24 February 2008

Back to Basics

photo by AP/Steven Senne

Now that Red Sox Spring Training is just about in full swing (pun sort of intended), it's time to right the ship and focus again on our beloved Red Sox.

Just reading the headline today about Manny Ramirez (pictured above) hiring Scott Boras as his new agent gives me chills. Say it ain't so Manny. Scott is notoriously best known for guiding the careers of the likes of Alex Rodriguez of the New York Yankees, Barry Zito of the Oakland Athletics, Gary Sheffield, and Kenny Rogers; most of these have in recent years fired Boras. Boras currently represents 7 Red Sox players including Daisuke Matsuzaka, Jason Varitek and J.D. Drew.

It is no secret that Boras is well-known and criticized for his tough negotiating skills, and I suppose that it was this that attracted Manny to Boras, who may be coming into the twilight of his career at age 35. This combined with the fact that he is in a contract year would be very appealing on both sides of agent and player. As his contract is expiring this year, many options will open up to Manny provided that Boras represents him skillfully. Manny may play out the whole year or be extended on his current contract. As a Red Sox and a Manny fan, that is the most desirable outcome, no matter how much money they throw at him. But potentially there is the chance that another team may want to pick him up as a rental player sometime during the season and pick up his contract for just this short amount of time, and at the end of the season be a free agent.

The only thing that concerns me is that the hated New York Yankees would negotiate and pick Manny up. Manny's hometown is New York, however with the Steinbrenner's strict policies Manny would not be well suited for pinstripes. Coupled with the tendency that Manny has to take a month off to injury and age during the season, there are mixed emotions about this.

Roster Changes

As the final 25 man roster is polished down for the start of the new season, there have only been a few new arrivals and departures.
New to the team are:
  • Sean Casey, 1B
  • David Aardsma, RP

Gone from the team are:

  • Eric Gagné, RP
  • Eric Hinske, OF/1B

The only open positions to newbs would be in the pitching area, there may be a spot or two for a reliever, but other than that, the roster is very solid, as should be for our defending 2007 World Champions.

As reported in past weeks, Curt Schilling will start the year on the disabled list with a bad shoulder, possibly needing surgery. The picture is foggy for Curt's playing time this year. Personally, I think he's at his best during the post-season, so he can take as much time during the regular season to heal the shoulder, pitch a few games toward the end of the season, and bring the bloody-sock hero out for October.

I see the starting rotation like this:

Josh Beckett, RHP
Daisuke Matsuzaka, RHP
Jon Lester, LHP
Tim Wakefield, RHP
Clay Buchholz, LHP

Starting lineup is:

  1. Jacoby Ellsbury, CF
  2. Dustin Pedroia, 2B
  3. David Ortiz, DH
  4. Manny Ramirez, LF
  5. J.D. Drew, RF
  6. Mike Lowell, 3B
  7. Kevin Youkilis, 1B/3B
  8. Jason Varitek, C
  9. Julio Lugo, SS

That makes 14. The bench includes:

  • Sean Casey, 1B
  • Coco Crisp, OF
  • Alex Cora, 2B/SS
  • Doug Mirabelli, C

We're now up to 18. That leaves 7 in the bullpen:

  • Jonathan Papelbon, closer
  • Hideki Okajima, set-up man
  • Mike Timlin, set-up/middle relief
  • David Aardsma, middle/long relief
  • Julian Tavarez, middle/long relief
  • Manny DelCarmen, middle/long relief
  • Kyle Snyder, middle/long relief

That leaves no-one. No non-roster invitees or suprises, just a solid team up and down the lineup. Sure, they use the extras to fill the AAA and AA squads in the lower ranks, but that' s a good thing knowing that the farm system is well-equipped with excellent players top to bottom, waiting in the wings for the (god forbid it) occasional injury.

There you have it. Split squad games start on Thursday the 28th vs. Boston College 1 pm, Remy Standard Time. The first MLB matchup is Friday the 29th vs. Minnesota. Good times.


Ted D said...

Stephen, the only thing that puzzles me about Manny signing on with Boras is the Red Sox have club options for next season and 2010. Unless he's confident they won't pick them up, or like you said, try to negotiate a new deal during the season, it doesn't make a ton of sense to me.

As far as your lineups go, I can't disagree. Except I still think Crisp will get moved and Kielty will be the back up OF.

Redbeard76 said...

Funny, Yahoo doesn't have Kielty listed on the roster, but I know he's available. Unless Kielty sacks up and plays in Pawtucket, Coco might be moved in the next month.

I don't know if that's possible, meaning I'm not too keen on options and recalls when it comes to going between the majors and AAA, that stuff still confuses me. I bet Cyn knows all about that being the senior layperson in the RSN church.

Me? I'm just an amateur hack. I'm still shocked Red linked me on SG.

cake said...

I like me the Manny.

(I got nothing else...it's Monday and my clever comments have all stayed home in bed.)

Tex said...

kielty is signed on a minor league deal stephen..but he's on the invite list to ST. I hope he makes it...course only for my wanting to see him at games reason :)

~**Dawn**~ said...

1. Manny in pinstripes... could send me into therapy.

2. I really wish we could keep Coco *and* have room for Kielty. I am a big fan of both.

3. I am gonna miss Hinske's big psychotic grin. And the way he truly earned Dirt Dog honors when he took that face plant in RF last year.

Starting the pre-season 2-0! Who cares if it was against college kids. It was so good just to hear baseball again.

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