October 9, 2005

The Questions Begin

What will the 2006 roster look like?

Johnny Damon, Bill Mueller, Tony Graffanino, Kevin Millar, Mike Timlin, Mike Myers, John Olerud, and Matt Mantei are all free agents. (So is GM Theo Epstein.) David Wells will have knee surgery and is considering retirement.

Who will play third: Bill Mueller or Kevin Youkilis? Who will play first base? Which of the promising youngsters -- Jonathan Papelbon, Craig Hansen, Manny Delcarmen, Hanley Ramirez, Dustin Pedroia, Lenny DiNardo -- should be brought into the mix?

Can Keith Foulke, Curt Schilling, Edgar Renteria, and Trot Nixon overcome the various injuries that plagued them this season?

And then there is the Manny Question. The Red Sox will listen to trade offers for Ramirez (no harm in listening), but as Gordon Edes points out, "with only three years and roughly $60 million left on his contract, moving him would not create as much financial flexibility as it would have in the past, making a trade less likely."

The front office is also apparently not convinced that Manny is unhappy in Boston. And when I checked a poll at the Globe's site, out of 14,386 votes, 70.5% want Manny to stay. (So do I; how will we replace those 17 assists in left field!)

Alan Embree:
I have friends over there and you don't want to see them go through bad times. But for management to get rid of me the way they did, [the loss] was kind of satisfying to watch.
It's a start: Matt Clement has shaved his ugly goatee.


DanM said...

>The thinking and opining has begun. My two cents worth now ...

With the ugly pitching performances and the unruly field management, the fact is that in the face of all that we still achieved 95 wins. Another ten wins is a matter of adjusting and tuning the engine. With five starters another two wins per is not an onerous request. Top those wins with the potential of 2 or 3 more wins by better field management (less daily dynamics in the roster and a tuned batting line up, coupled with faster relief pitching) we could easily be in the 105 to 110 win range.

Free agents will be free agents. We should plan for the inevitable departure of some of the free agents - none of which cause me to think we cannot replace them with new players at least as effective current players.

Which of the starting rotation cannot be replaced with a more effective pitcher? While replacing them all is impractical, especially because of contract clauses, surely the BoSox can get better prospects than Arroyo? David Wells is an unknown for next year but replacing his '05 W/L record causes me no great concern. Next year is a decisional year for Schill - but I expect he will deliver more next year. Wake is Wake, Clement was a big dissappointment especially in the second half. For him, check the record now, the second half is always a disappointment. I think he gets a tired arm, something patience won't cure.

If Graf leaves - why not give Hanley a shot at second? Youk or Mueller - toss up for me. Should Nixon trot away during the off-season his '05 record is not a tough thing to replace. Damon would be a loss - lets concentrate on keeping him.

Anyway, all this is the current thinking of this BoSox Bozo!

Anonymous said...

The big question in my mind is Damon. On the Globe's forum, most of the people are mad at Johnny, based on his comments after game 3, and are not wanting him to stay. Personally, I can agree that his comments were stupid, but I think the folks on the globe forum are being way to reactionary in wanting to get rid of Damon for that. I have to admit though, Damon asking for 12 million for 5 years is pretty unrealistic. 4 million for 4 years is more like it. I suppose it will all be resolved in December though. -Anonymous

Anonymous said...

Dear BoSox Bozo,

Stymied in Stoughton says that you make it all sound so easy that he/she is getting a petition together to install you as the OnField G-Manager replacing both the Boy Wonder and the Anti-manager. They say you got it all figured out. Can you pitch too? Inquiring minds want to know.

Frustrated in Framingham, though, says that you’re out of your freakin’ mind and that you should be hustled through a portal in Terry Francona’s brain and forced to act in the movie, “Being Tito Francona” starring John Malkovich.

But Awed in Auburndale say’s ,"I agree. Let’s get rid of the lot of ‘em. Bring up all the kids from Portland and Pawtucket and let’s have a fun rebuilding year. Get what you can for the vets and get some more young arms."

But me, I’m just too emotional about all this. I really admire and get attached to guys like Trot Nixon and Bill Mueller who epitomize the type of players we once called “Dirt Dogs”: that was before the Cowboys or the Idiots, remember?

I hate saying goodbye to those kind of guys.

Anonymous said...

Embree is deluded: the Sox let him blow far too many games before shipping him off. Millar goes, and probably Mueller: one way or the other, the Sox have to add 30-40 homers to the infield's production. Nixon's going nowhere, but finding another Jay Payton, this one hopefully not an a--hole, is a necessity. The Sox really shouldn't sign Damon to more than a two year contract, which means they shouldn't sign him. His power is off, and he's breaking down. They need to go into Spring Training with an established closer in case (as is likely) Foulke is slipping into his late Bill Campbell stage. It would be nice, given these issues and the age of the starting staff, if the Sox fans would make a pact giving the team permission to spend '06 reloading and sorting out the kids, thus slipping back to, say, 88-89 wins. For what it's worth, I'd sign on. But the team can and probably will choose to push the wins up, and it may work for one more year...it will also guarantee a crash to earth. Pick your poison.

Anonymous said...

I just finished reading today’s Sunday Boston Globe section “Playoff 05” and it was great. I’m sure it can be had on line at http://www.boston.com/sports/baseball/redsox/ and I recommend it as a very enjoyable read.

Globe writers put a lot into their headlines. I remember one of my favorites, shortly into Schilling’s first season here, that read, after a loss up north, SCHILLING DEVALUED IN CANADA!

Today an article by Bob Hohler on Francona had a first page headline of “Francona managed, despite physical woes” but on the continuation on page 6 the heading read “Francona managed—barely”.

Edes wrote interestingly in Baseball Notes of Epstein’s contract negos.

Chris Snow wrote :”Forging ahead” and I wonder if he was punning on Foraging ahead, about possible off season moves.

Benjamin wrote a Renteria apologia from the PR machine.

And Shaughnessy wrote how the change of seasons will be fascinating.

Some good reading there, folks.

Dan said...

I'm disappointed in Embree. How can you get that cheesed about being let go when you were as ineffective as he was?

Johnny did piss me off by renegotiating his contract from the postgame locker room but I'd still want to re-sign him if it weren't for the fact that he's demanding five years. We will NOT want to be paying JD to be our centerfielder when he's 37.

It's finally Youk's time (he's already 27!) so we bid a fond adieu to Mueller. Millar's clearly gone - time to make a play for Huff, or Konerko if he'll change sox. Manny stays because we can't get equivalent value.

Delcarmen, Hansen and Hanley need a little more seasoning, but Papelbon's ready now and should get a good look in spring for a rotation spot.

Anonymous said...

Johnny D. (he without the shirt in the post-game interview) should defer all questions to Kevin Millar. Because if Kevin Millar is a mental midget, then Johnny D. is truly an idiot, in the real sense of the word.

Damon is as transparent as cheesecloth.

Millar has more integrity .

I feel for Damon because he put his health on the line in a contract season, and the Red sox will not reward him for doing so, but he should understand the nature of the beast he has embraced.

Oh, my God, am I here all alone?

Anonymous said...

Damon just screams "albatross contract" to me (and this was true before he got hurt and his play really declined). It will be hard to replace his bat, but we can easily upgrade on defense. Isn't Jacque Jones of the Twins a FA this year? He might make a nice interim OF guy until Adam Stern or some other farm boy is more seasoned. Or a trade for Tori Hunter would be really nice. But I don't want Damon back for five years. No way. Let the Yankees have him if that's what he's demanding.

Millar is done. I love the guy, but his production was beyond terrible this year, and he's not good with the leather either. I'm a huge Bill Mueller fan as well, but why resign him and his balky knees when we have a 26 year-old replacement waiting in the wings who is as good (if not better) both offensively and defensively? 3B ought to be Youk's to lose.

Timlin might be worth retaining for one more year. He was still our best reliever despite his scattered implosions. The bullpen is still the greatest place of need. I like some of the young arms we've got, but only Papelbon has proven to be 100% ready for the bigs and I'd rather see him as a starter. Hansen isn't ready by any means, MDC needs just a hair more work perfecting his off-speed pitches, and DiNardo...well, I'm not sure about him. Could go either way.

Oh, and Manny needs to stay. Definitely.

Going to be an interesting offseason for sure.

DanM said...

>The thinking and opining has begun. My two cents (plus an another penny now) worth ...

Johnny D - one, two or three years - yes, four years - maybe not, five years - nope.

Manny - Manny's just being Manny!

Jason, Olerud, Mirabelli, Ortiz, Graf, Renteria, Youk, - yep.

Trot, Mueller, Cora, Millar, Machado, Hyzdu - with or with out is ok with me - just get production up.

Pitching - grrrrrrrrrrrr
Schilling, Wells, Wake - yes (one more year three times though).
Clement - deliver next year or back to the Cubs!
Arroyo - Adios (this was the year to deliver and you choked, choked, choked!)
Papelbon - yep.

I would give anything for Willis or Pavano or another 20 game winner!

Closers - EGADS Batman, where did everyone go??
Timlin - one more year
Bradford, Myers, Gonzalez - nope, nope, nope!

That is the final 25 man roster!

From the 40 man list we got (pitching) - MDC, DiNardo, Stanton and Foulke (I think he is done!); (Field) - Hanley (weak bat), and nobody else!

Age issues - we got Hanley, Youk, Pedroia (really weak bat), Papelbon and that is about it.

Coaching - we got none! (For those that think I am too hard on the antiCoach - please review his tenure at Philadelphia!!!) Sveum (he was a minor leaguer then and is still now) would send Doug Mirabelli to home from first on an infield hit (way harsh!). Wallace, he can stay. Jackson must stay! The others - great to see ya - have a nice day, stay or go!

THEO STAYS!! Now find a pitching savant to go with him!!

Finally, I cannot pitch - besides we need solid lefties - I am a righty! I too like the old days - when Williams, Yaz, Petro, Rice, Remy and such were here forever! But, I liked being the World Champion Boston Red Sox a whole lot more!!!!

If the Yuckees win it all (perish the thought) I will never forgive the antiCoach!

Yeah, yeah I know it ain't his fault - but, he is the proverbial fall guy, eh? How about Frank Robinson when the Nationals are sold and the new owners hire their own coach?

Bye bye from The BoSox Bozo!

Anonymous said...

-It seems clear as clear can be that Francona could have made both Varitek and Mirabelli more durable and productive by playing the latter more than once every 5 days. Does nobody else notice that he's a better defensive catcher than the Captain?
-There's no need to dump Bradford and Myers...both performed well, and if anything were under-used, especially Bradford. Timlin's worth gambling on for another year, but is #1 candidate to pull an Embree meltdown.
-Dan M's exiling of Arroyo makes no sense at all. He was consistent, productive, and is getting better. Ask me to lay odds on which Sox starter is most likely to get 15 wins next year, and he ties with Wakefield, ahead of Wells, Schilling, and Clement.
-Pavano? PAVANO? Dan, me boy, were you asleep this whole season? I wouldn't trade Clement for TWO Pavanos.
-Graffanino is a lifetime .260 hitter: the Sox should do better. Thanks for everything, Tony, and nobody blames you for the E-4. Bye!
-The Sox offense is amazing given such minimal power from three power positions (3rd, 1st and right.) The offense actually can and should be upgraded, even losing Johnny D.
-Count me in Frnacona's camp. The team easily could have collapsed; he did a good job. Yeah, he's a sub-par in-game manager, but that's the least imporatant part of the job. Get a smart bench manager. Get rid of Sveum, of course. Keep Wallace and Jackson.
-The conventional wisdom emerging, pushed by the NY papers, is that the Sox were an inferior team and were smoked by the White Sox. Total libel. Graf fields a rocking chair ground ball, Varitek dribbles a ball to second or Damon holds his swing on El Duque's dirtball, and we're still playing. I remain unconvinced that the lack of these make the ChiSox a better team.

Anonymous said...

There's no way Theo's not coming back. He's done a lot more right than wrong during his tenure, including having a team that reached the playoffs three years in a row (a franchise record). His bullpen construction was definitely lacking this year, but it's not like there were oodles of good FA to choose from. And after seeing some of the prospects, I'm glad he didn't go and trade the farm away. Long-term thinking has been severely lacking in this franchise for ages.

And put me in Francona's camp too. Sometimes I wind up screaming at the TV when I can't figure out why he made an in-game move that was obviously not a good idea and backfired (bringing Timlin in with men on base for example), but other times I've felt he was right on the money. Plus he is a good guy and has handled the pressure of Boston very well. I just hope the job doesn't end up killing him if he stays long-term.

Anonymous said...

That's funny, because I never feel like Francona does the right thing during the game. Unfortunately, many of those times I'm proven correct.

Theo: yes, dear god yes keep the wunderkind. Tito: hellllll no, find someone who knows how to warm up pitchers and use what will hopefully be a much better bullpen.

Oh, and keep that Manny guy, he looks good.

DanM said...

Yuckees LOSE!! There is a God in Heaven and He Loves the RED SOX TOO!!

Okay, we disagree on Arroyo - I am listening. But, he just doesn't have the control or enough of a repertoire yet. We need a 20 game winner. Wake isn't it; Wells isn't it; Schill is highly unlikely.

Bull pen needs a lot of work - a lot of work.

Theo stays - lets get busy in the AAA and AA teams though.

Anonymous said...

A-Rod for MVP? HA!

Last night's 0-4 in Game 5 was the proverbial cherry on a 2-14, .133 BA, 0 RBI sundae that was the biggest, most pungent turd in a Yankees' ALDS punch bowl that was full of them. Sure, Sheffield and Matsui spit the bit as well, but neither collapsed as fabulously under the pressure of the playoff spotlight as did our boy, Slappy.

While the MVP is intended to recognize regular season performance only, how can those idiots who persist in beating the "A-Rod for MVP" drum take themselves seriously any longer?

Compared to Papi and the way that he came through in the clutch time and time again when it mattered most, A-Rod wasn't even the most valuable player on his team, let alone the AL.

If Steinbrenner bestowed Dave Winfield with the classic "Mr. May" moniker, what handle should be affixed to A-Rod after two dismal post-season performances in NY? The Pride of Fort Lauderdale? The Gums of August?