Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Hot Stove 4: More signing fun

Ok, so I'm bit a behind. I blame going to the frozen wastes of northwestern New Hampshire and spending time with the family, Hannukah-style. Besides, this gives me the chance to digest and come up with my snappy commentary you all know and love.

Since the 14th, the Sox have signed John Halama to a one year, one million dollar deal. Halama, best known for having a last name that Jerry Troupiano made fun of (John Halamalamalama). John comes with a 4.70 ERA and a 6 and 7 record with Tampa Bay last year and the distinction of having played for four teams in four years. Not really a stellar pickup.

On the heels of the Halama signing, however, the Sox picked up Edgar Renteria (or, as he will be known in Boston starting this season, "Owah wicked good shoahtstop, Edgah Renterier"*) for four years and forty million. O-Cabs, he of the gold glove defense, has been signed by the Angels, in the place of David Eckstein. I wish him the best. Renteria is a slightly better hitter than Cabrera...or at least he is in the NL, where Cabrera was unhappy anyway. That one's kinda relative. Renteria's definately a better fielder than Cabrera and he's got a gold glove too, so the Sox aren't losing that department. I was psyched overall by the results. My question after finding out was what the Sox plan to do with Hanley Ramirez, who's supposed to be ready to play in 2006. Supposedly the reason the Sox didn't re-sign Cabrera was because he didn't want to take a short contract to make room for Ramirez - it seems now it's (also) because the Front Office was also after Renteria. Originally, I was thinking maybe Ramirez would be involved in a deal to get Hudson, but he signed with Atlanta, ending that possibility.

Then over the weekend, Matt Clement announced he'll be signing with the Red Sox for three years, rounding out the rotation: Schilling, Wells, Clement, Wakefield and Arroyo (who just signed a new contract of his own, along with Mark Bellhorn). Clement, who is apparently one of those fine wine pitchers (i.e., he takes a while to develop) was picked up because the Front Office feels he's entering his prime, tell us. He's 30, apparently healthier than Pedro and hasn't really hit his stride yet. Still, he's one of those pitchers I seem to recall getting excited about at some point over the past year or two, so I applaud the move.

The only other trading news of note is that the Dodgers pulled a fast one on the D-backs AND the Yankees by pulling out of the Randy Johnson trade. I continue to hope that this deal will go through, because I want New York to be foolish enough to trade away Javier Vasquez for a pitcher who's 41. Of course, the Yankees may pull this, get a pitcher who's good for a year or two, then just spend the money to get more talent and I'll just look foolish...or maybe they'll end up with another edition of the 2004 Yankees. There's time yet for the trade to happen.

I have more Red Sox schwag. Not only that, but it was schwag that other people gave me, which makes it that much better...nothing like free cool stuff. Over the weekend, during the aforementioned Hannukah festivities, my parents gave me a copy of the NESN season DVD (which I'm told is much better than the MLB version) and one of the blue championship hats** - it's got the logo, the 2004 champions, adjustable by strap (remember when these things had those annoying plastic clips? Didn't those suck?) and made of this cool fabric that's suprising warm. I dig it. Then, last night, Nikki and I exchanged gifts and she bought me a game ball from the April 16th game between the Sox and Yankees, where Wakefield beat Vasquez 6 - 2. She also made sure it was from a series the Sox won, because she's such a sweetheart. The ball comes with a plastic base and a certificate of authenticity with an odd little squirrel on it and I'm entertaining ideas of finding Tim Wakefield, breaking the ball out of the case temporarily and having him sign it. A fun little mission, if I do say so myself. Or maybe crazy. Either way, definately another cool gift. GO SOX!!!

* - Part of being a Massachusetts native living somewhere else, especially somewhere like New York, which has its own collection of accents, is being able to do a good Boston accent...and enjoy doing it. I could probably start up a show here in NYC, just doing my accent imitation: "Come see the freak who pronounces his Rs like As and his As like Rs!" It would make a fortune. And I could bring Robin in as a co-performer and have him do a Worcester accent. Maybe do a blind-test to see if people can tell the difference. Then I'll bring the wonderful John Greene back from LA for a special guest performance and put all of us to shame.
** - I just spent five minutes trying to find a picture of said hat, but it is nowhere to be found on you'll have to live with my description.