Stormclouds Gather

I’ve never seen this before. The Red Sox yesterday made two moves to strengthen their offense in advance of the five-game series against New York. The key acquisition, a waiver trade with Toronto for former Rookie of the Year Eric Hinske, the idea being that he gives the Sox a lefthanded bat who can spell Pena/Lowell/Youkilis and pinch-hit for Gonzo/Mirabelli. His numbers against righties are pretty good.

Then, they stole Carlos Pena from the Yankees. Pena is a Wily Mo/Hee Sop Choi type. Lots of upside, little to show for it yet. And he’s a lefty. It’s nice the Sox have lefty bats off the bench, apparently to provide the late-inning pinch hits they need to keep rallying.

Young lefty bats are nice. But the problem remains the back end of the rotation and the bullpen. Until the Sox manage some miraculous waiver trade for a starter or reliever, I’m still skeptical that the additional bats will help them win the series this weekend or any series they play in October.

Still, it shows that the Sox’ front office also believes this series is a make-or-break set. It might be coincidence that both these moves were made yesterday/today. But I doubt it.

26 comments… add one
  • Coincidence? LOL
    Not quite as dramatic as that Mirabelli police escort thing, though.

    MoForPresident August 17, 2006, 10:52 am
  • If the Sox take two on Friday from the Yankees, my faith in their playoff hopes will be restored.
    Drop two, and it will feel all but over.
    Split the doubleheader? Continued malaise.

    Hudson August 17, 2006, 10:53 am
  • History tells us that this series will probably end up 3-2 (hopefully 3 for the Sox)
    We have a very good team. Take a deep breath – there is no need to man the lifeboats just yet!

    ScrapperSF August 17, 2006, 11:03 am
  • Hinske has off the chart numbers against the Red Sox and the Yankees over the past few years – I’m happy to have him on the Sox just to get him away from Toronto if nothing else.
    Against NY this year:
    .370BA, 7H, 2HR, 5RBI, and .429OBP.
    My guess is that this is no accident.
    His numbers against Wang are just as good as well. He has some long shots against him.

    Brad August 17, 2006, 11:03 am
  • Maybe they should get a police escort for Tito – out of Fenway.

    ScrapperSF August 17, 2006, 11:04 am
  • Plus, for the last few months, Pena has done us a favor by getting his bat in shape while taking away AB’s from other Yankees in their system who could have been playing. Then he comes to the Sox! I like the move even if I never see him play.

    Brad August 17, 2006, 11:06 am
  • What does it say about Pena that the Yanks let him go?

    Sam August 17, 2006, 11:23 am
  • Sam: I wouldn’t think they let him got because of his play at Columbus, but rather the lack of space for him in New York. Also, did they just release him? knowing Boston had interest I doubt it, I would assume Pena had an out in the contract if he wasnt added to the big league roster by a certain date.

    TJ August 17, 2006, 11:30 am
  • Actually, they did not “let” him go. His contract said he had to be on the roster by now, and the Yankees had no choice but to activate him, or watch him walk. With an already shaky infield in NY, Pena was not the answer to better fielding at first base.
    FWIW, he hit .270 with 19 homers and a pretty good OBP in his short stint in the Yankees system, so his bat had nothing to do with it.

    Brad August 17, 2006, 11:34 am
  • Pena’s line in 105 games w/Columbus:
    .260 19HR 66RBI .371OBP
    Theo’s shoring in some mercenery help for the weekend eh? It’s so on bitches, let the games begin.

    bloodyank78 August 17, 2006, 11:38 am
  • Yeah it is, bloody.

    Brad August 17, 2006, 11:42 am
  • From Grodon Edes on boston.com:
    “…Peña was leading the Columbus Clippers, the Yankees’ Triple A affiliate, in home runs (19) and RBIs (66) while batting .260. But Wednesday, Pena exercised a clause in his contract that allowed him to ask for his release to pursue a major league deal…”
    The Yankees didn’t really have room for him on the roster from what I see, so the request for the release was granted. He seems to have a potential like the other Pena, but from the left side. We’ll take it.

    Scott SF August 17, 2006, 11:46 am
  • Wow, I was so behind on posting that.
    I see this series going a 3-2 decision, but it could really go either way. It’ll probably go down to AT LEAST one late-inning victory/walkoff for either team.

    Scott SF August 17, 2006, 11:49 am
  • Scott, Let’s hope so.

    Anonymous August 17, 2006, 11:51 am
  • I can’t believe Toronto will trade a player like Hinske to a division rival. How does it make any sense? Also, who are Sox giving up for him?

    yankeemonkey August 17, 2006, 11:56 am
  • Sox are giving up a “low-to-midlevel prospect” for him, the word is. This would appear to be a salary dump by the Jays, even though they’re paying some of his contract next year.
    Incidentally, stolen from SOSH because I don’t have the time at work to figure it out myself:
    Hinske vs. the Yanks
    6-11, 2 HR off Wang (1765 OPS)
    6-12 off Wright (1083 OPS)
    7-21 off Ponson (867 OPS)
    3-5, 2 HR off Lidle (2667 OPS)
    1-4, HR off Johnson (1250 OPS)
    In my original post, my timeline was off. Pena apparently asked for the release and signed with the Sox a couple hours before the Hinske trade. Wonder if he saw the Sox, knew they needed his bat, asked for the release, only to see the Sox trade for a player exactly like him.

    Paul SF August 17, 2006, 12:03 pm
  • I agree, this is the kind of move that would signal to the fans, both of them, that the Jays are giving up this year.
    Interesting.
    I like the move though.

    LoclandSF August 17, 2006, 12:03 pm
  • So whos out in Boston… does Hinske spell the end for Kapler? The could designate Cora since Lowell has played some second, though im not sure if he can play SS at all. i’d guess either Kapler or Cora then a pitcher, assuming Pena is put on the big league roster.

    TJ August 17, 2006, 12:05 pm
  • Would love that blockbuster waiver pitching move now….
    Any time now…..
    Waiting….

    LoclandSF August 17, 2006, 12:13 pm
  • I don’t see any chance of the Sox demoting Cora. He is their only backup 2B/SS, and has been superb off the bench this year. Kapler or a relief pitcher, (Breslow or hopefully Tavarez), is the most likely scenario.

    NeffSox August 17, 2006, 12:37 pm
  • Would love for Tavarez to be going the other way in the Hinske deal, but he’s probably too expensive.
    I can’t fathom the Sox would DFA a pitcher with a doubleheader/five-game series upcoming.

    Paul SF August 17, 2006, 12:41 pm
  • we need to move one these guys for some middle relief TODAY. Overall, I love this move, Hinske is a great asset for his durability and lefty power.

    Manny's Mission August 17, 2006, 1:19 pm
  • My guess is, they de-activate Johnson after the start tomorrow to activate him. Then go from there.

    brad August 17, 2006, 1:28 pm
  • The DL is also the Sox’ friend. A 15-day stint ends right about Sept. 1. MDC’s been hurt and hasn’t pitched much. Might be useful for him…

    Paul SF August 17, 2006, 1:53 pm
  • Great. I despise Eric Hinske. Honestly, for some reason I can’t stand him.

    SF August 17, 2006, 2:23 pm
  • I’m with SF here, for some reason I always hated Hinske and he was my point of mocking the one Blue Jay friend I have.
    Damn.
    But… I still like the move.

    LocklandSF August 17, 2006, 5:54 pm

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