Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Nice work

Some highlights and some lowlights from last night:

-Tek got hurt
-Wells needed a rehab start

-Synder throws 4 1/3 scoreless, allowing 1-hit and a comeback try
-Pena goes a double shy of the cycle, drives in 3
-Manny goes yard, plating two runs
-David Ortiz turns a 2-run deficit into a mammoth shot to deep center for the win

Despite losing two starting position players in two night, and forcing an extension of the Jason Johnson era, there was a fantastic little caveat to this game that makes me happy: next year's 3-4-5 in the lineup. Specifically, Wily Mo makes me smile. Can you imagine, as a pitcher, tiptoeing your way around Manny and Ortiz like you've had to the last four year before running into a slugger like Wily Mo? If Wily Mo hits like he was last night and the beginning of the season, that is going to be one hell of a turn through the rotation for American League pitchers. Last night, these three combined for 7 hits and a walk with a double, a triple, and four home runs. They combined for as many extra base hits as they did for outs they made. They had 9 RBI compared to 6 outs. 7-13, 22 total bases. Yikes.

As to the trade deadline, I think it is probably best that the Sox didn't make a move. While most of our upper level pitching prospects are gone (and now are excellent major league rookies), I'm glad that we still have the cheap potential in Portland and Pawtucket instead of a short-term rental. The Sox as currently constituted have about as good a chance as any team out there to win the world series and most certainly have the talent to make the playoffs (barring the continued attrition of players). By not moving for any major pieces, the exciting youth movement will continue into the future, allowing the Sox to go out and spend on the few pieces they can't grow themselves.

On that note, I had a pretty wacky thought. Imagine if the Sox decided to go Yankee-crazy with free agent deals this winter. Sure, it would never happen, but just think about how fun it would be if the Sox went out and signed Zito AND Schmidt. Honestly, I wouldn't be surprised if the Sox could get Zito for $16.5mm per year for 4 or $17 per for 3, and take off about $1-$1.5mm for Schmidt. I know that isn't going to happen, but wouldn't a pitching rotation in 2007 of Schilling, Beckett, Zito, Schmidt, Lester/Wakefield with Papelbon, Hansen, Delcarmen, and Snyder in the bullpen be pretty freakin' spectacular? And with Schilling and possibly Wakefield coming off the books after the year, that $64mm for those 10 guys would shrink to $44 for 8 guys. Just trade Clement for a B- prospect and the bulk of his salary to clear the roster spot. Alright, daydreaming is over.

Oh, and a side note, I was right about Bowden being a complete idiot. Now, the pressure is on him to resign Soriano to avoid looking like a complete and utter jackass. Now, based on the Christian Guzman signing, his trade demands, and the rest of his professional tenure, I'm guessing he gives Soriano a 5-year $82.5 million contract. And he'll probably get a no-trade clause and either a player option for a 6th year and/or a vesting club option. Seriously, you just watch. The pressure is on Bowden to show that he did, in fact, think that Soriano was worth keeping instead of getting a real prospect. Remember, the guy is trying to showcase himself to a new ownership group, and turning Soriano into a draft pick isn't going to cut it. With that in mind, I fully expect Bowden to go $16 or $16.5 a year for a guy with no defensive position and crappy OBP. Again, is Soriano a good player? Yes, he is. Is he worth 2+ top tier prospect and/or $16mm a year? No, he isn't. He should be about a $12-$14 range on a 3-year contract with a club option for a 4th.

Oh, and one last thing: I'm not the kind of person who would suggest that the Yanks getting Abreu doesn't make them a better team or that they may now be a better team than the Sox, with whom they are currently tied in the loss column (though the Sox now have 2 wins in hand). However, I would like to show you the salaries of their starting nine for the playoffs:

Damon $13mm
Jeter $19mm
Rodriguez $25mm
Matsui $13mm
Sheffield $13mm (likely DH)
Abreu $13mm
Giambi $18mm
Posada $9mm
Cano $0.38mm

So, that is a total of $123,381,000 for a starting lineup. No bench bats, no starting pitchers, no relievers, a starting lineup. When you are one 2b free-agent salary away from the luxury tax just for your starting position players, you should be able to put together a pretty decent team. Considering the Sox have about that level of cost for their 25-man roster, and they are tied, I think the Sox have done pretty well for themselves.


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