It’s been a long while since I’ve last updated this blog, but in this snowstorm I figured I might as well write something again. With players starting to show up in Fort Myers it’s time to start talking about the players in camp, and the players that are the most fun to talk about are the ones almost no one has ever heard of. The most interesting of that group of nobodies has to be righty Steven Wright. Wright was acquired at the trade deadline last year from the Cleveland Indians in exchange for former top prospect Lars Anderson. Wright sounds like any other run of the mill prospect being brought into camp, but he has something that makes him very special, the knuckleball. Although he’s never pitched a major league game in his life (and only 5 in AAA) John Farrell said he has a chance to make an impact in the majors this year. Whether or not that means making the opening day roster or even being in the rotation remains to be seen. Regardless, he’s a very interesting case. He could be the next Tim Wakefield or the he could end up being the next Charlie Zink, which is what makes him so interesting Will he be great or will he fall into oblivion without anyone noticing? Odds are it’ll be the latter, but I’m hoping the Sox will get another knuckleballer in the rotation. This year it’ll be tough for him to fit in with the rotation looking set with Jon Lester, Clay Buchholz, Felix Doubront, John Lackey, and Ryan Dempster, and even if one those 5 get injured he wouldn’t be the first option with Franklin Morales and Rubby De La Rosa waiting for their shot in the rotation. Even though it’s a long shot how he performs this spring could have him leapfrog over both Morales and De La Rosa and give himself a very good shot to get sometime in the big leagues this year. Despite everything I’ve said though he most likely needs more time in AAA with, like I said earlier, just 5 games there with only 4 of them as starts. Hopefully sometime this year he’ll get his shot, but for now all we can do is watch him this spring.
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.
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 David Ortiz was selected as this years winner of the Roberto Clemente Award. The award recognizes players who best represent the game of baseball through positive contributions on and off the field, including sportsmanship and community involvement. This is the second year in a row in which a Red Sox player won the award. Last year Tim Wakefield took home the honors. This is only second time a Red Sox player has won the award. The award will be presented to him tonight before the start of game 2 of the World Series. This may be Big Papi’s last big moment with the Sox.