Spring Training has just begun, but bad news has already come out of the Red Sox camp. Felix Doubront, Clay Buchholz, and David Ortiz have all had news regarding their health come out and none of it has been positive. Doubront has suffered a “setback” in his throwing shoulder, Buchholz has an issue with his hamstring, and Ortiz still hasn’t gotten over his Achilles injury (or Bobby Valentine but that’s a different story). All three of these injuries are huge blows to the Red Sox. If none of these guys are 100% for Opening Day, the Sox are down 2 of their top 3 starters and their most productive hitter. This a team that has a shot at making the postseason, but their not overly talented so every game matters and getting off to a good start is critical to their success. If their is a bright side to this it’s that a couple of the younger guys could get an extended look not just in Spring Training, but potentially in April. Steven Wright and Rubby De La Rosa would be the 2 most likely candidates to fill those roles and Mauro Gomez or even Ryan Lavarnway to replace Papi. Either way spring games haven’t even started yet and the future is already starting to look bleak. Hopefully, none of these injuries are serious and they can all come back at full strength and be ready to go Opening Day.
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.
At this moment it feels like the end of world in Red Sox Nation, but with 151 games left that’s hardly the case. It’s not too surprising the Sox have got off to such a slow start. With the exception of Toronto they’ve only played playoff teams’ and Toronto could be headed there this year. I do realize that even with the schedule so far most expected more, but with pitching problems left and right it doesn’t appear that it’ll be resloved quickly. So far my top starter is Felix Doubront, because he hasn’t had a bad outing yet. And the pen isn’t anything special either as Mark Melancon has been nothing short of a disaster and Aceves has struggled so far. Vincete Padilla is the only guy whose shown some level of consistency out of the pen. I think at this point things can only get better, but they need guys to perform how they’ve performed throughout their careers. Any hitting problems will fix themselves, at this all we need to do is fix the pitching.
The Red Sox got their first win in their fourth try. It was a painful first three games, but tonight is great night. I give all the credit to Sergio Santos. His wild pitching put the Sox back into it. He may of got the loss, but he gets the win in book, because without him the game might not of been won. I do have to give a lot of credit to Felix Doubront though. He only made it through 5 innings, but only allowing 2 runs on 4 hits. For his first start in over a year it wasn’t bad at all, at times he was even dominate. Scott Atchison was near perfect as well. He went 3 innings allowing just 1 hit and got 3 K’s. And lastly Alfredo Aceves not only got his first save, but his first out in his third apperance of the year. Also Dustin Pedoria led the offense with a homer and the rally starting double in the ninth. Tonight although frustrating at times was a great night.
The 4 and 5 spots in the Red Sox rotation are in question. There are several in house option which could fill those two spots.
Daniel Bard: Bard has seemed to be the favorite to be one of the 4 or 5 starters. He’s a great reliever, but he hasn’t started since 2007 in the low minor leagues. He seems to be a better fit as a reliever in the setup role. His 100+ mph fastball is the perfect out pitch late in games. As a starter he wouldn’t be able to just throw fastball as a starter. He’d need to expand his arsenal to become less predictable.
Alfredo Aceves: Aceves was the other top choice at the seasons end, because he’s proven he can start and be a good reliever. I don’t believe he can go deep in games, but with this reloaded pen the 7th, 8th, and 9th innings seem set. He can be reliable, but they can find better options and use Aceves where he’s best
Felix Doubront: Doubront has had his ups and downs. He’s been great at times, and struggled at others. If Doubront can stay consistent He’d be a nice fit at the back end of the rotation. Also another lefty couldn’t hurt either.
Aaron Cook: Cook is a recent addition who has had his ups and downs. The upside is that he’s a fantastic ground ball pitcher which works well in Fenway. Provided he can stay somewhat consistent he could end up being the best fit out of this group.
Vicente Padilla: Padilla has had the most up and down career of the group, but has never shined. I’ve also heard he’s only competing for a relief job, so he’s highly unlikely to grab a job.
Andrew Miller: Miller hasn’t impressed anyone since he hit the big leagues in Detroit. His high walk rate doesn’t bode well for him or the Sox.
Junichi Tazawa: Tazawa has been good in his short stops in the MLB. Injuries have played a major part of his development. If he can get healthy he’ll be fantastic based on previous success.
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Sorry once again for the absence. Today will be my catch up day.
Compensation for Theo suggestion: Take Lackey and Jenks too. Give us Garza.
Then we package Garza with Bowden, Doubront or Miller, Reddick, Lowrie, and either Tejeda or Pimentel for Tim Lincecum and Sergio Romo. Then we sign Willingham for one year. Re-sign CoJack and sign Andruw Jones and Jose Molina to round out the bench.
Why it would work: For what we’d be giving the Cubs it seems like a fair enough deal to get Garza in return. Then shipping him to San Francisco would be a huge package for Lincecum and Romo. The Giants would have to at least consider it. And also, signing Conner Jackson, Josh Willingham Andruw Jones, and Jose Molina wouldn’t be to bad of a deal.
Why it wouldn’t work: They’re are plenty of flaws with this proposition. First of all Garza is the Cubs ace, and they don’t want to part with him. They also don’t want another washed up pitcher with a huge contract like Lackey when they already have Carlos Zambrano. They could want Jenks, but it’s unlikely that he’d serve much of purpose there. In the other half of deal the first that doesn’t work is that involves Tim Lincecum. He’s probably the biggest piece in San Fransico, and they never want to lose him. Also the package for them is a bit ridiculous. The front office loves Reddick, Lowrie, and Doubront, and are too valuable to the Sox after they lost they’re top three prospects last year. Lastly, I don’t have a problem with signing Josh Willingham, Andruw Jones, and Jose Molina, but resigning Conner Jackson just isn’t a good idea. He can’t hit very well anymore, plus he’s nothing special on defense besides his slightly above average arm.
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