which wasn't nearly as sweet as the Cubs deal. I don't blame Jon Lester at all. Good for him and good for Theo Epstein and the Cubs.

Ben Cherington and Larry Lucchino both basically admitted the Sox screwed this up. This is not surprising from Ben but for Larry I was shocked. This is the same guy who shot his mouth off last spring about how the Red Sox philosophy is basically better than the Yankees because they don't give out long term, lavish contracts. Larry needs to shut up. I hate the Yankees too, but his words come back to bite him way too often.

Replacing Lester

The Sox missed out on Jeff Samardzija because they were busy trying to sign Jon Lester who they didn't think was worth more than $70 million this past spring. Did I mention the Sox screwed up? Anyway, the Sox did get a three headed monster in the form of Wade Miley, Rick Porcello and Justin Masterson. Together, the three will make in salary what Jon Lester will make in a year. That is great value.

These guys are all inning eating starting pitchers who get ground balls. The Sox desperately need this considering all they did have for the rotation was Clay Buchholz and Joe Kelley, both of whom are not what you would call inning eaters.

Justin Masterson was hurt most of last season but his four previous seasons he averaged just under 199 innings pitched a season.

Rick Porcello has been in the majors for six years and has averaged just under 179 innings pitched each season. He was 25 years old last season and threw 204 innings.

Wade Miley has pitched three full big league seasons and is averaging just a tick under 200 innings pitched a season.

Where is the Ace?

Justin Masterson and Wade Miley both started on Opening Day for their respective teams last season. Are they really aces though and does it really matter? Ben Cherington was quoted as saying "Once Opening Day is gone the whole No. 1 starter thing is kind of overrated" He is right to a certain degree. Those of us who remember the Pedro Martinez led pitching staffs can remember how awful things were those other four days. A rotation without a true ace can get you into the postseason. It is all about depth and having lots of quality arms. However, who is going to be the guy who leads you to a World Championship once you get there? A dominant ace is really needed when you get to October.

What are the Sox options? There is James Shields, even though he struggled this past October, he does have the #1 type of makeup in him. There is also Cole Hamels. Here is my issues with Hamels, in order to get him the Sox are going to have to give up at least two really good prospects and then the Sox will owe him around $110 million. That is the same price we could have had Lester back in the spring and would not need to give up prospects. Have I mentioned that the Sox screwed this up?


Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Box Score Stories: The Clemens and Canseco Effect

20 years ago today the Boston Red Sox acquired Jose Canseco from the Texas Rangers for Otis Nixon and Luis Ortiz. The Red Sox would go on to win the AL East the following season. 1995, was also the last time I would go to Fenway Park with my father.

My father took me to Fenway Park for the first time in 1988, ironically to see the Red Sox take on Jose Canseco and the Oakland A's. We would head to Fenway in 1995 while I was home from college.

We would take in a four game weekend series against the Baltimore Orioles in mid August. The Red Sox were riding a seven game win streak and had a 6.5 game lead in the AL East when we arrived. I was excited that I would get to see Roger Clemens pitch on Saturday but I was not real excited to see Jose Canseco.

Roger Clemens was my boyhood hero. He could do no wrong in my eyes. Jose Canseco was the guy I saw in Fenway in 1988, the guy I helped heckle with the steroid chant along with thousands of other fans in Fenway. He was the opposite of Clemens in my mind. He was a jerk while Clemens was the bright light of baseball. Ironically, they seem like the same guy now. Sadly, they were the same guy back then.

The Red Sox would win on Thursday 11-1 as Canseco would go 3-3 with a homerun.(BoxScore) Hmmm, this Canseco guy was growing on me. He sure did bring excitement when he walked up to the plate.

The Red Sox would win the next night 5-4 in 12 innings on a walk off double by Lee Tinsley. My father and I instantly started calling him "Lee Buck", an ode to Lee Trevino. Canseco would go 3-5.(Box Score) The big lug was starting to grow on me.

The next night was the main event, Roger Clemens vs Mike Mussina. Hall of Famer vs Hall of Famer, only Clemens will probably never make it in and Mussina, who deserves to be in, is not getting the votes and it doesn't look real good for him in the near future.

I have seen Clemens pitch on every one of our trips to Fenway, that takes some luck. This would be the last time I would ever see Clemens pitch in person. He didn't disappoint. The Red Sox would win 7-0. Clemens would pitch seven shutout innings and strike out nine. Canseco? He would go 2-5. (Box Score)

Canseco was now 8-13 in the series. I was officially a Jose Canseco fan. Morals be damned! He suddenly seemed like a good guy now. Weird how that happens.

My father woke up early Sunday morning to get a newspaper and coffee and while he was out he saw a street vendor selling Jose Canseco shirts. He picked one up for me. When he returned to the hotel with it, I was excited. I was definitely going to be wearing it to the series finale.It makes me puke to think about it now,

The series finale took a back seat to news that Mickey Mantle had passed away that morning. The flag in Fenway Park was lowered and there was a moment of silence. It was pretty cool to be in Fenway Park that day. The Red Sox were honoring a rival from the past, an icon. I might have made the comment, "they better do the same damn thing in Yankee Stadium when Ted Williams dies", which of course the Yankees did.

The game? Well, the Red Sox would win 3-2. (Box Score) They would sweep the four game series, extend their winning streak to 11 games and their lead in the AL East was now 9 games. It was the final nail in the Yankees coffin. Rumor is that I may have even said "Mickey is dead and so are the Yanks", I can't confirm nor deny this. Canseco? Oh yeah, he hit a three run homer in the first inning to account for all the Red Sox runs. What a guy! Whatever happened to him?

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Red Sox Sign Hanley Ramirez and Pablo Sandoval

Pablo and Hanley

The Red Sox signed BOTH Pablo Sandoval and Hanley Ramirez. I thought it was going to be an either/or deal and I was campaigning for Hanley over Pablo. Both have their question marks but Hanley is the better player and I think Ramirez will thrive in Boston. Pablo, not so sure.

Don't Call Him Billy Boy

The Oakland A's traded Josh Donaldson to the Toronto Blue Jays this week and it later came out that Donaldson and Billy Beane got into a heated argument this past season over a day off. During the argument, Donaldson reportedly called Beane "Billy Boy". You can read the whole story here.  Makes me think of this scene in Moneyball.

Blame the Turf

Brett Lawrie was one of the players involved in the Josh Donaldson trade and he seems eager to get to Oakland and play on the grass. In this article, he blamed his injuries on the artificial turf in Toronto. In the comment section of the article, a fan named Brendan Holness of Toronto, Ontario had this to say:

Brilliant! Let's hope Lawrie can avoid the dead rats in the Coliseum.

Yell at me on twitter @thepeskypole6