Sunday, December 09, 2007

What to Do...What to Do

It wouldn't be a hot stove season at Keep Your Sox On unless our pal DC had a few pearls of baseball wisdom to dispense to the fortunate masses. Here's his take on how the front office is doing as they gear up for the 2008 campaign. Enjoy...

I've been promising to give my opinion of the off-season needs of the Old Towne Team ever since the World Series ended. So why am I so late in doing so? Well, let’s just say that living with Robin can apparently make you lazy through osmosis. So yeah, I know Theo and the boys have already done some things but its never too late to chime in. So without further ado, we might as well start with what’s already happened...

Moves Made:
  • Schilling Re-signed – I would have approached this exactly as the front office did. The pitching market this off-season is as dreadful as Ron Jeremy’s physique, so why wouldn’t you throw a one year deal at Schill? Even if he’s no longer a top two guy, he's still a workhorse who competes, drives the rest of the pitching staff, and wants to win. Maybe he can even teach young Clay how to put a little meat on his bones.

  • Lowell Re-signed – This too was ideal in my eyes. I was saying during the World Series that they should offer the Cuban George Clooney a 3 year deal with a club or mutual option for a 4th. Turns out, they got the man with the golden glove for 3 years without the option. So now we all win, Lowell gets paid, the Sox get a World Series MVP, we all get to enjoy his flawless defense and my girlfriend still has someone to think about while we’re in bed...yeah, don’t ask.

  • Wake’s Option Picked Up – This was a no-brainer! Timmy Knuckles continues to be one of the biggest bargains in the league. The guy gives you quality innings, saves your pen, and is one of the vets who keeps things loose. Wake’s option will be picked up every year until he decides to hang it up...and then hopefully he’ll go teach the knuckleball to our A and AA squads.

  • JT’s Option Picked Up – Much like signing Schilling, this makes total sense. The free agent relief pitchers this year are like a who’s who of crap. The devil that you know is much better than the devil that you don’t...particularly when the devil that you know is nuttier than squirrel turds and a quality relief option.
Work To Be Done:

I like the strategy that Theo and the moneymakers seem to be following. In short, secure the starting line up, re-arm the bullpen and then fill in the bench. So let’s look at these three tasks in order:

  • Starting Lineup – With Lowell signed, the only decision to be made is who’s in center field. Personally, I like Coco. The guy is a freaking vacuum in center field, only if a vacuum was jet-propelled and was able to fly through the air like Bobby Orr. That being said, Jacoby is clearly the talk of the town and is clearly talented. Sounds like a no lose situation to this guy.

  • Bullpen – As of right now we have a pen of Paps, Okie Dokie, MDC, JT Killer, Javier the Lesser, and Franken-Bronson. Unfortunately a quick perusal of the free agent market leaves you feeling like you just ate a crate of Hot Pockets. While optimistic Sox fans may have faith in the emergence of Bryan Corey and Brendan Donnelly, the reality is we’re talking about a 34 year old with only 3 years of experience in the bigs and a guy coming off Tommy John surgery. So, the front office is going to have to rescue some arms off of this year’s free agent scrap heap and they already missed out on the likes of Kerry Wood, David Riske and Scott Linebrink. Here are some viable options:

    • Mike Timlin – This guy is quickly becoming the ageless wonder. Just when we were all writing him off this season, he came back and cut through more lumber than Paul Bunyan. As long as Tito doesn’t overuse him, he'll be great for 2008.

    • Jeremy Affeldt – Managed to rejuvenate his career for this year’s NL Champs and he’s one of the few free agents who’s actually under 30.

    • Ron Mahay – I don’t know...why not? I trust him more than LaTroy Hawkins.

  • Bench – At this point our bench consists of Alex Cora and the aforementioned Ellsbury. That means we probably have 3 spots that need to be filled and they most likely need to be an outfielder, catcher and utility guy...

    • Catcher – I know somehow Belli fell out of favor with the Boston fans. But here’s the deal, no other guy in the league is a sure thing when it comes to catching Timmy Knuckles. There is no youth available so you’re not getting Tek’s future replacement this off season. So why not go with the sure thing?

    • Outfielder - Bobby Kielty: that huge home run in the World Series has got to be worth something right?

    • Utility - Rob Mackowiak, Eric Hinske, Mike Lamb – None of them are going to carry a team any time soon. But each will give you innings at multiple positions and they all have experience starting games if need be.
Irons in the Fire:

You didn’t think we could go through this roundup without discussion of the blockbuster trade rumors, did you? Honestly, the Santana trade makes me uneasy because of the size of the contract that it will take to complete this deal. $25 million a year is a lot of money for any pitcher. At this point, making a trade for Erik Bedard is more enticing. This trade will cost the Sox fewer prospects and less money. In fact, the ideal move here would be something along the lines of Lester, Coco, Jed Lowry and a mid-to-low level prospect for Bedard and Kevin Millar. This gets Theo the splashy pitcher that he wants, solves the need for a utility guy and makes Boston the most fun-filled clubhouse in the league again. Everybody wins! Regardless of who the Sox trade for (Santana, Bedard, Haren) the real concern here is what does this mean about Dice-K? Do Theo and the boys no longer see him as Schilling’s replacement as 1A to Beckett’s 1?