Tagged: Daisuke Matsuzaka

What’s Up With Will?


Middlebrooks at the plate

Middlebrooks at the plate (Photo credit: timaoutloud)

Will Middlebrooks

Will Middlebrooks (Photo credit: timaoutloud)

Another thing, although unlikely, is that he’s hiding an injury. This wouldn’t be the first time a Red Sox player had hid an injury to stay on the field and suffered for it. In 2009 Daisuke Matuszaka hid a groin injury and pitched poorly due to the discomfort in his groin area. Now I doubt Middlebrooks would try to hid something from the Sox, but he is the kind of guy who wants to be out there everyday, so I wouldn’t be stunned if that were the case and it would also give us an explanation for his performance.

Even we don’t know exactly what is wrong with Middlebrooks, we can try to figure out what should be done about his performance. The Sox could always take the irrational overreaction route and send down Middlebrooks and call up someone like Xander Bogaerts, but I would like to think the Sox are smart enough where they wouldn’t to something that far out of the box. A more realistic route is to give more playing time at three of Ciriaco, since he has slightly outperformed Middlebrooks, until Middlebrooks starts to perform in limited playing time until he’s eased back into an everyday role. Despite the fact that that is more realistic than the first option I still don’t see that happening. I think the Sox will just stick it out with Middlebrooks until he figures it out. What do you think the Sox should do about the struggling Middlebrooks?

 

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Red Sox, Dodgers Complete 9 Player Blockbuster


Yesterday the Boston Red Sox acquired James Loney, Allen Webster, Ivan DeJesus, and two players to be named later from the Los Angeles Dodgers for Josh Beckett, Carl Crawford, Adrian Gonzalez, and Nick Punto. The two PTBNL are expected to be Rubby De La Rosa and Jerry Sands. This trade combined a salary dump and a deal to strengthen the farm system. The Red Sox sent approximately 262.5 million dollars worth of contracts to the Dodgers and provided only 12 million dollars salary relief. It is just the second time a player with over 100 million dollars left on his contract, and the first with two.

This was an extraordinary trade. It’s probably the biggest trade of the 21st century. The Red Sox eliminated two of the biggest problems on the team while only paying roughly 5% of the salary owed to the former Red Sox. They also acquired 4 quality prospects and a big league first baseman. On the other hand the Dodgers filled four major needs. They now have a left fielder and first baseman for the future, a starting pitcher with playoff experience, and a super utility man.  How they’ll fit remains to be seen, but they figure to fare better L.A.

This trade truly begins the Ben Cherrington era of the Boston Red Sox as he was able to eradicate Theo’s bad deals (with the exception of John Lackey) with this trade. If this wasn’t a Lucchino move, this mean that Ben has established himself as a legitimate MLB GM. This now gives him the chance to spend money to back bad contracts of his own. Hopefully he won’t make the same mistakes Theo did in the final years of his tenure as Boston’s GM, but he may. The best idea would probably be to hold on to all the money and only use it when necessary. Sadly, this is Boston and there are expectations that need to be lived up to, so the money will likely be used very quickly.

All things considered, I love this trade. Although I believed Crawford was going to come back and be productive, the contact was ridiculous and to get rid of it was huge. Also dumping Beckett is fantastic. Everyone knew it was time to move on it was just a matter of finding a suitor for him. Losing Punto is a non factor. We didn’t lose nor gain anything by sending him to L.A. The only real lose is Adrian Gonzalez. He was a great player for the Sox, but he wasn’t the Adrian Gonzalez that we had seen in San Diego. He just didn’t fit right in Boston. Bundle all those things together and get 4 good prospect plus a first baseman in return, you’ve had a good day.

Dice-K Back to DL; Gomez Gets the Call; Jenks Let Go


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.

Could Ben Blow it Up?


Yesterday I wrote a post talking about how the Red Sox can turn it around this year. Today I’m going to look at the negative side to it. It’s obvious that there are problems with this team, but can they be fixed is the question. If the answer is no then it would be time to say goodbye to some of your favorite Red Sox players. Now Ben Cherrington has not been one to make a huge move so far, so whether or not he’s ready to do something like this remains to be seen.

To start off this wonderful rebuilding process, you begin with the obvious. Dump off Kevin Youkilis somewhere. There would be a lot of salary eaten and there wouldn’t be a very large return, but it would at least take Gonzalez out of right and get Middlebrooks in everyday. Now this would be a simple trade and could get done really quickly and should be done regardless of where they stand.

The next guy I would move may surprise you, but it would be the best thing the team could do. Trade Jacoby Ellsbury. Now that seems radical, but in reality it would be great. Everyone wants Ellsbury locked up after one good year, but why not trade him when his values at an all time high. When his value is this high GMs will turn a blind eye towards his injury history which has cost the Red Sox a lot of games.  Also his attitude and commitment to the team have been put into to question before, so there’s also a clubhouse factor in play as well. I good match up would be the Washington Nationals with their search for a center fielder and plethora of prospects would work perfectly.

The next guy yo go would have to be Jon Lester. Lester has been a huge part of the Red Sox ever since he took the mound for the first time at Fenway, but it might be time to say goodbye. He’s a guy who could produce a very nice return and could help almost any contender. There isn’t a true perfect trade partner for him, because he can go almost anywhere.

With a complete rebuild, David Ortiz would have to go too. An impact bat whose off to a scorching start is sure to generate some interest. I don’t think he’d get a huge return, I’m sure at least one impact prospect would be part of the deal. Papi’s loved in Boston, but Boston loves the team itself more, and in a few years they’d be happy with who they got.

Catchers Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Kelly Shoppach are nice trade chips as well. Salty’s off to an amazing start to what could be a career year for him. That just makes him more valuable. Shoppach has been screwed out of playing time and could be traded for a hit or miss guy which wouldn’t be bad. All in all these 2 guys could pick up 3 or 4 prospects.

Daisuke Matsuzaka could be a name floated around as well. It could be a similar trade with what the Sox got with Erik Bedard. Nothing spectacular, but enough to say you got something worthwhile. He, like Lester could help almost any contender.

Many other guys could sent out also, like Alfredo Aceves, Mike Aviles, Nick Punto, Matt Albers, Vincente Padilla, Cody Ross, and Josh Beckett. Come August Bobby V might be throwing out a line up looking something like this.

DH Daniel Nava

2B Dustin Pedroia

1B Adrian Gonzalez

C Ryan Lavarnway

3B Will Middlebrooks

LF Carl Crawford

RF Ryan Kalish

CF Ryan Sweeney

SS Jose Iglesias

All in all it doesn’t look too bad of a lineup. I had to stick Nava at DH, because with a full outfield and no DH he fit in right there and Bobby V always finds a spot for him. Rebuilding could be good or it could be bad we just have to trust Ben to make the right choices.

He’s Baaaaaack and He’s Better Than Ever


Today Daisuke Matsuzaka returned to the mound for the first time  in over a year. He faced Gio Gonzalez and the Washington Nationals, and he picked up his first loss of 2012 and put the Sox back under .500. Now that sounds terrible, but it wasn’t all bad. Dice-K hadn’t seen big league hitters in over a year  so you have to cut him some slack, but the most encouraging sign was his strikeout to walk rate. He struck out 8 and walked only one batter in just 5 innings. Dice-K’s biggest problem has always been walks. In the past would always walk himself into trouble, but find a way to Houdini his way out of  it, sometimes. Everyone knew Jonathon Papelbon as a heart attack closer, well Dice-K is a heart attack starter. He was difficult to watch, but I’m not here to talk about his inconsistent past, I’m here to talk about his bright future. Like I mentioned earlier, his  8:1 strikeout to walk ratio was amazing. Hitters have always had trouble hitting Matsuzaka, but he’s struggled because of his control problems.Now if he can duplicate his low walk, high strikeout performance and go even deeper into games, he can become the ace of this staff.

IN OTHER NEWS: To make room for Daisuke Matsuzaka on the roster the Red Sox designated Marlon Byrd for assignment. The Sox now have 10 days to decide whether they want to release him, trade him, or place him on optional waivers to try to send him to Pawtucket. My guess is they’ll try to trade him and see what they can get, and if there’s nothing good they’ll option him where he’ll likely be claimed. Byrd filled in nicely in his short time up in Boston as the team’s primary center fielder. The Sox got him from the Cubs in April trading Michael Bowden and a player to be named later who eventually became Hunter Cervenka. He was just 3 for 47 with a walk for the Cubs, but had a .273/.288/.333 line in Boston. He’s likely  done for good in Boston and I’m sure he’ll be missed for about a week and then be forgotten about forever.

FINAL NOTE: Go Celtics! They lead by 5 with about 30 seconds to go in the first half with the season on the line.

Why The Daniel Bard Experiment Must End


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.

Offseason Ideas: Will the Sox Go After Yu?


Nathan Conley said:
@thebestsoxblog
 Bobby V Wants “Yu” | bit.ly/vkgFDd
Will the #RedSox
 pursue Japanese pitcher Yu Darvish? via @ArmchairReport

Yu Darvish is a phenomenal Japanese pitcher. He does have some character issues but I don’t think they’d translate over into America. The only problem is he might not get posted.

Pros: Bobby Valentine has seen him throughout most of his career and knows how talented he is. Also Darvish would be most comfortable with the Red Sox considering they have Valentine, Dice-K, and their past history with Japanese players. That being said he’d thrive the most in Boston, but there are some issues.

Cons: Darvish won’t sign unless he gets more than Dice-K. He considers it an insult if he doesnt, which I think is a little ridiculous. Also Darvish fears he won’t adapt to the MLB and ruin his career like so many other Japanese pitchers.

Verdict: Darvish would be a positive for the Sox. Sadly his price might be too high. The posting fee plus the contract would be a huge payroll hit. I don’t see it hapening, but Cherington may surprise me.

If you want your idea to be used tweet me @thebestsoxblog, e-mail me at tricher00@gmail.com, or leave a coment below.