“Let the young guys show what they can do.”
It’s not an exact quote but certainly something I’ve been preaching on the blog about the Sox for a while. Now it appears that my idea for the team heading into the final month and a half of the season is going to become reality.
The injuries that have decimated the team have finally, it seams, reached their breaking point with certain guys. It was announced yesterday that Sandyvagititus Ellsbury is likely done for the season. This was on the heals of Mike Cameron saying he too was done for the season. With Youkilis already done for the season, that makes three of your opening day roster done for the season.
Insurance policy Mike Lowell has filled the void at first base in Youkilis’s absence. So that was a void the team was able to fill without having to go to the minors. Although you have to wonder what ever happened to highly touted prospect Lars Anderson. He should be with the big club by now instead of toiling around at Pawtucket batting .248 with seven home runs. A far cry from the .300 averages he’d posted earlier in his minor league career.
The outfield has three different guys wearing numbers over 50. Ryan Kalish (55), Darnell McDonald (54) and Daniel Nava (60). Looks more like a spring training squad than your major league team. But McDonald has been serviceable batting .265. Kalish had a huge grand slam in the Sox win last night and is batting .300 in 15 games with the Sox this season. And Nava is batting .290 in 30 games with the big club.
Not too shabby on the young guy front in the outfield. Further proving that you could deal Ellsbury this off-season and not feel too bad about his replacements.
Then there’s Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Theo’s man crush. With Kevin Cash getting “injured” it opened the door for Theo to see what he had in the young catching prospect. There’s no chance Jason Varitek makes it back to the club prior to September first because Theo is not sending him back to the minors.
After watching Clay Buchholz get his 14th win last night through seven shut out innings you had to think that the righty is totally in the Cy Young mix. Very grateful that the Sox didn’t trade Buchholz, Lester, and Ellsbury to the Twins a couple seasons back for Johan Santana.
So it’s looking like the Sox are going to stick around for the time being. At least we get to see the young guys play and get an idea of what next year’s team will look like.
So last Friday Mike Lowell was supposed to be activated off the disabled list but he wasn’t. Instead the trading deadline came and went with Lowell still technically on the DL. Sure he’d completed his rehab starts in Pawtucket, including a game where he hit three home runs, but he just sat on the bench.
It made everyone start asking Francona and Lowell, “What’s going on?”. Well, yesterday Lowell speculated to the media that a resolution could be at hand, “Tomorrow should be a good day.’’
Now we’re left to speculate as to what’s going to happen. With Youk jamming his hand in last night’s 6-5 loss to the Indians (the last place Indians) Lowell could be useful if Youk needs to hit the DL. But the way he was talking you have to assume the solution is going to be more of a long term deal.
The season is more than half over so that means the Sox have paid more than half of his $12.5 million contract. So is it easier for them to eat $6.25 million? Probably. But I really don’t think that the Sox would want to eat the contract. Instead I think they try to get a waiver deal done and I’m guessing that could be in the works.
Regardless of how it plays out, it’s a shame. He’s been treated like dog crap by the front office. I heard Philly as a possible destination. I hope he has a chance to win another World Series if he lands there. The Phils have some work to do to make the playoffs. They’re 3.5 back in the Wild Card and three back in the NL East. I think Lowell could help them.
So Mike Lowell made the last out of the Sox game on Tuesday night. It seemed to be his first at bat in months (actually nine games). A big difference from three years ago when he was winning the World Series MVP for his performance at Coors Field in Colorado.
Following another Sox loss (good job Papelbon; 6 home runs given up already this season) they need to make a roster move to get Dice-K off the DL. One of the rumored moves is the possibility of trading Lowell.
You hate to see him leave but at the same time he has to be miserable sitting on the bench every night. Beltré is playing very well, Youk is having a typically strong season and of course Ortiz had that terrific May into June. So without a place to play him Lowell is a player without a position.
Rumor is that he could be dealt for a power hitting corner outfielder (the Sox would likely have to include a prospect in that kind of deal). Also a lefty for their bullpen is on the Sox wish list (again a prospect would likely need to be included). You don’t want to see the Sox just release him because they’d be eating $12 million in salary.
Minnesota, Texas, Toronto, Kansas City, Baltimore and Oakland are all on the short list.
So by the team most of my readers get to this column a move will already be made. Just hope that the Sox get some help and something in return if it’s a Lowell trade. We’ll have to wait and see.
Several bleary eyed people in the Boston are this morning. A double overtime hockey game and an extra innings Sox game tend to do that.
We’ll start with the Bruins since that’s what I was watching most of the night. After another first period that saw the Bruins go down again, they came out and really dominated the second period again. But similar to game one of the series, Buffalo was the team that scored. With the Bruins down 2-0 and Miller standing on his head for the first two periods, it didn’t look good.
But then the Bruins came out and rallied in the third with goals from Krejci on the power play and a game tying goal from game three hero Patrice Bergeron. The teams stayed tied through one overtime with Buffalo cranking one off the post and Miller playing out of his mind.
Then came the second overtime.
With six men on the ice, the Sabres were penalized setting up a power play for the Bruins. And it was on that power play that Michael Ryder fed Miroslav Satan for the back hand game winner. Holy shit! The Bruins win and take a commanding 3-1 series lead.
Meanwhile over at Fenway the Sox went 12 with the Rangers. With runners on first and second and two outs, Kevin Youkilis gave the Sox their second walk off win in as many nights. Sox win 8-7 but more importantly Terry Francona sits David Ortiz who clearly is on the back nine of his career in favor of Mike Lowell who homered as part of his 2-4 night. Much better than a guy that strikes out and fouls out. Just saying.
But the real event I’m focusing on right now is the NFL draft.
The Patriots are rumored to be looking for help at outside linebacker. But the latest mock drafts have them taking a wide receiver at #22. Specifically Dez Bryant. Rumor is that the OK State receiver is falling fast on draft boards and there’s no way the Patriots are going to let him get past them at #22. If that’s the case, I’m excited. Way more excited than Jermaine Gresham the tight end from Oklahoma.
Tonight is only round one. A format I despise. Saturday is draft day and the first three rounds should be Saturday. Then wrap up the rest on Sunday. If they’re obsessed with prime time, they can do round one on Friday night, but not Thursday. By the time the Patriots pick (barring them trading up which I don’t see happening) I’ll be fast asleep.
Back tomorrow with a breakdown.
Let me preface everything with the fact that I really can’t feel bad for any athlete. Millionaires that get paid insane money to play a game and are able to set up their families for generations. You really think that if I write a column or blog post about an athlete he’s going to read it? And if he did, invite me out to dinner or something? Don’t be foolish.
All that being said you have to feel a little bad from Mike Lowell. He’s been treated like garbage by the Red Sox front office pretty much since coming to town. It started with him being the “throw in” in the Josh Beckett trade. From there he was rumored to be off to the Rockies before the 2007 season started. He was rumored out of town when they were going to sign Teixeira last off-season and out again this off season.
This off-season was vastly different than the past two. This time he really was out of town. The Sox agreed to trade him to Texas (while paying $9 million of his $12 million owed) and in exchange the Sox would get back Max Ramirez, the young catcher/first basemen/DH in the Rangers system. But something happened. The deal never made it’s way through. Delay after delay kept holding it up.
So what happened?
I think Texas realized that they were giving up what could be a very good young prospect for a question mark. Sure Lowell has value to a team at only $3 million a season, but what if he can’t hold up? Then you’re paying $3 million to a guy that isn’t playing and you gave up one of your prospects to get the deal done.
So Texas sat on his medical records for a while but didn’t like his thumb. The Sox had him get an MRI prior to the winter meetings and that’s where it was discovered that he would need surgery. A surgery that he is supposed to have shortly after Christmas thus nixing the deal with Texas. Mike Lowell is still a Sox player.
Where this really is problematic is the he said she said that’s going on with the front office. Lowell missed the final two regular season games with the injury and had it taped in the post season sweep by the Angels. He indicated in his exit interview that it was still bothering him. The Red Sox brass (trying to spin everything as usual) indicated that he [Lowell] barely made mention of it.
So now the team is a few months away from spring training and has a player on their roster they tried to trade coming in and they’re calling him a liar as well. To say the least this is going to be interesting. Now let’s see, if he stays with the team, if Francona is open to swapping him and Youk across the diamond. If the Sox make the Adrian Gonzalez deal happen, this will become even more convoluted.