A Good Ride

In the end, the better team won.

It’s hard to be mad when that happens. The Red Sox fought back, made a series of it, and proved they would not go meekly into winter. What more can you ask for? All night, it felt like the Sox were robbing a better team if they managed to pull out another win. I would have taken it, but it makes the loss much easier to accept.

The Sox gave us a terrific ride. It started with the seemingly near-certainty of a trade for Johan Santana, and once the season began, it included a trip to Japan, Jon Lester’s no-hitter, J.D. Drew’s amazing June, the surreal and turbulent July 31 trade deadline, the 19-17 affair at Fenway and the emergence of Dustin Pedroia as a legitimate offensive force. Of course, it ended well, with the greatest single-game postseason comeback ever (one fewer run than 1929, sure, but come on, that was the Cubs, and it wasn’t an elimination game).

In the end, they didn’t have enough. In a season that comes down to two runs in a final seventh game, it’s hard not to look at what might have been if Curt Schilling’s shoulder had held together just one more year, if Mike Lowell hadn’t gone down, if David Ortiz could have overcome the physical — and possibly mental — hurdles placed in his path. None of those things happened, and the Sox will be heading home after their first ALCS elimination loss since 2003 — after nine straight win-or-go-home victories in the league championship series.

The focus necessarily turns forward. The Red Sox have some clear issues that need to be resolved. First and foremost is that of catcher. Jason Varitek likely has some value as a part-time player/coach, but he cannot be a starter any longer. Whether that would force him to seek more money or a better job elsewhere is up to Varitek and agent Scott Boras. Their second issue would be a fifth starter. The Lester-Beckett-Matsuzaka-Wakefield four seem set. The question is whether the Sox will seek answers from within (Michael Bowden) or free agency (Sabathia? Burnett? Sheets?). These are questions we have several months to discuss. It’s the beauty of YFSF; for us, the season is never over.

For now, the moment belongs to the Rays. Congrats to them. And go Phillies!

54 comments… add one
  • i’ll probably get a chance to say this again when yf puts up his post closing out this chapter of yfsf, but in case i don’t, i just wanted to say thanks for a good season to all the participants here…while our teams didn’t get as far as we’d hoped, there’s a lot to be thankful for, and a lot to look forward to…i’m actually glad about the rays emergence, and the potential for the blue jays in our division…i had become complacent, just assuming one of us would represent the division in the playoffs each year, with the other automatically assuming the wild card role…while it will increase our stress levels, the baseball will be a lot better, winning will be that much more satisfying, and losing won’t leave us scratching our heads [as much] about lost opportunities against supposedly weaker teams…i’m disappointed the yankees did so poorly this year, but for a change, i’m relaxed about it, because it was clear early on that we were not the best team, not by a long shot, and in fact there were 2 maybe 3 teams better than we were, in our own division…
    before i ramble too much, i’d like to thank the moderators for taking the time to give us well thought out posts to initiate the discussion, and allowing the conversation to take its course without too much intervention…there’s a fine line between censorship and controlling an occasional interloper, and you guys know where that line is…i know many of the posts take a lot of work to put together [paul], and without you doing that, we don’t really have much of a site…

    dc October 20, 2008, 9:58 am
  • I’m happy for Cliff Floyd, Carl Crawford and Rocco Baldelli. While I hope the Yanks get it back together and another team may emerge, Red Sox – Rays will probably be the top competition for the next 2 – 3 years.

    DR October 20, 2008, 10:00 am
  • The rumour mill is already starting to grind: reports indicate that the Padres are likely to trade Peavy, and that he doesn’t want to go to the Mets or Yankees. It also says he wants to stay in the NL, though we could see him in a Sox uniform. That home/away split is pretty glaring though.
    Not looking forward to the Sox trying to find a catcher. I might be cool with signing Varitek to a 1-year deal.

    Atheose October 20, 2008, 10:05 am
  • Buchholz for Saltalamacchia? Let the rumors/arguments begin!
    Also, dc and the rest of the commenters, thanks for your continued patronage. This would be nothing but an echo chamber without you guys to flesh it out…

    Paul SF October 20, 2008, 10:08 am
  • Buchholz for Saltalamacchia
    ___________________
    Immediately.

    Brad October 20, 2008, 10:23 am
  • Im pretty sure that the Peavy doesnt have so much an anti-Yankee thing as much as an anti-AL thing. Id be shocked if he ended up on either of our teams.

    Sam-YF October 20, 2008, 10:41 am
  • Fret not, Sox fans: 116 days until pitchers and catchers report!

    Clay Caviness October 20, 2008, 11:23 am
  • Before jumping on the hot stove season talk, it is good to reflect a minute on the past season (why is everyone so eager to jump forward, even when there are still games to play – well, not now anymore, but during the playoffs, sox fans pondering 2009?). It was a good year, some breakout performances, some breakdowns, and all in all, they got farther than I tought with the various injuries and general talent level.
    On another note, I think the “Fenway Faithful” ought to take a page from the Tampa crowd. They cheered non-stop (mostly) during the playoffs – did they boo? I don’t think so.

    dw (sf) October 20, 2008, 11:33 am
  • So, you’re saying that Papi and Varitek’s GROSS performance doesn’t warrant booing?
    Dang that, I’d boo each of them for that kind of showing. They should hang their heads in shame for showing up to play an ALCS like that. At this point, they’re both shells of themselves, and either the Red Sox need to get a bat that can protect Ortiz, or move him and make the roster more flexible.
    Like Manny, teams are capable of winning without Ortiz (ask Tampa!!).
    I know I’m in the minority here, but I think they should move him while he still has any value whatsoever. Having Vaugh, err, Ortiz on the roster limits what a manager can do on a day to day basis, and that was fine when he could make contact, but now, it’s a hindrance.

    Brad October 20, 2008, 12:16 pm
  • I can understand congratulating the Rays for a wonderful accomplishment. I can also understand being proud of your teams accomplishments, but declaring that the better team won I cannot agree with. The team that played better won, but the better team lost. By putting it that way you are seemingly giving the Sox a pass. Sight unseen I still say the Sox are the favorites in the AL going into 2009. Beckett, Lester, Daisuke is still best 3 man rotation in AL. Full season of Bay, Lowrie. Masterson…this team is stacked and they have a full farm system. So yes the team that played better won, but no the better team did not win.
    PS – I have not been hiding I have been unable to access the site for about 3-4 weeks. Thanks to AG I’m back.

    John - YF October 20, 2008, 12:48 pm
  • Tek and Papi’s most recent performances, brought by age and injury, do not degrade what they have already accomplished for their team and its fans. So anyone booing either, or both – in SF’s case, should be hung by their testicles outside the Cask and Flagon. They are no fan. Instead, they are obnoxious, whiney bastards who should not be heard.
    The end

    Dirty Water October 20, 2008, 12:57 pm
  • “Beckett, Lester, Daisuke is still best 3 man rotation in AL”
    Yeah, if not injured, spent or too relied upon (which is what Dice became). The Sox playoff pitching staff did not hold a candle to Tampa Bay’s because it had broken down. The playoffs are always about pitching. The better team won.

    Dirty Water October 20, 2008, 1:04 pm
  • I really hate to stick up for the “Fenway Faithful” but comparing them to TB fans is not fair. TB drew awful numbers through September. While Fenway was sold out all season. Both teams having equal success but one destroyed the other in attendance. So those “Rays Fans” who didn’t boo I would ask how long they have been fans and where they were April through September? It’s easy to remain positive and cheer when your team is hot and your fresh onto the bandwagon. Now I’m sure there are day one die hard Rays fans, but overall they should not be the standard by which any team is held.

    John - YF October 20, 2008, 1:06 pm
  • I thought I would be fine with this, house money, solid season, overcame injuries, etc…
    I’m not, I’m pissed and I want pitchers and catchers to report ASAP.
    Thank you authors and regulars for another great season at YFSF too, always a pleasure, even when we disagree.
    Now…
    Get rid of Tek, get Papi healthy, reload the bench with young power, trade for Salty, sign Tex, eat Lugo’s contract, exercise Wake’s option, and sign D-Lowe.

    LocklandSF October 20, 2008, 1:07 pm
  • Brad – I think Papi’s and V-Tek’s perfomrance was abismal. Especially Papi – I’m disappointed with what I perceive to be his mental make-up after moving Manny. V-Tek is just getting old and his performance shows that.
    But to boo them during the playoffs, I’m in the camp of trying positive reinforcement to help motivate, but that’s me.
    John – isn’t the team that played better the better team? That’s why they play the games, but a healthy Beckett and Lowell would have made the difference in the series for sure. I’m sure I’m giving them a bit of a pass because of the injuries to those key parts.

    dw (sf) October 20, 2008, 1:07 pm
  • The team playing better won. The better team was the Sox. You can’t give me if scenarios. The pitching the Rays have put together has been amazing, not taking that away. But by declaring the better team we are talking over all on paper going into the season. I picked the Rays for 3rd place, why because I thought and still think the Sox are better. So again Rays playing better, Sox better team.

    John - YF October 20, 2008, 1:10 pm
  • Having Youk at 3rd and Kotsay at first didn’t change much. Sure Lowell is a great player but Kotsay played real well and got to face a righty heavy staff. Youk (hate to admit it) is unreal. His defensive skills are sick. To move from 1st to 3rd and shine ad he did is pretty amazing.

    John - YF October 20, 2008, 1:16 pm
  • Ortiz and ‘Tek should not have been booed. This shouldn’t even be a discussion.

    Atheose October 20, 2008, 1:16 pm
  • uh, okay.
    I guess you better get a rope. I’m not only a fan, but I’m a fan with a brain. I don’t think anyone is booing the Red Sox players on their past accomplishments, but rather the current roll-over act they put on this past week.
    Each fan is entitled to his own opinion, and mine is that they embarrassed themselves (and let their whole team down in the process), thus not making them excluded from the fan reactions for such.
    They deserved to be bood.
    They both sucked, and in Teks case should have been asked to return his uniform at the end of the game.
    Again, that’s where he’s at. I’m not going to continue to pull for a guy for what he did three years ago. Otherwise, I’d still be pulling for Mike Timlin. I’ve paid him his respect, now hopefully, he leaves town for good and never pitches for this team again.
    But, if you like, you can keep cheering declining, failing players. I’ll focus on letting them know they sucked this week, and look towards the future.

    Brad October 20, 2008, 1:16 pm
  • Neither of them are above the boos.
    Yes, they were great. But, now they’re not. I don’t think it’s something they wanted to happen, but it has.
    Tek shooting off at the mouth about being pinch hit for seals it for me. He’s the worst player on the team, who’s lived on his “defense” (which includes not being able to throw out my sister at second), and I’m a little weary of the pass he gets because of what he’s done. He can’t do it anymore, and I don’t want him back.
    Maybe booing is harsh, but so is leaving 19 guys on base in one series. Oh, and one hit.

    Brad October 20, 2008, 1:19 pm
  • And if Ortiz isn’t happy without Manny, then he should take cue from Manny, and play his way out of town.
    Oh, maybe that started already.

    Brad October 20, 2008, 1:21 pm
  • But, if you like, you can keep cheering declining, failing players. I’ll focus on letting them know they sucked this week, and look towards the future.
    Right, because they don’t know that they sucked?
    Tek and Ortiz tried their hardest, the latter despite dealing with a wrist injury. Tek probably won’t be back next year, and he was booed in his last at-bat at Fenway. That makes me sick. Despite this year’s struggles at the plate he has been the captain on the most dominant Red Sox team in 100 years, and to send him off with boos is wrong. I was disgusted to hear it in Fenway during Game 5, and I’m disgusted to hear it now.
    Likewise, Curt Schilling gets a lifetime free pass for what he did in 2004. SurvivingGrady sums it up nicely: he could come into my house, punch my grandma and drink my last beer, and I’d still give him a high-five and cook him a steak. The same goes for Ortiz and Varitek. For the most part I do not want to see Varitek resigned, but I’m certainly not going to kick him in the balls on the way out.

    Atheose October 20, 2008, 1:33 pm
  • DISCLAIMER TO CURT SCHILLING: I’ll give you a beer and a steak if you’re ever in the area, but please don’t punch my grandma.

    Atheose October 20, 2008, 1:37 pm
  • Brad – you’re right – Papi and Tek both acted like entitled brats. I guess my point is I still support them as members of the Red Sox, I guess wanting them to win and thinking a positive re-inforcement would do better than booing. Boo if you want, I agree they stunk, but I still pull for them as members of the sox.
    John – having Kotsay at first changed a bunch, took away a right handed bat, and he alone left 20 men on base, and didn’t draw a walk in the series, while swinging at many first pitches (he did make many “loud” outs however). Yes, Fenway sold out, and Tampa has many pink hatters, and I’m not trying to defend the whole year, just drawing comparisons to the two crowds during this particular series (with the exception of game 5 7th inning to 9th inning)

    dw (sf) October 20, 2008, 1:39 pm
  • DW- I agree. Again, I hated to see those two like that, and I hated that I wanted to see both of them not playing, but then again, the team would have been better off with even average players at those two spots.
    Yeah, I hated it, but I’m glad it’s over, and while I think Tek was amazing in most of his time here, that time is hopefully up.

    Brad October 20, 2008, 2:08 pm
  • comparing tampa to boston with regard to baseball enthusiasm is the classic apples to oranges debate…florida [despite some of the spring training being held there] is not exactly a hotbed of baseball popularity…florida is football country mostly, high school and college to boot…remember that tampa has had mlb for what, all of 10 years, and they sucked at it most of the time in a sucky stadium…contrast that to boston’s rich baseball tradition and fan loyalty spanning generations, and you have your answer as to why the fan bases are so different…
    as for brad’s various comments here, this will come as no secret, but i agree with him 100%…i wish he was around a couple of days ago because i dangled out there all alone in asserting that certain red sox players, even the icons, deserved to be booed…if you’re gonna accept the cheers when you do well, you better accept the jeers when you don’t…varitek is way past his prime, if he had one, and living off the “great handler of pitchers” rep is worn out to the point where it’s embarrassing now…almost as if yf’s were to excuse jeter’s eroding defensive skills because with a splash of “driven” he smells good…and papi either misses his little buddy manny more than sf’s want to admit, or he is starting to regress to the mean that his career was at prior to joining the sox…not sure how much can be blamed on injury, because when he does hit the ball, he can still mash it…that, and i saw somewhere [probably the globe] that he’s saying he won’t be getting surgery…if that’s true, it makes you wonder why they didn’t schedule a little rest for him during the season…

    dc October 20, 2008, 3:21 pm
  • But the Colorado Rockies acquired a fan base immediately upon their inception, and for a while had some of the highest attendance figures in the leagues.

    Ron Newman October 20, 2008, 4:00 pm
  • I’d also point out that it’s easier to cheer when your team is not down by five runs by the third inning, three nights in a row. Or whatever it was. If TB had been in that situation, I’m sure you could have heard a pin drop in the Trop.

    Jackie (SF) October 20, 2008, 4:30 pm
  • Wow, what a run for a horribly deficient team.
    First, I gotta disagree with the Salty for Buck suggestion. Salty isn’t long for the C position, and he doesn’t hit enough for 1B. Besides, Buchholz, after his horrible season, isn’t enough. If you want a real catcher go for Laird or Ramirez. But it might take Buck and Bowden to get it done. All that, it would be a huge mistake to trade pitching depth for a marginal catcher.
    Otherwise, this is a team with ALOT of holes:
    C – Replacement level on the team and in the farm
    SS – Replacement level on the team and in the farm
    CF – Replacement level on the team and in the farm
    3B – A hip is a major injury. If Lowell is halfway done, Youk is a great fit. But then we need a 1B.
    Just horrible up the middle except for Laser Show. And given Papi’s injury and build, he’s on the downslope of his career.
    Here’s my off-season shopping list:
    1) Go get Furcal. He’s the best SS available in a long while. Just make it happen and eat Lugo’s horrible contract. Furcal hits and fields above average. It’s a no-brainer.
    2) Sign Greg Zaun and give Cash/Kottaras a chance to win the job over the season – a la Pedroia in 2006.
    3) Deal with the offensive blackhole in CF by…signing Teixeira. We have no idea how Papi and Lowell will bounce back. Tex is the best hitter available (besides a certain set of dreadlocks) and in his prime while a plus defender. Youk would mostly play 3B but it also gives us alot of lineup flexibility at 1B/3B/DH if everyone is healthy (a big if).
    Otherwise and at all else keep the young pitching. A depth of pitching is good thing. It’s a big mistake to assume there’s ever any to “spare”. The Rays are going to be very good for the next few years because of their stud pitching and five deep. Byrd/Wakefield/Colon won’t cut it.
    All in all, a short shopping list – Furcal, Zaun, Teixeira. Don’t trade the young pitching.
    And don’t complain about the money. The Sox have plenty of cash with huge NESN ratings.
    What a great year from a decent, but deficient team. They surpassed my expectations and made it fun in the process. Looking forward to 2009!

    andrew sf October 20, 2008, 4:47 pm
  • Before anyone over reacts to what I just wrote, I’m just saying that looking back on the year, if you had told me the makeup of this team then said they missed the Series by one game, I would have been very impressed.
    “Beckett, Lester, Daisuke is still best 3 man rotation in AL”
    I think three of Kazmir, Garza, Shields, and Price will have something to say about that.

    andrew sf October 20, 2008, 4:58 pm
  • The Rangers have too many catchers, so they will eventually have to deal one of them. Teagarden, Ramirez, Saltalmacchia and Laird. Teagarden is the best defensive catcher of that bunch, while Ramirez is the best offensive catcher of the bunch. With Chris Davis at 1B, I can’t imagine they would want to move Salty there. So that would make him expendable. I am not saying he is the answer for the Sox, but I think he will come cheaper than what is being advertised.
    As for the “deficient team” comment, I will ignore it because it seems so over the top that I can only imagine it to be baiting. I think there are probably 25+ teams that wish they were that “deficient.”

    John - YF October 20, 2008, 5:06 pm
  • I don’t. Kazmir still is a 5 inning pitcher. Until he learns how to throw less pitches he is not an top flight starter like Beckett or even Lester. Garza is a very good pitcher as is Shields, but I would still take Daisuke and Lester over both of them. Who knows what Price becomes, chances are very good he’s nasty, but just ask Buchholz and Hughes about slam dunk can’t miss prospects.
    A (healthy) Beckett, Daisuke, Lester is still the best 3 man punch in the AL and maybe baseball.

    John - YF October 20, 2008, 5:10 pm
  • Like I said, Salty is a tweener. Not strong enough defensively to stick at catcher, not strong enough offensively to stick at 1B. It would be a mistake to trade pitching talent.
    No, my comment wasn’t meant to bait. It’s my honest thinking with a clear perspective on this team. Four or five lineup holes and three runs from the World Series? That’s a great season. Still there’s alot of work to be done. Furcal, Zaun, and Teixiera will help. Just don’t trade young pitching.

    andrew sf October 20, 2008, 5:12 pm
  • The proof is in the pudding. The Sox pitchers are going home right now and if Maddon does a better job with his bullpen they are because Kazmir outpitched Dice-K. Still, Garza outpitched Lester. But, yeah, based on the last three games (aka the most important of the season) only Beckett comes out ahead.
    And Price is filthy and better than Hughes and Buchholz most especially because he throws 95 mph with his left hand.

    andrew sf October 20, 2008, 5:21 pm
  • Kazmir, Shields and Garza probably have more upside than any other top three in baseball, including the Sox top 3. I think they combine to make Randy Johnson’s age.

    Nick-YF October 20, 2008, 5:25 pm
  • Nice discussion here.
    I’m 100 percent against booing players who brought so much more joy to Boston than any ballplayer in the franchise’s history. They know they suck. We don’t need to remind them.
    I’m not worried about Papi. His injury and the trade of Manny combined to mess with his mental approach. I think he’ll be fine with offseason surgery and a break from overthinking his swing.
    The Red Sox were not a deficient team. They were a terrific team, a little old on the edges but with enough depth to make up for that — just not enough to get them as far as they needed to go. Even with such injuries that either kept key players out or limited their effectiveness (Lowell, Schilling, Ortiz, Beckett), the Red Sox STILL pushed to a Game 7. Pretty damn impressive.

    Paul SF October 20, 2008, 5:26 pm
  • “Kazmir, Shields and Garza probably have more upside than any other top three in baseball, including the Sox top 3.”
    Add sonnensteine in there too. A few adjustments and he could be as good as these guys. Kazmir’s health remains a bit of a question mark in my mind…

    Sam-YF October 20, 2008, 5:30 pm
  • It’s wasn’t the injuries – it was the replacement level regulars – Varitek, SS tandem, CF tandem. That that got so close with that bunch is very impressive. But those three positions at replacement level is horrid. If only one is average they’re in the Series right now. And the Rays are only getting better next year with their youngsters closer to their primes. The So having any replacement level players is a huge oversight and one that needs to be fixed first and foremost. Salty ain’t doing it.

    andrew sf October 20, 2008, 5:31 pm
  • Garza and Shields are very good. I just don’t think either is as good as they have showed over the past month. As for Kazmir when starts pitching more than 5 innings I will put him in higher class. He’s dominant, but for 5-6 innings and 110 pitches.

    John - YF October 20, 2008, 6:47 pm
  • And guess who’s back…this as a Sox fan.

    John - YF October 20, 2008, 6:49 pm
  • What part of “not fully healed” do you people not understand? Brad and Co., stars of the new Tarantino film ‘Ungrateful Bastards,’ would trade David Ortiz for Wily Mo Pena and a bag of baseballs right now without a second thought towards what he may still have with an off-season to get his tendons, confidence, and timing back.
    ‘Tek might be done, so his comments against pinch-hitting didn’t come appreciated to me either, but he’s earned the right to his pride.
    And don’t you dare evoke the name of Mo Vaughn. Vaughn was a great Bostonian (charity work) and a great slugger before the bad old ownership and general manager’s mean-spirited treatment of negotiations and the stupidity of a town quickly turned coat thanks to the Sean McDonough’s “Mo Money” columns sent him outward. Read Howard Bryant’s ‘Shut Out’ if you want to relive that.
    The better team won, and the Red Sox don’t even have that much on the Must-Do list for the off-season aside from, yes, the catcher situation. Five seasons, four playoff appearances, three ALCS, two championships is pretty great. Except that the one and only embittered spirit of Boston, apparently, is a hard one to chase away.

    Hit Dog October 20, 2008, 9:02 pm
  • And make sure you don’t call the Red Sox a horribly deficient team around Nationals fans, Andrew. I shared your thoughts with my D.C. roommate and he could only laugh, sigh, and probably go off to his room to cry.

    Hit Dog October 20, 2008, 9:04 pm
  • A bit early for Washington DC fans to be despondent over their team’s future, isn’t it? Or is that just the default position of anyone whose team’s GM is Jim Bowden?
    To the pessimistic Red Sox fans, let me remind you that things always look the darkest right after the light goes out. I’m going to wait a month or so and let my eyes adjust before I try to make sense of 2009. Whether the Sox or Rays were the ‘better’ team is certainly debatable, but I know the margin was close enough that that’s what they invented 7-game series for. Either way, 2008 was a fun year, so congrats to the Red Sox for putting it together.

    FenSheaParkway October 20, 2008, 9:24 pm
  • John:
    Saying “the better team won” isn’t a “pass” for the Sox – they lost, they have to live with that (and so do we). Rather, giving the Rays their due for their season and postseason successes is an acknowledgment of, for me, reality. The Rays won the regular season series. They won the division. They (almost) won the ALCS in very convincing fashion, then came back to win a tight, tense game seven in great, clutch fashion. What is the crime in saying “the best team won”?
    The better team won.

    SF October 20, 2008, 9:46 pm
  • “Replacement level regulars”? Considering the three positions listed are the worst offensive positions in baseball, I would hesitate before making that claim… and looking at the season splits bears me out:
    The only position at which the Red Sox finished the season below average was catcher. 109 OPS+ at center field (when compared to other center fielders), 102 OPS+ at shortstop (when compared to other shortstops).

    Paul SF October 20, 2008, 10:44 pm
  • I think our definition of better is different that’s all. When you say better, I think of going into the season, throughout the season, on paper, who’s the better team. The Sox are clearly the better team in my opinion. The Rays just played better at the times that mattered. Your opinion is yours, my opinion is mine.
    If it makes you feel better I still think the Diamondbacks are the best team in the NL and I’m sticking to it! With that I still think the Sox are the best AL team and I am sticking with that.

    John - YF October 20, 2008, 11:13 pm
  • Of course the better team won, the Rays were better pretty much across the board, but the Sox sure did make it a heck of a series to remember. We should, heck we are, grateful for all the excitement this team has given us since that fateful night in ’03 when Brett “bleeping” Boone hit it over the Monster against Wake.
    This management team will continue to make changes for the better. Did anyone read Theo’s words in the Globe today.
    Lowell had his surgery today, Doctors were very pleased with the outcome.
    Theo made some comments about that to me hinted at the organizational philosophy “What we like to do is be league-average at least in every position, and then be above league-average at as many positions as we can.” Interesting comments. It was in reference to catching.
    The statements he made were about the long term building of the team “We’re not just going out this winter to try to address the 2009 team and that’s it. Instead, a better way to look at is we’re continuing the process of building and evolving the organization, and the 2009 team comes to fore as the most important version of the Red Sox that we’ll have. But we’re also going to continue to look at 2010, 2011, 2012, etc. versions of the team. We’re building an organization.”
    Interesting take.
    Some of it is not that reveling, “we have great starting pitching, will we look for more, sure”. “If we brought back our bullpen would it be good? Your darn right it would be good, but were looking for bullpen help” Those sort of comments.
    http://www.boston.com/sports/baseball/redsox/extras/extra_bases/

    BillsBurgSF October 20, 2008, 11:58 pm
  • It seems to me that the Rays have the best rotation going; that’s why they won the division, and it’s why they’re going to the WS. The great defense and super bullpen doesn’t hurt either. They’re young. As for next year, I’ll wait until the off season shakes out before even thinking about it. But I don’t know how the “Boston is the better team” argument is even tenable now. Yeah, a better team can lose a short series, but it seems to me the Rays outclassed the Sox in every facet, and they’re the division champs to begin with. Injuries aren’t a legit excuse. Every team has ’em.
    I also find it unappealing that Sox fans would boo stalwarts like Tek and Papi. For me, booing is only justified when a player fails for not trying hard, or for doing something foolish. Those two guys are gamers, they’re doing their best, and if they are either too old or too infirm or too out of sync or just unlucky, well, they’re doing their best, and that’s all that can be asked. That said, however, I understand the impulse to boo. If there ever was some kind of covenant between player and fan, it’s now gone. The justification for a $10 million annual salary is that the player is an entertainer generating revenue. Fans bear the burden of that immense cost. If you’re taking the money to be an entertainer and cashing in when things go well, when you’re not entertaining, the public footing the bill has a full right to voice their opinion.

    YF October 21, 2008, 12:17 am
  • “The Sox are clearly the better team in my opinion.”
    There is nothing in the results – regular or post-season – to support this opinion. Nothing. And if the Sox do not upgrade at two of the three blackholes (C, CF, SS) they will fall that much further behind. Trading pitching talent is not an option, not when the Rays have the better pitching already.
    CF – There’s nothing out there. This should be the hole especially since at least Coco and Ellsbury will give outstanding defense at a prime defensive position. If all goes well, Ells learns some plate discipline.
    SS – Furcal is the upgrade. Pay the man. Lowrie got exposed by the end of the year. His bat isn’t strong enough to carry his glove. But he’s a fine utility guy. There’s value in that.
    C – Give Zaun a two year deal. If you don’t like him, bring in I-Rod but it will cost more for a marginal difference.
    But if you think trading top-talent pitching for second grade prospects, you don’t understand how organizations are built today. The Rays, unfortunately for us, do.

    andrew sf October 21, 2008, 10:28 am
  • I admit I’m no good at figuring MiLB/MLB translations, but are we already giving up on Lowrie as a “utility guy”? Or was it just a first year player getting over-matched in the last month? I ask legitimately.

    FenSheaParkway October 21, 2008, 11:35 am
  • Just want to remark that there was a conversation about how “unclassy” Yanks fan were, just remember that there are some fickle fans out there. And it doesn’t represent anything..

    Lar October 21, 2008, 11:40 am
  • Welcome back A.

    John - YF October 21, 2008, 12:24 pm
  • FSP, I was surprised also at those remarks in the papers today re: Lowrie. In August, he’s already the 2008 Opening Day starter at shortstop. In October, he’s a utility guy.
    He’s always shown good contact skills and good plate discipline. Those are skills that translate well to MLB. He’ll be fine, and his style is perfect for the high-doubles offense Fenway Park rewards.

    Paul SF October 21, 2008, 3:06 pm
  • Thanks for assuaging my fears, Paul. I thought I was missing something, since I only got to watch Lowrie here and there this year. ‘Tis the season for over-reactions.

    FenSheaParkway October 21, 2008, 5:13 pm

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