Thursday, January 12, 2006

Phone Hittin' Man

Tavarez with protective phone hitting glove

My reactions to learning about the Julian Tavarez signing, in order:
  1. Oh God, not Julian Tavarez!
  2. [Checking out his player card on] Well, he’s not terrible…kinda middle of the road, actually. $3.3 million a year for two years seems like a lot for those career stats, though. Why did I have a problem with him again?
  3. Oh, right…he’s emotional. And by emotional, I mean he punched a phone during the playoffs and broke his hand. Also, he gave up a home run to Mark Bellhorn in Game 1 of the 2004 World Series – doesn’t speak well to his ability to keep it together in big games. Maybe he took meditation lessons from Kevin Brown.
  4. The Globe used a picture of Tavarez looking distressed after giving up a run to the Astros in the post-season last year to announce the signing. Clearly they’re big fans of the signing, too. Nothing like passive-aggressive journalism for providing high comedy.
  5. [After talking to Robin later in the afternoon] Wait...Tavarez and Manny are buddy-buddy? So this is $3 million to keep Manny happy? I'm strangely ok with this idea. I can imagine a front office meeting with Francona where J & B and Lucchino are tell Francona, "look, Tito: we picked up this guy to keep Manny from flipping out mid-season again. He also gives up a lot of ground balls, so he works well with the new defense, but for God's sake do not use him in a big situation - it's not worth the new phone equipment OR the medical bills." And then Francona will have a brain fart and put in Tavarez in a one run game with two men on and we'll all pray for a ground ball. I'm looking forward to this already.
Meanwhile, Tony G. avoided arbitration entirely by signing for $2 million for next year in the role of utility man and extra outfielder. Not a bad guy to have on your bench, I think – he certainly proved he can hit last year and it looks like he really wants to stay in Boston. As Robin pointed out to me earlier today, Loretta being injury-prone doesn’t hurt Graff’s cause either.

So ignoring the bullpen, which seems like it’s going to start Spring Training held together by tape and glue (get the feeling that the front office picked up a bunch of guys who might work on the cheap and they’re going to toss them at a wall in the Spring and see what sticks? Do you also get the feeling that I can mix metaphors like a fiend?), things are starting to shape up for 2006 Red Sox. With any luck, we might have a shortstop who can hit, a center fielder and a lead-off hitter by Opening Day. If we’re lucky.