Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Keep Manny

Some Boston fans have decided that they need to step in and let the club know that they want to keep All-Star slugger Manny Ramirez. Over at you too can add your name to the petition that the owners are putting together to show the Red Sox personnel that the fans want him to stay.

Here are some of Manny's achievements:

Second all-time in grand slams to Lou Gehrig with 21 in his career

Joined Carl Yastrzemski as the only other Red Sox player to have three 40 plus homer seasons

Last season he matched his career best in home runs, hitting one every 12.3 at bats

39th player in MLB history to hit 400 home runs

9-time American League All-Star selection

Currently has a streak of 8 consecutive American League All-Star selections

7-time Silver Slugger Award winner

In 13 seasons, he has a career .314 batting average with 435 HR's and 1414 RBI's in 1678 games

Manny has a career slugging percentage of .599%

I know the Red Sox half of this team isn't overly concerned about Manny and just hopes that the team gets good value for him. Remember this is a player any team could've had if they were willing to pay his contract a couple of years ago when he was placed on waivers. He is a stud but is he worth all the turmoil that seems to follow him about?

If you think he is then add your name to the list, if you don't then don't bother. He is a great hitter but is he worth $18m/yr? I'm not sure but I can see both sides of the story. Maybe the time is right for both him and the club to part ways, they have had a great time together, even won a ring, but the honeymoon period is over, isn't it?

Yankees close in on Farnsworth

The New York Yankees and FA RHP Kyle Farnsworth moved closer to a 3yr/$17m deal Wednesday with sources claiming that only the physical was needed to rubber stamp the move.

Farnsworth, who blows 100 MPH gas closed for Atlanta last season after being traded by the Detroit Tigers and went 10 for 10 in Save Opportunities but struggled in the NLDS against the Astros. To go with his power arm, Farnsworth has always had a good slider but scouts have commented that it has been worked on in Atlanta and if now flat out filthy.

The 29 year-old is expected to add a live arm to the 'pen but Yankee officials are said to be upping negotiations with Flash Gordon as they see having both of these guys working to get to Rivera in the 9th as the way forward. Gordon, who has impressed with the Bombers throughout his two seasons in the Bronx is exploring several options, but he hasn't ruled out staying on in THTRB as a setup man although his preference is to close somewhere.

Three years and 17 million dollars isn't the worst deal you'll ever see and considering the way the market has been so far this off season then maybe the Yankees have for once not overpaid a player. I have liked Farnsworth's arm for a long time and think that this is a good move for the ball club as they look to add depth to a 'pen which was chronically exposed during the last campaign.

Farnsworth and Flash setting up for Mo, it's a nice thought...

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Crazy Jays at it again

Just days after they offered BJ Ryan silly money to close for the team, the Toronto Blue Jays are at it again as they have reportedly offered $55m over five-years for Free Agent OF Brian Giles.

34 year-old Giles who'll be 35 by opening day is thought to be the premiere OF on the market alongside Johnny Damon. The Yankees have been looking at bringing the OBP machine to the Bronx at somewhere in the 3yr/$33m range but this offer just shows how crazy things are getting in the AL East this off-season.

If this report is accurate then what can any other GM offer? This is a stupid offer if there ever was one, the Jays should not be committing $55m to a player who'll be 40 at the end of the said contract. I know Neil H often points out to me that the Yankees have too many players on silly money (which is probably a pretty fair point) but the Jays would beat out the Yankees with these two deals, they really would.

Giles is good, I like his bat, he has a good glove, but five years? He will put up great numbers for two or possibly three years but the final two years he would be a millstone around the neck a la Bernie in his past couple of years in the Bronx. If they want to throw silly money his way then be my guest, I just wonder if fans will find a way to blame the Yankees for this?

Yanks talk Abreu

The New York Yankees are going to add at least one OF this off season, I think we can all agree on that and today the name being touted around by various sources in the Phillies GG All-Star RF, Bobby Abreu.

The various rumours include a possible scenario which would send Jorge Posada, Carl Pavano and Eric Duncan to Philly in return for Abreu and Mike Lieberthal. Abreu has a full No Trade Clause and Lieberthal is a 10/5 man so both players would have to agree to a trade to the Bronx Bombers. None of the players from the Yankee side of the deal would have to agree.

This possible trade seems to have bloomed out of the Yankees talking to the NL East giant about CF Jason Michaels. The Bombers have been looking to replace Bernie Williams as they try to find the next incumbent of one of the most famous positions in professional sports but after losing out on Aaron Rowand, whose incidentally been traded to the Phillies and with Brian Giles seemingly reluctant to move to the East Coast, the Yankees are running out of options.

Abreu would not play CF and would most likely stay in RF, moving the Sheff to a f/t DH role. This leaves the CF problem well and truly open. The swap of catchers though seems to fly under the radar of this potential trade. Posada is better than Lieberthal, however he has $21m guaranteed money should he make 62 starts behind the plate next season, which is a lot of money for a player whose star is fading.

So will the Yanks pull the trigger on this blockbuster? Time will tell but personally as much as I like Abreu, I don't want to give Pavano and Duncan up in a deal to get him.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Flash - Rocky Style

For two years he has been the setup man for Mariano Rivera, but Flash Gordon is now looking set for a switch of role and a switch of leagues. Following Billy Wagner's departure from the land of Rocky Balboa, the Phillies have earmarked the former Red Sox closer as the guy they want on the mound with the game on the line.

Following 2.21 and 2.57 ERA seasons with the Yankees, Gordon seems to want one last shot at the big job. Having closed for both the Chicago clubs as well as the Sox, he has the make-up of being a top notch ninth inning guy, of that there is little doubt, but the surprise to me is how most Yankee fans seem happy that he seems on his way.

His performances setting up for Mo have been very good, and if the bp had any other guys who could get hitters out then he wouldn't of been overworked. We need to be adding to the 'pen, not subtracting and the way things are going, all the quality relievers are going to end up not playing in the Bronx.

No deal has been struck but the Phillies are said to be the most aggressive suitor for Gordon and with the closers job up for grabs in a good baseball town on a playoff calibre team, it seems as though a deal may indeed come about. Should it do so the Yankees would take the Phillies #22 pick in the first round of the 2006 draft as well as a supplementary pick at the end of the first round.

I want Flash back, sadly it looks as though my wish will not come true...this time.

Yankees miss out on record BJ

So the Blue Jays are willing to commit $47m over five years to bring in stud LHP BJ Ryan to close games, not bad work if you can get it. After two pretty good years at Camden Yards, Ryan has been one of the hottest properties in an icy cold FA Hot Stove as teams with money to spend are finding that the players just aren't worth the money they have.

BJ has used this to his advantage to get this contract and good luck to him. My esteemed colleague believes that the contract is ridiculous and as much as I hate to do this, I have to agree with him 100%. How can a player with one years closing experience have more guaranteed money on his contract that arguably the greatest ever, and without doubt the best playing the game today, our very own Mariano Rivera?

I'm certainly not convinced that this guy is going to have that closers mentality and it's certainly interesting that he's chosen to pitch for a team highly unlikely to make the playoffs in the near future. There will not be much pressure on Ryan apart from that $47m millstone around his neck as the Blue Jays are not in the same ballpark as either the Yankees or Red Sox as I sit here typing.

Did he chase the money and not the glory? Does he not believe in his stuff? A playoff calibre team will of come calling but he's chosen to spend the first big contract of his career playing north of the border in front of small crowds where his work will largely go unnoticed by the baseball loving community.

This is not a good move for Ryan as he won't get as many chances as he would at a good club and the exposure for him will be nothing compared to what it could've been. I wanted him setting up for Mo as his stuff is filthy but that price I'll pass and let him enjoy his sabbatical up at The Rogers Centre.

Saturday, November 26, 2005

What could I buy for $47 million?

Well I could buy,
or apparently,
I appreciate that the Blue Jays have some money to spend, but really - 5 years and $47 million for BJ Ryan (and as has been pointed out elsewhere, check out his player bio and tell me how we came to BJ)?

So Billy Wagner goes for how much these days? I would say I pity the team that is trying to sign Wagner, but given it is the New York 'Kris Benson' Mets that are apparently in the lead... what goes around comes around.

(and remember bid, and bid often... although inclusion on this blog should not be considered an endorsement of the auction, or the item, or anything else - if you want to bid $400,000 for an X-Box 360, you feel free - though you could give the $360,000 here and it all goes to charity, and you would be pretty much guaranteed a fantastic day in the Red Sox operations room as the 2006 trading deadline approaches!)

Friday, November 25, 2005

Trade Official

Well at long last, the trade between the Sox and the Marlins is official. The Red Sox receive
(those guys at sure work quick!)

while giving up on
The late additions of Mota and Garcia are - depending on whether your glass is half full or half empty - clever brinkmanship from the Sox to get a useful bullpen arm, or to compensate for the balky shoulder of Josh Beckett revealed in his medical data.

The Sox have picked up a lot of pieces in this trade as well as a lot of money - time will tell whether all the pieces are on the 25 man roster come next April. As for whether this is a good trade...

We will need even more time to make that call than next April. The Sox have picked up a strong power arm, which if healthy, can significantly help the Sox for a number of years. Equally, they have given up the best "tools" SS in the minors - but significantly, one whose numbers have never really matched the hype... so far...

There have been quite a few posts on regular media, and blog, sites, that this is the start of the end of Theo's much vaunted minor league system, but I don't buy that type of hysteria. The Red Sox, and Yankees for that matter, are never going to be the type of team that runs out a team of guys that have all been developed in the minor league system. To make it from the minors in these teams, and stay, the prospect is going to have be quite special - otherwise, they will do exactly what has happened here - be used as chips to get plus talent from teams who have more pressing salary issues.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

The Panic Button

So after the fun and games of the Josh Beckett trade, the big question is now whether or not the panic button will be pressed in the Yankees head office and they trade everyone for someone. This is an interesting time to see whether or not Cash is in charge or whether he is still just the front man for George and his boys.

I like Buster Olney's article over at He basically says that the Yanks aren't going to get mad and will concentrate on making the right moves for both the 2006 season and beyond, something which I would be very happy with as this Yankee team isn't that far away from being pretty good already.

A line-up that includes Jeter, A-Rod, Sheff, Matsui and Giambi will always score runs. Add to that the growth of Robinson Cano as a hitter (still not sold on his D) then you have six players that start the year with a chance of going to the All-Star game, the line-up pretty much takes care of itself. We have a hole in CF but if we can get a guy who can catch a ball and look decent at the plate then that is fine by me.

The rotation looks set as far as numbers go. We haven't seen the best of either Carl Pavano nor Jaret Wright due to injury problems. Randy Johnson might well be better after getting a year in the Bronx under his belt. Mussina will return and then you have Chien-Ming Wang and Shawn Chacon. Wright looks set to be the odd man out and move to the pen if no moves are made and although that isn't a great rotation that we've seen in the past, it is good enough.

We have to look at the pen and that is what I am sure the Cash is working on. BJ Ryan looks set to go off and close somewhere but with arms like Bob Howry, Arthur Rhodes and Brandon Looper all available then there are options to be explored. Of course the Flash situation is important as bringing him back would be huge for us but we already have the nucleus of a pretty good ball club should we avoid serious injuries so there is no need to panic.

Now we'll see who is really in charge.

Defending Bill Simmons and Red Sox Nation

The world clearly has ended... sometime on my train trip, or perhaps when I was sitting in my thrilling class on Bankruptcy and Reorganization...

A Yankee fan decided to take two cheap shots at our beloved Sox... one a shot at Lowell's contract ignores the reality of the "Beckett and" part of the Beckett and Lowell trade (and you will note, still no post from me on the subject... still waiting)... while the second... well the second really is too much to bear...

A Yankee fan, telling Sox fans how we should feel about Roger Clemens... seriously... I am almost speechless... almost.

Where to start - "Whilst he was a fine pitcher during his days with the Boston club, he became great during his time in Toronto, New York and Houston" - I don't think I have ever read something so (baseball) shockingly wrong since... I am genuinely struggling here, how can someone claim to be a Clemens fan, and make such a statement?

But Simmons distaste for Clemens has nothing to do with his decision to leave Boston, or the fact that an argument can be made that he posted it in, in his last 4 years (he didn't), or that he forced an "illegal" trade from Toronto to New York... but it is all set out here, here and oh here.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Crazy crazy story #1 - Nomar for CF

Well although talking about Ichiro for CF may be a long shot, it is actually not beyond the realms of possibility. Today the voice and face of the YES network, Michael Kay made his thoughts known on who would be Bernie's replacement in CF in the big ballpark in the Bronx.


Yes that's right, Nomar 'I can't be arsed to play' Garciaparra.

The Nomar Garciaparra who has done nothing in two years. The Nomar Garciaparra who has never played in the Outfield in his career. The Nomar Garciaparra whom the Sox fans lost their love-in with when he said he was injured and didn't want to play in the final game of that great Yankees/Sox series in New York in June/July 2004. The games where Sheff fouled off eight straight 0-2 inside fastballs before lining one inside of third for the go-ahead run. The games where Jeter dived into the stands, the games where A-Rod thought he'd started a triple play but you can't get the same runner out twice. The games where Jorge took Pedro into the upper deck after not going deep in a month, the Flaherty walk off ground-rule single, the games where Felix Heredia (remember him?) got out of a bases-loaded nobody out jam ffs, this was a great series and Nomar didn't fancy it.

I don't want any part of this, I don't like players who won't go out there and give it a shot even if not 100%. If a manager decides you are better off sitting then fair do's but Nomar made himself unavailable for this game, it isn't something you should do. Even if you wouldn't mind Nomar, Nomar for CF? We need to actually get better defensively, not worse.

Still it was only Michael Kay who brought it up, I think I can take this with a giant North Sea sized spoon of salt.

Oh Josh Beckett...(and Bill Simmons)

I have already said my piece on Beckett, good deal done by the Sox, give them props but after reading Bill Simmons article on my blood is starting to boil.

Two major points really got to me, firstly saying that Mike Lowell may suck but it was 'the lemon we (the Red Sox) had to take to get Josh Beckett'. Basically if he sucked it wasn't a problem. Having a $9m bench player for two years isn't a problem and yet for as long as I've been a fan of the game, Red Sox fans have been having a go at the New York Yankees for taking on bad contracts and having ridiculously well paid players sitting on the bench. Bill says 'Worst-case scenario, he replaces Kevin Millar as the team's "right-handed slugger who used to hit for power right up to the year they started testing for steroids, I'm sure it's just a crazy coincidence" guy.' Having $18m locked up in a bad player is the type of thing the Yankees have done for years, is the mantle shifting? Whilst I still contend this is a good deal for the Sox, stating that the Lowell part of the trade is exciting is really taking the piss.

Also his bitterness regarding the Rocket, you've got to love fans who like to diss their old players. Was it or was it not the Red Sox who decided that Clemens wasn't a player they wanted to keep? Did they or did they not leave him on the scrapheap? Did he or not he not become the sure fire first ballot Hall of Famer he now is away from Boston? Whilst he was a fine pitcher during his days with the Boston club, he became great during his time in Toronto, New York and Houston. As everyone knows the Rocket is my boy so anyone dissing him gets at the very worst disapproving looks from me.

Finally on this subject he spoke about how glad he was that Jon Lester wasn't included in the deal but went on to say how prospects are just that and aren't that important, how can you argue in the same article both ways? It makes no sense!

I was more annoyed about this article several hours ago when I first read it and now I don't really care yet still have blogged. I suppose I needed to do something with my time, only 29 minutes to go until Around The Horn and PTI, I wonder what they'll make of this deal...

Beckett sent to Beantown

So the first big trade of the BOS/NYY off season has been completed by the Red Sox. They've brought in Florida Marlins Pitcher Josh Beckett and taken on the $18m left on Mike Lowell's contract. To get these players they have finally dealt Hanley Ramirez who every Sox fan seemed to think was the next great thing, and to go with him the Sox have added Anibal Sanchez and Jesus Delgado to the deal.

It will become official after all players have completed the appropriate physicals.

Now how does this effect the Bronx Bombers?

Whilst there is no doubt whatsoever as to Josh Beckett's quality, his proneness to injury will be a concern to Sox fans. Mike Lowell had an awful year and it'll be interesting to see how my colleague Neil H sees this part of the deal as he thought Lowell was done last season whilst I thought he'd bounce back (I for once am hoping that he was right and I was horribly wrong for once).

The Yanks could've had Beckett but would of had to take on Juan Pierre and Luis Castillo's contracts as well as sending Robinson Cano, Chien Ming-Wang, Eric Duncan and another as yet unnamed prospect to the Marlins. I am perfectly happy that Cash said 'thanks but no thanks' and put the phone down.

Whilst this deal does make Boston better, I am less concerned that I probably should be. I don't want to move our star assets in this deal and we can't exactly stop Red Sox trades. We have to concentrate on making ourselves better and I am sure we will. Good deal for the Sox, let's just hope we can trump them.

Did someone say Ichiro?

Looking back at... our pitching

Well the Sox appear to be on the verge of adding Josh Beckett - but given how things tend to work on Sox deals (See Rod, E, for details) I will wait until the deal is done before getting too excited.

Continuing my theme of looking back at how the Sox performed in 2005, it does seem an appropriate time to look more at our pitching performance in the season past.

When you consider that the Sox ranked 24th, 19th, 24th, 24th, 20th and 25th (team ERA, Blown Save %, Runs Allowed, Batting Average Against, On Base %, Slugging % respectively), it is fair to say that our pitching staff wasn't our greatest asset - although that ignores the fact that they ranked 7th, 9th and 1st (in BB/9, K/BB and... ... ta da... Hit Batters! - be proud Sox fans). What it is fair to say, is that the Sox achieved what they did in 2005 on the strength of their hitting, and that our pitching has to be the key issue to address for our new GM, whoever, and whenever, that might be.

One thing that stood out for me was the Blown Save % - the Sox bullpen blew exactly 1 in 3 leads that were handed to them (19 of 57 opportunities) - of the teams ranked below them, only three had winning records on the year - the Mets, the Phillies and... the Braves, only four teams above them had losing records, led by the Pirates who blew only 12 save opportunities all season... but they only had 47 opportunities all season, second lowest in the majors (say hello Kansas City). The Sox didn't lose all those games (for example), but it clearly placed a lot of pressure on both the pitching staff and our hitters.

The Sox bullpen in 2006 will include Foulke and Timlin, most likely ROOGY Bradford and LOOGY Myers and potentially Hansen, Delcarmen and DiNardo - will that be good enough? A lot clearly depends on Foulke, and his ability to bounce back from a truly horrendous 2005 season. I guess the key is hoping that his season foundered on physical issues rather than the mental issues that appeared to be a large part of the problem latterly.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Is Ichiro available?

Talk has been rumbling on for a while that Ichiro is getting a bit fed up with the Mariners and might be keen to move on. Speaking to the Kyodo News last week, the RF reportedly said that he was not happy with the way the players prepare themselves and was missing playing in the postseason. Also the only thing keeping him going was the pursuit of personal goals rather than team ones as the team seemingly weren't that interested in playing hard.

Ichiro moving on was mooted about a couple of times last season and whilst it is unlikely the M's would be keen on moving him, the reality might be hitting home that his unhappiness might lead to him demanding a trade.

Would he be a good fit in Pinstripes? That is a no brainer. He could patrol CF or play Right with Gary Sheffield becoming the Yankees answer to David Ortiz as a F/T DH. Do the Yankees have the chips to bring Ichiro in? Yes they do but the bigger question is whether or not the Yanks are willing to pay the steep price that Ichiro will surely demand. The M's are high on both Wang and Pavano and these two could easily form the basis of a trade.

Still despite all this the Yankees are not getting Ichiro unless the player himself comes out in public and states that he wants a trade. It was thought that this was highly unlikely but as time passes the hot stove continues to bubble and an old English expression is that 'there is no smoke without fire' and considering this, you never know but the Japanese star may join up with his fellow countryman in the Yankees OF.

Adding Ichiro to the Yankees would be an amazing coup but every team in baseball would go after Ichiro if he were available. Still it gives us something to write about...

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Ryan speaks with Tigers, Jays and Mets

The New York Yankees are well known to be on the tail of FA LHP BJ Ryan, but the hard throwing left-hander has already spoken with the Blue Jays and the Tigers about becoming their closer. Last night he flew into New York for talks with the Mets a baseball source said on condition of anonymity, they are thought be be after either Billy Wagner or Ryan, with the former seemingly moving closer to staying with the Phillies, and have therefore switched their primary attention to Ryan

No talks are thought to be scheduled yet between the Bombers and Ryan, but their is little doubt that they will talk. Ryan has already stated that he is more concerned about being with a winning organization than being a closer, meaning that he wouldn't have a problem being the Yankees setup man for Mariano Rivera.

Flash Gordon is exploring the market as he considers whether he wants to leave the Bronx to become a closer, but the door is certainly not shut on him returning to the Yankees. Scott Eyre is another option the Yankees have as they look to bolster their bullpen for next season.

Whilst BJ Ryan is clearly their #1 target, their are other options out there and the Yankees will not be bent over a barrel to sign this guy.

Giles called and Damon discussed

Yankees manager Joe Torre called Free Agent OF Brian Giles on Tuesday to speak to the player about possibly playing in the Bronx. The 34 year-old with a career .413 OBP interests the Yanks as they look to overhaul their OF. With talk of Gary Sheffield either being traded or made into the full-time DH, the Yankees need to shore up defense, which has been lacking in recent years.

Giles' bat would be nice in any line-up. He is a high OBP guy with good power and despite playing in the pitchers paradise known as Petco Park for half his games last year, he was still able to hit over .300 on the year. His left handed swing would also fit well in the big ballpark in the Bronx due to the short RF porch.

Whether or not he is the teams answer to the CF problem is unclear. The possibility of moving Matsui to CF has also been spoken about but that doesn't excite me either. Yankee officials seem to be talking about a 3yr/$33m deal for the former Padre, which might be good value but it wouldn't exactly be making the team younger, something the Yankees were seemingly keen to do this off season.

Johnny Damon is perhaps the premier CF on the FA market but with super-agent Scott Boras looking for 7yr/$84m, the Yankees have already moved him to the back of the line with 4yr/$44m being the top end of the Yankee budget for the former Red Sox CF.

How this one plays out will be interesting, many names are being tossed out with regards to the CF problem, but where will the Yankees go? Giles, Matsui, Crosby, Rowand, Bradley, Ichiro? Place your bets now!

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Yanks exploring Rowand options

The New York Yankees are exploring a possible three-way deal to bring in Chicago White Sox CF Aaron Rowand to the Bronx. The above average CF has been put on the trading block by the current World Champs because of their top prospects in AAA ball are ready to step up, but this doesn't mean Rowand wouldn't be a terrific signing for the Yanks.

The Yanks and Sox do not match up well hence why the Bombers are looking to bring in a third team to get the deal done. Talk is rife that Gary Sheffield might be the player set to leave the Yanks to get this deal done but that is only rumour at the moment. Out of the every day Yankees, only he and Jorge Posada do not have full No Trade Clauses but with the likes of Chacon, Pavano, Small and Wright all thought to be available, the Yankees could be moving starting pitching to get the chips needed to seal the deal with the White Sox.

I am a Rowand fan and would be delighted to see him patrolling the CF in the big ballpark in the Bronx. He may not be the greatest hitter in the world but he is a career .283 hitter in the bigs, has good gap power and the occasional big blast in him. He plays GG calibre defense and can steal a bag or two. If he could up his walk rate (62 in the past two years) then he could be a very able and valuable member of the 2006 team.

So will this deal get done and who will it cost? I like Rowand but do I like him enough to give up Sheff? Possibly not. I love my boy Jorge but if his departure brought in Rowand then I could take it, but preferably it'll be one of the four pitchers I mentioned and then I would be one very happy Yankee fan

Drugs are bad for you

Neil H and I many moons ago spoke about our thoughts on drugs. I am very much on the side that hates performance enhancing drugs and Congress and Bud Selig have seemingly forced the strongest union in North America to back down as yesterday we saw MLB impose strict new drug laws in the game of baseball.

From next season a failed drugs test for either steroids or amphetamines and you will be sitting out for 50 games. Strike two would see you watching from the sidelines for 100 games and strike three, you're out! I am pleased that we have got this far as to get the baseball union to agree to this is really quite something. I think it should be strike one and a years ban and then any second positive test should see you receive a lifetime ban.

I don't like drugs, I make no bones about it and think players have a responsibility to the paying public and most importantly the youth of today to show that they can play the game cleanly and that is the right way to do things. Professional sportsmen who take drugs are cheats and they are robbing the fans of watching a sporting event on an even keel.

This is a strong message sent out by the powers that be and players should realize that the American public do not care for cheaters in sport anymore. I think most knew that steroids were rife but didn't care but things have changed. The players don't all want to be tarred with the same brush and they want to play in a clean sport.

Atlanta Braves catcher Johnny Estrata told "That's going to shake it up a little bit, (the amphetamines part of the deal) Amphetamines have been around since the days of Ty Cobb and Mickey Mantle. It was kept hush-hush and just accepted. Now that they're in the public eye, guys are getting criticized for taking them. I've heard guys say they'd retire if they can't take amphetamines. I don't know if they're joking or not."

So some players aren't going to be happy with this, tough. You get paid very handsomely and are role models to thousands of people, if they can't get up to play in front of legions of fans then I personally wonder if they are doing the right thing with their lives. Drugs are bad, we should be preaching this and I think this news will save lives, bit dramatic you might think but I think it will.

Good job Bud. That isn't something I thought I'd ever type...

Japanese mythical monster news

Or is Godzilla real? Answers on a postcard or via e-mail if you please.

As for the Yankee version Mr Matsui, he will remain the patrolling Left Fielder for the Bronx Bombers for another four years on a contract worth between $51m and $52m according to various baseball sources citing familiarity with the situation.

After three straight years of 100+ RBIs it was unlikely the Yankees would baulk at his asking price and that the deal wouldn't get done. Cash made it clear that Matsui was his number one priority going into the off season and despite being overpaid by a couple of million a year and possibly getting a year too many, this signing was one the Yankees had to make.

Matsui brings more to the franchise than his playing ability, he brings with him a huge following in his native Japan. He is a national hero and by keeping his services, the Bronx Bombers will keep up the massive international interest that has followed him since he strode into New York in time for the 2003 season.

I do not have a problem with this deal, I like Matsui and believe that he'll be a productive player for the length of his contract. He'll be 35 by the time the contract is up, and whilst his skills will probably be diminishing, they won't be at Bernie like levels that we've witnessed over the past two years. Whilst any Yankee fan will (and rightly so) love Bernie, the end of his days in CF were not the greatest and it was sad to see such a great player and borderline Hall of Famer fade in the public eye so drastically.

So Matsui is done and dusted, now it is time to go and find a CF and seal up the BJ Ryan deal. Cash is one for one so far, I like 100% records...

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

A belated article about MVP-Rod

Well my pretties A-Rod won the AL MVP yesterday by getting 16 1st placed votes compared to the Cookie Monster's 11. Some idiot gave Vlad a vote, this guy should lose his voting privileges but he isn't the biggest idiot out there. Can you believe someone in the NL Cy Young ballot voted for Chad Cordero? Honestly is there anyone who gets a vote who is a bigger idiot than this guy?

As the Yankees half of the team then I suspect you'd expect me to think they've got this one right, well no I don't. However this pick was less wrong than either Cy Young award, Colon and Carpenter should've been 3rd in their respective leagues but they won.

I like A-Rod, he is a fine player but the expectation levels are ridiculously high because of that insane contract that he inked after the 2000 season. He had a great season of that there is little doubt but the award is named the 'Most Valuable player' award and I firmly believe that Big Papi was more valuable to the Sox than A-Rod was to the Yanks. If A-Rod goes down injured last year then the Yankees lose a great player but still have great players, if the Sox lost Ortiz then they would lose their leader and the talent surrounding A-Rod was greater than that the Sox had around Ortiz.

Personally speaking A-Rod wasn't even the most valuable Yankee. Take Rivera out of the closers role and exposing a chronic lack of depth in the pen and the Yankees lose far more games without Mo than they do without the great third baseman. I do believe that A-Rod's gold glove calibre defense should carry some weight but not as much as many Yankee fans would make us believe. Jose Canseco won an MVP and he was a butcher in the field. In the AL the DH is a valid position so I'd of had no problem if he'd of won it all.

So A-Rod won, Mo got screwed out of the Cy Young award and Cano had a season worthy of winning the RoY but I won't argue it. Hopefully we'll have some news on Godzilla later today...

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Starting to look back

Well given that baseball is in its quietest period, I will spend the next few weeks and months looking back at the last year, and trying to put the "disappointment" of a 95 win season in perspective.

One of the things I enjoy about records and statistics is the ability to prove yourself wrong. One of my perceptions in the season past, was that the Sox performed very poorly when they were held to a few runs... well that perception was correct, they only won 9 games all season when they scored 3 runs or less, but when you look at their record over the last few years... that was nothing out of the ordinary:

Red Sox Score


















































































But I can give the new GM, whoever that might be (and count me under-whelmed by all the names that have been mentioned / interviewed so far), some very strong advice... build a team that scores 9 runs or more a game, every game, and they will have quite a successful tenure.

The Sox have only lost 2 games in the last 5 seasons when they have scored 10 runs or more, one of those being the official start of the "Pedro might be human" era - the fateful date? April 1st, 2002 - Opening Day, when despite an awful start, Petey wasn't the losing pitcher in an 11-12 reversal, that honor went to accused attempted murderer, Ugueth Urbina. This start was the end of the no-doubt Pedro era, at least for me - 2002 spring training was awful for Pedro, and I had continued to justify it to myself, as "only spring training", but pretty hard to keep that line up when he gave up 8 runs, 7 earned, in 3 innings in his first start of the season... incredibly, outlasting Blue Jays starter, 2005 NL Cy Young winner, Chris Carpenter!

The other? Not such a big shock when the starting pitcher was Sox favorite John Burkett, but again, John was dealt a tough luck loss (I am trying to be kind, he gave up 5 runs) in an September start against the Orioles in 2003, where the pitcher of record was Byung-Hyun Kim - who gave up 4 runs, 0 earned, in an inning of work...

Thursday, November 10, 2005

369 Miles... does the Free Agents - Part III

So here we are, part three and we finally get to some picks for the Yankees and the Red Sox, the main point of this blog! Did you know that the word blog isn’t in the Microsoft Word dictionary? If you didn’t then I’ve taught you something. Here we go, five players of very differing abilities:

NYN says:

Another name I'm not convinced deserves to be in this list, Matt Morris is yours for debate

RSN says:

Well I think that the Cardinals might pass on Matt - his numbers aren't that convincing, I guess it boils down to whether he is willing to take a home town discount to find out if Busch II is a hitter's park. Out side St. Louis, I can see the Rangers making a run at him... they will buy into the veteran pitcher tag, and hope that he can help to transform that staff... which he won't...and in a nice coincidence, you get Molina, you get Piazza! retire, retire, retire... discuss?

NYN says:

No. Go to the AL and be a F/T DH and I'll tell you something, he can actually be good for a year or two. He can still hit if given an hour to sit down between each plate appearance. I think LAA is a good fit, I think also the Indians could use him if they were to play Hafner at 1st full-time. Sadly you get NYY bound BJ Ryan so I can't bask in the glow...

RSN says:

Well ok... I really am ok if this guy ends up with the Yanks. At some point, all baseball teams will realize that giving multi-year, multi-dollar contracts to relief pitchers is a big mistake... I give you Karsay... Quantrill... etc, etc... I guess though he gives you that left hand power pitcher to throw at Ortiz... (hint, hint... look at the individual match-ups in 2005). Having said that, if he ends up with the Sox... If you want a left handed power pitcher surely you go for the FA market daddy, Billy Wagner?

NYN says:

Wagner is the best closer on the market, probably the best arm on the market full stop. How can you not like this guy? He'll get the big money, he'll get to close in a big market, he may even be brought in to replace Foulke, which would bum me out or he'll go to the Mets, I think in all honestly that it is a two-horse race between those two big hitters in the money stakes. Last name isn't Flash Gordon or Godzilla who somehow escape the top 15 list, but it is the over rated bum Preston Wilson, go for it RSN, say the Mariners again!

RSN says:

Erm.... the Mariners are an interesting bet... nah, not this time! How did he end up in the top 15? Which team needs an over-rated, over-priced CF who had one great, park effect assisted year, one who is injury prone, it has to of course be the Yankees! You know when names like this appear in the top 15 list, you have to realize how thin this market is, - how much guys like Wilson get, will be a sign of the sanity / insanity that is beginning to bubble in markets - how long until A-Rod's contract is a bargain again?

NYN says:

I think the market will correct itself, I do not think we'll see another $20m player unless Clemens comes back this year and goes to arbitration, if he doesn't then it'll be many a year until the big money is splashed again. I know the market is definitely a players market this year but the biggest contracts will be in the $11m/yr range (Wagner and Matsui)


Neil M

Neil H














scrapheap or Giants


So there you have it loyal (and not so loyal) readers of 3,079 Miles... (We don’t mind if you are a casual reader, we have a very laid back policy on how you decide to spend your time reading our thoughts, we just hope you enjoy it) there are our thoughts for the big FA moves over the off season. We’ll dip into these from time to time over the next few weeks to see how we did.

Coming up soon I know I’ll have a look at what the Yanks will do over the next few weeks and I am sure Neil H will do the same for you Boston fans at some point in the near future.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

3,448 Miles... does the Free Agents - Part II

So players one to five are off the charts, now we have five more players from the FA Tree. Tonight we see the best hitter, the guy with the most walks in the bigs, a real nothing player and a damn fine pitcher to go with one of the Molina brothers, they are all catchers don’t you know?

RSN says:

ok then, next up is Giles going to be a Yankee?

NYN says:

I wouldn't be against the idea of Giles as a Yankee, high OBP, takes his walks, hit very well away from Petco Park, nice fielder, nice swing, however I think the Yankees are going to pursue younger targets. Giles would be a good addition to a team on the cusp of being very good, how about at Wrigley or maybe even in LA as Bradley's replacement, I think he'll stay in the NL personally I do like Giles a lot and feel he'll be good, but will he be four-year contract good? That is the worry I'd have about him, next up is another one of those 'meh' players, Jacques Jones, it says a lot about this years FA class that this guy is ranked in the top 15 FA's

RSN says:

Yep, and he is staying with the Twins is my guess - despite all evidence to the contrary, my guess is that Twins management, looking for more offense, make the mistake of believing that Jones is one of the positives on that team's offense and keep him. If Jones is a 'meh' name, then next up is the name of the 2005 class... Paul Konerko. Any votes for anyone other than the 2005 World Champions?

NYN says:

You know I have banged on to you for a few weeks about how he'd fit in well in your lineup and with the possibility that Manny may finally be dealt and form a nasty hitting OF of Vlad, Garret and Manny in Orange County, I still believe he'd be a perfect fit as your next clean-up hitter, having said all that, he's staying in Chi Town. You get a damn good (and one of my pitchers in our keeper fantasy league) Kevin Millwood next

RSN says:

And for the first time tonight I think the Sox might be serious players. I just don't think the Indians can afford to keep him, as this will be the year that Millwood gets that big contract that his agent has been promising since he left Atlanta. I think any team that wants to upgrade the pitching staff has to be speaking to this guy - Sox, Orioles, Blue Jays... Mariners (I will throw the Mariners name in with every free agent, I have to get lucky with one, then look smug!)... left field choice, back to the NL with the Padres. Ok, the first of the Molina clan hits the market. Were will his mitt and chest guard call home next year?

NYN says:

When I checked our list and saw I'd get Bengie, I swore as I had no idea. Looking at the list though I notice that Piazza is of course on it and will be dealt with later but with him leaving the Mets, they need a premier catcher, and they have the money that Bengie would be looking for, 2+2=5? Or inspired thinking by my brain, you decide. As for Millwood, if he goes to Petco I'll be cheering, think of his ERA in that ballpark for me :D


Neil M

Neil H








White Sox

White Sox







So there we go boys and boys, another five players debated and although I haven't picked anyone to join the Yanks yet, both Brian Giles (whose agent has been contacted by Cash) and Begine Molina are possibles. Tomorrow night I'll tell you all (as if you didn't know already) that BJ Ryan is going to the Yankees, Neil H will say he's not very good but he's just jealous, although he might actually get the better LHP to come in from the bp in the 9th...

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Mown Down

So despite not being the best starter in the AL (Santana) nor the best reliever (Rivera) today it was announced that Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim Starting Pitcher Bartolo Colon has won the American League Cy Young Award with his 21-8 3.48 record.

I am totally not enamored by this decision. Yes I wanted Mo to win as I thought he had a mighty fine season, but I wouldn't of been totally mad if either Santana or even the fine season of Kevin Millwood was rewarded with the award. I just didn't see anything special from Colon and think the fact that he won over twenty games provided far too much weight for the Pro-Colon camp compared to what it should've done.

Colon got 17 1st placed votes and the other 11 voters all had him in 2nd where as Mo got eight top votes and seven each for 2nd and 3rd. Johan Santana got the other three remaining 1st placed votes. 2005 wasn't a great year for pitching in the AL, but Mariano was dominant in what he did, Santana was supreme and Millwood was a revelation.

You've got it wrong sportswriters, you really have.

3,079 Miles... does the Free Agents - Part I

So here we are, no baseball until the weather starts getting better and the nights stop getting earlier. Neil H and I will over the next three days discuss the top 15 Free Agents according to Tonight we’ll see the top FA SP, a dodgy armed CF, a live wire of an arm, and two of the real big question marks of the off season, one as he deserves a big contract but it is hard to see where he’ll fit and the other whose stock has dropped so far his career is in serious trouble.

So here goes…

NYN says:
First up is argubly the best FA SP on the market, sub .500 AJ Burnett, where will he pop up next?

RSN says:
My guess here is... I really don't know! The Blue Jays interest is intriguing as with the (claimed) increased payroll, he would be a nice fit behind Halladay, and ahead of the young arms that the Jays have. I can't see the Yanks or Red Sox (though the Sox probably have more interest of the two) getting seriously involved - the Yanks because they were burned by Pavano, the Sox because I can't see them overpaying with the arms coming up through the system. One other intriguing option - the Mariners... with the revenues they have, and the apparent failure of the offense splurge next year, perhaps this year is the pitching splurge?

RSN says:
Next up JD - Damon in pinstripes?

NYN says:
No chance, The Yankees will only be in the market for Damon if they are trying to drive up the price, the Yankees interest in Damon is not real. The Yankees are looking at either Milton Bradley, Jeremy Reed or Ichiro, yes Ichiro to play CF in THTRB. As for Damon, the logical place is to stay in Boston, why would he leave? Varitek stayed last year and I expect Damon to follow suit. Going back to AJ for the record I have him in Toronto, the next on our list is Kyle Farnsworth, terrific arm but I wouldn't trust him in the 9th, who will?

RSN says:
I think the Orioles - he has the experience of working with Mazzone, seems an easy and logical choice for him when BJ moves on... And given we are debating West Wing style... Yankees... Ichiro.... what on earth do the Yankees have that the Mariners would take back for the face of their franchise.... and the Yankees need to be careful they don't end up with Damon. Ok next up, the premier SS on the market Noma... Rafael Furcal - does Furcal end Nomar's hopes of staying in Chicago?

NYN says:
Furcal is a real interesting one as Kansas City have expressed a serious interest in him, and are willing to sign him to a big time deal, what on Earth is going on with that? He said he's play 2nd if the right situation came about, i.e. the Yanks or BoSox but I see neither being interested unless the Yanks move Cano. I'm honestly not sure where he'll end up, think he'll go under the radar and sign for a team that isn't exactly top notch, possible the Tigers.

NYN says:
Your former SS is now a forlorn figure in Chicago, where will Nomar play on the field as well as in what city?

RSN says:
Well can Nomar's stock fall any further? From a 4 year, $15m offer by the Sox, rejected as insulting, to a one year deal to "re-establish" his value, to playing the last third of the season at 3b... I am still incredulous to the fact that of the big 3, only one is still a leading SS... as for Nomar, I guess another one year deal, if he has any sense he has to try and get a SS gig somewhere. He need to find a team that doesn't have a true sabermetrics GM, and who is willing to trade potential upside against the limitless downside of a $6m+ player on the DL for the majority of the season. Lets pull the mariners out of the FA hat again... I just don't see where he fits next year - do the Royals make him the leader of their team... but he has always been unwilling to fill that role...

So, after all that, our, come back and roast us when we are both 0/5, guesses are;


Neil M

Neil H


Blue Jays



Red Sox




Blue Jays







Next up boys and girls we’ll talk about the best hitter on the market and the guy with the lowest ERA out of the starters on the list, just how isn’t Clemens on this list?

Monday, November 07, 2005

The World according to Millar

The absolute killer quote in this piece is “The last couple of weeks of the year were a dogfight for me personally, and it was a dogfight trying to play every day with these computer matchups and all of this baloney", although I also enjoyed, "Why is it such a thing that when a team has that kind of success, there’s so much interest in making change? I’ve never understood that."

Welcome to the world of Kevin Millar who thinks that he might just team up with Bill Mueller and Johnny Damon to take his special brand of talent with the other two to one team next year - though which team might have space for a CF, a 3B and a chemistry 1B is a bit unclear - Kevin doesn't really think that people are signing him for his 2005 stat line does he?

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Matt Lawton isn't the big AL OF whose tested positive for drugs

Well that is if you believe him and also believe Will Carroll, whose comments gave us a week or so of speculation as to whom the AL OF who has tested positive for drugs is. He said it would be a player we cared about, he has since responded when asked, "So that was the guy we cared about???" with, 'What do you want? Do we all only care about gotchas and the next Palmeiro? Will we need ever increasing names or do we just want to headhunt Bonds until he admits he's the anti-christ, shot Kennedy, and impregnated our daughters with his steroid-ridden seed?'

"Really, what player SHOULDNT we care about and if I say, on national radio, "No, we shouldnt care" what does that say about me?"

All well and good but also he commented that the player in question was involved in the appeals process, something which Matt Lawton wasn't. 'I made a terrible and foolish mistake that I will regret for the rest of my life," Lawton told the AP. "I take full responsibility for my actions and did not appeal my suspension. I apologize to the fans, the game, my family and all those people I let down. I am truly sorry and deeply regret my terrible lapse in judgment.'

So someone is lying, either Lawton, which I find hard to believe given his frankness and honesty or Will Carroll decided to embellish the truth and make the whole story sound just that little bit more exciting. I don't care if Matt Lawton did drugs, he sucks, and it isn't like the drugs helped him become a good player. He wasn't even on the Yankees 25-man roster and if he thinks the average fan cares about Matt freaking Lawton then he is greatly mistaken.

They do care about players that actually mean something. It is the same in any sport, big names mean big stories, but if smaller lesser known players do something wrong then the general public, rightly or wrongly, are far less interested. Over here in the UK in the past few years we have had several footballers in court on various charges, the most high-profile were Jonathan Woodgate and Lee Bowyer, who were charged with assault and affray, whereas other lesser known players have gone through rape trials with hardly a murmur from the press, that is just the way it is boys and girls.

It was however Matt Lawton to whom Will Carroll was referring, good in a way that the sport won't be dragged through the mud, disappointing that the story was a let-down for the media, this was a non-story, which was nearly blown up into something very big...

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Cash me in

So A-Rod likes to play a bit of poker in his spare time with Phil Hellmuth Jnr, big ******* deal boys and girls. I am surprised that the NY Times even bothered posting such a non-story. I know he is one of the most famous guys in the city but going to, and gambling in these places is not illegal, although running them is certainly a grey area. So what if the guy wants to play some cards, I would prefer him to do that rather than dabble in drugs and excesses of booze.

I may have a strong feeling on this as I am myself a regular poker player. I like to play No Limit Texas Hold 'Em with a few mates with a drink and a bite to eat. It is really not a big deal, I know Stateside there are some real issues around gambling, and certainly within Major League Baseball, but you can't run a guys life.

The NY Times reported, "What in the world is he thinking?" a high-ranking MLB official said. "He can do what he wants in the off-season and he isn't breaking the law - we checked - but why do it?" My reply to this 'high-ranking MLB official' is why not? He isn't breaking the law and playing cards with poker players has absolutely no effect on baseball. Poker players play poker, they don't gamble on sporting events, they are two very different aspects of gambling, so MLB should shut their traps and stop getting their knickers in a twist over this.

I have to say this has really pissed me off, an article with quotes from up high dissing a human being for a perfectly legal act, what is this World coming too?

You won't believe this, but it could be worse!

Cheer up Red Sox fans, you could also be a fan of Heart of Midlothian football club (and that's real football, using your feet, not football football that sees your feet only when things have gone very wrong).

In the space of the last 14 days, Hearts have fired their manager (Francona's equivalent), their Chief Executive (a mix of Theo and Lucchino) and the Chairman (a figurehead role, a bit like Gammons if only he had a non-Executive role in the Red Sox), as well as lost a key derby game to Hibs (the equivalent of the Sox / Yankees... well without the glamour)... and all of these things happened while Hearts were safely in first place...

Hey, instead of H / W / L we could have this guy - the 29 year old son of the owner... and we all know how those 29 year olds work out...

A diatribe about spin... and some baseball stuff

Well 24 hours later... and he is still gone!

Today the players weighed in on the subject - the thoughts of Schilling, Varitek and Ortiz can be found without much effort in various sites on the web. It really does raise an interesting point - why do people when asked a question feel that they absolutely have to have an opinion? Why couldn't the three guys just tell the truth - 'At a personal level, I am sorry that Theo is gone, but I have absolutely no idea what went down, I haven't been in touch with anyone at the club since the Chicago series...' unless they do know something... in which case.... let it all out... name names!

This move is going to provide a lot of talking points over the next few days, weeks and months, and I find myself very frustrated that I can't articulate the mixture of emotions that this move, but more particularly the response from fellow Red Sox fans, draws out - I guess the way for this Sox fan to go is just to pick one small theme each day, and see if I can get my bigger picture over that way...

Today's theme - LL is a lying *, who used the media to further his own goals and stab Theo in the back...

This is a very common theme today, borne out of the belief that Theo had agreed to come back, but that on reading this article, Theo changed his mind. This is part of the wider fan theme that the Sox ownership group is obsessed with spin and managing the PR game - any readers in the UK see a well worn theme here? Perhaps Tony Blair could resign, hand over to Gordon Brown, and come manage the Red Sox in his retirement? Is Blair a sabermetrics or a scouting guy? I need to know!

At some point people will realize that the Red Sox don't operate in a vacuum - if the Sox organization is obsessed by spin, it is simply reflecting the world around it - we are all obsessed by spin whether we want to admit it or not.

We have gotten lazy, we don't want to read complex arguments about complex problems and complex people, we want simple answers, simple solutions, in short, easy to read sentences... We don't want to read that Theo had complex reasons for resigning, we want to read... it was LL's fault... we don't want to read that Theo was just as adroit at using the media to further his cause as Larry (I mean c'mon, we aren't supposed to believe that Theo was leaking the lowball salary details to the media... what Larry was leaking that as well?)... we want to read it was LL's fault... and we want to read that the team would do anything to keep one of 'us' at the helm... we want to read... well we really just want to read that Theo is still GM...

(As an aside, this is the type of thing that the management consultant version of a Moneyball / Sabermetrics GM should be studying - the mass population response to change... bad...)

We have decided as a world that we don't like "bad" news, and that people (other people obviously, not me / you, I / we can handle the truth...) are incapable of dealing with bad news - so we try to manage the news so that nothing is bad news. We do it in our roles as sons, daughters, fathers, mothers, friends, employees, employers, social groups, politicans, etc, etc, etc and yet this behavior is only bad in other people, or if we don't like the message that is being 'spun'.

That poses the question, when is a story spin, not simply someone's genuinely held opinion on how things really are?

Over the next few days we will see more of this spin - LL will undoubtedly use his 'friends' to get his message in play (spin), while Theo will use his 'friends' to get his message in play (not spin) - and the world will keep on spinning.

* enter as many advanced expletives as you wish, I want to give readers choices!

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Happy Halloween - and bye Theo

Well it is clear which of the Neil's has the power on this blog - Neil M says Joe Torre must stay, Steinbrenner gets it done... Neil H says Theo Epstein must stay and... blerg!

I am just reading through the THEO IS GONE thread on SOSH and the tone is split pretty much 97:3 in favor of the woe is me, the world has ended crowd - sadly in this situation I am with the 3. Some of the comments so far (and I am generally "paraphrasing", no one has given me permission to quote, and we all know how that can end up with SOSH!)
  • "Absolutely brutal move by the Sox...they look PATHETIC right now!!!!! Frickin idiots."
  • "The winter of discontent is upon us"
  • "If Theo is really gone, you look no better then the last Red Sox owner who won a World Series with the team."
  • "Every fan should boycott buying tickets until LL is removed from the organization. He is a cancer. Always has been, always will be. This team will sink with him leading things"
  • "I bet Theo was told he was gonna have to take the team in a more youthfull direction. They did it to the Marlins and they did it to the Padres."
  • "Welcome to the slow, steady collapse of the 2004 World Champions!"
Would I rather Theo was our GM for the next three years - clearly, yes. Is he irreplaceable - c'mon - not even close.

There is most definitely a large part of the fanatical Red Sox fan base that wallows in the potential for failure - while the 2004 season has erased part of the angst (are there now fathers that regretted not waking up small children to watch the Sox Series win just in case that was a once in a lifetime?) there remains a large reservoir of doubt about the Henry / Werner / Lucchino group, that believes the purchase was purely a financial transaction and that any signal (from a raising in the price of a Fenway Frank, to say, losing your GM) is all the confirmation that is required that they are right - it just gets wearing on this Sox fan.

Everything that happens doesn't have to be part of a bigger conspiracy, sometimes sh!t just happens.