Now from the start I’ve always given Red Sox players the benefit of the doubt and turned a blind eye to issues they may have. Very rarely do completely lose my patience with a guy, but Josh Beckett has done it for me. I’ve never cared about his arrogance and how poorly he handles himself. That stuff never mattered to me. What truly matter was results. If you’re going to go in public and pretty much force everyone to hate you at least back it up with decent play. For Beckett he’s been far from decent. Watching the game today I could have sworn he was trying to make the Red Sox lose. At this point it looks like he’s lost all care for the team and what happens this year. He, like so many others, has essentially given up on the team contending this year. I’ve reached a point where I hope he never pitches in a Boston Red Sox uniform again.
The time to move him is now. Beckett is a sinking ship and it seems as if it can only get worse, if that indeed is possible. Also, Franklin Morales is permanently moving to the rotation and the Sox have said repeatedly that they don’t want a six man rotation, so someone has to go. My vote is for Beckett, and I’m sure most would agree. No one wants him anymore so now it becomes a baseball move, a PR move, and a flat out common sense move. This is why Ben Cherrington and the Rex Sox must act now, because not only are the hurting their ballclub they’re hurting what means the most to them, their image.
The Red Sox do have the ability to get rid of him this month. He could pass through waivers, if he hasn’t already, and if he goes unclaimed he can be traded to any team. However, if he is claimed he can dumped off to whoever wins the claim or the Red Sox could work out a trade with the winning team. Now its highly unlikely someone would claim him do to his high price tag, but a man can dream can’t he? In the far more likely scenario where he becomes eligible to be traded to any team, he’d be very difficult to move. First off, you have the contract situation and no one wants to touch it, so salary would have to be eaten. Secondly, Beckett’s just not good anymore. He’s a shell of his former self and there’s no sign that he’ll ever come anywhere close to that form again. A change of scenery usually can help a guy, so that could be selling point that’s used by Cherrington. Lastly, Beckett is now considered a clubhouse cancer. Not many teams should want to take a gamble on a guy whose handled himself so poorly and could hurt team morale. Now I truly believe that most of the clubhouse turmoil is fabricated and overblown by the wonderful Boston media, but I’m sure outsiders hear it and believe it. If you’re not from the Boston area, then you don’t whose reliable and whose not, so stories that are largely untrue can hurt a players trade value. It hurts a guy like Beckett more than most guys, because he’s used as figurehead for most of the mess that’s unfolded (beergate, golfgate, etc.) so it all leads back to Beckett and no team wants controversy, ever.
At lot of things must come together for the Sox to unload Beckett, but it is possible. Like I said before he hurts what means most to ownership, and that’s their public image. They’ve gone great lengths to protect it so why won’t they this time? If they push hard enough eventually Beckett will be out the door and the team would benefit, so it’s just a matter of how hard do the Red Sox want to push.
Yesterday the Cleveland Indians designated former Red Sox starter and closer Derek Lowe. Within the next two days we’ll find out whether he’ll be traded or released by the Indians. It’s pretty safe to say he’ll be traded, because there’s interest from the Red Sox and Orioles. Now his history with the team draws fans to want him, but his numbers scare others away. There has been a need for a starting pitcher and Lowe fits the bill, but is a struggling sinkerballer the right fit. Aaron Cook’s sinker hasn’t solved any problems, so should we believe that Lowe’s sinker could save this season?
As with everything there’s a positive and a negative. I’ll start with the positives. The first thing is that he fills a need. Beckett could miss time, Cook has faltered, and Doubront may need to be shut down so a starter is needed. Derek Lowe obviously fits that, so he could be an option. He would have no problems with the Boston media, because he’s lived with it before. Also he says he just needs a slight tune up and he’ll return to his early season form, which was pretty damn good. If he’s correct about that he’d provide a huge lift to the struggling pitching staff.
Now on to the negative. He might be done. Simple as that. He was one of the top pitchers in Cleveland’s rotation, but then everything went down hill. Guys have been hitting him and hitting hard. Since June 1st he’s had a .350 batting average against him and an ERA over 8 with a record of 1-7. Overall he’s 8-10 with a 5.52 ERA which isn’t good by any means. If he has something left in the tank he could be worth something, but there’s a convincing case against him saying that he’s done.
If I had my say I’d take a shot on a Red Sox legend and try to get him back in shape. I know many fans would disagree, some more strongly than others, but I believe he’s worth something. I don’t think the PR wizards that is the Red Sox front office let this opportunity. So I think there’s a very high likely hood that he’ll be back in Boston very soon.
In the past two days there’s been a flurry of roster moves made by the Red Sox in the past couple days. Yesterday the Red Sox said in a press release:
“BOSTON — The Boston Red Sox today placed outfielder Ryan Sweeney on the 15-day disabled list with a fractured bone in his left hand and recalled both outfielder Ryan Kalish and right-handed pitcher Clayton Mortensen from Triple-A Pawtucket. Kalish and Mortensen will be active for tonight’s game against the Tigers at Fenway Park. Additionally, the club today activated right-handed pitcher Chris Carpenter from the 60-day disabled list and optioned him to Triple-A Pawtucket.”
Sweeney is likely done for the season if the Sox miss the playoffs, but he may return for the final games of the season. Kalish is returning to the Sox after a brief and largely unsuccessful stint in the majors earlier this year. Mortensen was called up to fill the open spot Albers left, until Craig Breslow arrived which was just a few minutes ago. Chris Carpenter has missed the entire year with a right elbow surgery. He was the compensation received by the Sox for Theo Epstein.
Now on to the trades. Yesterday the Sox made two trades. The first was the Sox acquiring lefty Craig Breslow from the Arizona Diamondbacks for right-handed Matt Albers and Scott Podsednik. This move was made to give the Sox bullpen flexibility, so that Franklin Morales could be put back into the starting rotation. I like this move, because Morales had been very effective as a starter and I love that he’ll be returning to this role. Also the bullpen doesn’t lose anything, because Breslow is a great left reliever. I am a huge Albers and Podsednic fan, but there wasn’t a need for either of them (although you can never have enough pitching.)
The other trade was between the Cleveland Indians and the BoSox. The Sox acquired righty, knuckleballer Steven Wright for first baseman Lars Anderson. This a great move, because it brings everyone’s favorite pitch, the knuckleball. Also, Lars needed to be moved, because he had been blocked for a long while now and I’m glad they got a good return for him. Another great thing is that Tim Wakefield will work with Wright, so he’ll be taught well.
Today there were a few more roster moves that took place. Daniel Nava was placed on the DL with a sprained left wrist and able to be activated on Sunday August 12th. Ryan Lavarnway was recalled from Pawtucket to take his place. Clayton Mortensen was optioned to AAA to make room for Craig Breslow who was added to the 25-man roster.
And with that, that’s all the Red Sox have done the past two days. Ben Cherrington is a very busy man.
A busy day for the Red Sox as they made 4 roster moves. Daisuke Matsuzaka was placed on the DL with a stiff neck, Mauro Gomez was recalled from AAA, Bobby Jenks was released, and the contract of Justin Germano opted out of his contract.
Dice-K’s returning right back where his 2012 season began, the DL. This time it’s for something a lot less serious, just a stiff neck. Still it’s another set back in the up and down career of Daisuke Matsuzaka. In all honesty though, I think this is best for the team as he became the least reliable member of the pitching staff. At this point I’m sure everyone would rather see Franklin Morales and Aaron Cook take the mound, then see Dice-K at this point. With a somewhat under performing and overcrowded pitching staff you can’t have mediocre performances like Dice-K was giving, so I truly believe that the team is better with Dice-K not on it.
Now to replace Dice-K the Sox added some needed infield depth with corner infielder Mauro Gomez. He’s a true first basemen, but has a little experience as a third basemen and that’s where Bobby intends to use him with Middlebrooks’ health in question. He’s more depth for a short bench that only has Brent Lillibridge and Kelley Shoppach. Gomez signed as a free agent with the Sox this year. Aside from a quick stint with the big league club he’s been in Pawtucket all year and has played exceptionally well. With a slash line of .311/.366/.614 and 19 home runs and 55 RBI he earned the starting DH role in the International League All Star Game. He probably won’t play much, because he’s there for a worst case scenario. He’s a good hitter, but his lacking defense will keep him away from the starting lineup.
Probably the most surprising the news of the day is the release of Bobby Jenks. The only reason it is so surprising is, because I forgot we even had him. Bobby Jenks’ tenure with the BoSox is the definition of a good idea gone bad. The deal was universally praised by baseball analysts from far and wide. The bullpen looked unstoppable with a 7,8,9 combo of Daniel Bard, Jenks, and Jonathon Papelbon what could wrong? The answer was everything. As you know none of those 3 are with the team anymore and now Bard is only one left in the entire organization with Pap in Philly and now Jenks getting cut. Everything with Jenks as Red Sox was a disaster. From his terrible outings, to the injuries, and then the surgery death scare, and lastly the DUI, he could never get his life together. I do feel terrible for the guy though. He went from a dominant closer to almost out of the game. I’ll be amazed if he gets another chance anywhere, but I sure hope he does. He doesn’t deserve the fate given to him, but he may never get another chance again.
Lastly, Justin Germano has decided to exercise his opt out clause for his contract. The Sox now have 48 hours to decide whether they want to add him to the 25 man roster or let him go. Some people believe Clayton Mortensen may be sent down to make room for the reliever. I doubt a move will be made, because Mortensen’s been effective in his time with the team. He’ll likely be let go on Thursday and become a free agent, and I wish him the best.
I wasn’t a fan from the start. The closer in waiting turned into a starter. Why? I’m not sure. He didn’t even like at first, but now he won’t let it go. He’s steered Bobby V away from using him in the bullpen and convinced him to let him start. Sadly those starts have been lack luster, and for me last night was the final straw for me. The Daniel Bard experiment must end. Last night against arguably the worst team in baseball, the Kansas City Royals, Bard faltered late as usual. The big problem with Bard is he doesn’t have the stamina to go late into ballgames, and with a struggling pen, Bobby is going to push him to go deep which he’s incapable of doing. Once he gets his pitch count in the 80’s he becomes a different pitcher. He has problems locating his pitches and tries to aim his pitches, which only gets you trouble. Last night was just a perfect example of how Bard’s start will go all year. Be decent for the first 5 or so innings and then watch it all go downhill. That’s not going to help you win games. What will help you win games is a shutdown, hard throwing reliever. Sadly, the Sox don’t have that anymore, because now he’s a joke of a starter. There’s guys the Sox can use to replace Bard. Ideally I’d like the Sox to trade for another pitcher, but they don’t need to. Andrew Miller looked nice in his first outing back, but he can be wild so he can’t be fully trusted yet. Once Aaron Cook gets back he’d be a nice option, and of course everyone’s favorite player, Daisuke Matsuzaka. He could come back this month, and this point he’d be a welcome addition to this struggling rotation. I’d take enigma that Dice-K can be over Bard any day. While people continue the “Fire Bobby V” movement, I want a “Put Bard Back in the Pen” movement, but that might take a lot to put in a hash tag.
Yesterday the Red Sox recalled Aaron Cook, Jose Iglesias, and Will Middlebrooks from AAA. They also optioned Junichi Tazawa and Lars Anderson to AAA and placed Kevin Youkilis on the DL. Will Middlebrooks is expected to play third base in the absence of Youk. If you don’t already know, Middlebrooks is the top prospect in the Sox’s farm system. He was tearing up AAA pitching is April and many fans have been hoping to see him called up. Although he’s only expected to stay until Youk is reinstated from the DL, but there’s reason to believe he might over stay his welcome.
Will Middlebrooks is a near complete hitter. He can hit to all fields, but has a lot more power to his pull field. He also tends to expand the strike zone and chase pitches, especially fastballs up. Yesterday, in his debut, he was able to show patience by drawing a walk so he might be more patient at the big league level when he knows he’s not going to be able to handle all of those pitches.
If Middlebrooks can consistently play like he did last night (2 for 3 with a walk) he could find himself staying on the big league roster for a long time. He could end up being very valuable in keeping Youk healthy by having a trusted bat slid into the lineup when Youk is taking an off day which will be frequent. Although Middlebrooks is over hyped, he does has the skill to develop into the player that many project he will be one day. He’s a reason now to get excited even if his first stay isn’t for long.
Tonight has proven a point that I’ve believed for a long time. Daniel Bard needs to be the closer. Against the Minnesota Twins he worked out of a runner on third with one out jam. That’s a closer quality and Bobby needs to see that. If Aceves blows the lead that should be the final straw. Even if Aceves survives today, there’s no guarantee he’ll last tomorrow as he has struggled through these first few weeks.I don’t see how it could do any harm to the team. The Sox have three legitimate starting options beyond Bard. Aaron Cook, who has dominated AAA, needs to be called up before May first, otherwise he’s gone. Junichi Tazawa has been a pleasant surprise and we know he can start. Alfredo Aceves could simply swap roles with Bard and he won’t have to whine anymore. Although Bard has promise, with a pen is disarray you need to best utilize what you have and Bard is a top tier reliever which can’t be ignored. I know Bard isn’t exactly chomping at the bit to hop back into the pen, but he seems to be on board with whatever is best for the team. As I write this the Sox just won, barely. Aceves got the final three outs, but there wouldn’t have been a lead without Bard. Right now Bard is the best option for the Sox and the Sox need to act upon it. Bard can literally save the season.