Thursday, July 23, 2009


The Sox made a couple moves yesterday. While they both improved the team, they weren’t exactly the blockbusters I keep hoping for.

One move was to trade Julio Lugo to the Cardinals for Chris Duncan. It’s amazing to me that a team would actually give up a player to acquire Lugo and his salary. I assume part of the deal was for the Sox to pick up a chunk of the salary themselves, but still. It seems like an odd deal. Maybe Lugo’s a better fit for an NL team with his speed. We’ll have to see. Since the Red Sox sent down Duncan to AAA, it doesn’t really affect the big club, other than to save some amount of money.

The other, slightly more important deal was picking up Adam LaRoche. Again, this move improves the team, although not in a Halladay way. It does do a couple nice things for the Sox flexibility-wise. First, it lets them rest Mike Lowell. At the very least, when Mike takes every fifth game off, they have a decent replacement now. That’s assuming that Youkilis is ok bouncing over to third once or twice a week. Obviously, he wouldn’t make a stink about it, but I wonder if it would affect his game at all. I know he seems to make a lot more errors over at third. I wonder what the numbers would show. Along the same lines, the move would appear to help late-inning defense. LaRoche is apparently an excellent first baseman. With Mike Lowell so hobbled by his hip, getting him out of the hot corner every once in a while is probably a good thing. LaRoche at first and Youk at third has to be better than Youk at first and Lowell at third in a close game. And, if things go sour and Lowell’s spot in the order comes up in a key spot, LaRoche isn’t enough of a downgrade to cause too much concern. It’s not like having Pokey Reese come to the plate.

The big question comes up whenever a starter comes to a new team as a bench player. How will he handle it? Will his attitude allow him to accept a new role? Common thinking around here is that any player would do whatever it takes to get out of Pittsburgh and play in front of the Fenway crowd. That’s not always the case. Will his game be affected by a sudden lack of flow? Will one game a week be enough to keep him sharp? When I made the post about the Blaylock schedule, it was assuming that a starter like Blaylock (or LaRoche) would need to keep seeing regular playing time to stay focused. It’s going to be up to Francona to come up with some sort of rotation to keep everyone happy and fresh.

It was a nice pick up. The Sox only had to give up a couple minor leaguers. That makes it a better deal than the Victor Martinez or Hank Blaylock rumors. It improves the bench, so maybe they’ll be a pinch hitter around for Lowrie in the late innings. Over all, the Sox are an improved team over the way they started yesterday. That’s always a good thing.

Still a week left for the Buchholz Showcase to lead to a blockbuster.

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