Tagged: Major League Baseball

It’s Over


Fenway Park on June 21, 2008

Fenway Park on June 21, 2008 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

The controversial Fenway sellout streak has ended at 794 games (820 if you count Postseason). It was expected to end in early April and indeed it has. The recent Red Sox struggles have led to lack of  interest which led to the end of the sellout streak. The sellout streak had recently caused some controversy due to the fact that there were unsold tickets. That was because a sellout is considered selling the maximum seating capacity which doesn’t account for standing room only tickets. I’m kind of glad the streak is over because it puts all of the years of the Red Sox where they belong, the past. Although those years were great, it’s a new era, the John Farrell era, and I hoping it’ll be equally as great if not greater.

 

 

 

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Tough Decision Looms For Sox


It’s no secret that Jose Iglesias has surprised some people this year and been one of the most productive hitters in the Red Sox lineu

Jose Iglesias

Jose Iglesias (Photo credit: Keith Allison)

p in these first 3 games. Unfortunately for him he appears to be the odd man out going forward. With Stephen Drew close to returning from his concussion, the Sox need to make space on their roster. Obviously they’d like to replace an infielder with another infielder. The Sox won’t send down Pedroia, for obvious reasons, that leaves Pedro Ciriaco or Jose Iglesias to be sent down. But why would the Sox send down Iglesias, the starter, over Ciriaco? There’s more than one reason why.

The big issue here is options. Each player receives 3 minor league options when they make the big leagues for the first time. The first time someone is sent down in a season it uses an option. Any time after that, for that season, doesn’t use an option, but that rule took effect last year. Once a player is out of option they have to pass through waivers to be sent down and be claimed by any team. Pedro Ciriaco is out of options; Jose Iglesias is not. That alone is the biggest reason to send down Iglesias. It’s because they can send him down without the fear of losing him. Now you might say that Ciriaco is an unimportant part of the team, and you may be right, but he adds depth to the roster. He’s really the only guy on the team who fits the utility man role and losing him could leave a gaping hole on the bench especially if the injury prone Stephen Drew goes down again. You might wonder why isn’t Iglesias isn’t a good fit for the utility role. That’s because he just doesn’t have as much experience at any position other than short. Had Ciriaco not had broken out last season, sending him down, likely, wouldn’t be a problem, but then again had he not broken out he probably wouldn’t have made the team.

Another reason is that Iglesias needs at bats. His struggles at the plate have been well documented, and despite seeming to get over them, nothing will cause him to revert back to his old self more than not getting regular at bats. Iglesias’ bat is finally showing signs of life and the Sox would like to ride the hot streak for as long as possible. With every hit he should gain more confidence in his ability at the plate. If he is indeed sent down, then he can take what he’s learned from his short stint in the majors and refine it in the minors. If the Sox just bury him on the bench he’ll just lose the confidence he’s gained and could just turn into the Jose Iglesias that has disappointed us all for the past few years.

Now this isn’t to say Iglesias has no chance of staying on the team when Drew returns. After all, as the Red Sox have shown with Jackie Bradley Jr., they are wiling to make a decision that doesn’t make the best sense for the future, but to keep the best 25 guys on the roster. The Sox may even decide to start Iglesias over Drew if he proves to be more effective than him. All in all I think the best idea would be to go back in time and never sign Drew, but I don’t think that’s exactly plausible. But then again the Sox owners have a lot dough, so anything’s possible.

Mariano Rivera Will Retire Following 2013 Season


Today New York Yankees closer Mariano Rivera announced that this year will be his final season. Rivera has spent the entirety of his 18 year career with the Yankees and holds the Major League record for saves with 608 and the postseason record of 42. He’s also the last player to ever wear the number 42, which was retired by every team for Jackie Robinson. Since Rivera was already wearing 42 when the number was retired he and Mo Vaughn were allowed to continue to wear it. Vaughn has since retired leaving Rivera as the lone wearer of 42 left in baseball. He’s widely regarded as the greatest closer to ever play the game and has left a major impact on the game.

 

I know this is a Red Sox blog and I’m supposed to hate the Yankees, you can’t help but respect what Rivera has done throughout his career. In my opinion he is the greatest closer of all time and I think it’ll remain that way for a long time. I for one seem to identify the number 42 with Rivera more than Robinson, but that’s partly because I’ve seen Rivera play and Robinson had already passed away by the time I was born. If he didn’t play for the Yankees I’d root for him to have a successful farewell tour, but sadly that’s not the case and I’ll be hoping he blows every save.

 

English: New York Yankees Pitcher Mariano Rive...

English: New York Yankees Pitcher Mariano Rivera on May 25th, 2008 vs. Seattle Mariners. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

 

 

 

The Future at Short


With this season becoming a lost cause now is the time to look to the future. The one spot that has been looked at since 2005 is shortstop. Ever since the Nomar trade everyone has wondered when we will get another quality shortstop. After Nomar the likes of Orlando Cabrera, Edgar Renteria, Julio Lugo, Alex Cora, Alex Gonzalez, Marco Scutaro, Jed Lowrie, Yamaico Navarro, Mike Aviles, Jose Igelsias, Pedro Ciriaco, Nick Punto, and others whose names aren’t coming to mind at the moment. Now you look at that list and are you impressed? Probably not. The Red Sox have been unable to develop or acquire a quality shortstop after they traded away the greatest shortstop in team history. No answers have been present over the past eight years, but the answer may come soon. Here’s a look at some guys who could be the next great Red Sox shortstop.

Mike Aviles: Aviles has been with the Red Sox since last season’s trade deadline and proven to be a fairly mediocre shortstop. So why is considered part the future? The answer is simple, he’s still young and has a lot to learn. He has decent power and if he becomes more disciplined hitter he could raise his OBP to one that is considered adequate for a shortstop. Now I don’t truly believe that Aviles is the answer, but you never know.

Pedro Ciriaco: He’s a long shot at best, but like I said with Aviles you never know. Ciriaco has been a bright spot in this tough season, but I don’t see him as an everyday player. He’s fast, he can hit, he plays solid defense but I don’t think he can pull it all together and become one of the top shortstops in the league. His biggest issue is his pitch recognition. He’ll swing at just about anything with one or two strikes on him and teams are starting to notice. If he doesn’t get a fastball to hit, odds are he’s striking out. Another issue is he treats every play like Usain Bolt is running down the line. Everything he does seems rushed and it hurts him sometimes. With all that said, he could magically reinvent himself into a disciplined player, but I doubt it.

Jose Iglesias: Iglesias was said to be the future of this team. Not just the next shortstop, but the next face of the franchise. He’s always just needed to learn to hit and then he’d be ready. The problem is he hasn’t learned yet. Could he become a perennial gold glove winner by next year? Yes. But can hit above .200 has an everyday player? I have my doubts. In 18 major league at bats he’s recorded just 2 hits. Now some would say he just needs to adapt to big league pitching, but if you look at his minor league numbers you wouldn’t be surprised by his major league struggles. In three minor league seasons his posted a slash line of .264/..313/.314 two homers and just thirty-nine extra base hits. That isn’t impressive at all. Without being able to put it together at the plate in the minors, what makes anyone think he can do it in the majors. I have no faith in Igelsias and I believe that it is warranted.

Xander Bogaerts: Widely considered to be the Sox top hitting prospect, Bogaerts figures to be an ideal candidate for the shortstop of the future. He’s just 19 years old, but he’s already tearing the cover off the ball in AA. In his three minor league seasons he has a slash line of .295/.366/.495 with 39 homers and 168 RBI. Those numbers are very good, but they don’t truly reflect Bogaerts. He struggled last year, but has bounced back in a huge way this year. He’s become a much more disciplined hitter this year and it has shown in his numbers. Despite moving up in the minors his numbers have improved which speaks volumes about his adaptability. The only issue with him being the shortstop of the future is that he’s said to have to big of a body for shortstop. He may be better suited to play third base or even left field according to some scouts. Overall I really like Bogaerts, but he might not work out as a shortstop.

Devin Marrero: Marreo was the Sox first round draft choice this year and could become the great shortstop for the Red Sox. He was just drafted so there isn’t much to go on as far as numbers go besides his college numbers, which probably don’t translate well. Over his three college seasons his numbers steadily got worse which is scary. He also has very little power, he had just 10 homers in college, and his fielding isn’t the greatest either. These concern me as well. The good thing is that with the right coaching he could fix theses flaws. Another good thing is that he can hit. He projects as a Dustin Pedroia kind of hitter which isn’t bad at all, but he isn’t expected quite as good as Pedroia. Pedroia has more power and is an all around better hitter. Marrero is a project, but it could be worthwhile in the end.

Elvis Andrus: This might seem crazy and it probably is, but I like it. Today, the Rangers called up their top prospect Jurickson Profar. He is the future shortstop of the Rangers, but where does that leave their current shortstop, Elvis Andrus. He’s an All Star with two more years of team control, but he’s being pushed out. He’s become expendable, so that’s where the Sox come in. He’s a dynamic player who brings quality defense, speed, and the ability to get on base. With a career .346 OBP we know he can get on base. With three 30+ stolen base seasons we know he can run. He’s the kind of guy this team needs. There guys in the Sox lineup who can drive in runs, so a guy who can get on base is a huge plus. He may have little to no power, but if he can score runs it’ll make up for that. If your still not sold on this move, here’s something that may get you on board. As I said earlier, he has two years remaining of team control. Now you may think this is irrelevant, but Xander Bogaerts will be ready in 2014. Now after one year of Andrus he can be traded away for around what we gave up for him, or he can be used as an insurance policy for Bogaerts, if he’s not quite ready for the big leagues in 2014. Either way I really like the idea of the Sox getting Andrus, and I believe that it’s something Ben should seriously look into this offseason if he wants to continue to be bold.

Now none of these may be the answer, but eventually they’ll have to be someone who can be a great for the Sox once again.

How Crawford’s Injury Can Help


Tonight the Sox wrapped up their fourth straight win with a 9-3 win over the White Sox. Sadly it wasn’t all good news today as we found out Carl Crawford will be out for up to three more months.Now this sounds terrible, but there is some bright side to it.So far this the two of the teams hottest hitters are Cody Ross and Ryan Sweeney. With Crawford returning one of them would’ve had to been benched despite their hot starts which is more than you can say about Crawford in his Boston start.
Sweeney to many was a pleasant surprise, but not to me. If  you have read here before you’d know that I had faith in him since we got him.He’s currently on an eight game hitting streak and has been hitting great all this year. Ross on the other hand has been a pure power hitter. He’s come up with some critical homers so far.I love the way they’ve both been hitting and they both have been an upgrade from Crawford thus far.
To look at it from a numbers stand point, Sweeney has a disappointing .286/.344/.386 career line, but this year he’s off to a great start with a .383/.406/.583 line. He’s also fourth in the entire MLB. You can’t put up numbers like that playing with against the pitching that the Sox’s have faced and call it a fluke. He can pound nighties even with his limited power. He’s learning to hit lefties and becoming a more complete hitter. Batting him second could be wasting his talent as a pure doubles hitter, robbing him of several RBI chances, but he does set up those chances for Pedroia, Gonzalez, and Youk.
Looking at Ross, he’s just a great pure power hitter. You give him a fastball belt high and you don’t see it again. Actually any fastball he gets wood on has a good chance of going for extra bases. This year he’s got a nice .267/.328/.567 line which tops his .261/.323/.458 career line. His five homers have him tied for eighth in the majors. He can hit and I expect him to continue to go deep. Overall I prefer Sweeney to Ross, but either way they both add value to the Sox’s lineup.