On Manny, And Winter, And Other Stuff...ALL GOOD!
Other than agreeing to terms with Kyle Snyder, there's not much going on in our Red Sox world on this gray but soon to turn cold and then colder and then frigid as we head towards mid-week. Frigid means high temperatures not getting much higher than 20 degrees F. After the 50's that we've been used to in north central Connecticut, I've already located and dusted off the down ski jacket, the serious jacket for serious cold. Seriously!
There was an article in the Globe (you can access it by clicking on this post's title) that highlighted some Papelbon stuff, who I covered two posts ago, and also Mike Lowell. a huge part of Red Sox '07, and his thoughts on our clean-up hitter, one Manny Ramirez. I think you might have heard the name. Here's part of the piece, and then I will be back......
"Mike Lowell was asked if he was surprised the Sox have not traded Manny Ramírez.
"Not really," said the third baseman, who was in town last night to receive an award at the annual Boston Baseball Writers dinner, "because if you're going to trade him, you've got to get something for him. Those numbers he puts up are too ridiculous.
"Manny, he's actually a guy who's very friendly with us and kind of stays to himself. It's not like he's a nuisance in the clubhouse, by any means.
"But we want him to play all year and be behind David [Ortiz] all year. I think when he's not in the lineup, it not only affected him but it affects David. David walked a ton when Manny wasn't in there. Manny, to me honestly, he's the best hitter I've ever seen."
Great words Mike Lowell, our rock at third. Peter here, and what Mr. Lowell said makes so much sense. With a "WILLING TO PLAY" Manny, this club will be world's better. Batting fourth ensures Big Papi will see pitches IN the strike zone, and draw fewer walks, intentional or not. Having Manny's bat in there in the middle of the lineup brings the power numbers into the stratosphere. JD Drew seems to be slated for number five, but nothing about Mr. Drew is set in stone. His shoulder certainly isn't! NOT YET. Maybe not ever, or definitely with health provisions galore. And with good reason. He's got a shoulder that has been surgically repaired, and a history of injury. And if he misses playing time, Wily Mo Pena gains playing time. At the plate AND in the field. I have a huge problem with the latter. But you know that. If the Sox develop a closer, or go back to Paps in that role and pencil in a healthy (YAY!) Jon Lester for the number five spot, something Paps did not rule out at that same writer's dinner, then we'll know why. It would be caused by no one in the crowded bullpen stepping up and showing that he can withstand the pressure of a one run game in the ninth inning, with an important (they're ALL important) game in the balance and a victory sorely needed. It takes a special breed of mindset and pitching ability to get those last three (or four, or five) crucial outs. Last year Jonathon Papelbon did exactly that, and did it better than ANYONE. BAR NONE!!!! He taught the baseball world a lesson. But I hope he can resume his role in the rotation and our bullpen will find that pearl inside the ugly oyster, that elusive silver lining which turns a baseball season from a great one into one for the ages. And we're ALL ready for a season that can be called "one for the ages."
2007.........opening day in KC at 3:15 CST. In early April. WOW!
Have a safe and happy AND healthy weekend everyone. I'll be back later today, or Sunday morning, before your paper is delivered. Thanks for being here. Your faithful writer and just plain old big-time Sox fan, Peter N. And P.S. I'm always a fan of you out there who take time from their busy days to spend a few minutes here in "my land." By doing that, you keep me going. And for that, my eternal thanks!