Winter Report Card Time....SI Style
I came across this article over at the SI.com website. It chronicles the AL teams' winter exploits, and the Boston Red Sox earned high marks. Here are a few of their observations, and then a comment or two from that guy named Peter. He seems to be a nice guy, but I'll reserve judgement for now........and I will limit these capsules to the AL East numbers one through three teams only. That's where our hopes and dreams live. From Sports Illustrated, and click on this post's title for the whole piece.....
"The Red Sox are up, the White Sox are down. The O's got a C, the A's a D.
The marks are in, and several American League teams may not want to look at theirs.
Boston Red Sox
Widely ridiculed for their stunning, $51.1 million posting price for Daisuke Matsuzaka, Boston's big international gambit turned out to be the best move anyone made this winter. They wound up securing Matsuzaka for $103 million, or $23 million less than the Giants paid for Barry Zito, nor even counting the $5 million to $7 million or so they will earn through marketing/branding opportunities. Julio Lugo is a better offensive player than Alex Gonzalez, and J.D. Drew is an upgrade over Trot Nixon, assuming they get that contract done someday.
Grade: A. (Peter here, just to say yes!!!!!)
New York Yankees
They have attempted to rekindle their past glory (Andy Pettitte; Roger Clemens?) and reinvigorate themselves by stockpiling youthful pitchers (Humberto Sanchez, Ross Ohlendorf and others) while also purging their clubhouse of greedy Sheffield and ornery Randy Johnson. The plan makes sense, but with Kei Igawa and Carl Pavano still penciled into the rotation, the pitching staff looks slightly unfinished. The bet is Clemens will be there by June (though the Red Sox and Astros haven't given up on that one).( Peter here, and damn right the Sox will not let Roger go to the pinstripes!!! Maybe Japan! Kidding...)
Grade: Incomplete (B- without Clemens, A- with him). (Peter here yet again..I'm just wondering why they didn't mention the Rocket in their stellar grade A report card about OUR team!)
Toronto Blue Jays
GM J.P. Ricciardi was right when he said it was a blessing they missed out on Meche. However, losing Ted Lilly -- a Red Sox killer -- will hurt. As will useful reliever Justin Speier's defection to the Angels. Thomas is an upgrade over Catalanotto for one of the majors' best offenses. The highlight, though, was when they surprised everyone by keeping Vernon Wells longterm.
Grade: B. (Peter here....and David Wells might be in their rotation mix. A solid number five for a team that finished second last year. Let us not forget that!!)
OK, Peter here for the last time in THIS post, which looks pretty good to me considering I've been editing content for about 20 minutes. You deserve the best I can do, every time, everyday, every post. That's the way it works here, and as you can see, I only included the numbers one through three of the top finishers in our AL East. And I have plenty to say. Toronto will be good, especially if the portly lefty is added to their rotation. The Yankees? They have the huge advantage in the bullpen for the late innings because of one guy and one guy only. Call him Mo. The Red Sox? My team, that's for sure, but I'm fairly certain you all know that by now. If not, go back to my post of November 20th, 2005. That's when I started this personal labor of love, frustration and sometimes glee. And the friends I've met...wow. And I was going to say this about the team with the red socks. As of today, and trying not to forecast what will happen come April 2nd, I'm assuming that JD Drew WILL be installed in right, Trot's territory. I also assume that the horrid injury bug will strike ANOTHER team this year, instead of ours. And again I'm assuming that a closer will emerge from the uncertain roles now in our "too soon to know what's going on" bullpen.
A famous line from the TV show THE ODD COUPLE was uttered by Felix Unger, as played by the beloved and much missed Tony Randall. He said something like this. "When you assume, it makes an ass of you and me." So true. I might be ass-worthy after this post. I hope not, but I don't care. I assume (haha) you don't either!
We all look forward, with contained excitement, for baseball version 2007. The one glaring weakness, for our rotation is as set as any team in baseball, is the tail end of the bullpen. And I have faith that someone, identity unknown, will step up and take command. If not, if there is total failure such as when Foulkie, last year, got the quick hook and we RSNers rejoiced in EVERY Paps' performance, then who knows what will happen. The head of our team pitching rotation is only as good as the guy who will pitch the ninth in a one-run game, with every fan standing and cheering for every pitch. SCREAMING! I truly hope it does not come down to that, for Paps and his shoulder are best suited smack in the middle of our so strong-looking rotation. A rotation that can propel us to the farthest reaches of October. If, and ONLY if, there is a 'pen to take us through the eighth and ninth....to the 27th out. To victory.
Should be fun, huh? Thanks for reading. This is another post where you can access the original SI article by clicking on the title. And I cannot wait to hear your comments on this white-looking but harmless day of cosmetic snow. That means just for looks, with no travel problems, just harmless white. Thanks for reading. As always, I so appreciate every one of you.