A Quick Manny Update...Boston's Pitching Depth
It's way early on Sunday morning. I woke up around 3am EST and just couldn't go back to sleep. I listened to half an hour of the Howard Stern show on sat. radio, but it was so funny that going back to sleep was impossible. And that's why I'm here after breakfast and taking my blood sugar level writing this post. It's 4:20am EST...daylight is still 2 1/2 hours away, but in a strange way, it's a very peaceful time of day. The phone's not going to ring, CNN is on the telly and all is good.
Manny Ramirez still remains homeless, almost unwanted, but I'm sure some team will pick him up at a reduced clearance "getting rid of inventory" price before Spring Training commences. Will it be the Yankees? They've been mum. So who knows...for a guy who wants to play three more years, Manny has been fairly quiet. I guess he's letting his agent do all the talking. I could care less, though, but it would be great if he stays in the National League.
On to the Boston Red Sox pitching situation. They've made all the 2009 moves they're going to make, and the average age of the starters is only 31...the bullpen's average age is just 30. Theo Epstein had a few words to say about Boston's blend of seasoned veterans and young soon-to-be starters. Here you go, and then I'll be back with a comment (or three) of my own...
“I think the luxury of the depth we have should give us the luxury of allowing our young arms to develop at their own pace, that’s really valuable,” general manager Theo Epstein said recently. “You never want to rush a guy with only limited time at Triple A into the big leagues for an extended stretch because you don’t have anyone else. You want to bring them up when they’re ready. All of our guys have developmental goals left to be attained. I think they’re all talented, I think they’re all on the cusp of pitching in the big leagues when we need them to, but this allows them to develop at their own pace.”
“Our bullpen was bad the first half of last year, everyone was crying for change, turnover, change - and we said we think we can address this internally, through Masterson, through just getting guys like Okajima back on track and that’s exactly what happened, by the second half of the season, into the playoffs, the bullpen was a strong suit,” Epstein said. “I think it’s actually been that way most years - everyone rips on the bullpen and by October, it’s a strength. Maybe this year, it’s a strength from the get-go, we’ll see.”
Peter here, and I echo Theo's thoughts. This upcoming year's bullpen is a blend of young and old, but it's solid top to bottom, sideways and diagonally. And even though the starting rotation has two guys over the age of 40 (Wakes and Smoltz), it's also rock solid. If Beckett has regained and can maintain his good health, unlike last year, that would be a huge boost. Jon Lester is Jon Lester...look for continued excellence. Matsuzaka, when he has his control, is one of the best. Brad Penny? I'm not familiar enough to comment...yet. Wakes is Wakes, probably a near .500 pitcher and an inning eater. And John Smoltz? If he has healed fully, and all things I've read and heard suggest exactly that, he'll be amazing. I just have one of my "feelings" about his 2009 season. I hope those "feelings" are on the ball...the Sox will be hard to stop if he wins 15 games. WOW!!
(Yawn)...oops, sorry about that. It's still eeriely early. For now, believe it or not, I'm out of words. That little voice in my head that tells me which words to type is strangely silent. I'm not worried, he'll be back. Maybe it's too early for him. I hope you, my Constant Readers, were able to sleep as late as you wanted to...it's Sunday! You can click on the title of this post to be transported to the SI Red Sox homepage, always a source of delight. Thank you from my heart for stopping by. BE WELL...shalom...l'chaim...arividerci...ciao...see ya.