Monday, November 30, 2015

Free Agency and Godfather Offers

I was having a discussion after the Kimbrel trade about the Red Sox and their prospects. I was realizing that even after the trade, the Sox still had a glut of prospects. They also have an outfield all in their twenties, as well as a two catchers and a shortstop that are just babies. Pedroia’s untradeable contract has him around for a while, along with the guys on the corners. 

What good are prospects with all the long term star power? There won’t be a spot for any of them any time soon. 

Why not start making some Godfather offers. Sure Oakland again says they won’t trade their young star. And there’s no particular reason for Chicago to trade Chris Sale. But, there’s a price for everyone. If the Sox suggested “A catcher and any 5 minor league prospects” would that be enough? Whatever number would be enough, just offer it. I’ll take my chances with a starting line-up under 30 and Chris Sale added to whatever rotation the Sox start the season with.

But, then it hit me. Things aren’t like they used to be. Even though Betts and Bogaerts just turned 23, it’s not like they’re penciled into the Sox line-up for the next 15-20 years. I think many people assume that the Sox will be unwilling to give Xander the free agent money he’ll command…much like they didn’t with Ellsbury. So, even with a young core, we’re not looking at 15 years of being set up the middle. It’s only four years until Bogaerts is gone. Five for Mookie. Which means a couple things. It does present a sense of urgency. What are the odds you’ll come up with a duo that talented any time soon? Doesn’t that mean you need to try a little harder to win now? Doesn’t it make it even more reasonable to clear out the farm and go for in in 2016-19? I would think so.

But, it would also make cleaning out the farm a bit more difficult. The only reason Chicago would trade Sale (just for conversation’s sake) is if they felt they couldn’t catch Kansas City in the years he has left of being an ace. That it would be better to forgo his best years, and have the prospects ready to go when the Royals come back to the pack. But, by then the catcher prospect they might have gotten will also be ready to leave via free agency. And they’d only have a few years left of someone even as young as Moncada. That’s not going to get them to make a trade.

So, is that whole type of trade dead? Unless it’s an Adrian Gonzalez type deal where you agree to sign the guy to a long-term, below market contract? Are the only prospect deals available anymore the ones like the Kimbrel trade? A couple of them for an extra part. Are the offer choices for Felix Hernandez or Johan Santana reserved for Red Sox lore? After all, these days that trade would only get you Hernandez for a couple years.

What’s the point of prospects anymore?

Thursday, November 26, 2015

List of 36: Things I’m Thankful for in 2015

1. Mookie Betts
2. Tom Brady’s first pitch
4. Trade packages
5. Making friends in the stands
6. Section 36 stickers
7. No Derek Jeter
8. Jackie Bradley Jr’s glove
9. 1074 Twitter followers
11. A visit from Alayna
12. The BBC outfield
14. Souvenir chicken fingers
15. Opening Day pageantry
16. Xander Bogaerts
17. 535 Instagram followers
18. Ice cream in a helmet
19. Pedro’s HOF plaque
20. Pictures with a “I’d Rather be in Section 36” sign
21. Autographs before games
22. A visit from Lauren
23. Catching a ball
24. Keeping score
25. 355 Facebook likes
26. Souvenir Sodas
27. Eduardo Rodriguez
28. Section 36 shirts
29. Collection additions
30. Snapchating section36
31. Blake Swihart
32. Pictures from Section 36
33. Nobody being untouchable
35. 2016

36. Readers!

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

From the Pedro Binder

2003 Playoff Portraits


Just wow.

I really like this card.

Honestly, I’m not sure why. But, I think it’s because it’s willing to go the extra mile.

After all, paintings on baseball cards are nothing new. They’ve been doing it all along. Nor are baseball meant to look like works of art anything out of the ordinary. Donruss Studio anyone? But, this one has the ability to bring that all together, and then some. It’s clearly a painting, and doesn’t even pretend to hide from that. It’s on the canvas type cardstock, to really bring that home. But it kept going. It’s a head shot, in keeping with the “portraits” name. The smudged pain border on an otherwise plain canvas screams simplicity. It’s just a gorgeous image.

But, it keeps getting better. There’s a spot for Pedro’n name and team along the bottom, clearly written in plain black. The company logo and brand name are also tucked away so that they don’t infringe on the image. Fantastic.

I’ve often said that there are some cards I’d love to have blown up and hung on my wall. I’ve never meant that as much as I do with this card.

And the card knew I’d say that from the beginning.

Monday, November 23, 2015

(Rev) List of 36: Best Players I’ve Seen Play In Person

Once again, the awards season has passed. With that, it’s time to revise the list of best players I’ve seen play live. As I’ve said, I make this list based mostly on awards. After all, my grandkids are more likely to ask me if I’ve seen a former MVP than some player who played well for a while (except for David Ortiz, I suppose). Since I’ve pretty much eliminated everyone from my top 36 who hasn’t won a Cy Young or MVP award, I’ll ignore the ROY winners. Which is nice, because I’m not sure I’ve seen either of them anyway. The two Cy Young winners were Jake Arrieta and Dallas Keuchel. I haven’t seen either of them play live, yet. So, they don’t make the list. For the MVPs, I have seen both Bryce Harper, and Josh Donaldson play. So, do they make the list? I think an MVP is better than just a Cy Young, right? Looking at my previous list, I had a couple slots taken up by pitchers with just a CYA on their resume. But, they each had two of them. I can pretty easily say that Harper bumps them with both a ROY and now an MVP. But, Donaldson?. Are two Cy Youngs better than one MVP? I think I say no. They both get the boot, and Donaldson gets a slot. So, here’s the new updated list. 

1. Roberto Alomar (HOF)
2. Wade Boggs (HOF)
3. Barry Bonds (MVP)
4. Ryan Braun (ROY, MVP)
5. Miguel Cabrera (MVP, triple crown)
6. Jose Canseco (ROY, MVP)
7. Roger Clemens (MVP, CYA)
8. Josh Donaldson (MVP)
9. Dennis Eckersley (HOF)
10. Jason Giambi (MVP)
11. Tom Glavine (HOF)
12. Juan Gonzalez (MVP)
13. Ken Griffey Jr (All-Century Team)
14. Vladimir Guerrero (MVP)
15. Josh Hamilton (MVP)
16. Bryce Harper (ROY, MVP)
17. Rickey Henderson (HOF)
18. Matt Holliday (MVP)
19. Randy Johnson (HOF)
20. Chipper Jones (MVP)
21. Greg Maddux (HOF)
22. Pedro Martinez (HOF)
23. Andrew McCutchen (MVP)
24. Justin Morneau (MVP)
25. Dustin Pedroia (ROY, MVP)
26. Kirby Puckett (HOF)
27. Albert Pujols (MVP)
28. Jim Rice (HOF)
29. Cal Ripken (HOF)
30. Alex Rodriguez (MVP)
31. Ivan Rodriguez (MVP)
32. John Smoltz (HOF)
33. Ichiro Suzuki (ROY, MVP)
34. Miguel Tejada (MVP)
35. Frank Thomas (HOF)
36. Mo Vaughn (MVP)

Who’s on your list?

Friday, November 20, 2015

#BYBHUB Change-Up: Is David Ortiz a HOFer? My post

Here's my post on David Ortiz's HOF eligibility, for those of you who didn't make it over to Greedy Pinstripes earlier.


Before I get into Ortiz’s case for Hall of Fame election, let me address a couple of the common strikes held against him.

First, that PED list. Yes, he appeared on the 2003 list. But, no he didn’t use illegal PEDs. How do I know? Because MLB told me so. They stated that the testing done in 2003 initially didn’t distinguish between “supplement” and “banned supplement.” After all, it was the first testing. Some kinks needed to be worked out. So, Ortiz made it on the list that was never supposed to be released (so, why bother “fixing” it?) for something that wasn’t banned…and wasn’t illegal. That’s why you haven’t heard any whispers since by people who saw him use, or knew he used, or whatever. No testimony came out later naming him. Nothing. Just the one test for a supplement, which was explained away by MLB. Non-issue.

The second one is the DH issue. How can you be in the Hall-of-Fame if you don’t play the field? Well, I guess the same way you can be in the Hall of Fame if you don’t bat. Pitchers only pitch, and DH’s only hit. How is it different? Additionally, DH is an actual position. It’s not like people telling me closers deserve to be in the Hall of Fame even though they’re not even good enough to start for their teams. When Ortiz’s manager makes a list of his nine starting batters, Papi’s name was almost always in that list. 

Now, of course, I think defense can be important to get into the Hall of Fame…depending on the player’s claim to fame. If you’re say Jorge Posada, and you’re basing your resume on being a great hitting catcher, defense is important. The numbers on their own aren’t enough to get him in as a hitter. If he was an outfielder or a first baseman, his numbers wouldn’t stand out. He needs the “catcher qualifier” to have a chance. So, when you’re trying to get in as a catcher…the fact that he can’t actually catch is important. Putting shin guards on Manny Ramirez doesn’t make him the best hitting catcher ever. 

But, David Ortiz doesn’t need any of those qualifiers. He’s not trying to get in as a great hitting shortstop. So, his ability to play shortstop is irrelevant. He’s trying to get in as a great hitter. Why would his lack of playing defense hurt him? If he wanted to…or if the Red Sox wanted him to…could he play first base as well as, say, Jason Giambi? I would certainly think so. After all, it was Ortiz’s glove that made the Red Sox choose him over all the other available DH/1B types in 2003. So, if he had fumbled and stumbled around for ten years like Giambi at first, he’s a Hall of Famer? But, because he played a position that didn’t require that, he’s not? How does that make sense? It doesn’t. 

So, now that we've eliminated the arguments against his election, what about the ones for?

I’ve discussed my personal rules for Hall of Fame election before. But, for the new people… The Hall of Fame requires a ten year long career. So, I figure if that’s the minimum, you better have all ten be all-star type years. Not always actual selection. After all, the most deserving players don’t always go. But, the type of year where people would think you deserved to be there. Ortiz? He was a nine-time all-star. One year he wasn’t he hit 28 HR with 99 RBI. It’s close, but I’ll give him the ten all-star type seasons. Within those ten seasons, I require 5 MVP types. Again, not actually winning the award. But, if people were discussing the best players in the game, that player’s name would come up pretty quickly. Ortiz? He finished in the top five in MVP voting five years in a row, and tenth another year. That sounds pretty good to me. Beyond that, if a player plays beyond the ten year minimum, I just don’t want him to embarrass himself. Don’t have ten all-star seasons, and then ten seasons where you’re hitting .136. Ortiz? He currently sits at 503 home runs, and 1641 RBI. Fair to say he didn’t let himself go in those non-all-star years.

I haven’t even mentioned his postseason heroics. Mostly because I couldn’t care less when it comes to Hall of Fame eligibility. Hard to say that performing well in a series that not everyone gets a chance to play in makes you a better player. But, let’s just say his performance in the playoffs isn’t exactly his downfall. 

So, there you have it. No, he’s not a Pedro Martinez type lock. But, it’s still a pretty easy decision. He has the career numbers. He has the peak numbers. His top comp on baseball reference is a Hall of Famer. (Frank Thomas. Who, by the way, was a DH more than a 1B). It’s a slam dunk that he should get in.

Have no idea how anyone could think otherwise.


Huge thanks to Greedy for suggesting this swap. Hopefully it gave you all a little variety in your blog reading. Look for more of these in the future!

#BYBHUB Change-Up: Is David Ortiz a HOFer?

Don't be alarmed. Everything is fine. We're just trying something a little new today. As mentioned below, right now myself and fellow BYB Hub member Greedy Pinstripes are swapping blog posts. We both wrote a post on whether or not David Ortiz deserves to be in the Hall of Fame. His post appears right here, right now. To see my response, head over to Greedy Pinstripes, and see what I had to say. In the future, this little exercise could involve many more BYB Hub members, so look for more of these in the future! Hopefully it's a lot of fun. If you like Greedy's writing, I encourage you to check out the BYB Hub to see more of his blogs posted. Or, follow him on twitter.


I am excited to bring you this post and my case against David Ortiz making the Hall of Fame. Not because I’m a Red Sox hater, but truth be told I am, and not because I am a David Ortiz hater, respect can be had while still hating a player and I have both in my heart for Big Papi, but because we are doing something a little special here. Myself, along with Section 36 (a Red Sox blog that is listed on the BYB Hub), are syndicating these posts at the same time on both blogs so both sides of the argument can have both arguments in the same place at the same time. Maybe it will lead to more posting between blogs, maybe it won’t, but this is just the tip of the iceberg with what we have planned as far as interaction between the BYB Hub bloggers. I hope you enjoy my case, a Yankees side of the argument, against David Ortiz’s Hall of Fame case. Please keep all comments respectful, thank you. 

Entering the 2016 season David Ortiz has the stats of few before him in Major League Baseball history. Ortiz has enjoyed one hell of a career, let’s call a spade a spade, for the Minnesota Twins and the Boston Red Sox including such milestones as breaking the Curse of the Bambino in 2004, winning another World Series in 2007 and yet another World Series in 2013 and many other statistical markers. You know the numbers so I won’t dwell on them much; 503 home runs, 1641 RBI, a career triple slash of .284/.378/.547 and for a long time he was one of the most feared hitters in all of Major League Baseball. Ortiz has been great and if you’re using the back of his baseball card alone the argument against his case into the Hall of Fame is not only pointless, it’s mundane. The problem for Ortiz, Major League Baseball and its fans is that players these days are judged on much more than that. 

Me personally I have no issue with an accused steroid user getting into the Hall of Fame. Frankly I wouldn’t mind it if they all got in. At the time these steroids were not against the rules of Major League Baseball, they weren’t mentioned in a Collective Bargaining agreement and I don’t think they should be an issue as long as the steroid use stopped there. Should Alex Rodriguez be in the Hall of Fame? Hell no, not after Biogenesis, lying a second time and then going on a lawsuit rampage against the league, the union that represents him and his own family. Do I think Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds should be in? Absolutely and I continue to vote for them every single year on my Internet Baseball Writers Association of American (IBWAA) ballot. The problem here is I think it would be irresponsible to go on a case-by-case basis for Hall of Fame voting and I think it sets a nasty precedence that nobody wants to set. You either, again in my opinion, have to let everyone and anyone into the Hall of Fame that was even so much as linked to steroids during their playing career or none at all. 

Looking at the Mitchell Report you see that 89 players were named in the report which basically showcased who did steroids and who failed the supposed anonymous test that they were promised back during the 2003 season. The list includes a few notable names and some names that will never have their names discussed in a Hall of Fame roundtable. That list includes Barry Bonds, Jason Giambi, Gary Sheffield, Kevin Brown, Roger Clemens, Lenny Dykstra, Eric Gagne, Jason Grimsley, Jerry Hairston Jr., David Justice, Chuck Knoblauch, Denny Neagle, Andy Pettitte, Brian Roberts, Dave Segui, Miguel Tejada, Mo Vaughn, Jose Canseco, and Rick Ankiel to name a few. One notable name not on the list was that of Ortiz or his teammate Manny Ramirez although both reportedly failed a drug test either in 2003 or later on in their careers. 

None of those players; not Bonds the all-time home run king, not Rafael Palmeiro who hit 500+ home runs but shook his finger in front of Congress vehemently denying his steroid use only to fail a drug test later that calendar year, not Roger Clemens who won 350 games and was acquitted of all charges related to perjury and steroid use and none of the other players mentioned got into the Hall. What makes Ortiz different or special? Because he “bought the damn things” at a GNC in the mall? Because he can take selfies with President Barack Obama and hugs Commissioner of Major League Baseball Bud Selig after winning the World Series? If you’re asking me, a full-fledged Yankees fan but a general baseball fan as well, I have to say nothing makes him special. 

Look, if Clemens, Bonds, Sosa, McGwire, probably Gary Sheffield on this upcoming ballot and the slew of others that are being kept out of the Hall not because of their stats but because of their links or suspicions to steroids get in then 100% absolutely put Ortiz in. I’ll vote for him 10 times out of 10 and I’ll walk him in myself, he’s a special talent. I’m just fighting for an even and for a fair playing field here and if Ortiz gets in they should all get in. If they all can’t get in, because maybe they went to that same GNC… we’ll never know for sure, then Ortiz shouldn’t either. Those are my two cents anyway. 

If this isn’t enough then someone explain to me why Ortiz should be in, basically a full-time DH for much of his career, and Edgar Martinez of the Seattle Mariners, another full-time DH, is not. Martinez is probably a better hitter than Ortiz according to the numbers and only managed to receive 27% of the vote in his sixth season on the ballot of 2015. If that’s not enough then you’re either a Boston fan or you haven’t been following the Hall of Fame votes and blogs I’ve been writing for the past two or three seasons anyway. 

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

What Does Papi’s Announcement Mean?

It means the Red Sox better be going “all in” this year. 

Actually, it probably doesn’t. And, it probably shouldn’t. One of the things that still stands out in my mind after reading Lou Gorman’s book One Pitch From Glory is the number of times he referenced needing to win a championship for Mrs. Yawkey. The “win now while we can” attitude certainly seemed to be leading to some poor decisions. But, I wouldn’t mind if they decided to stretch themselves just a little bit.

What it does do is give the Red Sox and end date for their designated hitter. Part of me wonders if that was something that Dave Dombrowski did almost immediately. Sit down with Ortiz and explain the situation. Tell him the bind he was in. Obviously Ortiz isn’t going to play forever. It sure would help the Sox if there was a timeframe in mind. Something to plan around.

So, now the Sox can move forward. They have Papi for one more year. So, as Dombrowski noted, it doesn’t force them into anything. They don’t need to go out and get a left-handed bat yesterday. They have time. The team going into 2016 is exactly the same as it was yesterday. 

But, it makes keeping Hanley Ramirez around a lot easier. There will be a spot opening up for a designated hitter after one season. He can try to fumble around at first for a year. Or even switch off with Ortiz every once in a while. From there, the Sox can get an actual first baseman. If it doesn’t work, Hanley at first can be just a one year experiment.

That’s actually rather comforting.

From there, the Sox can try to groom someone else to play first. Maybe that’s someone they already have on the team. Maybe it’s someone they can look for over the course of the season. This move may make them look a little harder at first basemen in their system. But, as I mentioned, it’s not like Ortiz was going to play 10 more ears. So, an 18-year old prospect probably wouldn’t have been on the team with Ortiz anyway. But, they can look things over with a timetable in mind. 

So, that’s the big gift that Ortiz just gave Red Sox Nation. Information. He’s allowing the Red Sox to make smart decisions about the present, as well as the future. If they don’t like a situation, they know how long they have to suffer through it. They know when they can change it. They know things.

And that’s so much better than not knowing things.

Monday, November 16, 2015

From the Pedro Binder

1999 UD MVP

OK. Your turn to play along. What do you think I’m going to say about this card?

I’ll wait.

Got it? 

Yup. What is this mess? Seriously. I have no idea what Upper Deck was going for here. It makes me wonder if this was the real reason Upper Deck no longer has a license. They don’t have any more layout ideas since they used about five of them on this one card alone. They had to stop making them.

It’s like when a grade schooler makes their first PowerPoint presentation. They think it’s fun to try out all the toys, and want to use them all on every slide. Have some text dissolve, or slide to the right. Have the pictures spin into place. Have them bounce into position. 

On every slide.

This is what Upper Deck is doing here. Hey, we can use foil to put out logo in the corner. Hey we can use foil to make out brand name outlines and computer-ish looking. Hey we can use foil to add circles to the front. Hey we can use foil to add these weird circles to the side of the card. We can use color too! Don’t forget color! How about red shading? Oh, and blue shading! We should probably add the player’s name, number, team, and position as well. There. Perfect.

But, much like that grade schooler, they didn’t realize that doing EVERYTHING at once is way too distracting. If a viewer has to keep following bouncing balls or sliding text he’ll lose track of the information you’re presenting. 

The same thing happens with this card. I have trouble finding Pedro’s name in the chaos. Heck, I have trouble finding Pedro’s picture. What a mess.

Sometimes it’s OK to hold an idea back for next time.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Confusing Craig Kimbrel Conflict

I'm conflicted. I admit it. 

I'm definitely a "trade" guy. I feel that one of the main purposes of having a great farm system is to be able to package together "potential" for "actual". That was my big disappointment last offseason. The Sox had all these extra prospects. Like a dozen top notch outfielders, it seemed. And they did nothing with them. They went the whole season trying to figure out what to do with their young outfielders. It never really sorted itself out.

So, the idea of doing it again, with even more prospects on the way was a little bit unnerving. Instead of holding all these blocked prospects, they needed to deal them. Just to clear out some space.

But, for a closer? The single most overrated position in the history of sports? I don't know if I can get behind that. Sure, he's an elite arm. In that way, this reminds me of the Keith Foulke signing. Theo didn't gloat that he got a great closer. He said he got a great arm. And, Foulke may have been THE key to the Sox winning the World Series that year. But, most of his value, as was Koji's in 2013, was for things outside the traditional closer role. In the 2004 postseason, he pitched 14 innings in 11 games, with only 3 saves. It wasn't the closer role. It was the bullpen role.

So, from that angle, it makes absolute sense to add Kimbrel as another fantastic arm. The idea of Taz-Koji-Kimbrel to hold a lead after six innings is incredibly enticing. But, did the Sox need to overpay for the closer. Could they have gotten another great arm, without the inflated closer price tag?

I've never had much of a problem with the Larry Anderson trade. Jeff Bagwell was blocked at third behind Wade Boggs, and Scott Cooper. He was blocked at first behind Mo Vaughn. So, he was completely expendable. They traded him for a reliever that helped them win the division. My only "complaint" has been wondering if they could have gotten more. How much of a chip was Bagwell? Could he have gotten a guy for more than a year (or two)? Just because he's trash to you doesn't mean that he should simply be cast aside.

So, I guess that where I am today. I love the idea of getting an elite bullpen arm. It's exactly what the Royals have done to reach the last two World Series. It's something the Sox desperately needed. I also know that Betts and Bogaers (and Castillo and Bradley) were doing a pretty good job of blocking any prospect movement to the big club. For so many prospects. I'm just going to have to trust the Red Sox and assume that Washington wouldn't have traded Strasberg for those same prospects. That this was the going rate for a top notch arm. That Dombrowski isn't just playing with someone else's money. 

Because I can't wait to see Kimbrel in action.

Monday, November 9, 2015

There’s More Than One Way to Win

There’s More Than One Way to Win

You hear it all the time in football. (Actually, you hear most good examples in football because the smaller number of games tends to magnify issues.) But, you’ hear it all the time. How does this team expect to win with so-and-so at quarterback? How does that team expect to win without a pass rush? How does any team expect to win without a solid running back? 

Without fail, those questions are answered with cases where teams have, in fact won with even Joe Flacco at quarterback. But, the teams just needed to compensate for that deficiency in other areas. The Ravens win with marginal quarterback play by having an elite defense. Tom Brady won a Super Bowl with any number of unassuming running backs. And who needs a pass rush if you have Revis shutting down half the field at a time?

In fact, that’s always been my problem with Bill Parcells saying he ought to be able to shop for the groceries. On Iron Chef, they don’t let them pick the ingredients. They see who the best chef if by giving them all the same ingredient. So, if Parcells was a good coach, he should be able to win with whatever happened to be in his pantry. 

Bill Belichick is the master of this, of course. He wins with whatever talent is available. Give me a talented runner? OK. I’ll call for a run heavy offense. Give me Randy Moss? Let’s throw that ball deep every chance we get. Lose Moss? OK, those quick dump offs should work. You need to build you team around what you have at the ready.

What does all this have to do with the Red Sox?


The Sox are headed to the offseason, and the winter meetings, needing to fix some holes. People are begging for an ace. Others are begging for the Sox to drop some dead weight. Or to trade the prospects. Or to hold the prospects. 

I think that Dave Dombrowski needs to be smart enough to know he needs to do all of those at once. 

He’s already said that nobody is untouchable. Absolutely the correct attitude. If you hang up when a conversation begins with “Bogaerts” you’ll never know if it ends with “Strasberg and Harper.” It probably won’t. But, you can’t shut yourself off. You can’t go into the offseason with blinders on. “I have my shortstop…look for an ace. I have my shortstop…look for an ace.” Sometimes an opportunity will present itself that’s different, but still a way to win. Maybe the Sox find that the best option is, in fact, to put Hanley back in left. Maybe using one of the young outfielders to trade for an ace is a different angle that needs to be explored. Maybe the ace market goes sky high, and the best idea is a slightly better attempt at the “I’m the ace” rotation of 2015. Maybe then the best idea is to target some cheaper option out of the pen. 

That’s what should make the offseason so exciting. It’s not a time to put all your eggs in one basket. It’s not a time to sell the farm for a guy just because you assumed that’s what you wanted when you started.

It’s time to have some discussions. See what’s out there. See what’s available. See what types of players will help you win.

Then go after those.

Friday, November 6, 2015

Submitting Pictures is Now a Snap!

If you’ve been reading this blog for any amount of time, you know I love pictures. 

I have several pages devoted to them. In addition to the pictures on the blog pages, the Section 36 Facebook page posts a picture a day.

Some are pictures of people in Section 36. Some are people posing with Section 36 behind them. Some are pictures people have taken from Section 36. Still others are pictures of people holding signs saying how much they’d rather be in Section 36

They’re all wonderful.

People submit their pictures in many different ways as well. Most people e-mail them. Some tweet them to me. Some use the Facebook message feature. I figured those options pretty much covered me.

Until I got an e-mail from Alicia.

She sent along the picture seen in this post via e-mail, as she’s done before. She commented, though, that she keeps forgetting to save her pictures to send to me, so she hadn’t sent one in a while. I bet you all recognize format. 


I had always wondered about it. I saw the Patriots asking people to follow their snapchat story. Friend of the blog Bernadette is often promoting her business snapchat account. But, I never really understood the benefit.

Until now. If it gives the readers of the blog one more easy way to submit pictures, I’m all for it. So, go look for “section36” on snapchat. Then, the next time you take a picture with Section 36 behind you, or holding my favorite sign, you can easily send it along. I can grab it from there to post other places. How easy is that?

That way everyone can enjoy your Section 36 pictures.

Just like Alicia’s.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Keeping Clay

Right off the bat, the Red Sox front office start the offseason with a good move. In fact, it’s such an obviously correct move, I almost have a hard time giving them credit for it.

What did they do? They picked up Clay Buchholz’s $13 million option. Oh sure. I know what you’re thinking. He’s always hurt. He’s so frustrating. You can’t depend on him. He’ll never make it through a full season. He’s gutless. 

All of those may, or may not, be true. But there’s one reason why this was a no-brainer.

Justin Masterson.

Last offseason the Red Sox signed Masterson to a one-year deal. There wasn’t a ton expected from him. But, he had shown flashes of effectiveness in the past, and there was a hope he could do it again. With that in mind, the Sox went into in with low expectations. He wasn’t promised a starting role at the time, and ended up only starting half the games he appeared in for the Sox. He was a true shot in the dark, so the Sox gave him a contract that was actually lower than what he played for the year before.

They gave him $9.5 million.

There’s your comparison. A fifth starter/long reliever looking to regain some respect got $9.5 million to not pitch very well in 18 games for the Sox.

Buchholz, on the other hand, is coming off a season where he made 18 starts for the Sox, to a tune of a 3.26 ERA. Yeah, that was the lowest of all the Red Sox starting pitchers.

A simple comparison of Masterson’s 60 innings of 5.61 ERA to Buchholz’s 113 innings on 3.26 ERA makes it an obvious choice. 

And that’s before considering any sort of “potential.” Oh, sure, most people are tired of waiting for Clay to be the ace his talent says he should be. But, those people ignore the fact that he’s already sort of done it. He was an all-star a couple times. He’s pitched over 170 innings three times. His season ERA has been under 3.50 as often as it’s been over it. 

No. Those are not “ace” numbers. But, they’re not a guy who has the talent but never put it all together. He has the talent, and has put it together…just not all the time. There’s a difference.

But, as I said, this was a good move even without counting all that. Even if you get the 2015 Clay Buchholz again, he’s worth $13 million. If you’re the type of person who wants the Sox to go get a true ace, you’re only looking at Clay to be, what, the #4 starter behind ace, Porcello, and Miley? Sure, he’s taking up a spot that could be filled by a kid. But, remember when you said Clay doesn’t make it through a season? There’s the chance to get the kids back in. Or, there’s your chance to trade some of the kids. Who knows? 

The only thing that matters is that picking up his option was a good idea. It’s a cost effective way to secure a talented starter who will give you at least the production you got last year from a guy you were paying almost as much for. The Sox couldn’t not pick him up.

Even if it’s only to trade him to the NL.

Monday, November 2, 2015

We Could Be Royals

After the conclusion of the 2012 season, I felt pretty good about the Red Sox. I asked the question at the time, what did the 2012 Giants, the World Series winners, have that the Red Sox didn’t? Neither team had a true ace. Each team had some good hitters, and clutch playoff performers. As it turned out, there wasn’t much difference since the Sox went on to win the World Series the very next season.

Which brings us to today. 

What do the Royals have that the Red Sox don’t?

One answer I’m sure that will come screaming from people’s mouths is Johnny Cueto. The Sox need an ace! See!?! The problem is, Cueto wasn’t really an ace for the Royals during the regular season. After all, he went 4-7 with a 4.76 ERA for Kansas City. I’m guessing the Sox have someone who can do that currently on their roster. Sure, he was an ace in the playoffs. But, do we know anyone on the Sox won’t be a playoff ace? Jon Lester was laughed at when he asked what he needed to do to be considered and ace…then went out and dominated that postseason. So, the Sox could use a starter that pitches well in the postseason. They may or may not have one of those at the moment. We’ll never know. As we just discussed, even if they sign David Price, they won’t know. They won’t know until they try it. 

Beyond that? The Sox have some aggressive baserunners. Maybe not stupid enough to break for home with a World Series game on the line and just hope for the worst throw possible. But, Mookie and Pedroia can go first to third with the best of them. They have good defense. You want defense up the middle? Try Vazquez, Bogaerts, Pedroia, and Bradley Jr/Mookie. The Royals had a pretty good DH. A lumbering presence in the middle of the line-up. The Red Sox…well, you know.

The Royals starting pitchers didn’t go very deep into games. The Red Sox have some experience in that area.

Really, the one thing is the bullpen. It’s really the one this that set the 2015 Royals away from the Sox as well. So, it’s the one area they really need to catch up on.

Problem is (or, the good thing is?) bullpens are incredibly hard to predict. For the most part, relievers are in the bullpen because they’re not good enough to be anywhere else. Especially middle relief. So, to find a pen that you can rely on going into the season to get you three innings a game can be tricky. Even if you decided that instead of signing one ace starter, you’re going to sign the two or three best bullpen arms. There is absolutely no guarantee that last year’s top arms will be next year’s top arms. So, the bad thing is that the Sox really can’t just throw money at the problem. Nobody knows where to throw it. But, the good news is that they could very well throw short money at a middle reliever to be the fourth option at closer, and that guy could become the most dominating closer since Eckersley. 

Obviously, they shouldn’t just sign four random guys and hope. That’s almost what they did with the rotation this year, and none of it worked. But, if they go after some solid guys, and use them correctly, that’s not a bad plan at all. 

There’s no reason why the Sox can’t be right back at the top next season.

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