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Saturday, December.29, 2012
Now that it appears the Red Sox have “wrapped up” their big Christmas week trade with the Pirates, it got me thinking about how the Sox have fared in past late-December moves. It’s too early to say how this swap is going to shake out; if closer Joel Hanrahan pitches in Boston like he did during most of the past two seasons, he’ll be a huge step in the rebuilding effort. Here’s a look back at the success of some other Christmas-time transactions by the Red Sox:
Result: Not looking good so far. Bailey was injured most of the season and ineffective upon his return. The Hanrahan trade makes it pretty clear Sox management believes Bailey won’t bounce back strong, and Sweeney was allowed to go to free agency after a lackluster .260, 0-homer year with Boston. As for Reddick, he was one of the biggest MLB surprises of 2012, hitting 32 homers and earning a Gold Glove with the A’s. HO-HO-HO Meter — (1/2 HO)
Dec. 24, 2004: Catcher Jason Varitek re-signed as free agent.
Result: Strong move for two reasons. Although Varitek turned 33 in April 2005, he remained a productive offensive and defensive performer for most of the four-year deal. More importantly, the captain stabilized an ever-evolving pitching staff and helped lead the Red Sox to another World Series title in 2007. (HO-HO-HO)
Dec. 21, 2001: Outfielder Johnny Damon signed as free agent.
Result: Idiot’s delight. Damon delivered in every way for the Red Sox over the four-year contract, as a speedy lead-off man with power, an excellent defensive outfielder (minus his throwing arm), as a tough, enthusiastic leader in the clubhouse, and as a clutch performer in the postseason. His grand slam in Game Seven of the 2004 ALCS is one of the biggest hits in team history. (HO-HO-HO-HO)
December 19, 2000: Outfielder Manny Ramirez signed as free agent. Over 8 years, Sox fans enjoyed Manny happy moments.
Result: Best free-agent signing in team history. Even at eight years and $160 million, Manny was worth it — teaming with David Ortiz to form a devastating one-two punch and averaging .313/.412/.594 with 36 homers and 114 RBI from 2001-2007 as a major cog on two World Series champions. (HO-HO-HO-HO)
Dec. 22, 1980: Postmark date stamped on a contract mailed to Red Sox catcher Carlton Fisk, two days after a deadline expired — making Fisk a Free Agent.
Result: Holy Cliff Clavin. Fisk signs with the White Sox and over next 13 more seasons hits 214 home runs. (No HOs)
Dec. 26, 1919: Outfielder/pitcher Babe Ruth sold to Yankees for $125,000 plus a $350,00 loan.
Result: Owner Harry Frazee’s folly. Frazee didn’t like Ruth’s wild ways, or his demands for a $20,000 contract. So he sent the Babe packing, then watched him hit 659 homers for New York through 1934. (No HOs)
*** The views and opinions expressed in this report are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of www.mlbreports.com and their partners.***
A big thank-you goes out to Saul Wisnia for preparing today’s featured article. Saul shares his Fenway Reflections at http://saulwisnia.blogspot.com. Born just up the street from “America’s Favorite Ballpark,” he is a former sports and news correspondent at The Washington Post and feature writer at The Boston Herald. He has authored, co-authored, or otherwise contributed to numerous books on Boston and general baseball history here, and his articles and essays have appeared in Sports Illustrated, Red Sox Magazine, Boston Magazine, and The Boston Globe. His most recent book, Fenway Park: The Centennial, was excerpted on http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/. Wisnia lives in Newton, Massachusetts, 5.94 miles from America’s favorite ballpark, with his wife, two kids, and Wally (the cat, not the Green Monster). Feel free to follow Saul on Twitter Follow @SaulWizz.
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Sunday August 19th, 2012
Jonathan Hacohen: Posted every Weekend: Your top baseball questions from the past week are answered. E-mail all questions to firstname.lastname@example.org, message us on Twitter, post on our Facebook Wall and leave comments on our website! There are many ways to reach us and we will get to your questions from all social media outlets!
This week we are going to do things a little differently people. We have been receiving hundreds of e-mails and social media messages on the Boston Red Sox all season long. Red Sox/baseball fans are trying to figure out what went wrong with the team; where is the team heading; and how can the Red Sox be fixed. I have been compiling your questions in preparation for this feature. I was originally going to prepare a featured report titled “How to Fix the Boston Red Sox”. But instead, this week’s edition of ATR will cover all of the issues that you, the readers, feel face the Red Sox. It is a little different, perhaps even scary. Given the number of times we have received each question, I will present the major ones as the “issues” followed by my proposed solutions. Let’s face it…whether you love or loathe the Red Sox, you need to know: What will happen next…
In today’s special edition of ATR, you are about to find out!
Before we jump into analyzing the “Red Sox Issues”, we present or our Batting Stance Guy featured video of the week. Keeping with our Red Sox theme, Gar brings us “9 Things Red Sox Nation Misses About Youkilis”. The end of the Youkilis Era really cemented the downward spiral of the Red Sox in my mind. But keeping Kevin Youkilis close to our hearts, enjoy this little BSG clip:
Now that we have your hearts pumping and motors racing, let’s get right into “Fixing the Boston Red Sox”:
Issue: How much do you blame the Red Sox owners on the team’s current problems?
JH: I am definitely not a person shy about passing the blame. Taking a look at the Red Sox head honchos, we see that the team is led by John Henry, Larry Lucchino and Tom Werner. While I have not seen Werner’s name tossed around much, I certainly have seen Henry and Lucchino prominently in the news. My thoughts are that a good owner should not be seen or heard from. They can pay the bills, approve/veto major transactions- but otherwise, let the professionals run the show. The fact that there was even the idea of the owners meeting with key players of the team to discuss the state of the franchise is disturbing to me. Look, Henry and Lucchino clearly have money in their pockets and the right to do as they wish. I would never take that away from them. But there is no doubt that key personnel/management decisions have their fingerprints all over them. Who really hired Bobby Valentine? Who really decided to trade away Kevin Youkilis? Lucchino/Henry or Cherington, the GM? Nobody knows for certain, but many of us have an idea. Remember the comments by John Henry in the offseason that essentially showed the displeasure of signing Carl Crawford? Exactly. If you are going to go into the kitchen and start messing with the meals that are being produced, you are going to have to take responsibility. The Red Sox ownership may be very smart individuals. But as long as they continue to meddle, they will have to shoulder at least part of the responsibility of the misfortunes. Long-term, I would recommend getting the right GM/manager/management in place and starting becoming more hands-off. As long as we continue to see the names Henry and Lucchino in the news when it comes to the Red Sox, I see the same patterns continuing to emerge. Read the rest of this entry
Wednesday July.11, 2012
Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Writer and @chuckbooth3024 on twitter)- There is only so much one can read in an article, otherwise I would make these lists up from the turn of the 20th century. If you gave me enough time as a reader, I promise to backdate this topic with another article featuring the best teams dating back further in years. Eventually, all of the years may be dissected and we can have a healthy debate on some of my selections. I really started watching baseball in the early 1980′s. As I became older and discovered ways to research the history of the game, my knowledge and curious mind grew for more information. I have studied and read baseball stat books and breezed through the odd Bill James novel. If I ever take a break from writing or baseball park chasing, I may find some time down the road to watch the 9 part PBS documentary that Ken Burns did on baseball’s history.
Baseball lends itself more to the history than any other sport because of how it has been chronicled throughout their past. Writers, announcers, former players, parents etc.. have always carried on with the stories of America’s favorite pastime. I will never be sold that NFL is the greatest pastime in sports right now. NFL is the greatest gambling sport presently. It is my firm belief that the only reason why the NFL draws in more cash from its sport is because of the gambling factor. If you took that aspect out of it, I believe baseball is the #1 sport. Can you imagine how much attention we would pay to baseball if there were only a 16 game schedule? Enough with that rant, let’s get down to the list. Who were the best teams at any specific time period for the last 32 years? We will start with the Philadelphia Phillies from 1980-1983. Read the rest of this entry
Sunday December 4th, 2011
Sam Evans: Between these two catchers, they have six World Series rings, eight All-Star selections, and nearly five hundred home runs. There is no question that Jorge Posada and Jason Varitek were two of the best catchers in the last ten years, if not major league history. Unfortunately, the last two years everything has changed for both of them. Now, with the organizations they both have spent their whole respective careers nudging them out the door, one has to wonder what will be the next chapter for these two superstars.
Jason Varitek: Tek has always been a step below Jorge Posada. He is recognized as a great game caller, but he is not an especially strong offensive catcher. At Varitek’s peak in 2004, he batted .296 with 18 home runs and a .390 OBP. He helped lead the Red Sox to their first World Series in eighty-six years.
In 2008, Varitek really fell off a cliff in terms of offensive production. In the following years, he wouldn’t be able to get back to what he once was. I think the Red Sox have only kept him around the last three years because he is a great veteran in the clubhouse and out of loyalty and respect.
Varitek is now 39 years old, and without a contract. In 2010, Varitek was signed by the Red Sox for one year at $2 million. This offseason, he should be looking for a similar contract where he can mentor and back up a young catcher. I think the perfect team for Varitek is the Houston Astros. Houston has no catchers over twenty-five, with none of the catchers on their roster being highly rated. If Varitek could just come to Houston on a one-year deal and call two to three games a week, I think that would be the best scenario for both sides.
There is always the chance that Varitek will want to retire as a Red Sox and as a result, he could retire this offseason. As for Varitek’s chance at the Hall of Fame, I don’t really think he has a strong enough case. He never dominated the field, and he was never the best player at his position. He will be remembered for helping Boston reverse the curse but not as a Hall-of-Famer.
Posada has 275 career home runs, but he has never hit more than thirty in one season. His career batting average, .246, is not very impressive. Posada has always had the power, he is just missing a lot of other skills. He is not known as a great defensive catcher, as was shown when the Yankees decided to move Posada to being their everyday DH for the 2011 season.
2011 turned out to be a pretty rough season for Posada. In May, Posada asked for a day off against the Red Sox. In any normal baseball city, this wouldn’t be a big deal. However, in New York, things are different. Posada ended up apologizing and GM Brian Cashman had to write a press release. Posada finished 2011 with a .235 BA, .309 wOBA, and 14 home runs.The highlight of his year was in the ALDS where Posada was 6 for 14 with a .579 OBP.
I would be surprised if the Yankees plan on having Posada back as their starting DH for next year. They can’t risk weakening their team just to make sure a player’s feelings don’t get hurt. Every member of the Yankees core-four are seeing their career come to a slow end. I am curious to see if Posada does decide to keep playing baseball in 2012, whether he chooses to market himself as a DH or a catcher.
Jon Heyman of Sports Illustrated wrote that Posada will play baseball next year if he finds the right opportunity and the Marlins are a possible suitor. I don’t see Posada providing much on-field value, but if the Marlins are looking for a veteran who knows how to win, Posada would be a perfect match.
Similar to Varitek, Posada just didn’t have a strong enough career to make the Hall of Fame. He will be remembered as a great person, and one of the Core Four that defined this new age of Yankee baseball. I just don’t see Posada getting enough support from BBWAA members who will focus more on stats, rather than intangibles.
Neither of these players are going to have an easy end to their careers. Both are in the last days of professional baseball and have some important decisions to make. Neither Varitek nor Posada will ever be forgotten for their character and contributions to their franchises. Regardless of whether either one makes the hall of fame, both have enjoyed careers to be proud of and that few other players could ever imagine possible.
***Today’s feature was prepared by our Baseball Writer, Sam Evans. We highly encourage you to leave your comments and feedback at the bottom of the page and share in the discussion with our readers. You can also follow Sam on Twitter***
Please e-mail us at: MLBreports@gmail.com with any questions and feedback. You can follow us on Twitter and become a fan on Facebook . To subscribe to our website and have the daily Reports sent directly to your inbox , click here and follow the link at the top of our homepage.Follow @mlbreports