What if?

May 29, 2007 · Posted in Uncategorized 

Bashing the Yankees is getting a bit repetitive (and boring). Suffice it to say that Clemens will not be the savior. His own manager doesn’t deem his $4.5 million/month starter worthy enough to supplant any of his formidable trio of starters – Wang, Mussina, and Pettitte – next weekend in Boston.

We’ve already coronated Theo as the Boy Genius on these pages previously, so let’s take a little deeper look. He was on hiatus when the “Powers that be” negotiated the Hanley “two years away from the majors” Ramirez and Anibel “throw-in” Sanchez for Beckett, Mike “Salary Dump” Lowell, and Guillermo “BALCO” Mota trade. Well, we all know that Ramirez was the NL Rookie of the Year in 2006 and Sanchez threw a no-hitter (incidentally something our friend Roger has never done in the Bigs). Beckett was an April ’06 All-Star, and Lowell had a surprisingly productive year at the plate (not to mention stellar in the field). In ’07 Beckett, save the blister, er, avulsion on his right hand, has been arguably the Sox’s best starter and Lowell has been better (offensively) than last year. In South Florida, Hanley is putting up his numbers and Sanchez is still on the DL. No feather in Theo’s cap for this one however.

Edgar Renteria dealt to Atlanta for “prospect” Andy Marte in December ’05? Theo wasn’t behind this one either. Upon his return, Theo dealt Marte along with Mota and Kelly Shoppach to Cleveland for Coco Crisp, David Riske, and Josh Bard. Bard was subsequently dealt to San Diego along with Cla Meredith for Doug Mirabelli. Riske was then traded for lefthanded RP Javier Lopez. Are you still with me? All of the above boils down to trading perennial All-Star Edgar Renteria, who admittedly didn’t play like one in his one year in Boston, for Doug Mirabelli, Javier Lopez, and Coco Crisp. Mirabelli can catch Wakefield and is, by all accounts, a great guy. Lopez is a fringe major leaguer, and Crisp is, well, a great player 15 games a year. Meanwhile Renteria is quietly playing a solid SS and 8th in the NL in hitting for the 2nd place Braves. Theo should be credited, however, with signing Alex Gonzalez in the midst of all of the above moves to solidify SS for the 2006 team. He was the best gloveman at SS in Boston since Orlando Cabrera.

Bronson Arroyo for Wily Mo Pena you ask? All Theo.

What if none of the above happened at all? The Sox would have a rotation of Schilling, Wakefield, Dice-K, Arroyo, and (fill in the blank). An infield with Youkilis at third, Renteria/Ramirez at SS, Pedroia at second, and (fill in the blank) at first. The SP could be adequately filled with Papelbon or Lester, and the resulting hole at closer could have been addressed last winter or the winter before. There were myriad free agent possibilities available to fill the void at first base each of the last two winters (or a trade of Renteria for one). Mirabelli’s value to Wakefield should not be underestimated but that could have been addressed by simply re-signing him after 2005.

I’d like to give Theo credit for Dice-K, but the $100+ million price tag also obviously included J.D. Drew. He’s 1 year younger than Trot Nixon who was deemed too old and too beaten up to re-sign (though he has played only 26 fewer games over the last 5 years than Drew).

It’s tough to find fault with a 35-15 Sox team that is dominating an apparently below average AL East, but 2 of the “big” Theo offseason signings (as addressed in an early post) – Lugo and Drew – arguably have not contributed at all. Despite Jerry Remy’s claim that “Lugo has played well defensively,” I’d happily take Alex Gonzalez and the much smaller price tag in his place. Trot vs. Drew? You be the judge, but I don’t see the sense in this deal almost a third of the way through the season.

Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE the Sox. It just gets a bit much to take when my intelligence is insulted by the “we know better than you” front office. The constant drumbeat of “that’s just noise” when the fans (who pay their salaries incidentally) voice some measure of discontent. There is a reason why no other team was interested in Drew or Lugo this offseason – they’ve simply been overvalued by Theo and “the Powers that be.”

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