November 30, 2008

Canadian Blog Awards - Finals!

Voting in the final round of the 2008 Canadian Blog Awards is underway -- and Joy of Sox is one of the 5 finalists for Best Sports Blog!

Thanks to everyone who voted in Round 1. Now I need you to vote one more time! Please click here and cast your vote!

Voting is open until next Sunday, December 7 (but why not do it now before you forget)? ... Tell your friends and family!

Also: Please vote for we move to canada for Best Progressive Blog.

November 27, 2008

Schilling Gives Thanks

After five seasons -- and two world championships -- Curt Schilling says Thanks! (and good-bye).

Chad Finn, Globe:
Sankei Sports reported on Thursday that [Junichi] Tazawa told an associate that he has agreed to a three-year major league deal with the Red Sox, placing him on Boston's 40-man roster. The official announcement is expected on Dec. 1 according to the report.
In his Globe chat, Tony Massarotti thinks Mark Teixeira will be playing 1B for the 2009 Red Sox (with Yook at third), the Sox will make a deal for either Taylor Teagarden or Jarrod Saltalamacchia, and Justin Masterson will stay in the bullpen.

P.S.: Canadian Blog Awards -- Vote for JoS!

P.P.S. Vote for we move to canada -- here, here, here, and here). Thank you!

November 25, 2008

Contest Winner

Seventeen readers entered the contest to win a copy of David Green's book: 101 Reasons to Love the Red Sox.

I numbered the names as they came in, put them on squares of paper, put them in my 2007 World Champs hat -- which I will enjoy wearing around Manhattan tomorrow -- and had L pick out a winner: #10, Carla P!

P.S.: The Red Sox have announced their spring training schedule.

P.P.S.: Canadian Blog Awards -- Vote for JoS!

Boras Denies Red Sox Made Offer To Varitek

WEEI reports that the Red Sox have made a one-year contract offer to Jason Varitek, but Scott Boras denied that any offer has been made.

Boras also said that Varitek
wants to catch every day; he wants to play every day. ... [He] intends on being a full-time player for many years to come. He's in great shape. His defense, his game-calling skills, his leadership skills are extraordinary and at the highest level. There's no catcher that has a higher win-loss percentage starting a game than Jason Varitek.
Catcher's W-L percentage? ... Congratulations, Scott, for inventing a more useless stats than pitcher's W-L percentage. But what can Boras say? Tek's noodle bat has made it very difficult to present the Cap'n as a free agent coup.

The Red Sox have offered a contract (possibly $6 million) to 22-year-old righthander Junichi Tazawa, a starting pitcher for the Japanese Industrial League team Nippon Oil. Other teams have been interested -- Rangers, Atlanta, Mariners -- but the Globe's Chad Finn reports that "The Mainichi Daily News said that Tazawa is likely to officially announce next week that he will join the Red Sox." Tazawa idolizes Dice, so that likely helped sway his thinking.

Vote for JoS!

November 24, 2008

Canadian Blog Awards - Vote!

The first round of the 2008 Canadian Blog Awards has begun.

Please click here and cast a vote for Joy of Sox for Best Sports Blog!

I finished 1st in 2006 and slipped to 2nd in 2007. I'd like to reverse that trend and get back on top. And because we're in the chill of the off-season, I need a good turnout. Thanks!

Also, please vote for wmtc in each of these four categories:

Best Blog
Best Personal Blog
Best Political Blog
Best Progressive Blog (L took 3rd last year)

This initial round lasts until Saturday, November 29. Spread the word!

The top five vote-getters move on to the final round. That's when I'll really starting nagging you.

November 23, 2008

Fundraising Finale

This is from Tim and Cathy Baskin, from our October fundraising drive.

***

On the Kindness of "Strangers"

This is a personal thank-you note to many people whom I have never personally met.

My name is Tim. In August of this year my wife, who is undergoing treatment for cancer, was hospitalized with severe build-up of fluid around her lungs.

We spent almost the entire month in the hospital, and I say we because I was there with her almost the whole time. When the woman you've spent 31 years with has a terminal illness you are very reluctant to leave her at the hospital and go on about your business, assuming things will be fine.

The day after she was released from the hospital her car broke down - transmission trouble. It would cost more to repair than the car is worth. I am self-employed, so there was practically no income while she was in the hospital. We have no insurance. We do receive assistance with her expenses, but we still pretty much just get by.

After losing almost an entire month's income there was no way we could replace the car, meaning I would have to miss more time from work taking her to treatments. There was also the fact that someone fighting the battle she is fighting does not need to be stuck at home by herself all day every day with no way to get out and about.

While I started setting aside money to go towards a new car, Cathy decided to try a novel approach. She had heard about an online fundraising site from a friend and started a drive in late September to raise money for a car.

Shortly thereafter Laura [JoS: my partner, L-girl] learned of the effort and posted a link on her we move to canada site, then Allan put it up on Joy of Sox. Thanks to a lot of encouragement and prodding from Laura and Allan the donations soon started pouring in.

Every time the total seemed to stop growing for a day or so, they would rebroadcast a call for action and you, the membership of these two sites, would respond. We reached our stated goal more than a week ahead of the deadline. Not only did you help us attain that goal, but there was interest expressed in continuing the collections even after the goal was reached, to help out with general expenses. Cathy, however, decided that we had achieved what we set out to, and had the collections stopped.

In the meantime, a couple from our Temple learned of our efforts and donated a car to us to use while we awaited the results of the on-line campaign. Someone had given them a car when they moved here from Russia 20 years ago and they said it just seemed right. It was a '94 Taurus that sputtered and shimmied, but at least Cathy could get to the doctor's office or anywhere else when she needed to.

We received a check for $2980 from Fundable around Oct. 25th, and started searching Craigslist and other similar sites for a car in our range. I had accumulated around another $1000 or so myself. We had owned both a Taurus and a Sable previously, and they had both been good cars. It also seemed to be a model that could be found in decent condition for around the money we had to spend.

We almost bought an '02 Taurus that we had looked at before we even got the check but there were some questions about the "health" of the vehicle, and Cathy's intuition, which is remarkably accurate, said no. The last thing we needed was to empty the coffers on a car then have it break down with no money for repairs.

We toyed with the idea of using the money to repair our Mazda, but it just seemed risky. We also thought about fixing up the Taurus that had been given to us, but it was literally falling apart.

Two weeks ago my wife saw another '02 Taurus near us on Craigslist and called the guy. She called me after talking to him and said she had found her car. She knew it before she saw it. I didn't even go with her. A friend drove her to his house, about an hour away, and she drove the car home. She only test drove it because he absolutely insisted.

He was asking $3400, she asked if she could give him $3200 and send the rest so she would have the money in hand for tags, title, insurance, etc. and he said not to worry about sending the rest.

When I got home that Friday night it was sitting in the driveway, and she had already passed along the older Taurus to another family we knew was struggling, having one vehicle and a teenager in the house. It may not last them long but it will at least do the same thing it did for us, help out for a while.

Our new vehicle, meanwhile, has only 110,000 miles on it (that '94 was still going with about 300,000) and it is an absolute dream to drive. It has some very good features for her. The all-electric doors, locks, trunk, etc. make it much easier for her when she's out by herself.

I cannot sufficiently express the gratitude we feel to each and every one of you who contributed to this effort. I am not sure exactly what percentage of the money came from wmtc and Joy of Sox readers, but I am absolutely certain it was a very significant share.

It speaks volumes about the type of people who are attracted to these two sites, which in turn speaks volumes about the two people who created them. Every time I get into that car I cannot help but think about the kindness that so many people showed that made it possible for us to have it. They did so without knowing anything more about us than the fact that we needed a hand, and they were willing to give one.

There were around 90 different donations to the site. I'm sure there are some people among that group that I know but don't recognize their e-mail. However, I'm also sure that over three-quarters of those donations came from people whom I have never met personally. I would certainly hesitate to call them "strangers" though.

It just goes to show - there are a lot of really good people out there. Now if we could just get some of them in charge.

And who knows, if things go well this spring, perhaps I'll drive that Taurus to a certain event that's being whispered about in Boston during the upcoming baseball season, where I might finally meet some of those non-strangers.

Thanks again.

- Tim and Cathy, aka SoSock and Mrs Sock/Sockette.

***

And thanks again from me to everyone who was moved to help. It feels great to use this blog for something more than debating 7th-inning pitching changes, using silly nicknames and posting jpgs of the Daily News -- although those things are fun, too! Many of the donations came from readers who do not comment. I'm glad they consider themselves part of the JoS community.

November 22, 2008

Book Review: 101 Reasons To Love The Red Sox

If you are looking for a good introductory book for a young Red Sox fan, check out David Green's 101 Reasons To Love The Red Sox. Green grew up in North Carolina and fell in love with the Red Sox as an eight-year-old in 1967.

Each of his reasons gets at least a few sentences -- some are a full page -- and often a photo, which are very well chosen. There are excellent shots of the Royal Rooters (#9), 1915-16 manager Bill Carrigan (#28), the Red Seat (#49) and Bill Lee (#71).

There is succinct information on Smoky Joe Wood (#17), the great Red Sox outfield of the mid-1910s: Duffy Lewis (#19), Tris Speaker (#21), and Harry Hooper (#20), Babe Ruth's pitching performances (#29), and Jimmie Foxx (#45). In the entry on Harry Frazee (#31), proper weight is given to management's battles with Ruth.

However, there are obvious errors in the book. Green repeats the incorrect tidbit that Mickey Mantle went 1-for-63 with 47 strikeouts against Dick "The Monster" Radatz (#64). In truth, Mantle was 3-for-16 with 12 whiffs.

Also, in the entry for Game 6 of the 1975 World Series (#75), Green states pinch-hitter Bernie Carbo hit the second pitch he saw for a game-tying home run. It was the fifth pitch; indeed, it was Carbo's horrifically bad swing on the fourth pitch, for strike two, that made his homer to dead center less than a minute later so amazing. With resources like Baseball Reference and Retrosheet available to everyone, there is no excuse for these kinds of mistakes.

Some of the 101 reasons are simply strange: the Curse (#34), the city of Boston itself (#35) and sitcom character Mayday Malone (#87). These choices, among others, make the book feel padded, as though Green had to stretch to come up with enough selling points. But since many individual achievements are among his reasons for rooting, like Roger Clemens's two 20-K games (#83) and Bill Mueller's two grand slam night in 2003 (#94), Green should have used more of those.

Pedro Martinez's 9-1-1-0-17 night in Yankee Stadium on September 10, 1999 or Johnny Damon hitting a single, double and triple in the first inning on June 27, 2003 are obvious possibilities. Digging up a rare gem from the team's dark ages of 1922-33 would have been an unexpected touch.

Green also includes 10 quick reasons to hate the Yankees, claiming that "no one is loathed more in Red Sox Nation" than George Steinbrenner. I do not agree with that assertion. (Green also says the 1978 Dent game denied the Red Sox "a berth in the World Series".)

The book is part of an on-going series. In addition to the Red Sox, Green has written books on the Cubs, Mets, Tigers and Giants. His older brother Ron has written about the Yankees, Cardinals, Phillies, Dodgers, and Braves.

I was sent a copy of the 2005 hard cover with Ted Williams (#47) on the cover. An updated edition is available with David Ortiz (#99) on the front.

***

CONTEST: I have an extra copy of this book (TSW edition) to give away. To enter, send me an email with your name and address, with "101 Reasons" (or something like that) in the subject line. I'll accept entries for three days -- until Tuesday at 7 PM. On Wednesday, I'll pick a name from the hat.

November 21, 2008

Eri Yoshida Footage

Some footage of Eri Yoshida:



Also here and here. However, I don't see much movement/knuckling to her pitches.

Dice Looking Ahead To WBC; Sox Have "Lust" For Teixeira

Daisuke Matsuzaka, the MVP of the first World Baseball Classic in 2006, says he'll pitch for defending champion Japan if asked.
I'll pick up the pace of my training in December so that I won't have to scramble at the last minute.
Japan's first game is scheduled for March 5.

Michael Silverman, Herald:
One baseball source, familiar with the Sox' thinking this offseason, said the club's "lust" factor is very strong for Teixeira, who was on the Georgia Tech sideline with Sox catcher Jason Varitek for last night's ACC football game against Miami in Atlanta.

"For a team that liked J.D. Drew, they absolutely love Teixeira," said the source.
Things should heat up at the winter meetings -- December 8-11 in Las Vegas. ... Silverman sees Paul McAnulty as a possible replacement for Sean Casey. ... The Red Sox added LHPs Felix Doubront and Hunter Jones and catcher Mark Wagner to its 40-man roster (now at 37).

Ramon Ramirez, the latest addition to the bullpen, says he
couldn't be happier right now. I'm ecstatic. ... As far as my demeanor, I like being aggressive. I like attacking the strike zone, it doesn't matter what the count or what situation I'm being brought into. I just want to be as aggressive as possible and go right after hitters.
Tim Wakefield, on 16-year-old Japanese knuckleball pitcher Eri Yoshida:
Hope I can see her pitch one day. I'm honored that someone wants to become me. I wish her the best of luck. Maybe I can learn something from her. ... It's funny that I've reached that point in my career that people want to emulate me. I'm glad I had people like the Niekros, Charlie Hough and Tom Candiotti that I could look up to. I am deeply humbled that it is me this time.

November 20, 2008

Burnett Wants 5 Years

A.J. Burnett's agent Darek Braunecker said "there is mutual interest" between his client and the Red Sox.

However, Burnett wants (at least) a five-year deal. Braunecker: "If a team can't do that, they will be behind the 8-ball a little bit." ... I know it's only an opening statement in various negotiations, but come on.

Meanwhile, the Post reports the Yankees are "preparing an $80 million, five-year deal" for Burnett -- on top of the 6/140 offer they have made to CC Sabathia. They will need pitching -- as Mike Mussina has announced his retirement.

***

Los Angeles Times: "The Boston Red Sox are believed to have made an offer for [Mark] Teixeira ..."

Boston signed 27-year-old outfielder Paul McAnulty to a minor league contract for next year. He could compete for a bench spot.

November 19, 2008

Theo Calls AJ Burnett's Agent

Theo Epstein called Darek Braunecker (A.J. Burnett's agent) yesterday and expressed interest in the free-agent right-hander.

ESPN's Jerry Crasnick says it's a
clear sign that the Red Sox are ready to jump into the fray and compete with Toronto, the New York Yankees and several other clubs ... Newsday reported Tuesday that the Red Sox are now "fully engaged," and a source told ESPN.com that the team considers Burnett a "priority."

"They've got a lot of balls in the air," the source said of the Red Sox, "but they're involved now."
Perhaps.

Burnett, who signed a 5/55 deal with Toronto after the 2005 season, opted out of his deal with 2/24 remaining. He is probably looking for something like 4/60. Some people are ga-ga over his 18 wins last year, but his 4.07 ERA earned him a 105 ERA+ -- Tim Wakefield turned in a 112. Burnett had career highs in starts and innings pitched, but he also had a career-worst WHIP.

There have been rumours of Wakefield considering retirement. Even if that is true, I still don't think the club should throw 15 million per year at a guy with Burnett's numbers -- when he's healthy.

How about we get ourselves a catcher first?

Sox Trade Crisp To KC For Ramon Ramirez

It's official: Crisp traded to Royals.

***

Rotoworld:
Sports Radio 810 WHB in Kansas City reports that the Red Sox have traded Coco Crisp to the Royals in exchange for Ramon Ramirez.

Former Royals outfielder Brian McRae broke the story, but we're still waiting to see the move confirmed by other sources. Ramirez had an excellent rookie year for the Rockies in 2006 before struggling in 2007, but bounced back following a trade to the Royals last season, posting a 2.64 ERA and 70/31 K/BB ratio in 71.2 innings.

FJM Exit Interview

Deadspin interviews the FJM trio.

Michael Schur aka Ken Tremendous:
The thing that always drove our faux-righteous anger on the site was how gosh darn common-sensical this stuff is. You don't have to be a genius to understand why OBP is a better measure of a hitter's worth than BA, or why OPS+ is more valuable than OPS. You just have to care enough to learn why. Which takes about eight seconds.
***

Also, I wanted to write a post about how Kevin Youkilis was probably more valuable (to the Sox, in the AL, in general) than Dustin Pedroia, but I never found the time. Tony Massarotti "goes there" in his Globe column, though he uses far fewer numbers than I would have.

16-Year-Old Girl Signed For New Japanese League; Inspired By Wakefield To Throw Knuckleball

Eri Yoshida is a 16-year-old Japanese girl. She's five feet tall and weighs 114 pounds. And she throws a sidearm knuckleball.

Yoshida was drafted in the seventh round on Monday by the Kobe 9 Cruise team in the independent Japanese League, which opens its first season in April.

Yoshida has been playing baseball since the second grade. She says she began throwing the knuckler after her father showed her a video of Tim Wakefield.

AP:
Yoshida took part in a tryout held earlier this month and passed with flying colors. The right-hander held male batters hitless for one inning in the tryout and her successful outing helped her become one of the 33 players picked in the draft.

Some Fat Billy News, Barely

Mindy McCready is denying a report from Inside Edition claiming she ended her relationship with Roger Clemens because Fat Billy would not marry her. She says Clemens is
one of the most wonderful men I've ever known. ... He treated me like a princess. ... We never had a meeting in secret. We went on vacations together. We went to Palm Springs. We went to Las Vegas, New York City.
Naturally, Clemens continues to deny the affair ever took place:
I repeat once again, it simply did not happen.

November 18, 2008

Pedroia Left Off One Writer's Ballot

Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News left Dustin Pedroia off his ballot for AL MVP.

Grant's explanation:
I had him on my ballot in some scenarios as high as No. 1 late into September. When I looked at the numbers that to me mattered most, OPS and batting average with runners in scoring position, he just didn't stack up with Youkilis at all. He was a laggard behind the others who had great years in the American League. Is it an error of omission that he's left of my ballot entirely? You could say that. ...

I just thought that Sizemore and Pena were at least the equal of Dustin. When it got down to it, the last place on my ballot was Pedroia or Pena, Pedroia or Pena. I don't have a guy from the Rays on my ballot and they won 97 games. I was going to vote to make sure Carlos Pena got recognized. I'm not afraid to say I was wrong. I have no issue with Dustin winning.
Grant admits that Pedroia was his #1 choice for MVP "late into September" -- yet by September 28 -- the end of the regular season -- he was off the ballot!

Here are Grant's two MVP ballots:
September 21    September 28
Youkilis Youkilis
Morneau FRodriguez
FRodriguez Morneau
Pedroia Hamilton
Hamilton Quentin
Quentin ARodriguez
ARodriguez Lee
Lee Mauer
Mauer Sizemore
Sizemore Pena
So Grant flip-flopped Morneau and Frod, dropped FY, and stuck Pena on at the end.

***

Extra WTF?: Jason Bartlett (.286/.329/.361, 85 OPS+) received a fifth-place vote.

Pedroia Wins AL MVP

FY = MVP!
           1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9 10  PTS
Pedroia 16 6 4 1 317
Morneau 7 7 6 3 3 1 1 257
Youkilis 2 4 4 9 2 4 1 2 201
Mauer 2 8 1 3 4 3 3 2 1 188
Quentin 1 8 4 4 4 1 1 160
FRodriguez 1 2 6 1 6 3 2 2 143
Hamilton 2 2 3 7 3 2 4 3 112
ARodriguez 1 1 4 1 4 7 45
Pena 1 2 2 3 2 3 44
Sizemore 2 1 5 6 1 42
Ian Browne, MLB:
Pedroia joins Cal Ripken Jr. and Ryan Howard as the only players to win Rookie of the Year and MVP in consecutive years. ...

With 213 hits, Pedroia tied Ichiro Suzuki for the Major League lead. His 54 doubles led the Majors. He led the AL in runs (118) and multihit games (61).

Backed by a .326 average, Pedroia lost the batting title by just four points to Minnesota catcher Joe Mauer. Pedroia finished fourth in total bases (322) and seventh in extra-base hits (73).

An elite tablesetter, Pedroia also chipped in with power (17 homers, 83 RBIs) and speed (20 stolen bases). ...

[H]e became the fifth second baseman in Major League history to have 200 hits, 50 doubles, 100 runs and 15 homers in the same season, joining Charlie Gehringer (1936), Craig Biggio (1998), Jose Vidro (2000) and Alfonso Soriano (2002).

AL MVP Named Today

The AL MVP will be announced at 2 PM. So far, the BBWAA has been doing a fairly decent job:

AL Cy Young: Cliff Lee (24 of 28 1st place votes)
AL Rookie: Evan Longoria (28 of 28)
AL Manager: Joe Maddon (27 of 28)

NL MVP: Albert Pujols (18 of 32)
NL Cy Young: Tim Lincecum (23 of 32)
NL Rookie: Geovany Soto (31 of 32)
NL Manager: Lou Piniella (15 of 32)

However:

Someone gave Dale Sveum a third-place vote for NL Manager of the Year -- for guiding the Brewers to a 7-5 record over their last 12 games.

Two voters picked Brad Lidge for NL MVP.

Ryan Howard got 12 first-place votes to Pujols's 18. It should not have been anywhere near that close. As MLB's Matthew Leach writes:
It was by some measures [Pujols's] best season. He hit .357, two points shy of his career high, and set new personal bests with a .462 on-base percentage, a 1.115 OPS and 104 walks. He slugged .653, nearly 30 points better than his career average, cranking 37 homers and 44 doubles. Pujols drove in 116 runs, scored 100 and struck out just 54 times. ... He never hit lower than .302 in any month, never had an OBP lower than .413 and never slugged below .558. He came on especially strong in the second half, batting .366 and slugging .706 after the All-Star break.
Over in the AL, Jon Lester received no Cy Young votes, while Daisuke Matsuzaka collected two second-place votes and four third-place votes. Odd.

This MLB article gives the AL MVP favourites as Francisco Rodriguez and Josh Hamilton. WTF? Frod was not even the best reliever on his own team -- forget the league. (In the Cy Young voting, many writers transferred their love of the W to the Sv and gave Frod seven second-place votes and 11 third-place votes.)

November 17, 2008

Red Sox-Mets Will Open New Queens Park

The Mets will host the Red Sox for two exhibition games -- the first games in their new park (Citi Field) -- on Friday, April 3 and Saturday, April 4, according to WFAN.

Boston will then have a day off before opening the 2009 regular season at Fenway Park on Monday, April 6 against the American League champion Tampa Bay Rays.

The Yankees will play their first games in their new park against the Cubs on April 3-4. The Yankees open the season on April 6 in Baltimore and play their first regular season home game on April 16 against Cleveland.

November 13, 2008

Clean Up

After way too many months of slow computer performance, I am currently scrubbing my hard drive down to absolutely nothing -- wiping away crap and deleted file data "with U.S. Military-strength tools"!

Then I have to re-install everything. So nothing until later on Friday, from work, at the earliest.

November 12, 2008

Will Red Sox Remove Names From Road Jerseys?

This could be the best off-season development of all.

Dan LaMothe -- the Red Sox Monster -- has linked to a Flickr page that shows a possible new design for Boston's 2009 road uniform. And one of the shirt backs has no last name!

I have been hoping for years that the team would come to its senses and remove the last names from players' shirts. There were few things more silly looking than "Garciaparra" shaped like a cluttered rainbow ranging from armpit to armpit. (And why in f*&#'s name do the Red Sox sell #9 shirts with "Williams" on the back? He never wore anything like that.)

Anyway, I'm pretty sure that the Yankees are currently the only team to have no names on either their home or road uniforms. UniWatch's Paul Lukas says the Mets tried the no-name approach in 1999, but that lasted only one season. The Giants were nameless for a long time, but have surrendered. The Dodgers removed names in 2002, but they have since returned. (Strange that all four of these teams are or were New York-based.)

According to Jere, the Red Sox added names to the back of their road jerseys in 1989. ... 1989 -- that is not a tradition! OFF WITH THE NAMES!

November 11, 2008

Bill Lee Likes Manny

You're supposed to sit on your ass
And nod at stupid things
Man, that's hard to do.
-- Warren Zevon

A prophet in his own time is not well-received in this town.
-- Bill Lee
Bill Lee is back -- and he's back big! ... Man, forget Eckersley. If NESN had any guts at all, they'd give the Spaceman his own talk show. Or put him in the booth in place of Remy.

(Note: AP misquotes Lee. He did not say: "I think Boston kind of got fed up with Manny." He said: "I think Boston just kind of got fed up with winning.")

The Seattle Mariners, in their search for a new manager, interviewed Boston bench coach Brad Mills on Monday. The Mariners are expected to interview third base coach DeMarlo Hale later this week. The team wanted to also talk to pitching coach John Farrell, but he declined the offer of an interview.

Evan Longoria was the unanimous choice for AL Rookie of the Year. Jacoby Ellsbury finished third with seven second-place votes and five third-place votes.

Theo Epstein talks about being a "selective shopper" in this winter's free agency market. ... Jarrod Saltalamacchia, 23, on rumours of being traded to Boston:
That would be a dream come true. I'd love to go there and either work under Jason for a year or two or just go there and catch full-time. ... I love watching Jason. He's like an idol of mine. I watch him and I learn from him and I'd love to be able to spend time with him.

November 8, 2008

Babe Ruth Is Underrated

I recently did a phone interview with Brent Stevens from Babe Ruth Central. There are nine audio clips here.

November 7, 2008

Sox Shopping Crisp, Looking at Willis, Baldelli

The Red Sox have done "some background work" on lefty Dontrelle Willis (9.38 ERA in 8 games in 2008; due $22 million in 2009-10). The Tigers might be interested in Julio Lugo.

Sean McAdam reports that up to a half-dozen teams may be interested in Coco Crisp. ... The Red Sox are "more than intrigued" by Rocco Baldelli as the team's fourth outfielder.

Jason Bay, who will be a free agent at the end of 2009, "would be receptive to discussions of a long-term deal to remain in Boston".

SoSH chat on RHPs Junichi Tazawa and Kenshin Kawakami.

Red Sox Request 2012 ASG

The Providence Journal reports that the Red Sox have asked to host the 2012 All-Star game.

Larry Lucchino said the request was made "in light of the 100-year anniversary [of Fenway Park] and all the changes that have taken place here."

November 5, 2008

Pedroia Wins BP's MVP Award

Dustin Pedroia was named the AL MVP in Baseball Prospectus' 2008 Internet Baseball Awards. The results come from the voting of more than 1,400 readers of the site.

Joe Mauer received more first place votes than FY (423-408), but Pedroia was named on 17% more ballots than anyone else and edged out Mauer in total points. Mauer, who also finished second in 2006, was left off the ballot by 27% of the voters.

The AL Top 10: Pedroia, Mauer, Grady Sizemore, Alex Rodriguez, Cliff Lee, Kevin Youkilis, Carlos Quentin, Josh Hamilton, Justin Morneau and Roy Halladay.

Jon Lester finished third in the Cy Young voting. Halladay was second and Lee ran away with the award (1164 first-place votes to Halladay's 296 and Lester's 16). Evan Longoria easily won Rookie of the Year and Joe Maddon cruised to the Manager of the Year award. Francona finished third in MoY.

In the NL voting:
For the third time in four years, Albert Pujols was the National League Most Valuable Player in the IBAs. ... Pujols received 84 percent of the first-place votes on the ballot this year and another seven percent placed him second. However, four percent of the voters mysteriously left Pujols off their ballots.

November 4, 2008

Theo Signs New Contract

Alex Speier, WEEI.com:
Red Sox GM Theo Epstein confirmed he has signed a new deal with the Sox to continue in his current position, although he wouldn't disclose terms or years.
Epstein:
When you sit back and think about being a general manager this is exactly the type of organization you'd want to work for. Great fans, great ownership and a tremendous foundation of our scouting and player development which if we don't screw it up will lead to long term success.
Epstein also said that if Mike Timlin decides to pitch in 2009, it will not be for the Red Sox.

November 2, 2008

Coming Soon: Canadian Blog Awards

It's that time once again -- the 2008 Canadian Blog Awards!

The nomination period is underway right now and will last until November 22. Then there will be two rounds of voting: the first round (November 23-29) and the final round (November 30-December 7).

Unfortunately for a baseball blog, the voting takes place well after the World Series, so my pool of possible voters will be way down. But I finished 1st in 2006 and 2nd in 2007. I'll be nagging you to vote -- and hoping others nag you too!

Buchholz Rediscovering Changeup In AFL

Clay Buchholz has a 2.60 ERA in four Arizona Fall League starts for the Scottsdale Scorpions.

In 17.1 innings, he has allowed 13 hits and 5 walks (a 1.04 WHIP) and struck out 12, while holding batters to a .201 average. Four of his five earned runs allowed came in one bad start.

One non-Boston scout told Sean McAdam that Buchholz has
gained some of his swagger back. He lost some confidence during the year, but his velocity was back. He was throwing 91-95, and was free and easy. He had a dominant curveball and a plus change. ... Some people were worried about his makeup and arm, but he seemed fine here.
Theo Epstein says:
He's been 93 to 95 with his old changeup back, his 80 changeup, and getting swings and misses. He's able to throw it for a strike. His curveball has improved from the season. ...

He's working with a real sense of purpose and determination to try to figure some things out that had perplexed him for a little bit this season. ... Depending on the work Clay does this fall and what kind of winter he has with building up his strength and his mindset, he could come to camp anywhere from our fifth starter to our seventh starter.
Filing for free agency on Friday: Curt Schilling, Mark Kotsay, and Bartolo Colon. Jason Varitek, Alex Cora, Sean Casey and David Ross have also filed. Mike Timlin and Paul Byrd are expected to file this week.

The Red Sox will keep their spring training facilities in Fort Myers, Florida, deciding not to move operations to Sarasota. In 2012, the Red Sox will move into a new complex in south Lee County, which will include "a new stadium, to be modeled after Fenway Park, which will seat approximately 10,000, with room for another 2,000 on outfield berm and in standing-room areas [and] six practice fields ..."