September 2, 2006

Varitek, Nixon, Gonzalez Will Rejoin Sox On Sunday; MRI For Papelbon

Terry Francona said that Gonzalez will likely play shortstop, while Nixon and Varitek would be available off the bench.

Jonathan Papelbon will undergo an MRI on Monday.


Jack Marshall said...

Anyone kind enough to read my bloviating here knows that I hold the Sox brass, epecially Theo Epstein, to account for not finding sufficient starting pitching to plug the gaps in the staff caused by the early injuries to Clement and Wells in the rotation and the various problems of Foulke, Taveras and Seanez in the pen. I still feel that way, but a nasty note in the Washington Post today about the Sox's current problems being more the result of "ineptitude" than injuries has me questioning my earlier argument along the same lines. (Why is it that my own arguments sound so much worse when articulated by others? Hmmmm...)
Anyway, upon reflection it seems clear to me that, though timid and, in my view, the wrong strategy, Theo's non-move gamble at the trade deadline might well have worked, absent this injury epidemic. He planned on staying close long enough for Wake and the rest to return, reasoning that with Wake, Wells, a healthy Lester, Schilling and Beckett, a deep pen thanks to call-ups and the restored offense, the team could sprint. If the Sox had played just .500 on the Coast and even won just one of the Yankee games (#4 definitely should have been won), the team would have been poised for its run and the young pitching would have been preserved. Look at the standings. Without all the plagues of Egypt hitting the team, this would look like a good gamble today.

And I think Theo is a little shell-shocked. The media and the blogs and the fans stampeded him into making a bad trade to get back Mirabelli (Wakefield had lost some tough games because of lousy offensive support, and everyone was blaming Josh Bard), and he gave up a good young catcher that he obviously liked and a promising young reliever who would have made a huge difference if he had stayed here.

Now Theo looks over at the NL and sees Freddie Sanchez tearing up the National League and remembers that he gave him up for Jeff Suppan as a "pennant push now" trade in '03, and
Suppan was less help to the Sox than Larry Anderson in 1990. He sees Hanley and David Epstein and Adam Everett and Cabrera and Renteria all starting elsewhere at short and doing well, he sees Toma Ohka and Arroyo and even Casey Fossum pitching solidly...he sees Beckett becoming an enigma and Crisp looking like a major disappointment and Foulke looking like a pitcher whom the Sox will get just one good year out of in an expensive contract (flashback to Bill Campbell) and is second-guessing himself and his judgement. Who wouldn't? He's gun-shy, trying to make the perfect trade with no risk, and you just can't operate that way.

Theo could have pulled off a blockbuster trade for Roy Oswalt or Andruw Jones and been second-guessed because the wheels fell off with injuries and Theo gave away some young arms and the team still fell apart. Or he could have traded Lester for Oswalt and people would be saying, "Wow. Feel terrible for John Lester, but thank God we made THAT trade!" Or he could have done nothing and watched as Hanson, Lester and Beckett used the Yankee series to prove their mettle, played key roles in taking 3 out of 5, and emerged as impact players, letting Theo say, "See? I had faith in these guys! You wanted to trade them."
ANY of these things COULD have happened. Instead, we got pretty close to a worst-case scenario.

Maybe, just maybe, all the injuries will remind Theo that there just are no safe choices, and that it's better to try to take your fate in your own hands, even if sometimes its just an illusion.

Peter N said...

And Jack, sometimes what we know in life turns out to be an illusion. Who can predict something? But I enjoyed reading your in depth comment, and visit my blog if and when you can. I just became number one, I think. Oh, and today...4PM Fenway...I'll be watching as the sun just poked through the thick gloomy clouds here in central CT. Here's my link..hope nobody minds me giving it...Peter...take care

Go Andre (watching the US Open).

Peter N said...

I left out the "p" in it is again...

L-girl said...

Great stuff, Jack.