Archive for the ‘Theo Epstein’ Category

Changes

Well, it’s been almost a month since the Red Sox lost game 7 of the ALCS to the damn Tampa Bay Rays. I think it’s finally time to come out from the dark recesses of thefoulline.com headquarters, dust myself off, and talk about what I think Boston needs to do to improve their team.

This is a pivotal offseason for the Red Sox. There are some glaring holes in the Sox lineup that need to be filled. If this team remains unchanged, they’ll be watching the playoffs on television in 2009.

There’s going to be a lot of Hot Stove activity going on in the next couple of weeks. The damn Yankees have $90 million coming off their books and are eager spend to improve their poor pitching, and like it or not, the Rays are going to be here for a while. If Tampa acquires a legitimate closer and a quality right fielder they’re going to be dangerous. The American League East is no longer a two-horse race.

So if I were Theo Epstein, this is what I would do, in order of importance.

1. Sign Mark Texiera.

Tex would tear up Fenway Park offensively and play Gold Glove-caliber defense at first base. This MUST be done! A switch-hitting. perennial All-Star first baseman does not become available very often. As an added bonus, Tex is a free agent, so it wouldn’t cost Boston any of its young talent to acquire him.

Of course, this means Kevin Youkilis is moved to third base, and Mike Lowell is odd man out. I would try to convince a healthy Lowell to learn how to play first base and become Boston’s super-sub. With Lowell playing a mix of first, third and DH, he could prove to the rest of the league that he is healthy, and improve his stock for a trade. (Minnesota and the White Sox need a third baseman). It wouldn’t be the most popular move in Boston, since Lowell is such a class act, but we are here to win ball games. Get out your checkbook, Theo, and make it happen.

2. Derek Lowe makes his triumphant return to Boston.

Lowe is the type of sinker-ball-throwing, ground-ball-inducing pitcher that is tailor-made for Fenway Park. He’s proven to come up huge in big games, as in the 2004 playoffs, when he won the deciding game in all three playoff series. Not to mention, he wants to pitch in Boston again. He may even give Theo a discount.

I look forward to a rotation of Beckett, Lester, Dice K, Lowe, and Wakefield. This would keep Justin Masterson in the bullpen to help solidify the 7th and 8th innings before turning it over to Papelbon.

3. Deal a solid pitching prospect, namely Michael Bowden or Clay Buchholz, for either of Texas’s catchers, Jarrod Saltalamacchia or Taylor Teagarden.

They each have different strengths: Salty is still a raw talent that hits pretty well but needs to improve defensively. Teagarden is a solid defensive catcher with a laser-rocket arm, and he has the potential to put up some big power numbers. What they have in common is that they both are ready to be a starting catcher in the majors.

I’m starting to lean towards a  Buchholz for Teagarden deal, but either way it’s an upgrade of the aging Varitek. Thanks for all of your hard work, ‘Tek. We’ll see you at Jason Varitek Appreciation day.

4. Trade Julio Lugo for a bucket of used baseballs.

Jed Lowrie is ready to be the everyday shortstop. Lugo sucks. Find some sucker GM to take him off our hands.

…..
It almost seems too easy to improve this team. If Boston makes these moves, you can go and get the champagne on ice. If not, it may be a long season.

In Theo We Trust

When the 2007 MLB trade deadline came and went without the Red Sox upgrading their offense, I was more than a little disappointed. I couldn’t see why G.M. Theo Epstein wouldn’t part with a couple of promising minor leaguers to land guys like Jermaine Dye or Mark Teixiera. I mean, these guys are proven all-stars who would make any lineup better. I thought the Red Sox wanted to win this year, not hope that these “kids” will make it to the show and provide Boston with a solid lineup for years to come. I was more interested in a 2-year rent-a-player who could help the team now. It felt like playing the stock market, hoping the future would be prosperous.

I was wrong.

Throughout this season, players like Pedroia, Papelbon, Delcarmen, Lester, Ellsbury and now Buchholz haven’t just contributed to the Sox lineup, they’ve solidified it.

Let’s take a look at the potential Red Sox lineup 2 years from now and how old each player will be:

Pitchers:
Beckett 29
Dice K 29
Lester 25
Buchholz 25
Delcarmen 27
Paplebon 29

Fielders:
1B: Youkilis 30
2B: Pedroia 26
OF: Crisp 30
OF: Ellsbury 26
OF: Moss 26

This core of players has the potential to be all-stars for the next several years. Maybe there is something to be said for having players mature and progress through your farm system, instead of selling off your talent for the high-priced flavor of the month. Just ask the Yankees how that has worked out for them.

The future is now in Boston… and the future looks bright.

I just saved a bunch of money on my baseball team by switching to Coco…

Johnny Damon looks like the Geico CavemanJohnny Damon is the Geico caveman without the brains. I choked on my coffee this morning when I saw this quote from Damon in the New York Post. “It’s taken a number of players to replace me,” Damon said of the Red Sox. “I’m Johnny [Bleeping] Damon.”

They didn’t replace Damon. They upgraded. The last time I checked, the Red Sox didn’t have an adulterous, weak-armed, caveman lookalike deadbeat dad playing center field. They have Coco Crisp, the best defensive outfielder in the American league, at 1/3 the cost of the 13 million dollar “man.” Theo Epstein did the right thing. He knew not to waste the money on an aging, injury-prone idiot. If Johnny hadn’t played for Boston, Brian Cashman wouldn’t have even looked at him, but the prospect of playing the Red Sox 19 times a year with the opportunity for Damon to inflict damage on his former team was part of the appeal.

Once again, Damon hasn’t lived up to his own hype, and the Yankees are kicking themselves for being on the hook for another season. One home run against your former team doesn’t amount to a 40 million dollar contract. Even a [bleeping] caveman could figure that out.