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.
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.
As I watch Jason Varitek retire it inspired me to get back to writing on my blog. Also as the month turns over it seems like a good time to an offseason review, so here it goes:
Subtractions:Jonathan Papelbon, J.D. Drew, Jed Lowrie, Hideki Okajima, Josh Reddick, Marco Scutaro, Jason Varitek, Tim Wakefield, Kyle Weiland, and Dan Wheeler
The biggest loss was Jonathan Papelbon. He was force at the back of the pen, but when your biggest loss is you’ve had a good offseason in terms of losing guys. Lowrie and Scutaro hurt the Sox infield depth, but with three guys (Punto, Aviles, Iglesias) who can handle any position in the infield They should be fine. Drew, Reddick, and Wheeler won’t hurt at all considering they found better players to replace them. Kyle Weiland might be a huge loss or nothing at all, we have to wait and see. It’s sad to see Wakefield and Varitek go, but they weren’t going to be key players this so they aren’t huge losses at all. All in all this list could be much worse.
Andrew Bailey, Chris Carpenter, Aaron Cook, Mark Melancon, Clayton Mortensen, Ross Ohlendorf, Vincente Padilla, Nick Punto, Cody Ross, Kelly Shoppach, Carlos Silva, and Ryan Sweeney
I like who the Sox added this year. Bailey, Carpenter, Melancon, and maybe Mortensen will provide much needed help help in a weakened pen. Sweeney and Cody Ross will platoon in right. Punto will provide nice infield depth, or maybe even become the starting shortstop. Cook, Ohlendorf, Padilla, and Silva will all compete for a shot at the fourth and fifth spots in the rotation. Shoppach will be an alright backup to Saltalamacchia. Like I said before I like this group. A lot of them are hit or miss guys, but they can end up being key players down the stretch.
I’d give this offseason a B. They didn’t lose any real key players, and filled the necessary holes with good enough players, but nothing spectacular. Although none of the additions are sure things they could become huge players or huge failures. All in all nothing great, but nothing bad.
Today the Sox lost a valuable part of their bullpen in Jonathon Papelbon. He signed with the Philles for 4 years and $50 million. I’m glad the Sox didn’t go way over for him, but the ninth inning will never be same without Pap finishing out the game. Now the Sox have to go out and find a new closer or use an in-house option. I’ll write an article about today or tommorow.