Monday, May 01, 2006

It's Twoo! It's Twoo!

Huzzah! Wakefield finally has a catcher who can understand his problems!

I wonder if any backup catcher has ever received so much adoration as Doug Mirabelli. Seriously. I’m not sure if it’s because The People love Wakefield so much, or because there seems to be only one man known to the collective RSN consciousness that can catch the knuckleball, or what, but we loves us some ‘Belli in Boston. Even though you’d have to be missing a few screws to think that the Mirabelli/Loretta trade didn’t make sense – since when is a backup catcher for a gold-glove second baseman with a lifetime .300 average straight up not a good idea – there was still the thought in the backs of the minds of many: ‘who’s gonna catch Wake?’

Well, what if the Sox decided the Josh Bard experiment was over, even though Bard has roughly the same record with pass balls as Mirabelli three years ago – maybe because they thought Bard wasn’t going to ever pick up the tricks, maybe because they really can’t afford to wait for Bard to learn, maybe because you can’t have your first game against the Yankees with a catcher who can’t catch your starter – and decided to get him back from San Diego. The Padres, being in roughly the same bargaining position with the Red Sox as the Indians were over the winter, would certainly do their best to bend Boston over a table and get back some of the trading price of losing Loretta, but I don’t think anyone would say it wasn’t worth it.

Flash forward to earlier today: Buster Olney calls up WEEI and leaks the rumor of an impending trade that would bring back Mirabelli back to Boston. At first, courtesy of my buddy Alan and a phone call, I heard the terms were Seanez for Mirabelli, a deal which would have made me cry tears of joy – and given Seanez’s success in San Diego last year, would make just as much sense for the Padres as it would for the Red Sox. Not to be, unfortunately; the price is a bit steeper: Bard, Cla Meredith, a player to be named later and cash. Given Mirabelli’s importance – he’s the functional equivalent of bringing in Orlando Cabrera two years ago to shore up the defense and turn Derek Lowe into a winning pitcher again – it makes sense, but ouch, that’s a lot of stuff for a guy who plays once every five days. The guys on WEEI tried to put a positive spin on it by saying that ‘Belli might be filling in for Varitek a bit in the near future as the Cap’n continues to recover from his “butt problem” (their words, not mine), but you have to hope a tiny little bit that Meredith never recovers from his stay Boston-side last year to become a big-name starter. I think I’ll just swallow the pill and be glad Doug is back, especially if he really is going to be in the lineup tonight.