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Injury to Ortiz is Bad News for Boston posted on 06/03/2008

So David Ortiz is going onto the 15 day Disabled List. The team expects him to be out for about a month. It doesn’t look like surgery will be necessary. This isn’t going to be that big of deal for the Red Sox. Sure it hurts to lose Big Papi, the Major League leader in RBI over that past 5 seasons, but Boston can manage for a month. Afterall, Ortiz played so poorly for the first month of this season that he may as well have not been in the lineup and the team did okay. Sure it hurts not to have his leadership around, but the Red Sox still have enough offense that they’ll be able to get by. Everything will be just fine.

That’s what I kept telling myself over and over again last night when I first got the news about Ortiz. The truth is, however–and I hate to be an alarmist–that the situation is bad. This isn’t a pulled muscle that Ortiz will take some time off and come back as good as before. He tore the tendon sheath in his left wrist. Wrist injuries are bad news for hitters. Especially if surgery is involved. Nomar Garciaparra missed almost the entire 2001 season when he had to have surgery on his wrist to repair an injury similar to the one suffered by Ortiz. There is a distinct possibility that Ortiz could be done for the season. It is probably a near certainty that he will be out longer than a month.

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Looking In On The Players Involved in the Santana Trade Talks posted on 05/22/2008

Upon seeing Justin Masterson pick up his first Major League victory the day after Jon Lester pitched his no hitter, it got me thinking about the Red Sox’ non-trade for Johan Santana. Both Lester and Masterson were prominent names in the trade talks, along with Jacoby Ellsbury and Jed Lowrie (Clay Buchholz was deemed completely off limits). There was much debate over whether or not Boston would be better off going with the proven All-World pitcher in Santana, or sticking with the young prospects on the belief that they would develop into the prominent pieces of a championship franchise that they were projected to be. So often both front offices as well as fans fall in love with prospects who have never even played a Major League game based solely on their advertised potential. Almost as often, this ends up being an irrational love affair that falls short just as it has in the past with the likes of Brian Rose, Dernell Stenson and Steve Lomasney (anyone remember these guys?). In this case, Boston’s decision to hang on to its young talent has so far worked out very well to start the season.

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Lester's No Hitter Validates Decision Not to Trade for Santana . . . For Now posted on 05/20/2008

Jon Lester has completely validated, for one night at least, Red Sox management’s decision to back off their pursuit of Johan Santana this past off-season and keep him in the fold for 2008. In reality, it will most likely take a couple of years to say for certain whether or not Boston made the right move to hang on to the young lefty, but after Lester blew his 130th and final pitch, a 96 mph fastball, past Royals batter Alberto Callaspo to complete his no hitter, it has to make Theo Epstein very hopeful for the future.

Truth be told, I was one who was of the opinion that the Red Sox should have given up Lester to acquire Santana. For me, like some others, Lester seemed more likely to be an ordinary middle of the rotation guy than the future Cy Young candidate that Boston pitching coach John Farrell was adamant he would become. Lester seemed to always nibble at the corners and his lack of command left him frequently falling behind hitters. He walked too many batters (74 in 144 innings entering this season) and his outings were typically done after five innings at most as his pitch counts rose as fast as gas prices. These types of performances certainly aren’t what you would expect from a pitcher whom the organization is claiming to be a future anchor of the rotation.

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The Go Go . . . Red Sox? posted on 05/12/2008

Well, maybe they are a ways from the present day equivalent of the 1959 White Sox team of a similar nickname that ran and played small ball all the way to the American League Pennant, but compared to what we are accustomed to with the slugging Red Sox, this year’s team is practically making games look like track meets. Boston has always built its teams around lumbering sluggers, and aside from the fact that perhaps the most famous play in team history IS a stolen base, one would be hard pressed to name any prolific basestealer in the 100 plus years the franchise has been in existence. In fact, since Theo Epstein has had control of the general manager reins, he has built the team around the "Moneyball" philosophy of high on base percentage and not giving away outs. The team has not only ignored stolen bases, but has pretty much discouraged them not wanting to risk giving away outs.

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Get Masterson in the Bullpen, Now! posted on 04/25/2008

Yesterday Justin Masterson delivered just what the Red Sox needed: relief. Well sort of. For a team that has been ravaged by the flu and already had to scratch Josh Beckett and Daisuke Matsuzaka from scheduled starts, they badly needed some one to step in and give them quality innings, especially after spot David Pauley in a spot start and Jon Lester who pitched on three days rest failed to do so. Justin Masterson got the emergency call to jump up from Double A Portland to make his Major League debut and did so masterfully. The only problem was, the bullpen blew it.

Now normally I am one to preach patience with rookies and not spring to snap judgements based upon a couple of good games. But in this case, Masterson, who was optioned back to Portland after the game, needs to remain in Boston. But not as a starter, instead he should be kept in the bullpen. Start him out in middle relief to ease the transition to the Majors and then he should be ready to step into the set up role by mid season.

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