Monday, January 31, 2011

Still Decisions To Be Made About Bullpen

Despite everything the Red Sox have done this offseason, including stuff about the bullpen, they are still going to need to make some choices about the bullpen going into 2011. This year is probably the Red Sox' first open Spring Training battle in a while. While Hideki Okajima and Scott Atchison hold their spots of lefty reliever and 5th reliever, respectfully, there are other options. People like Rich Hill, Felix Doubront, and Andrew Miller (right) could battle for both spots, where people like Matt Albers, Lenny DiNardo, Randy Williams, and Michael Bowden, could make an unlikely contribution. These battles could be interesting, and some of the Red Sox' spring training games could be fun to watch.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

The News About No News

Yesterday, Red Sox GM Theo Epstein announced formally what any Red Sox fan already knew, that the Sox were done this offseason. After making such great acquisitions as Carl Crawford (near right) and Adrian Gonzalez (far right), along with Bobby Jenks, Dan Wheeler, and many other minor acquisitions. The Red Sox are trying hard to recover from the injuries that killed them last year, as Dustin Pedroia and Kevin Youkilis have announced that they are feeling much better. Terry Francona and Theo Epstein have said that the Red Sox are now looking full time towards Spring Training. It's just so excited, I can't believe it's only a few weeks until pitchers and catchers report!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Iglesias The Only Red Sox In Top 50 Prospects

Last night, the Top 50 Prospects in MLB were announced, and to my surprise, there was only one Red Sox player on the list. That player was shortstop Jose Iglesias, who despite an injury-riddled 2010, is definitely the shortstop of the future. Iglesias played the majority of his games at AA Portland last year, going .285/0/13 in 57 games, as the lack of power was striking. He prides himself as a great defensive shortstop which is definitely important as the Red Sox have a great hitting team. I expect Iglesias to get his major league debut under the belt in 2011, and probably be a starting shortstop by 2013.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Red Sox Interested In Joe Beimel

The Red Sox have, according to many sources, been reported to be looking at lefty reliever Joe Beimel. Beimel had a pretty good season in 2010 with the Colorado Rockies, going 1-2/3.40/21 in 71 games. Although Hideki Okajima would probably be the primary left-handed reliever for the Red Sox, Beimel could provide some depth and a good pitcher. He probably wouldn't help the Red Sox a whole lot, but he would definitely help, as you can never have too much pitching. I also like the look of his .221 average against left-handed batters. The move wouldn't really matter much for the Red Sox in all likelihood.

Jon Lester Already Talking World Series

Jon Lester recently has been talking about preparing extra hard for this year's World Series. Right now, three weeks before Spring Training... and why shouldn't he be? The Red Sox have made fantastic acquisitions along with the great old players they have. If the Sox make it to the World Series, Jon Lester will, without a doubt, be a big part of it, as he finished 6th in Cy Young Voting in 2010, with a 19-9/3.25/225. They also have Clay Buchholz, Josh Beckett, and John Lackey; plus they have new acquisitions Carl Crawford and Adrian Gonzalez, who players like Lester don't have to worry about anymore. I do hope Lester is right about the World Series!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Red Sox Stuffed With Minor League Catching

Despite many people worrying about Jarrod Saltalamacchia starting at catcher in 2011, there are better days to come. One of the most notable of these is Ryan Lavarnway, who went .288/22/102 in 126 games between A and AA. Luis Exposito (right) is another good one who is closer to the major leagues than Lavarnway, last year he went .260/11/94 largely in AA Portland. Those are the main ones, but there are also Tim Federowicz, who went .253/4/61, along with throwing out 33% of base-runners. There is also Mark Wagner, who was injured much of last season, but when he was there went .192/3/16 in 40 games between Rookie League, A, and AAA Pawtucket. Basically, the moral of this story is the Red Sox still have talent after the Adrian Gonzalez trade.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Scutaro Is Shortstop After All

After saying last week that he would give Jed Lowrie a chance at starting shortstop, Theo Epstein has confirmed that Marco Scutaro (right) will after all be the Opening Day shortstop. I enjoyed watching Scutaro play in 2010, and he was probably the most consistent player on the Sox going .275/11/56 in 150 games. Despite battling an injury for the second straight year, he was good enough with the Sox to be better than Derek Jeter in both batting average and home runs. Theo Epstein did not say that Jed Lowrie wouldn't take over the job after a little while. In fact, if Lowrie had played twice as many games in the same way he would have been better than Scutaro by a lot. I think Scutaro has earned the starting job, but Lowrie could win after a few months.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Red Sox Avoid Arbitration Once Again

Today the Red Sox found common ground on contracts for Jonathan Papelbon (right) and Jacoby Ellsbury. They will be paying Papelbon $12 million next year, which I think is overpaying him a lot after his unusual 5-7/3.90/76 2010 season. They are paying Ellsbury $2.4 million, which I think is about what he deserves after his injury-riddled 2010 season when he went .192/0/5 in just 18 games. I'm surprised they made these moves so fast, as today was just the deadline to exchange settlements, they had a good two weeks before arbitration. I'm glad these deals were made, and frankly, I think the Red Sox are done this offseason, so that makes a pretty boring next month.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Salty Working Hard To Fit In

Theo Epstein has said that catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia has been working very hard on his catching, especially. In a lineup that features Jacoby Ellsbury, Dustin Pedroia, Carl Crawford, Adrian Gonzalez, Kevin Youkilis, and J.D. Drew, the Sox aren't going to need much extra offense. Salty has been down in Florida working with Red Sox catching coach, Gary Tuck. In 10 games with the Red Sox last year he went .158/0/1, before he had to get surgery on his thumb. He has not been working on offense very much, but more on catching, as over the past few years catching has been a weak spot with Victor Martinez and Jason Varitek being able to throw out around 9% of baserunners last year. I hope Salty does a good job, because we aren't trading for a new catcher, if some of you are thinking that.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Lowrie To Give Scutaro Run For His Money?

Throughout this offseason, Theo Epstein and other Red Sox officials have said that Marco Scutaro will be the starting shortstop in 2011, opposed to all the fans saying it should be Jed Lowrie (right). However, last night, Theo Epstein said that the starting shortstop role depends on Jed Lowrie's Spring Training. Jed Lowrie had a monster 55 games last year, due to injuries, going .287/9/24, while Marco Scutaro went .275/11/56 in 150 games. If Lowrie had played half as many games as Scutaro, he would probably have a higher batting average and at least as many home runs. Don't get me wrong, I appreciate Scutaro as much as anyone, I think he performed admirably in 2010, but Lowrie did well too. I think Epstein is doing the right thing in at least giving Lowrie a shot, because he is a very good shortstop and he may just win.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Arroyo Loves That Dirty Water

Recently, Reds' starter, and former Red Sox pitcher Bronson Arroyo said that he would like to return to the Red Sox. Before the 2006 season, Theo Epstein traded him for Wily Mo Pena, thinking they had a surplus of pitching (2006 was the last year the Sox missed the playoffs). Arroyo recently signed a 3 year extension with the Reds, but after that is up, he said "Even if Boston was a farewell gig, and I had to pitch middle relief in the bullpen, I'd do it." Arroyo has been a good pitcher over the past few years, going 17-10/388/121 in 2010, as the clear ace of Cincinnati's young staff. In his last year with the Red Sox, in 2005, Arroyo went 14-10/4.51/100. I would love to se Arroyo back in a Red Sox uniform but it probably won't happen until 2014, when he will be 36.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Red Sox Finalize Deal With Oki

Today the Red Sox finalized a deal reported over a week ago with left-handed reliever Hideki Okajima. Okajima was due a raise from his $2.75 million in 2010, but after his worst season the Red Sox did not want to give him that, so the deal is worth $1.75 million. Okajima had a bad year in 2010, going 4-4/4.50/33, but this was his worst year by quite a bit so there's still hope. I think bringing in an experience lefty reliever, he will be 35 on Opening Day, will do wonders for the Red Sox bullpen, seeing as other than him it is all righties. I think this was a good move for the Red Sox and I'm glad they made the decision to bring Oki back.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Rays Reverting To Devil Rays? I Say Yes

Today, the Rays traded starting pitcher (and Red Sox killer) Matt Garza (right) to the Cubs for prospects. That completed a series of Rays-killing moves this offseason which included Carl Crawford signing with the Sox, Carlos Pena signing with the Cubs, Jason Bartlett being traded to the Padres, and the likely option of Rafael Soriano also leaving. This leaves the Rays with, really only one great player, that being Evan Longoria. Along with the Yankees losing Andy Pettitte and missing out on Cliff Lee, while only signing one player who will make a difference, in Russell Martin. This blends with the threat of age lurking across the diamond in Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez, Jorge Posada, and Mariano Rivera, plus the lack of a good starting pitcher behind C.C. Sabathia. My bold predictions, Red Sox (98-64), Yankees (90-72), and Rays (82-80), remember those predictions!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Red Sox Finally Get Their Man

Today, the Red Sox claimed catcher Max Ramirez off waivers, and this name should ring a bell. Last year, he was the Red Sox' centerpiece of the deal to send Mike Lowell to Texas in December. In 56 games with the Rangers AAA affiliate, Ramirez went .286/3/29 along with a .217/2/8 clip at the major league level in 2010. To make room for Ramirez, reliever Matt Fox was designated for assignment. The Red Sox also claimed reliever Tony Pena Jr. off waivers today, he is not quite as good as he has only pitched one major league game. Both of these players are expected to be invited to Spring Training, but won't make the club. I don't think these moves will effect the Sox much, but Ramirez is a good prospect who could fill in if Jason Varitek or Jarrod Saltalamacchia gets injured.

Beltre On Verge Of Signing With Rangers

Adrian Beltre and the Rangers seem to be very close to a 6 year contract worth $96 million. Beltre had a great season last year with the Red Sox, going .321/28/102 in 2010. Beltre was a key reason to the Red Sox not completely failing last year, as he did not get injured and produced way above expectations. However, this deal is extremely similar to the 5 year deal he signed on with the Mariners in 2005, he had a great year and then failed to live up to expectations. It is also very ironic that I am making this post, as exactly 1 year ago today, he signed with the Red Sox. The Red Sox also now get the Rangers' 1st round pick, so plus the one from Victor Martinez and minus Carl Crawford, they get 2 in the top 30. I tip my hat to Beltre and the Rangers for making a good deal, and we'll always remember his 2010 season.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Red Sox Offer Arbitration To Ellsbury, Papelbon

Today, the Red Sox offered arbitration to closer Jonathan Papelbon and outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury (right). This is Papelbon's last year of arbitration and will be looking for a raise of last year's $11 million. Last year was his worst season at 5-7/3.90/76, and since he will be probably looking for more money than he deserves, although he's a good player. Jacoby Ellsbury had his worst season in 2010 as well, he was injured much of the year, and went .192/0/5 in his 18 games. Ellsbury will probably be searching for $2 million, according to sources. The Red Sox will hopefully be able to keep Theo Epstein's arbitration-less streak in his career as GM. The Red Sox will be able to keep the streak going, presumably, since they always have in the past.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Red Sox Sign Journeyman Hector Luna

Today, the Red Sox signed journeyman infielder Hector Luna to a minor league deal. Luna had a good year in the minor leagues, batting .294, however, he was not quite as good in the majors, going .138/2/4 in 27 games with the Marlins. Luna had his best season in 2006, in a year split between the Cardinals and Indians, when he went .286/6/38, that shows that he has potential. Luna will probably spend much of 2011 in the minor leagues, but if Marco Scutaro or Jed Lowrie gets injured he may be brought up to fill in their role. I don't really think this move is going to effect the Sox very much, but if he does well off the bench he could help the team a lot.