Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Bye Bye, Bay

So my last post looks rather silly now, eh?

According to the Boston Globe, Jason Bay is going to the Mets for 4 years and $66 million (pending a physical). I for one will miss the Palest of Them All patrolling left field at Fenway, despite his less than impressive defense. I suspect that come July, if the status quo remains intact, we'll all be wailing for him back (some of you, doubtless, will go further into the past and demand a return to the Manny era).

However, if Theo is truly done making moves for this offseason, and we go into Opening Day with a platoon of Jeremy Hermida and Mike Cameron, so be it: if the offense works out, that's great, and if not? Well, some of those prospects might like the nice sunny skies of San Diego. Or maybe he's saving for a push for another big bat - I don't see Joe Mauer leaving Minnesota (I actually hope he doesn't - he'll end up in pinstripes if he's simply looking for the biggest payday), something must be in the works. Theo never stops working, and he'll figure something out.

But back to Bay: he was a class act from the moment he stepped off the plane from Pittsburgh, and somehow made us forget about Manny (or at least somewhat forgive Theo for trading him). He blinded fans across Fenway Park with the pallor of his skin, and made those of us who are particularly SPF-needy feel positively bronzed, all while providing the power that Boston so desperately craved.

He was never a nuisance with the press, or the fans, and, from all accounts, was as classy in the clubhouse as he was on the field. Lest we forget, he scored the winning run of the 2008 ALDS against the Angels, getting spiked in the process:

"It's just a tiny little nick, but it hurts when I get champagne in there."

If the Mets can stay healthy (What? Mets and health in the same sentence?), Bay might have a shot in hell to play in October again. And if not? Well, he performed admirably for us, and that's all I can ask for. I wish you all the best, Mr. Bay. Mets fans are lucky to have you.

Friday, December 25, 2009

All I want for Christmas is you...

After initially snubbing the four-year, $60 million deal offered by the Red Sox, outfielder Jason Bay (via agent Joe Urbon) is reportedly making return inquiries. Though Bay has a four-year, $65 million deal from the New York Mets on the table, I'm sure he realizes that A) Citi Field is not friendly to hitters and B) playing in Queens isn't like playing in Boston.

Of course, Jason Bay came to the Sox in mid-2008, and performed admirably down the stretch and for the entirety of 2009, quickly putting to rest doubts that he could maintain his performance level in a big-market place like Boston.

Obviously, the Red Sox are in dire need of a bat for 2010, and Bay had more home runs than anyone else on the team last year, with 36 (Ortiz came in second, at 28). That said, a lot of things would need to fall into place for a deal to get worked out with Bay. First of all, the Sox gave money initially allotted for Bay to John Lackey, and with Mike Lowell's trade falling through, they would need to either shed some payroll, or suck it up and pay the luxury tax (not something John Henry is keen on doing). Secondly, the outfield is currently full: between Mike Cameron, JD Drew, Jacoby Ellsbury, and Jeremy Hermida, it's hard to see where Bay fits in. If, oh, I don't know, Ellsbury were to be traded for, say... Adrian Gonzalez, then there would be a spot for him...

I for one hope to see Bay back in a Red Sox uniform come Spring Training. He's been consistent and classy in his time in Boston, and though the Sox seem to be rolling in pitchers lately, they hardly possess a glut of power. Four years is reasonable (I'm just as uninterested as Theo to see what Bay plays like beyond the age of thirty-five), and I'd like to see something worked out that makes sense for both sides.

I want a Canadian left-fielder for Christmas, Theo. Please?

Friday, December 18, 2009

Sayonara, Fangirls?

There's been a lot of talk lately about what it would take to pry Adrian Gonzalez from San Diego, and because new GM Jed Hoyer's knowledge of the Red Sox farm system rivals that of Theo himself, it's going to be a lot. There will be no Heathcliff Slocumb for Derek Lowe and Jason Varitek type of deal this time around: we will have to give up some truly valuable pieces to get one in return.

What type of valuable pieces, you ask? That's exactly the point of this post: we've all gotten used to hearing Clay Buchholz's name thrown out there, and though he's had some success on the major league level, the Sox are pitching rich (for now), so most fans are willing to part with him for the right piece. Now we're hearing whispers that a player we've been seeing daily for over a year might be part of the package... and not just any player, but the downright dreamiest man to don a Red Sox uniform since... well, at least since his devoted screaming fangirls (and fanguys - we don't discriminate here at Off the Monster) jumped on the bandwagon in 2004.

Personally, I wouldn't be all that torn up if Ellsbury got shipped off to San Diego. This might be unfair of me, but I just cannot stand a large percentage of fans who name him as their favorite player. Sure, there are those who rattle off his SB% (MUCH more important than the number of stolen bases, if you ask me), rising OPS, and improved plate discipline (he took eight more walks this year than in 2008!), and are legitimately excited about him as an athlete. I despise the term "Pink-Hatter," because I find it derogatory to female fans (maybe they just like the color!), but Ellsbury fangirls generally display the type of behavior expected of a stereotypical "Pink-Hatter," namely, a lack of knowledge about the game in general or the Red Sox in particular.

Are these women at a Beatles concert or a baseball game? CALM DOWN.

Do I think Adrian Gonzalez is worth a package including Buchholz, Ellsbury, Kelly, and Lars Anderson? Yes. In an instant. Prospects are exactly what their title implies: chances, opportunities, potential. You never know if a minor-league stud will pan out, and Gonzalez is as close to a sure thing as you can get in the current market.

I'll admit to having a personal agenda for supporting Golden Boy's inclusion in a deal: if it allows me to interact with just one less drunken fangirl per Fenway visit, I'll support it, but I also truly believe Gonzalez is worth the trade. The dynamic is very interesting, because we all know that Theo likes to trade high on his prospects, getting more in return than he is giving up, but in this case, the other side knows exactly everything he does.

Honesty's uncomfortable, eh Theo?

This is probably a deal that will happen (if it does) once the Padres inevitably start to falter. It would take major, um, guts, for a new GM such as Hoyer to trade a franchise player in his first months on the job. Hoyer is in the uncommon position of knowing Theo's thoughts and motives while negotiating, which is intriguing, to say the least. Get it done, Theo.... please?

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Welcoming Another #23

Mike Cameron got up on the podium with Theo today and tried on his Red Sox jersey for the very first time. The number on the back? Good old #23.

Yes, 23... the number worn by three Red Sox players last season alone. Of course, Julio Lugo had worn the number since he joined the team in 2007 (Alex Cora generously switched to 13 so Lugo could have his preferred number), and when he was shipped to St. Louis, Adam LaRoche donned the uniform. (What? You don't remember LaRoche? He was with Boston for exactly six games, and by a weird stroke of chance, I was at Fenway for his one and only home run with the team, against Baltimore on July 25th.) LaRoche got flipped to Atlanta shortly thereafter, and speedster Joey Gathwright ended the season in jersey #23.

Let's hope that Cameron has more sucess and/or staying power than the last three guys to wear the number. According to Boston.com, Cameron has not played a corner outfield position since "his collision with Carlos Beltran in 2005," but has indicated his willingness to play in front of the Green Monster.

As we all know, Jacoby Ellsbury is able to play all three outfield positions without issues, which we saw in 2008 when he was platooning with Coco Crisp, but it makes sense that coaches would want to sit down with the two of them to discuss how best to work things out. This also begs the question: what about Jeremy Hermida? Perhaps given Cameron's age (37 next month), and JD Drew's injury history, Hermida will be a bench guy, though he seems to need more everyday seasoning to realize his potential, so he could also be used as trade bait.

All in all, I like the Cameron signing, even though it's looking more and more like Jason Bay will be playing in Queens, or, at the very least, not in Boston. Somehow, we need to get some of that power back, and Theo has apparently (again, according to Boston.com) been dropping hints that it's "easier to obtain a bat than a pitcher during the season, so that could be an indication that he's willing to wait to make another significant move."

Here's hoping that "significant move" comes in the way of Adrian Gonzalez, and that it happens well before the trade deadline. Perhaps Theo wants to wait and see how the John Lackey signing pans out before dealing Clay Buchholz, or Jed Hoyer wants reassurance that Clay can continue his run of success at the major league level (7-4, 4.21 ERA in the latter half of 2009) before trading a franchise player away for him?

Either way, all of this Hot Stove Action has not been conducive to my studying (it's finals week), but I'm still a fan of it. Check back later today or tomorrow for an entry on John Lackey, while I don't study enough for my American Presidency exam (sorry, Professor).

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Happy Trails, Mikey

Sean Casey, Tim Wakefield, Mike Lowell, Jon Lester, and David Ortiz. So much class at the annual David Ortiz Celebrity Golf Classic.

Part of the thing that drew me in about baseball was the personalities: I loved when the Globe did player profiles, and I still devour biographies and memoirs as soon as I can get my hands on them.

In recent years, the Red Sox have seen a parade of characters, but very few of them have had the class of Mikey Lowell. Lowell, as I'm sure you remember, was a throw-in in the Hanley Ramirez for Josh Beckett deal - sort of a salary dump for the Marlins. He was coming off a bad year, and no one would have been shocked if he continued his downward spiral.

Mike wasn't having any of that. He fixed his swing, continued with his work at third base, which had always been good, and threw himself into the Boston philanthropy scene. By the end of 2007, he was the World Series MVP, and Boston loved him. Jason Varitek crossed over from Captain to fan at the World Series Parade, holding up a sign imploring management to "Re-sign Lowell."

Theo complied, and Mike was his usual consistent self for the first half of 2008, but then his hip injury took him out of commission. I don't know about any of you, but watching Mike give his all during the 2008 playoffs was one of the most gutsy things I've seen. It was clear that he was in excruciating pain, but when he was asked, he was going to give his all - for his teammates, for his fans, and for all of New England.

On a more personal note, Mikey's book helped me through a very tough time earlier this year. I expect you've all tired of hearing this by now, but if you have not read his book, go out and buy it right now. Deep Drive is the perfect gift for any baseball fan, anyone affected by cancer, or anyone who enjoys a good read.

Now we're getting word that Mikey is being traded to Texas for Max Ramirez (pending a physical, which, considering Mike's history, is becoming problematic). If/when the trade gets done, Mikey will be a first base/DH type, coming off the bench as needed, which might be the best thing for him considering his age and injury history. However, when he comes back to Fenway Park, I fully expect to see Red Sox fans stand and cheer. Mike Lowell is truly a class act, holding no grudges when management unabashedly went after Mark Teixeira last winter, though he was clearly the odd man out.

Happy trails, Mike. I'm so glad you spent some time in Boston, and I'll miss you.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Winter Meetings

The MLB Winter Meetings are underway, and though the Sox have already added Marco Scutaro at the blackhole also known as shortstop, there's still a lot that could be done.

  • While it's likely that Roy Halladay won't be pitching for Toronto next year, it's equally likely that he won't be pitching for Boston - if he's smart, he'll accept a trade to the National League (a 20-game winner in the AL East could do some serious damage in the NL West).
  • Another name we've been hearing a lot is Adrian Gonzalez, which adds a measure of drama, as San Diego's new GM, Jed Hoyer, knows that Red Sox farm system better than anyone but Theo himself.
  • The Sox still need a power bat. Most likely, either Matt Holliday or Jason Bay will end up in pinstripes, as the Evil Empire will be looking for an upgrade over Johnny Damon. I'd like to see Bay back, but letting him go, and then signing Holliday actually improvs their standing in the draft.
  • Billy Wagner and Takashi Saito have both jumped ship for other teams, and the bullpen needs some depth.

I don't really expect much to get done during these meetings, but I do know that Theo is doing his best to give us a competitive team for 2010 and beyond. Stay tuned.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Support RED [Sox]

This is Yassin. He was four years old when I took this picture in 2007; he lives in an orphanage in Chigamba Village, Malawi, and is HIV Positive. Today is World AIDS Day: do something to help the millions of people suffering all over the world. Just think, your contribution could help a potential Red Sox fan!

If you're looking for a good cause, I highly recommend giving to Friends of Little Field Home, which is a nonprofit organization based in Hebron, Maine. Little Field Home is the orphanage where Yassin lives, and it was started by my high school softball coach when she was in the Peace Corps in Malawi. All of the money goes directly to the 80+ orphans who live there, many of whom are HIV Positive.

I know there are a ton of generous and caring Red Sox fans out there, and every little bit counts!