Monday, March 20, 2006

Black Steel in the Hour of Chaos

Coming to your local ballpark...

…and just as suddenly, Juan Gone gets second billing to bigger news: the last of the rockers has left Boston. In a surprise move, the Sox sent Bronson Arroyo and cash to the Reds for young gun Wily Mo Pena. Millar, Mueller, Arroyo…Theo will have to play his Pearl Jam covers by himself. A surprise move, you say? Well, let me count the ways:

  1. Even with the glut of starting pitchers that Boston enjoyed, Arroyo was supposedly under a sacred sign: with his recent contract deal, he played the game and bet that the Sox wouldn’t risk the public relations problem of trading a pitcher who just undersigned to stay with a particular team. Conventional wisdom had Arroyo staying in Boston in the bullpen and Clement riding off into the sunset, but clearly the front office had other things in mind. Especially…

  2. …since Arroyo isn’t such hot potatoes and Wily Mo Pena…well…he’s pretty frickin’ awesome. I mean, I know Theo mentioned that the Reds needed pitching and the Sox needed outfielders, but I think it’s safe to say Boston got the huge upside on this deal. Now Coco, Manny and Pena just need to start a Public Enemy cover group, take up the torch that Arroyo drops in Boston and bring the noise.

So, new outfielder. Robin thinks this trade and the Juan Gone acquisition are signs of the coming departure of Trot Nixon, but I think it’s a little early to write off Ol’ Trotsky. Gonzalez needs to battle his way up through the minor leagues. Pena is a lefty killer; his power and hitting numbers over the past few years make him perfect platoon-mate with Nixon, whose specialty, to put it mildly, is righties. He’s 24, Papi says he hits the ball harder than anyone he knows and he’s got the potential to grow into a fearsome right field presence as Trot’s future replacement. So departs the Cornroyo, the Guns and Corn, another member of the 2004 team…and not a bad catch in his place. Good luck, Bronson.