Archive for the ‘Offseason’ Category

MLB Offseason Review

Hey everyone, Dan here.

Ever since the San Francisco Giants recorded the final out against the Kansas City Royals in the World Series last year, this date has just been flashing in my head…. April 5th… April 5th….

Despite the winter seeming to drag on forever, the Super Bowl is now over. And that means we are officially on the fast track to baseball’s opening day. But that’s not to say that the winter didn’t produce some real highlights. This was perhaps the most crazy, active, and wild offseason in baseball in the last 20 years. But who put themselves in the best position? Who gutted their team? It’s time for’s official offseason review!

The Nationals Don’t Need Any More Pitching

So what do you do if you lead Major League Baseball in ERA and get knocked out of the postseason because you scored 9 runs in 4 games? You make upgrading your offense the goal of your offseason, right? Nah, you go out and give Max Scherzer $210 million. The Nationals go with the “you strengthen your strength” approach and it gives them the strongest MLB rotation since the 1995 Atlanta Braves. If they can get anything close to what Bryce Harper and Ryan Zimmerman are capable of, Washington has to be considered the World Series favorite.

The Padres Want to Be Relevant Again

Finish last in the majors in runs? No problem. Add Matt Kemp? Check. Add Justin Upton? Check. Add Wil Myers? Check. The Padres GM gets a gold star for his offseason, taking big steps to rebuild this team and energize a franchise that hasn’t been interesting in a long time. The real kicker here is that they managed to completely rebuild their offense without giving up a single one of their top three prospects. New Padres GM AJ Preller looks to be a rising superstar in the GM ranks.

Cole Hamels Is Still a Phillie… For Now

I expect this to change. The Phillies have nothing to gain from keeping Hamels. They’re easily the worst team in that division, and it would serve them well to get Hamels’s contract off the books and bring in some young talent to fully start their rebuilding process. Add Ryan Howard and Jonathan Papelbon to the list of Phillies players that need new homes in 2015. I still think the Hamels deal gets done. The Phillies will lower their price as the season approaches. Prediction? Hamels is pitching in Fenway Park in 2015.

Billy Beane Has Either Lost His Marbles, or He’s Five Steps Ahead of Everyone

So is Oakland trying to contend, or trying to rebuild? I’m lost here. They trade their best player, Josh Donaldson, for prospects, then turn around and flip their #1 prospect to Tampa Bay for Ben Zobrist. They sign Billy Butler for $30 million, but then flip away Brandon Moss, Jeff Samardzija, and Derrick Norris. I know Billy Beane has entered into the Bill Belichick territory of “trust him no matter what,” but even I can’t figure out what he’s doing. I think I’m gonna go watch Moneyball again.

The Red Sox Retool; the Rays Restock

The two best teams in the AL East in 2013 both tanked to the bottom of the division in 2014. The Red Sox rebuilt their entire rotation and the left side of their infield. I’m not a huge fan of Pablo Sandoval, but leaving AT&T Park can only be good for him. I think Hanley Ramirez loses a lot of his value moving away from shortstop, but there’s no debate, if he’s healthy, his bat will tear up Fenway Park. I don’t think the Red Sox are done. In a division that’s really up for grabs in 2015, a Cole Hamels trade could make the Red Sox favorites to take back the AL East crown.

The Rays dealt away several fan favorites, lost Joe Maddon and Andrew Freidman, and hired the youngest manager in the Major Leagues. But this was necessary. Tampa Bay went all out trying to win a World Championship in 2014, and it failed miserably. Now it’s time to get younger, rebuild the farm, and take a new approach to contending. This will be a down year for the Rays, but they’re not quite in full rebuilding mode yet.

What did your team do this offseason? Are they contenders or pretenders? Let us know what you think of how your team’s winter went. Spring training is right around the corner, and I think 2015 is going to be the best year at in a long time.

Pitchers and Catchers report in 12 days!

Last Chance

After a really disappointing end to the 2011 Baseball season, I was close to saying “Screw you Boston”, throwing away all my Red Sox memorabilia and finding another team to follow. The problem was, I love baseball and would have to follow someone. But who?…what team would be so lucky to get me as their #1 fan?

Here was my criteria:
1. Had to be an AL team ( NL sucks..although the Brewers and Cubs were considered)
2. Can’t be on the West Coast- the games are on to late. But when we move to Seattle in 10 years, I will support the Mariners.
3. Has to be an American team – Sorry Toronto.
4. Yankee’s and Rays are automatically out- my hate burns too deep.
5. Preferably a team with a bit of history/tradition.

Surprisingly, the two team that I came up with were the Detroit Tigers and the Baltimore Orioles. For some odd reason, I have a really old picture of myself and my dad wearing Tigers hats. I was maybe a year old? I think my Dad bought them was because he really liked Sparky Anderson..or maybe it was because there was a “D” for Dave on it? Who knows, I never asked. I do know It’s one of my favorite pictures.
As for my second choice, Baltimore. I really can’t pinpoint it- they seem like a nice team, their players stay out of trouble, Boog’s BBQ, Camden Yards and who didn’t like Cal Ripken. Plus, my Little League team was once the the Oriole’s. Silly reasons, I know..but they made the cut to the short list.
I want to follow a team that plays hard, has me on the edge of my seat on every pitch and hopefully win their fair share of games. That’s not too much to ask for is it?
Ultimately, I fought the urge to become what I loathed- a fickle sports fan. If my fandom can survive Bucky Dent, Bill Buckner and Aaron Boone- surely it can be resuscitated after a historical 2011 collapse. I guess we’ll have to see what this team is made of in 2012.

All this leads up to my question- if your favorite baseball team ceased to exist for what ever reason…who would you follow, and why?

A Change Is Gonna Do Me Good

Change is important. The prospect of change is what led to Barack Obama becoming our 44th president. And when it came to the off-season for the Boston Red Sox, change was very good.

I love the improvements that Theo Epstein made to his lineup. Say goodbye to Jason Bay, Billy Wagner, Takashi Saito, and Alex Gonzalez. Au revoir to seeing Mike Lowell and Jason Varitek as everyday players. It’s time to say hello to the new guys that are going to lead the Red Sox to the 2010 World Series.

John Lackey

The best available pitcher on the market is now locked up for five years in Boston. Lackey is a bulldog that will give the Sox another #1 pitcher that will win 15+ games and throw 200 innings. A trio of Jon Lester, Josh Beckett, and John Lackey has to scare the crap out of the New York Yankees. Great move.

Marco Scutaro

Here’s a guy that defends his position well, hits for average, steals a few bases, and solidifies the shortstop position until Jose Iglesias is ready, hopefully in two years.

Mike Cameron

37-year-old centerfielders aren’t usually my cup of tea, but the word around MLB is that Cameron is a great clubhouse guy, plays Gold Glove defense, and has a swing tailor-made for smacking doubles off the Green Monster. He’ll be another bridge for the Sox young outfielders.

Adrian Beltre

This guy didn’t hit his weight last year, fractured one of his testicles (doesn’t wear a cup), and was rumored to be asking for a 5-year, $65 million free-agent contract. Boston landed him on a 1-year, $10 million deal. He’ll be a huge improvement defensively over the aging Mike Lowell. He plays a sick 3rd base and has a laser-rocket arm. I think he’ll hit 25 homeruns, bat .270 and win the Gold Glove.

The great thing about these moves is that it didn’t cost Boston any of its prospects. If these moves falter, Theo Epstein still has the resources to make a significant deal at the trade deadline.

Pitching and defense wins championships. Boston is poised to win another one.

The State of Massachusetts

It has been 118 days since the Boston Red Sox swept the Colorado Rockies in Game 4 of the 2007 World Series. Since then, we have been subjected to countless articles of Johan Santana speculation, the Roger Clemens Steroid Saga, and of course the Patriots cementing themselves into second place in the hearts of New England fans. But after a long winter, it’s time for the only season that truly matters.Baseball is back.

Enigmatic closer Jonathan Papelbon threw down the gauntlet last week when he declared the Red Sox as the team to beat this season. Although I appreciate his passion, I think the Sox are going to have their work cut out for them if they hope to defend their title.

I think this season for the Red Sox has the potential to go one of two ways. They could run away with the division, or they could have a really disappointing season. The way that the Sox are set up right now, it looks to me that they are one serious injury to any of their starting pitchers away from being in big trouble. The Sox do not have the depth that they’ve had in the past to sustain any long term injury. Also, what if Manny turns in another poor offensive performance this year? Can Mike Lowell carry the team for another year? Is Jacoby Ellsbury really the next Ted Williams? Can Boston rely on Lester and Buchholz as everyday contributors? Will Pedroia have a sophomore slump? Can Okajima still trick hitters with the oki-doke?I am not trying to be a glass-is-half-empty kind of guy, but there should be some concerns on this team. Last year, the Yankees started slow and the Sox were able to build a big division lead, They always got the big hit when they needed it, and fortunately avoided any key injuries.

So were the Red Sox that good last year, or were they just luckier then the rest? With everyone else in the league gunning to knock off the champs, they are going to need to be both if they hope to repeat.

The Kids Are Alright

Let me start off by saying that I love the Boston Red Sox. I was raised by a dad who taught me to always support the Sox no matter what. And even though I don’t live in New England anymore, I’ve always followed the Sox and have tried to raise my two kids the same way.

I was too young to remember Bucky “effing” Dent’s homerun in 1978. I was in junior high when Bill Buckner broke my heart, and I still feel the stomach punch when Aaron Boone took Tim Wakefield deep in Game 7 of the 2003 ALCS. I have followed the Red Sox during their absolute worst. And after winning two of the last four World Series, I have seen them at their best. But the newest generation of Sox fans, my kids included, know nothing but happy times. Their Sox history is all about bloody socks, Big Papi homeruns, and champagne showers.

So I hope you can appreciate my concern when I say Boston may be in trouble this season. While Boston opted to keep last season’s roster intact, other teams in the American League have been loading up. The Red Sox will have their hands full with teams salivating at the thought of knocking the champs off the mountaintop.

Good teams in the league have got better. Detroit added two All Stars in Dontrelle Willis and Miguel Cabrera. The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim improved their defense with the addition of Torii Hunter, and the always tough Seattle Mariners improved their rotation with staff ace Eric Bedard. Add the Indians, the Blue Jays, and the damn Yankees to the mix, and this could be an uphill climb for Boston.

If the Sox stumble out of the gate this year, or if a key player gets injured, I hope Theo Epstein doesn’t hesitate to unload their young talent to acquire some All Stars to help keep this team on top.

But I don’t want him to do it for me, or my dad, or anyone else that believed in the Curse. I want him to do it for the kids. After all, they don’t know any other way.

Dylan’s letter to Red Sox Nation

Another inspiring post from Dylan “And you may ask yourself, how can I serve Red Sox Nation bigger and better this offseason?” Hamilton.

Dear Red Sox Nation,

I know, I know, this has been a crazy week. I mean, wow, World Series champs……..again. I hope you all have had a great work week, wearing some form of Sox gear almost everyday and simply basking in the victory. I also hope everyone had a chance to be at, or at least watch the parade on the duck boats. Papelbon truly earned the right to be called the craziest man in baseball with his performance this year in the parade. So, I hope this letter truly finds everyone well.

I’m listening to the Talking Heads song “Once In a Lifetime” right now. You know the one, it has the chorus, “and you may find yourself, in another part of the world, and you may find yourself, in a beautiful house…” Well, and you may find yourself, as World Series champs, and you ask yourself, “well, how did I get here?” It’s a good song. Anyways, the purpose of this letter is that I know some of you are feeling a little out of place after winning this World Series. I talked about it a few days ago in my last post on here, how this title feels different. Well, I’m sending you all this letter to outline what we need to do this offseason, not as trades or signings, I’m not talking about the team here. This letter is from me to you, from Dylan to the entire Red Sox Nation.

First of all, winning the World Series on Sunday night is perfect for the Mon-Fri 9-5’ers. Come in to work Monday a little rough looking from Sunday, with a big grin on your face, looking for the closest Yankee fan. It’s awesome. Well, the week is now over, and any other sports fan would let this die down, it has been a week, and start thinking about next season, maybe football, who knows? Well, Red Sox Nation, we need not do that. This offseason, let’s ride this title out. Let’s spend the entire offseason bashing the Yankees, and really, the entire American League. After 86 years of struggle and ridicule as being 2nd best, let’s just get flat out cocky about this. I’m not saying get rid of the lovable-losers attitude, but we’re all Mass-holes in one way, shape, or form, so let’s show it. For the rest of the offseason, go ahead Red Sox Nation, and brag, brag, brag. We’re the best, let people know it. Let’s be as loud and obnoxious as we all so very well can, and let everyone know that we are all very happy about this title.

Secondly, follow the Yankees matters very closely. All this winning in the Red Sox Nation does not sit pretty in the Rotten Apple, and the few Yankee fans that are left are going to desire to break out any sort of 26 rings comment to take us off of our pedestal. Well, we can’t let this happen. Their team is in complete shambles, and odds are most Yankee fans don’t follow the team with as much devotion as we follow baseball. So, get read up on all the Yankees facts, rumors, trades, etc., and when you come in with your head held high and they come back with some “Your mom wears 26 rings” comment, back it up with “All your All-Stars are going to leave town” comments. I can’t wait for that. We always gave a huge fight to New York, but they always had us in a corner. Now we’re out, and we gotta start swinging.

Lastly Red Sox Nation, don’t forget where you came from. We are the only city, only region in America where baseball is the biggest sport around. We have the greatest football team possibly ever put together this season, but we’re a baseball town. The Sox will always be more important. It’s religion. We’ve come a long way to get here as two-time champs in less than five years. We’ve sat through a lot of struggle, and we can’t forget it. During this offseason, watch old Red Sox DVDs, read some old articles about the Curse, even try not closing your eyes when Buckner comes up on TV. We have the richest tradition in sports as Red Sox Nation, and for once, it’s time to be proud.

So, Red Sox Nation, as the buzz of this championship simmers down, I hope we all can embrace this great change that comes from winning. I hope you all have a great offseason. There’s much to discuss this winter, so stay tuned to the, and don’t forget: the best way to get a Yankee fan off your front porch is to just pay for the pizza.

See you all in Fort Myers in a few months.


Dylan “I’m putting all my trust in Theo about trades and free agents” Hamilton