The Jays are better than the Red Sox and will win more games in 2006.Yes, I'm keeping a list.
Update -- from today's ESPN's Page 2:
1. Baltimore's ownership and management is largely opposed to dealing Tejada within the AL East; 2. Ramirez and Clement are owed approximately $22 million more in guaranteed money than Tejada. (Ramirez is due $57 million over three seasons, Clement $19.25 million over two seasons, and Tejada $48 million over four seasons plus $6 million owed on a prorated signing bonus); 3. Ramirez, who can veto any deal, would have to approve a move to Baltimore.And Reason #4, courtesy of me, is: It's too much talent and a desperation deal for the Red Sox, who are not desperate.
You make your best judgment of a player's value to you, you set a price, and you don't allow anything -- sentiment, nostalgia, public pressure -- to cause you to stray from it. ...Edes also thinks that "sometime in the next month Epstein's 'adviser' role will be made official".
It was the same last winter with Pedro Martinez; the Sox determined they would not go beyond a certain price for Pedro and they didn't. Plenty of other teams would have caved before allowing Martinez to leave, but the Epstein Sox always have been about planning three or four years ahead, not just in the short term. ...
Epstein dropped plenty of hints during the summer when he said he wasn't married to the idea of making the Sox the best run-producing machine possible at the expense of pitching and defense. That was the best approach with what he had to work with, Epstein said, but under different circumstances, he might take a different tack. That may be what we're seeing at play now, the team switching to building a deep bullpen, investing heavily in starting pitching to complement the wave of young arms coming up through the system, and upgrading defensively even if it means sacrificing some offense.
Mark it down: It's going to be another Babe Ruth. They sent Johnny off just like they sent off Babe Ruth. It's going to be another big, big mistake. They made the biggest mistake of their lives.Wow. What do you say to such astounding ignorance? If you're me, you laugh until your sides ache.
The Yanks very well may become a 1,000-run team in 2006.The Yankees scored 886 runs in 2005. Their various center fielders scored 68 runs. 886 minus 68 = 818.
Johnny Damon is a frustrating, annoying hitter who runs up pitch counts. If he's not No. 1 in the league in most pitches per at-bat, he's very high in the pecking order.Since his column is so full of other stats, I'm surprised Ryan didn't take the thirty seconds necessary to verify this claim. Perhaps he did -- and went ahead with it anyway.
I Win!There is discussion pro and con about the signing. However, Earl puts the matter to rest:
Johnny Damon is a Yankee.
Well, you guys could argue about this forever, and there’s plenty I could add also, but it really comes down to one thing: the Steve-Phillips-O-Meter.Also, check out Andrew's five least-favourite Red Sox. I don't know where I'd rank him, but his #4 is probably on my list, too. ... I don't dislike Damon, but to be honest, I'll miss watching Bill Mueller more.
Steve Phillips thinks the Yanks made a great move.
Therefore, Andrew wins.
IP H BB K WHIP ERA ERA+ 2004 178.2 171 47 142 1.22 4.03 121 2005 205.1 213 50 100 1.30 4.51 98While Arroyo made more starts and pitched more innings in 2005, his H/9 rate has gone up, his K/9 has dropped (as has his K/BB ratio), and he's allowing more baseruners and runs. He is not improving.
My message to Red Sox fans is I tried. I tried everything in my power to try and come back, but unfortunately I know they're going to be upset, but I'm always going to have a strong feeling about them. I'm always going to remember the great times, the World Series, the three out of the four years we made the playoffs.Upset? Well, not really. In 2009, seeing Damon in the Yankee outfield and not Boston's will be a pleasant sight, not an infuriating one. (I only wish we still had Doug Mirabelli on the team, so we could cackle when he went from first to third on Damon's noodle.) And replacing his production will not be that hard.
Good leadoff men are tough to find and I think the Yankees found the best leadoff hitter in the game.As Art Martone points out, Mark Loretta has a higher career on-base percentage (.365) than Damon (.353).
There's no way I can go play for the Yankees, but I know they're going to come after me hard. It's definitely not the most important thing to go out there for the top dollar, which the Yankees are going to offer me. It's not what I need.
Damon, December 20, 2005:Boston: 4 years -- $40,000,000
New York: 4 years -- $52,000,000
Without a doubt [I'll cut my hair and shave my moustache]. Mr. Steinbrenner has a policy and I'm going to stick to it. Our policy with the Yankees is to go out there and win ...Bostonian of the Year: David Ortiz. ... The Red Sox inked 37-year-old Rudy Seanez to a one-year deal with a club option for 2007. ... Tony Graffanino accepted salary arbitration. ... After nearly three months of rest and the use of a protective shoe, Pedro Martinez's right toe still hurts. "This worries me a little because generally by this time of the year I'm already throwing."
No way around this one. Johnny Damon is a Yankee and it looks like the Red Sox don't know what they are doing. ... While New England slept last night, Damon got into bed with the enemy. Sox officials smugly believed there was no market for their marquee center fielder and the Yankees took advantage of Boston's big sleep. ...While a columnist has more leeway than a repoter, it's amazing how factually wrong so much of CHB's work is. They assumed there was no market for Damon? They have no 1B? What???
So now your Boston Red Sox have no center fielder, no shortstop, and no first baseman to go along with no Theo Epstein and no clue. It's fair to say this is becoming a winter of discontent in Red Sox Nation. ... The Josh Beckett trade bought some goodwill and glad tidings, but losing Damon to the Yankees is a devastating blow to the foundation of the Nation.
The Sox won't recover from this one easily. In an already dismal offseason, they've now lost their center fielder and their leadoff hitter. They've also lost a local icon, a rare favorite of teenage girls and fanboy bloggers. ... [Damon's] production in pinstripes will be a personal affront to Red Sox fans around the world. ...
Bottom line: The Yankees just got better and more interesting, and the Red Sox just got worse and more boring.
The story here, in bold type, is that despite all the talk about saving money and getting younger, it was business as usual last night for the Yankees ...Joel Sherman, New York Post:
I like Damon as a ballplayer, always have ... but over the second half of [last] season he faded the way the Red Sox faded and couldn't throw the ball to second base. There were, in fact, days when he made Bernie Williams' arm look like some kind of rocket launcher in comparison. ...
The idea that this is some part of prudent financial plan because they wouldn't go to seven years for Damon is pretty funny. ...
I have felt for years that the Yankees missed a great chance with Damon four years ago when he was leaving Oakland as a free agent. ... He was 28 and available and would have moved Derek Jeter to No. 2 in the order right there.
The Yankees passed. Damon went to Boston instead. And when it came down to Game 7 in the American League Championship Series, it was Damon who hit one of the most famous postseason home runs ever hit against the Yankees at Yankee Stadium, that grand slam off Javier Vazquez that really was the end of the biggest comeback in sports history. ...
In the winter when the Yankees overpaid for Hideki Matsui they now overpay for Johnny Damon. Only here is $52 million supposed to be viewed as some kind of bargain ...
The Yanks signed Damon for the same amount as Hideki Matsui. Which makes sense. ...George King, New York Post:
In the past 48 hours, the Yanks let Boras know that if Damon did not sign immediately, they were going to jump on a lower-level center fielder such as Corey Patterson or Luis Matos. It probably was a bluff, but not one Boras could risk. ... A key Idiot has jumped from the Red Sox to the Yankees, who suddenly look like winter winners. ...
For a few weeks, the Yanks have been calibrating how much greater their chances to win it all in 2006 and '07 are with Damon, and whether that was enough to motivate having Damon in 2008 and 2009, when he will be 34 and 35, and his already atrophying defense will have worsened further. ...
Damon instantly makes the Yanks the AL East favorites again, with all that the Blue Jays have done and all that the Red Sox might do.
Damon is leaving Fenway Park for Yankee Stadium to carry on the legacy of Joe DiMaggio, Mickey Mantle and Bernie Williams. ... Damon's decision caught the dysfunctional Red Sox brass by surprise. CEO Larry Lucchino said negotiations with Damon were ongoing almost an hour after the deal was sealed with the Yankees. ...Tyler Kepner, New York Times:
As for Yankee fans carrying a grudge against Damon for helping the Red Sox climb out of a 3-0 ditch in the 2004 ALCS against the Yankees, that will vanish shortly.
Why did Damon leave Boston for the blood rival Yankees? Damon was concerned about the upheaval in the Red Sox front office ... Also, Damon's wife has voiced a displeasure over the way she has been treated by the Boston media. ...
[T]he Red Sox have fallen squarely into turmoil. ... The Yankees, meanwhile, have no major holes. Their off-season work is all but complete, and they have done it at the expense of their rivals.The back pages of the rags are all pretty much the same:
defies credulity to believe [Epstein] will come back with any less authority than he had when he left Oct. 31. In some ways, Epstein never has left: Both Cherington and Hoyer freely admitted yesterday they have been in regular contact with Epstein, who hasn't been afraid to weigh in on the personnel moves the club has made. One team source said that Epstein had lobbied the previous Gang of Four to explore a trade with Seattle that would send Matt Clement to the Mariners for center fielder Jeremy Reed, a possible fallback plan in case Johnny Damon doesn't re-sign.More on a possible Seattle-Boston deal. (The Yankees are also looking at Reed.)
The ball bounces too much in the field of the shortstop, where I play. The field is not good like other stadiums. One day it's bad, the next day, it's worse ... I was uncomfortable the whole year. ... [But] the city fascinated me. I really liked it.The next day, Renteria said:
This was my first time. I didn't know how to handle it. Nobody likes to get booed. You see me play, I always start slow. Maybe the fans didn't know anything about me. ... It's a little tough there. ... I'm not making excuses. I always say I make errors. The field doesn't make errors.Boston has dropped its suit against Doug Mientkiewicz (who has signed with the Royals) and the World Series ball dispute will go to arbitration.
The source indicated the Orioles would need the Sox to throw in a starter or reliever before the deal could be considered more seriously. ...Chris Snow and Gordon Edes (Globe):
The source indicated the Orioles are attempting to determine just how unhappy Tejada is ... The Orioles were aware Tejada ended the season in a sour mood ... but they are also of the belief that had Renteria not been traded, Tejada wouldn't have spoken up.
As of late last night, the Orioles had been contacted about Tejada by five to eight teams, including Boston, but weren't ready to take the Sox' offer to owner Peter Angelos, according to an Orioles source. It's uncertain whether Angelos would want Ramirez.The Orioles need pitching, so doing a 1-for-1 deal probably makes little sense for Baltimore. And I feel great knowing the Boston front office is smart enough not to throw in Jon Lester just to get rid of Manny and make a splash at short.
Orioles' Tejada Seeks Trade, Wants 'Change of Scenery'Saturday:
Tejada Wants Out Of O's; Shortstop Weary Of Losing
A Tejada-for-Ramirez Trade Might Not Be Far-FetchedSenior Adviser Bill Lajoie estimated the Sox are "probably 2-3 weeks" away from finalizing its 2006 roster. The team has discussed bringing back Nomar Garciaparra, but not to play shortstop. Mike Lowell could play some first base and Andy Marte may be moved to first base or the outfield to get his bat into the lineup.
Tejada Trade A Possibility; Flanagan, Perlozzo Unable To Reach Star
Here's Hoping Tejada's Jolt Awakens Sleepwalking O's
The party line was that he had a bad back. The undercurrent was that he was uneasy under the bright lights of Boston. Unspoken was the worry was that his birth certificate was Renteria's 31st error of 2005, and that he was actually older than the 30 it claimed him to be. ... The Sox feared he was on the wrong side of the age mountain, a mountain on which you can only travel in one direction.New York Daily News columnist John Harper says his pick for the East (as of today) is Boston. ... Mike Myers signed a two-year, $2.4-million deal with the Yankees. ... Gordon Edes presents a good recap of the discussions last week.
Marte, a Dominican third baseman, led the Sally league in RBI [in 2002] and was second in home runs. If his age is to be believed, he did this at the age of 18, which would make him a tremendous prospect. We have no reason to be skeptical of Marte in particular. Just a reminder that the usual caveat to Dominican ages applies. If he unexpectedly stagnates, as many of the later-exposed birthday frauds have done, that's a tip-off.Baseball Prospectus 2004:
There's a school of thought that the science of prospecting isn't so much about identifying strengths as it is about recognizing limitations. Reggie Abercrombie, for all the five-tool talent he has, is never going to develop the batting eye to becomes a good major league player; Bobby Jenks may never have the brain for it.BP 2004's Top Prospects -- Marte #3:
With Marte, there is no much limitations, and that's why he's regarded as among the best prospects in baseball. Marte has a short swing that projects to generate a lot of power as he fills out, a precocious idea of the strike zone, and an organization that should mentor him well. Perhaps more importantly, he's able to make adjustments midstream. This season , Marte got off to a subpar start at the plate, flirting with the Mendoza line, before learning the adaptations necessary to allow him to master the level; he hit well above .300 from May 1 on. The Braves are high on him, and while an April 2005 timetable sounds aggressive, Marte has met every challenge thus far.
A player with Marte's diversity of skills, and at such a young age, has so many ways to develop into a true superstar player. As a bonus, he plays for an organization [Atlanta] whose can't-miss prospects almost never, in fact, miss. Marte is as safe a bet as a prospect can be without ever playing a game in the high minors.
The best prospect in baseball and a future superstar. As a 20-year-old toiling in the mostly hitter-unfriendly Southern League, Marte hit .269/.364/.525. In only 387 at-bats, he smacked 52 extra-base hits. He's got monstrous power and a broad base of hitting skills. In his prime, expect a few seasons of Adrian Beltre, circa 2004.BP 2005's Top Prospects -- Marte #1:
No doubt the general consensus within the scouting community is that Marte is an excellent prospect, but I suspect that our selection of Marte as the best prospect in baseball will raise more than a few eyebrows. ...
Marte's promise can't be summed up in a single number -- his potential stems from his across-the-board skills. Maybe he doesn't do anything exceptionally well, but he does just about everything well.
His .274 lifetime average isn't bad at all when you consider that he has spent almost his entire career in pitchers' parks, and his .479 slugging average is outstanding for a player who has always been among the youngest players in his league. More than any other skill, isolated power augurs very well for the player who displays it at a very young age. Marte shows unusual command of the strike zone for a young player, with 127 walks in fewer than 900 at-bats the last two seasons.
His OPS has increased every year since he turned pro, even as he has faced stiffer competition each year. He was rated the best defensive third baseman in the Southern League last year. ... It helps that the most comparable player to Marte in our database is Miguel Cabrera.
Maybe he doesn't have the highest upside of any player on this list, although an above-average defensive third baseman who hits .300 with 30 homers and 80 walks every year sounds like a superstar to me. But upside alone doesn't make a top prospect. There's also the little matter of how likely he is to reach his upside. ... Marte has that rare combination of high upside and low risk. No one else on this list has that. Which is why no one else is our #1 prospect.
SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic -- Baltimore Orioles shortstop Miguel Tejada said Thursday he's unhappy with the team's direction and wants to be traded.SoSHer jacklamabe65 posted this paragraph:
A source close to Tejada, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said Tejada would like to be traded to a team on the East Coast, and specifically mentioned the Boston Red Sox as his choice destination.which has been removed from the AP story here.
Edgar Renteria, Hanley Ramirez, Anibel Sanchez, Henri Garcia, Doug Mirabelli, Jesus Delgado, $ and a PTBNLWe get:
Josh Beckett, Andy Marte, Guillermo Mota, Mike Lowell, Mark Loretta, and Jermaine Van BurenDamn! The "$" is not insignificant; it's about $11 million, which is what Boston will be paying Atlanta on ER's contract. I'm surprised someone took Rent's contract. I won't be surprised if 2005 is his worst year during the term, but if the team had any doubts about it, it's better to deal him now than after the second year.
I have [thought about signing with the Yankees]. That's a lineup people dream about. It would be one of the best lineups we've seen in a long time. ... I would cut the hair and I would stay clean-shaven. George Steinbrenner has the policy for a reason, and you have to respect that. I've never been one to challenge authority.BDD reminds us that back in May, Damon said:
There's no way I can go play for the Yankees, but I know they are going to come after me hard. It's definitely not the most important thing to go out there for the top dollar, which the Yankees are going to offer me. It's not what I need.I can't imagine Boston raising its four-year offer.
What the heck is our team going to look like next year? ... Why are they dismantling the whole team? The whole starting infield is gone. Manny will be gone. If they don't sign Johnny, he'll be gone. If they trade Trot, holy cow, the only guys left will be Varitek and I and Ortiz.Check this out from the LA Times' Bill Plaschke:
In resurrecting Grady Little as the new Dodger manager, he hit a late-inning, backdoor slider out of the park.Ahhhhh, it was all thanks to Gump that we won in 2004. I see.
The baseball folks in Boston may be wincing, but baseball folks everywhere else are smiling, waxing in the rebirth of a good man wronged. ...
Little took a diverse group and turned them into winners who, months after he was fired, became nationally known as "the Idiots." Then, of course, they finally won the World Series.
First of all, you’re not going to get fair value in any way, shape or form. This is an A-1 player, and you’re not going to get an A-1 player in return. You’re not going to get one person to make up for the (production). You might not get three or four.Jed Hoyer, assistant to the team's non-existent GM, agrees:
We're not going to replace a 1.000 OPS middle-of-the-order hitter. ... Whether it's through a lot of young players or different pieces, we believe there's a chance we could put together a deal that could set the Red Sox up for the present and the future.But now -- although Larry Lucchino has said the team has not made no effort to convince Manny to stay in Boston -- it looks unlikely that Ramirez will be elsewhere next spring. The Mets have backed off and the Angels refuse to deal Ervin Santana. There was some talk of Arizona getting involved and Troy Glaus coming to Boston -- ugh. ... One sticking point is that Ramirez would demand that his option years for 2009 and 2010 be picked up as a condition for accepting a trade.
From our perspective, it is very important that an artifact with this much history -- it was 86 years in the making -- be part of the club archive and be available for fans to experience.Someone at SoSH claimed that the team wouldn't push this hard if it was someone like Varitek or Schilling who had gloved the ball. Perhaps. But my gut tells me either of those two guys would have given it back, if asked.