Sunday, December 25, 2005

Diamond Thoughts

First, for anyone who bothers to come here, you must read Bill Simmons at http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/page2/story?page=simmons/051223
Now that's off my chest, so we can move on.

Who's actually in charge? Oh yeah, that would be the Overlord - TheoSlayer, with Ben and Jed mixing the drinks, running some spreadsheet projections, and reading Sox fans suggestions that they trade Matt Clement for Johan Santana and throw in some cash. Thus far, with roughly seven weeks to go before Spring Training, the Sox remind me of the old joke, "what's the difference between the Boy Scouts and the Navy?" Adult leadership.

Obviously, there is no established (read overpaid) shortstop (I'm really okay with Alex Cora), no centerfielder (please do not suggest Trot Nixon), and no first baseman. J.T. Snow? Why don't we get Willie McCovey? A .709 OPS in a declining 37 year-old glove man smacks of one theme only, "economy."

A few points are in order. The presumptive rotation is Schilling, Beckett, Papelbon, Wakefield, and Arroyo, pending any other acquisitions and/or departures. Trading Lester is a no-no, but Leisure Suit Larry seems bent on screwing up the entire team, so it could still happen. As for Wells ('leave' or 'retire') or Clement (persona non grata after getting hit in the head), the market doesn't seem that keen. On Wall Street, the smartest guys buy cheap and sell dear, and John Henry knows that. Maybe he's more focused on platinum and soybeans than baseball.

The Sox are now well-stocked at reserve catcher, with Flaherty, Huckaby, and Shoppach. Aren't you comforted by that? If anyone gets their fingers broken by Tim Wakefield, we'll easily fill the position with a good-field no-hit guy. Of course, the sense is that the Sox have 'plenty of offense' so now they can have defensive players at first, shortstop, and centerfield. Last time I checked, Trot Nixon wasn't playing like Stan Musial, and Mike Lowell barely hit Ortiz' weight. So the offense comes from Ortiz, Manny (oh, they're trying to trade him), the Time Machine versions of Loretta and Lowell, and maybe first half of the season Varitek.

Maybe the master plan exists, the vision remains, and 2006 and beyond will reveal the Yellow Brick Road. But don't you wonder if the man with the vision has left and the pretenders remain?

3 comments:

BGD560SL said...

Doctor,

Reach into the medicine cabinet for a couple of "chill out" pills.

I must be missing something. It is simply not apparent how an individual who enjoyed more than respectable success in Baltimore and San Diego has instantly become a crazy bent on destroying the Red Sox franchise. (I believe your words were something on the order of "running it into the ground.") Let's get real: The man is part OWNER of the team, so why would he engage in destructive behavior?

I understand it's fasionable to bash those at the top when things don't go the way we think they should, and Ole Larry sure makes a compelling target these days. But, as much as I'll miss Johnny's swagger and style, I wouldn't give him the contract NY did. I actually think the $27M three year deal was plenty generous. Now, losing Varitek last year would have been a huge blunder, but losing Damon this year is not.

How can an entire cottage industry have sprung into existence over "who's in charge of the Red Sox?" It should be obvious that Larry's in charge, but many seem bewildered about this point. Larry has ALWAYS been in charge. Hell, that was (is) Theo's problem. Larry made Theo defend ALL of his ideas before they could became official team decisions. The origin of the "subject to ownership approval" clause the Sox have in all their player proposals with other clubs, rests with Larry, because until he okays the deal, it's not a deal. That simple point was what broke the agreement with Theo, Theo wanted to be able to call the shots on his own. Given what he has done for the team, and his reputation in the game, he should have that authority. I don't understand why this point hasn't been better addresed by the press. Perhaps they're waiting for Theo to come out and say it.

The most telling points in the Simmons piece are his references to John Henry. When he (Henry) first came along, I thought he did not fit the mold of the successful business owner who quickly makes himself look like a fool through his dealings with his ball club. How wrong that assessment has turned out to be, as he demonstrates, almost on a daily basis, that he not only doesn't know what's happening, he's not clever enough to act like he does. Tragic.

So relax, as this team will be entertaining and competitive in 2006, and for years to come. Whether they'll carry around another World Series trophy in the near is another question, but they'll still attract our attention and cause more than a little frustration.

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