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Was the Price right?

Of course it was!  We are of course talking about David Price…in case that was a mystery.  Well, he did sign with the Red Sox about a week ago, so maybe it was…

Sure, he has underperformed in the playoffs, to put it nicely.  He has a history of listening too closely to fans/media/outside noise…not a great thing when pitching in Boston.  After Game 1 against Texas this past postseason, he claimed that he is nervous in his first postseason start of the year (fair enough), but also nervous during his “first spring training start” and “first bullpen”, etc.  And then used some sort of duck analogy.  Ok, a little weird.  So maybe some of these things are a little concerning.  Or a lot concerning.

But the Sox needed an ace…and thankfully they have moved on from the “5 aces” crap of last year.  Price was the best out there.  The Sox have the money.  This move HAD to be made.

You may say giving a 7 year contract to a 3o year old pitcher is stupid.  John Henry would have said that last year, but since he changes his mind every year, he didn’t care last week.  You may also say well, Jon Lester was age 30 last offseason and Henry and the Sox wouldn’t give him 7 years.  I would say the Sox didn’t really want to sign him at any price.  I think Larry Lucchino’s original offer of 4 years, 70 million should have told you that right from the start.  We’ve covered all that before though…

Let me also ask you this:  Would you rather have David Price at 7/217 or Jon Lester at 6/145 (plus 25 more in a 7th year or a 10 mil buyout)?  I don’t care how well Lester pitched in Boston, especially in the playoffs.  I don’t care if Lester came through the Sox’ system.  I don’t care if Jon Lester loves Boston.  The answer is easy…and it’s Price.  Price is a clear #1.  Lester, as good as he was here, really is more of a #2.  Take a look at his first year in the National League too.  11-12, 3.34, 207 K’s in 205 innings.  Not horrible, pretty good actually.  But not worth 25 laaaaaaaaaahge.  Obviously there is a long way to go to judge both of these deals.  But I’d take Price any day of the week and I think most of you would too.

If you are balking at the deal because of the 217 mil, well, have you seen the other contracts out there?  Greinke:  6/206.5.  Yikes!  But it goes way beyond that.  Johnny Cueto is still unsigned.  But he wants 25 mil plus.  These 3 were the “Big Three” of the free agent pitchers.  Fine, give them a boatload of dough.  Look deeper at the next “tier”.  Jordan Zimmerman:  5/110.  Jeff Samardzija:  5/90.  Hisashi Iwakuma:  3/45.  Mike Leake:  Unsigned, but looking for at least 15 mil/per.  Mike Leake??  If you ask me, John Lackey’s 2/32 is a steal when compared to the above contracts.  But still 16 per for a 37-year-old pitcher.

Sure, the money on the next level is less and the years are less.  But I’d still take Price’s contract over any of those.  Dig a little deeper.  Look at these:  Marco Estrada (2/26); JA Happ (3/36); Brett Anderson (1/15.8).  Rich Hill had 4 meaningless September starts for the Sox and got 6 mil from one of the cheapest teams out there in Oakland.  Switch gears to relievers:  Darren O’Day (4/31); Ryan Madson (3/22); Joakim Soria (3/25); Shawn Kelley (who?) (3/15); Tony Sipp (3/18).  Throw in position players:  Ben Zobrist (4/56); Chase Utley’s corpse (1/7); Colby Rasmus (1/15.8); Asdrubel Cabrera (2/18.5).  Chris Iannetta, a 32-year-old backup catcher who hit .188 last year…4.25 mil for him.

Ok, so the last paragraph was likely unnecessary.  But I like numbers, so deal with it.  The point has been driven home though I think.  The money is being spent out there.  May as well spend it on the best.  Especially when you still have guys like Clay Buchholz, Joe Kelly, Rick Porcello and Wade Mil…ummmmmm, nevermind on him…still in your rotation.

So I liked the Price signing, that’s pretty clear.  Did I like the Wade Miley trade?  Glad you asked!  The answer is…I don’t know.  But I think I do.  Wade Miley is a nice #4 starter who you can seemingly lock into 30 plus starts and close to 200 innings.  That is a positive for any staff.  But he is still…Wade Miley.  Who is to say Henry Owens, Brian Johnson, Steven Wright…or any other Joe Blow can’t step into the #4/#5 starter role and replace him decently enough?  Plus, as much as I am not excited about John Farrell coming back as manager next year, when Miley pulled that stunt in the dugout with him after being shelled earlier last year, well, let’s just say I didn’t love that.

So Miley should be replaceable.  Maybe his replacement will be Roenis Elias…who knows?  Elias is a couple of years younger, so that is a positive…for whatever that’s worth.  Losing Jonathan Aro?  Meh.  Carson Smith?  Kind of makes you wonder why Seattle would give up a cheap guy under control for several more years.  But trading a reliever for a durable starter?  Maybe that’s why.  I often would not trade starters for relievers.  But again, Miley can be replaced by…anyone.  And if Smith can help solidify the back-end of the bullpen…probably worth it.  I can’t really get all that worked up about it.

I AM however all worked up about trading Garin Cecchini for a bag of used balls and a couple of beat up fungo bats.  Ok, I am not.  I did find it surprising that Cecchini was DFA’d over a guy like Bryce Brentz…but since absolutely no one but me cares, I’ll save those thoughts for myself.

So with the signing of Price and 4th outfielder Chris Young and the trades for Smith and Craig Kimbrel, Dave Dombrowski says he is essentially done.  (Aside on Kimbrel:  I usually don’t love trading for closers when they can be “found” (see:  Uehara, Koji).  Nor do I love giving up prospects for 60-70 innings a year…4 of them to boot.  But I normally would trade prospects for proven players.  And I am not sure I am worried about any of the 4 prospects becoming someone the Sox regret they gave away.  Even Manuel Margot.  The Sox need bullpen help.  Sooooo…I came to terms with it).

Anyway, Dombrowski said something to the effect of that he “doesn’t like to lie as it sets a bad example…”.  I hope he is stretching the truth then anyway.  There is more work to be done.  I’d still like to see a solid #2 starter.  Is it Eduardo Rodriguez?  Maybe.  But I sure as hell hope it ISN’T Clay Buchholz.  I’d love to see him dealt.  It isn’t Rick Porcello…though his contract doesn’t look so bad anymore, no?  Maybe Ben was somewhat right on one thing at least.  Anyway, there is rotation depth yes, but I’d take another upper end starter.  Bullpen?  Good start with Kimbrel, Uehara, Smith and Tazawa.  Maybe Elias.  Maybe Joe Kelly?  Matt Barnes?  I guess.  Robbie Ross Jr. is a decent 10-11 guy I suppose.  I wouldn’t mind seeing another proven guy out there though.

Hanley Ramirez has to go as well.  Easier said than done, I am well aware of that.  But the outfield experiment did not work last year.  Do we really think the first base experiment is going to work this year?  Cancer in the clubhouse…all that.  Just do whatever it takes to get him out of here.  I think it happens.  But it’s going to take some time…and the Sox eating a lot of dough.  Maybe even until spring training when someone on another team gets hurt and a team panics.  I don’t know how it will happen, but it needs to.  I’d also investigate trading either of Jackie Bradley Jr. or Rusney Castillo.  I’m not sold on either of those guys really.  Maybe trade one of them while they still have some value.  Although I can live with the 4 guys (Young and Mookie Betts the other 2 of course) in the outfield if I have to.

A couple more months until Spring Training…still time to make some decent tweaks to the roster…

 

Week old Thanksgiving leftovers…

…I’m eating them in real life, so why not some catch up on some leftovers here?

*Seems like a lot of people have been saying that the Patriots really played great against Green Bay this past Sunday.  Yes, they only lost by 5 points.  But I fail to see how they played great.  People are specifically saying the defense played great.  Now, I didn’t study the film, but I am a little confused by these assertions.

The Packers punted exactly once.

The Packers were 10-17 on third down…and it felt like 16-17, since they controlled the clock the whole game.

The Packers had several 25 plus yard plays, including that killer one to Jordy Nelson at the end of the first half.

Somehow, the Patriots had 3 sacks (and a HUGE one by Akeem Ayers that was wiped out by penalty.  No one talks about this one early in the game.  Ayers makes the sack deep in GB territory.  Would have been 3rd and forever.  But Brandon Browner slaps Jordy Nelson in the head with a “block”, the sack does not count, and GB marches down and scores.  This was a big one to me.  Stupid penalty.  But I digress…), but pass rush was nonexistent.  Aaron Rodgers had all day to throw…always.  Coverage may have been good for the most part, yes.  But give Rodgers (or anyone really) 12 seconds to survey the field and throw, bad things are bound to happen.

The offense was ok.  But some of the coaching decisions were baffling.  Right off the top, not running the ball against this defense.  Playing Brandon Bolden at all (great TD run and one before that notwithstanding).  When running early in the game, going with Shane Vereen between the tackles.  Playing Aaron Dobson at all.  And Marcus Cannon as the 6th offensive lineman was an abject failure.

As I watched the game live, surprised the Packers didn’t win by 20 plus.

As long as the Patriots cruise through the next 4 weeks, which they should, despite 3 of the teams being in the playoff chase (San Diego, Miami and Buffalo), last Sunday won’t matter.  But there is no room for error anymore since the Broncos should cruise through the next 4 weeks as well.  And the Patriots need the home field advantage more for sure.

Winnable game that got away.

*Will Jon Lester please sign somewhere so I can be done with it?  Reports now that the Yankees and Dodgers are now involved.  We know the Cubs and Red Sox are.  Teams like Atlanta, St. Louis and San Francisco have been mentioned, though likely long shots.

Is anyone surprised that the Yanks are now being mentioned?  Instead of going through all this foolishness, they tell the agents at the beginning to get back to them at the end of the process.  If they then feel like it, they will make an offer.  I’d love it if the Red Sox went with this method…at least on the big fish.  Instead of Uncle Larry Lucchino lowballing Lester last spring at 4 years, 70 mil.  And lowballing him now for allegedly 6/130 (while the Cubs are supposedly 6/138).  Just top the offer if you want him already.  Instead of trying to force the “hometown discount”.  Unless you don’t want him.

But why not just sign the guy instead of trading 5 prospects for an ace?  Seems like a no-brainer.  But it’s Larry, so what do ya want?

*Speaking of Lester and St. Louis and all…there is talk the Cardinals will rip up the 500k contract for John Lackey and give him a new one.  You know, the 500k that he willingly signed for Boston, but wouldn’t play for…but would happily play for in St. Louis?  Why on God’s Green Earth would St. Louis do that?  The guy is going to be a major jackass for them at some point this year, regardless of whether he is making 500k or 20 mil.  So make him play for the 500k.  He signed the original contract with that language in it, hold him to it.

*Guess I was wrong in a previous post about the Celtics being entertaining to watch.  Rajon Rondo has been atrocious (ok, harsh, but I still just want him out of town).  Kelly Olynyk has regressed…as have most of the others.  Marcus Smart got hurt.  And Jeff Green is still…Jeff Green.  Is it almost time to start unloading players Danny?  Or are we still waiting to see who the contenders are?  Don’t we already know?  Hurry up already…

*Speaking of deals, I feel like the Bruins need to make a splash.  I know David Krejci and Zdeno Chara are out with injuries.  And Adam McQuaid too if that floats your boat.  But this team needs some sort of kick in the arse.  And some better players.  That always helps.

The team has done a decent job of staying afloat despite the injuries.  And the total ineffectiveness of “go to guys” like Milan Lucic and Brad Marchand.  It’s nice to see some of the kids up and playing like David Pastrnak and Joe Morrow.  Gets them some experience at the very least I guess.  But this team cannot score.  Is it all because of Krejci?  Maybe Seth Griffith is a future goal scorer.  But he can’t score if Claude keeps scratching him.

Do we wait until healthy bodies return and all the lines and defensive pairings stabilize?  Maybe.  But I know who the guys are on the roster that Claude will play when everyone is healthy.  And it doesn’t excite me, that’s for sure.  I say make a blockbuster.  Maybe trade Loui, Fraser, Reilly and Morrow for Peverley and Seguin?  Har har har…

By the by, is everyone else excited that Peter Chiarelli locked Krejci up to a huge extension and then he starts missing games and then the whispers start about “chronic hip condition”?  Me neither…

*Last, but by all means, not least?  REVS, REVS, REVS, REVS!!!  The New England Revolution (the local entry in Major League Soccer, in case people did not know) will be playing for the fifth time for the MLS Cup on Sunday.  They are 0-4, but hey, at least, as Jonathan Kraft said (actually this afternoon on talk radio), “we have been to more than any other team”.  Guess it doesn’t matter to him if they actually win one or not…a disturbing idea, as the Kraft’s have been accused of that with the Patriots in recent years.

Anyway, they say 32,000 showed up at Gillette Stadium last weekend for the game that propelled them to the final.  Seems hard to believe.  Maybe soccer is on the rise here…finally.  Hell, I even listened to the 2nd half of the game ON THE RADIO.  Talk about something that seems hard to believe.  And although there is NFL football on the docket for Sunday, the MLS Cup does not interfere with the Patriots.  So I may indulge in a little soccer action then too.

Can’t believe I wrote all that about the Revs.  But hey, gotta root on all local teams, no?

And no, Boston College does not count.

 

Flotsam and Jetsam, Part I

Brain dumping from the past few days:

*Did anyone see John Lackey’s pitching line from this past weekend?  5 innings, 13 hits, 9 earned runs, 2 walks, 3 K’s, 3 bombs.  No one laughed harder than me.  Couldn’t happen to a better guy.  Hope it happens again.  Repeatedly.  The guy is a clown.  And I was in favor of paying him several years ago!  Thought you can never have enough pitching.  He’s a decent pitcher, #3, maybe a #2.  Pitched in big games.  Figured he’d be able to handle Boston.  Yes, they overpaid quite a bit.  But they were going to spend it one way or the other.  Wakefield, Dice-K, even Beckett and Buchholz…didn’t know what you would get from each of them.

He pitched ok his first year.  Nothing spectacular, ERA was about a half a run higher than usual.  But decent enough.  Then he completely sucked in 2011.  Blamed injury.  Of course.  And it turned out he was hurt.  But why pitch if you are hurt that bad?  To prove “toughness”?  Stupid.  Came back and obviously contributed to a World Series winner last year.

But all his actions spoke volumes.  Always making faces on the mound.  Showing up teammates when they didn’t make a play he thought they should (although his teammates always inexplicably backed him).  Surly with the press when they asked relevant questions.  Etc.  Then this year making noise about retiring instead of playing for the 500k HE SIGNED for.  Then saying he would in St. Louis right off the bat.  Enough of that joker.  Good riddance.

*Glad to see Carl Crawford still whining about his Boston experience.  Hey Carl, no one forced you to take that ridiculous contract.  You could have said “no”.  I know the chances of that were slim and none, since the money was just stupid.  But he could have.  Something tells me his Dodger experience isn’t much better…well, I guess they don’t care out there similar to Tampa.  But he’s atrocious out there too.  Just shut up.

*Great to see John Farrell still managing like he is in the World Series.  Or that he has a chance this year still.  The Sox bring up guys, he is afraid to use them.  Corey Brown has been on the roster for over a week and he can’t even hit for the pitcher in any game.  Probably only played Dan Butler because Christian Vazquez played 19 innings the night before.  Jackie Bradley Jr. is glued to the bench.  Will Middlebrooks has not played much recently, until Farrell decided to essentially bench JBJ and moved Brock Holt to CF.  Daniel Nava is playing just about every day.  Junichi Tazawa and Koji Uehara are still overworked.

Listen, I understand Farrell (and the team) want to win games.  But even though JBJ is 0 for his last million, he should be playing every day the rest of the year.  And even though I am just about off the bandwagon on Will, he needs to play every day too.  Play Butler more to see if he can play even a smidge.  Throw some young pitchers in 8th and 9th inning situations to see if they can cut it.  You know what you have in Nava.  Let other guys play and develop.  Or not develop.  But let’s keep them out there.

*It’s been several days since the Patriots’ first exhibition game.  Needed this much time to digest that atrocity.  I think we’ve all heard Ryan Mallett being torn to shreds on the radio and in print.  Some of it is well deserved.  He has been here for now 4 exhibition seasons and he never looks like he gets better.  Granted, he never gets game reps.  But still.  Thought they may have had a steal when they drafted him in the 3rd round.  Looks doubtful now.  We shall see what happens this week.

I thought Jimmy Garoppolo certainly sparked the team.  But let’s not go overboard.  It was the 2nd half of the first exhibition game against scrubs, one of whom may or may not be at my door in 2 or 3 weeks delivering my Chinese food.  I can tell you that I can’t wait to see more though.

Thankfully, most of the starters took the night off.  Not so thankfully, the reserves looked like crap.  Hope they go on the upswing.

There’s really no point in analyzing that particular game anymore.  Long way to go.  Jeez, they cut 3 guys the other day and signed 3 tight ends.  None of those 3 are going to make the roster I imagine.  Just trying to cover the position until the regular season.  And block enough so the QB doesn’t get killed.  They also made two (very) minor trades today.  Roster will continue to be in flux until even after Week One, when vets can be signed and not have to guarantee their salaries.

Up next?  Part II.  Some unexpected topics.  I can promise you that…

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