Underrated Red Sox?

On three consecutive days during ESPN’s Hot Stove Heaters series, the Red Sox have been snubbed. You’d think it would be impossible to underrate the team with the second-highest payroll in baseball, the biggest offseason splash and the most feared 3-4 combo in the sport. You’d be wrong. Leave it to ESPN, whose commentators similarly underrated the Yankees at the All-Star break last year.

On Wednesday, John Shea ran down the league’s most fearsome lineup. His choice: The Mets. Myself, I would have picked the Yankees, but he chose to put them second. The Red Sox arguably do not have a lineup as good as those two teams — they have large question marks in Jason Varitek and Dustin Pedroia, small question marks in Mike Lowell and Coco Crisp. Nevertheless, they have the potential to be very good, and as we’ve established, based on 2006 OPS, the Ortiz-Ramirez-Drew combo is the best in the AL. Instead, Shea put the Sox in the "Cold Plate Special" category. It’s unclear as to why because he didn’t give much of a reason except to note the Sox’ low batting average last season.Apparently he decided that significant offensive upgrades at two positions and likely natural upgrades (injury bouncebacks, etc.) at two to three more aren’t good enough.

On Thursday, Bob Klapisch tackled baseball’s best infield, a tough topic because a top-notch offensive infield and a stellar defensive infield are often mutually exclusive. He picked the Marlins, a interesting but defensible choice, followed by the Mets and Yankees. No argument there Again, however, the Sox were the "Cold Plate Special," despite Klapisch labeling Lugo a defensive upgrade over Gonzalez (typo?). He says the Sox infield "has degraded." The reason? A lack of All-Stars at any position. Forgive me if I’m underwhelmed, particularly considering the starting AL All-Star last year was David Ortiz.

Today, Phil Rogers ranks the Sox as having the fifth-best outfield. Apparently, J.D. Drew, who has never had a slugging percentage below .498 since 2002, is too inconsistent to merit much consideration, and Coco Crisp, though battling a finger injury all season and still putting up a year roughly equivalent to Gary Matthews Jr.’s 2005, apparently isn’t as good, because it’s Matthews’ inclusion into the Angels’ outfield that somehow makes them the No. 1 in baseball. Another team ahead of both the Sox and the Yanks? The Braves (with a platoon in left).

I’m not saying the Red Sox should have been at the top of these lists, and I’m not saying I blame the writers for trying to find new and creative angles to pick a No. 1. After all, it’s no fun to have a series running down the best of everything if you’re always saying, "The Red Sox had the biggest acquisition, the Red Sox have the best rookie, the Yankees have the best outfield, the Yankees have the best infield, the Red Sox have the best rotation, the Yankees have the best lineup," etc. But just a little respect would be nice. It’s not like the Sox signed Juan Pierre or anything.

Really, though, this makes me very happy. Knowing ESPN’s track record, the Sox are sure to win the division now!

(Thanks to Trisk for the tip to the third item — the other two I was already stewing over).

64 comments… add one
  • Respect, shemsepect. MSNBC ran a national online column today from Ron Borges (he of the football beat) taking the Sox to town for not having a closer, how this might destroy them in October, as if it’s September already.
    Personally, I hardly need Bob Klapisch (a good columnist typically, but also something of a Yankee partisan) telling me who is the best. In February. Rob Neyer, that’s a different story.
    Really, I’d rather duke it out with YF, the Gerb, Nick, Trisk, dc, YFiB, WE, Andrews, et al (and even you, Paul, on occasion!).

    SF February 9, 2007, 3:11 pm
  • …perhaps ESPN is trying to strike a blow against the charges of a sox bias…
    you know, getting it out of the way before the season starts, so that once ortiz puts one into orbit they can begin declaring them champions of the cosmos.

    Yankee Fan In Boston February 9, 2007, 3:25 pm
  • i laughed at the lineup list. really, the cold plate special? i mean, i hate the red sox, but that lineup is damn good. as you’ve already stated, if ESPN picks against your team, feel good. It gave me great joy, when they started predicting, that the yanks wouldn’t even get the wildcard last year. They’ll do it again this year, if the team gets off to a slow start or someone gets injured.

    m.g. yanks fan February 9, 2007, 3:30 pm
  • YF, the Gerb, Nick, Trisk, dc, YFiB, WE, Andrews, et al (and even you, Paul, on occasion!).
    great, now my feelings are hurt. Jerk.

    Brad February 9, 2007, 3:49 pm
  • No one disagrees with you, Brad. Even if we say we don’t, you’re always right.

    Paul SF February 9, 2007, 3:51 pm
  • I don’t believe it! Call the affiliates! ESPN has gone three days without mentioning the Red Sox. If they were talking about baseball who the hell else could they talk about? I mean, there are only two teams, the Red Sox and the Yankees. How did ESPN even do a Sportscenter without Red Sox talk? Ridiculous.

    ESK February 9, 2007, 4:00 pm
  • Welcome, ESK. Here at YFSF, we welcome all feedback and comments on the opinions we post. All we ask is that you actually read the opinions before you eagerly type your snarky and off-base remarks.
    Thanks!

    Paul SF February 9, 2007, 4:08 pm
  • paul, you’ve confused me:)

    Brad February 9, 2007, 4:19 pm
  • What exactly did I miss here? In addition to claiming ESPN is slighting the Red Sox, you slip in that last year ESPN underrated the Yankees. This post is typical of Boston sports fans (I’ve been here in Boston a year). You overlook just how weighted ESPN is to the Yankees and Red Sox, and get all huffy when they aren’t ranked the best in some category. I get that this post is somewhat in jest, but you know as well as I do that ESPN having the audacity to feature a team other than the Red Sox, who have one more World Series than the Brew Crew (since the Brewers inception). I am just amazed by the self importance of the fans of a franchise that is roughly as mediocre as the Brewers, although the Brewers have been bad for a lot less money.

    ESK February 9, 2007, 4:23 pm
  • roughly as mediocre as the Brewers
    …and so the window swallowed this argument.

    Brad February 9, 2007, 4:40 pm
  • is the milwaukee braves blog down today?

    sf rod February 9, 2007, 4:42 pm
  • In terms of Championships, which is how I couched it no?

    ESK February 9, 2007, 4:46 pm
  • If sports were about anything other than World Series rings, Buckner would be a hero in Boston.

    ESK February 9, 2007, 4:48 pm
  • ESK, if I could redirect the conversation for a second to pick your brain about the Brew Crew. What say about Prince Fielder? I have him on my fantasy team and am debating whether I should designate him as a keeper. Is he the real deal. Also, I think the Brewers are one of the better run franchises these days. There’s a lot of young and exciting talent there and I think Melvin’s been making a lot of good deals of late. Welcome, ESK, to the site!

    Nick-YF February 9, 2007, 4:49 pm
  • Like I said earlier when I first saw this “Gem” of an article, the fact that the Yankees and Sox are afterthoughts is ridiculous.
    This line KILLS me:
    “Guerrero, Anderson and Matthews combined to hit .308 with 69 homers and 280 RBI last season, more than any other trio who will play together in 2007.”
    Hmmmm could that have to do with the fact that Matsui was injured and Abreu came over late in the season? Could the Sox rank have to do with that fact that both Crisp and Manny were injured and missed time?
    Atlanta #3? Andruw Jones, Yes. Langerhans and Francouer, Blaaaa. Together those last 2 will combine for no more then 30 HRS, take that to the bank. That means AJ better have a heck of a year!
    Chicago Cubs #6? Sori, Yes. Floyd and Jones, again Blaaaa. Together those last two will combine for less then 35 HRS and a whole lot of DL time.
    Sox (Manny, Coco, Drew) = 77+ HRS
    Yankees (Matsui, Damon, Abreu) = 68+ HRS
    Not that HR’s make the OF, but he is using the slugging aspect as the criteria by which he judges. This writer should ask pitchers if they would rather face the Sox/Yanks or the Angels, Tigers or Cubs lineup.
    FYI rip Klap as much as you’d like. He writes for my local paper and is awful. He is a slightly less opinionated version of Mike Lupica!

    Triskaidekaphobia February 9, 2007, 4:57 pm
  • If sports were about anything other than World Series rings.
    I agree, but it’s just too bad they aren’t. People love to win, not compete for the sake of competing.
    Also, most legitimate sports, and Red Sox, fans love Buckner. I’m not talking about EEI or the cab driver who listenes to the old drunks leaving the game, but the true Red Sox faithful feel very bad for Buckner and all he’s endured.

    Brad February 9, 2007, 4:57 pm
  • My apoligies. I really enjoy this site for the most part, but the attitude of Red Sox fans boggles my mind.
    As far as Fielder, he is probably two years away from hitting his prime, but that said, he is a fantastic hitter. He is a better all around hitter than his .275ish average last year (he sort of hit a wall there in the middle of his first full season) and has more power than his 28 HR’s. I would say he’ll be closer to .290 and 35 over his career. With the extra contact and more consistent power (and an emerging lineup around him) his OBP will also end up in the .400+.
    The biggest knock is his defense. While he is admittedly near the bottom in terms of range factor, nobody other than statheads really care about that. The fact is, he plays well enough, doesn’t make terrible plays, and moves around better that you would imagine. He improved exponentially from when I saw him in the spring of 05, and that defensive growth is likely to continue as long as he keeps his weight down.
    He’s a no brainer keeper in my mind, and if you’re into fantasy, a good deep sleeper pick is Braun. It looks like he might break camp with the team because of Koskies Matheny-like injury.
    i deserve an award for longest comment ever.

    ESK February 9, 2007, 4:59 pm
  • nick-yf: i’ve been wrestling with the same question. i lucked out last season… i have ryan howard, so i don’t need another 1B, but i’m going to feel a sting when i let prince go. he’s for real. i don’t have my bill james handbook with me here at work (nothing would get done), but i remember that looking at his numbers didn’t make my decision any easier.

    Yankee Fan In Boston February 9, 2007, 5:01 pm
  • and nick, I think the kid is the real deal.

    Brad February 9, 2007, 5:01 pm
  • Yeah, I get the sense that he’s going to be one of the best in short time. The question is whether it’s this year or the years after. It’s an auction draft and I got him for really cheap (we keep at the price you draft the player) and I’m wondering if he can still be taken at a reasonable price if I let him go back to the draft. I also have JD Drew at the league minimum. I imagine, Brad, you think I should keep him;)

    Nick-YF February 9, 2007, 5:04 pm
  • ESK nobody is saying the Yankees or Sox are slighted in attention, it’s just NOT FACTUAL or realistic. You honestly believe the Sox have the #5 OF in the game? And that they Yankees are #4 BEHIND the Mets and Braves? Come on man. Have you seen Shawn Green play? Francouer has more holes in his swing then block of swiss cheese.

    Triskaidekaphobia February 9, 2007, 5:07 pm
  • I didn’t see the piece and you didn’t really set it up with enough information. Are they including defense into the equation, is it purely defense, purely offense? If so, Manny hurts, as does Crisps arm. Drew’s 3 assists for 5 errors, also not helpful.
    And obviously, the Brewers have the best outfield in America…

    ESK February 9, 2007, 5:11 pm
  • Fielder
    30 HRS – 274 BA – 346 OB% – 491 Slg – 92 RBI for 2007
    Keeper, Yes, Yes, 100% Yes. Regardless of the type of league.
    He rarely swings at bad pitches and can read the spin on breaking balls. Fielder can overswing at times and be way out front of good changeups and splitters. The concerns with him revolve around his weight and his below-average defensive skills. At 6’0″ 260 pounds, the worry is that he won’t watch his physique and would become functional only as a DH which would leave his NL worth in question. Fielder has been able to keep some agility despite his size, but he’ll never be more than an average 1B. Regardless of the lack of defensive prowess, his bat is extremely potent and he figures to be a force in the middle of the Brewers lineup for several years to come.

    Triskaidekaphobia February 9, 2007, 5:13 pm
  • ESK, you may not be sure what you missed but it’s blatantly apparent you missed the WHOLE POINT — which was not that ESPN didn’t mention the Sox. It was that ESPN.com’s columnist actively dissed the Sox three straight days on grounds that are just mind-numbingly awful and promoted other teams that are not as good in a series that purported to rank the best of various categories.
    To combat allegations like yours was exactly the reason I added a whole paragraph taking pains to explain that I was not trying to say the Sox are entitled to be No. 1 on every list or even on every list. But if you’re going to talk about the Sox, and if you’re going to claim to be the “worldwide authority,” you should at least have better reasons than the ones these guys gave for trashing a team.

    Paul SF February 9, 2007, 5:13 pm
  • imagine, Brad, you think I should keep him;)
    well, duh. He’s going to be a monster, and you know it!

    Brad February 9, 2007, 5:13 pm
  • Simply offensive prowess.

    Triskaidekaphobia February 9, 2007, 5:14 pm
  • Monster…Brad you always get me laughing.

    Triskaidekaphobia February 9, 2007, 5:15 pm
  • thanks, Trisk.

    Brad February 9, 2007, 5:19 pm
  • http://youtube.com/watch?v=6pWEI1m0VRM
    TNA: Johnny Damon Gets Involved In Basebrawl . Go Johnny…
    http://www.wwe.com/inside/news/johnnydamon
    Damon shows off WWE loyalty. He’s wresting Fan growing up and watching HulkHogan, Junkyard Dog and Jimmy ‘Superfly’ Snuka.

    Malik February 9, 2007, 5:23 pm
  • since we’re just counting world series wins……the brewers have none. most baseball historians consider the ’57 braves a separate franchise than the brewers. so that would put the sox up by six WS championships. unless you would allow us to count the boston braves WS win of 1914, which would give the sox one more. i know you placed a modifier of “(since the Brewers inception)” which is all well and good, but you failed to recognize it in your own count of WS wins. the brewers aren’t recognized as a franchise until ’69.
    so my question to you is….how many WS have the brewers won since the inception of the WNBA’s indiana fever franchise? ………well the sox have won more.
    and welcome to the site.

    sf rod February 9, 2007, 5:23 pm
  • The Brewers have zero, the Red Sox have 1, given the time frame I laid out, which is why I said “roughly” as mediocre and not equally as mediocre. I don’t quite follow the comments other meanderings about Boston Braves and whatnot. From 1969 to today, the Red Sox are 1 better.
    No wonder Sox fans have such an air of entitlement with such a long and distinguished record of superiority.
    Keep Prince unless you have Howard or Morneau. He’ll be really good this year, better next year, and the premiere young first basemen in two years (Howard will be 28).

    ESK February 9, 2007, 5:35 pm
  • Oh and the time frame of “since the Brewers have been in existence” makes just a touch more sense than a WNBA franchise which you claim exists (what is this WNBA??) since you know, I was talking about the Brewers and they can’t be expected to win World Series while they are not in existence.

    ESK February 9, 2007, 5:39 pm
  • By another, equally logical, measure of superiority, the Red Sox have been infinitely better than the Brewers because 1 is an infinite percentage greater than zero.

    Paul SF February 9, 2007, 5:43 pm
  • Even without the SF, you my friend are clearly a Red Sox fan.
    Let me guess, Varitek is the GREATEST CATCHER OF ALL TIME!!!!

    ESK February 9, 2007, 5:45 pm
  • Hmmm. Nope. Carlton Fisk ;-)

    Paul SF February 9, 2007, 5:47 pm
  • You clearly are unable to distinguish between the schmoes you see on the street and the people who frequent this site. Engaging in stereotype-baiting is distasteful.

    Paul SF February 9, 2007, 5:48 pm
  • Obviously the best catcher of all time is Bob Uecker.
    Despite my enjoying this site frequently, the posts on this site are often pretty close to the “schmoes” on the street. Simply wrapping your Sox fan attitude in intelligent (which this site is, don’t get me wrong) conversation can’t mask the “Sox fan” in you. This site takes the edge off of Sox fans, which I thank you for.
    Honestly though, I sent my buddy something from this site (works at Fenway completely insane)regarding win totals and he said that the only reason your projection was under 108 wins is because you guys are Yankees fans…”just look at the title of the site!”
    That to me sums up Sox fans. You folks do well to temper that however.

    ESK February 9, 2007, 5:58 pm
  • Heh. Interesting story, ESK. I guess if we act like the schmoes on the street in that we’re passionate, love our team, and focus on the Sox obsessively, well sure. Same for the YFs with the Yankees. I mean, heck, we’re taking time to argue with strangers about our teams through vast and intricate data and phone networks. I don’t see a problem with that.
    The problem is when that obsession, that love, that passion for our respective teams makes us blind to the realities of the situation. I think everyone is guilty of this from time to time — we’re only human — but the difference here versus the schmoes or some other blogs is that we recognize that tendency and try to keep it in check, principally by debating with people who hate our respective teams. For example, I have insatiable man-love for David Ortiz and Manny Ramirez and think they’re one of the best 3-4 combos ever, but I’m not about to say they’re the best ever with Ruth and Gehrig out there. Some Sox fans probably would.
    In the case we’re debating here, I don’t think this was in any way a “typical Sox fan” reaction. In no way did I say the Sox deserved to be at the top of the lists or even on the lists at all (although they do deserve at least a mention for lineup and better than fifth for outfield). It was not that ESPN is somehow anti-Sox or anti-Yanks or that they undercover the Sox or Yanks. It was merely that somehow one of the best teams in the AL going into Opening Day is being underrated by columnists with quite a bit of prestige behind them, and that’s pretty irksome as someone who thinks the Sox are among baseball’s best teams, on paper. I imagine it’s doubly true for fans of smaller-market teams that do not get all the ridiculous hype the Sox and Yanks get every year. The Brewers are one of those, so I can definitely sympathize with your frustration. But don’t direct your frustration at ESPN toward us when we criticize them for the way they cover our teams, too. If anything, we’re on the same page.

    Paul SF February 9, 2007, 6:11 pm
  • ESPN probably doesn’t want to overrate the Red Sox, like most people did last season. They let everyone who were predicting big things from them (and horrible things for the Yanks) down, this is their ‘revenge’.
    Meh, I’d rather be underrated so when my team beats all expectations you can make everyone feel retarded. Unfortunately, now that everyone is finally realizing the Yankees’ rotation isn’t as pungent as they’d like, they’re not underrating them anymore and they’ll only win 85 games.

    Andrew February 9, 2007, 6:28 pm
  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J76bIkrm41s&eurl
    The mets today sign Chan Ho Park. Three Mets starting pitcher who was involved in a baseball brawl in past is Pedro, Aaron Sele, and now Chan Ho Park.Nice elbow/flying knee combo Chan-Ho. Rofl.

    Malik February 9, 2007, 6:42 pm
  • I really enjoy this site for the most part, but the attitude of Red Sox fans boggles my mind.
    I am late to the party, but I fail to understand how Paul’s heavily qualified post is being used to stereotype Sox fans. Paul went to great lengths to explain what he was NOT doing, which is then what ESK accuses him of perpetrating.
    As for the “rate the franchise” exercise, I find it pretty much a waste of time. The Yankees have the most storied, successful team in baseball history. The Red Sox have a rich history, full of great players and magical moments, intertwined with incidents of tragedy and also, thankfully, exultation. The Brewers have Bud Selig devoted fans and a history all their own. If the debate devolves into a name-calling exercise over the relative value of each of our teams, in particular at the expense of the greater game, then we are sunk.

    SF February 9, 2007, 7:42 pm
  • And Brad, I wasn’t dissing you – sorry about that. I was mostly just referring to YFs, with Paul (a SF who I have had disagreements) thrown in there for “balance”. I suppose I don’t always agree with you either, and I haven’t forgotten you!

    SF February 9, 2007, 7:44 pm
  • ESK,
    You are a complete jacka**. You are trying to start fights. The majority of us here come to talk baseball and just bat around some ideas and thoughts. Most of us love the game and regardless of who we root for, we still manage to keep the conversations intelligent and RESPECTFUL. We are all PASSIONATE about our team, Yankee fans and Sox fans alike. My advice to you is to either find a brewers blog (Is there a such thing??) or learn to act like a gentleman.

    Triskaidekaphobia February 9, 2007, 8:41 pm
  • Tch, this is crap…I keep missing the good stuff. Either I don’t wake up early enough (Ahh, the life of a college student) or I’m getting a burger when a random Brewers fan comes to sh*t on my fanbase, because he apparently hasn’t gotten used to to being around fans who treat the Sox like some bizarre combination of a family member and a highly addictive drug. Lame.
    Anyway, I’ve been looking through that Hot Stove thing…Now, I’m not entirely sure what the “team” category is supposed to be…the Dodgers are first, with the Phils, Cubs, Rangers, Indians, and Marlins behind them. Maybe it means upside or something like that, or the chances that the teams make a big playoff push? I don’t know. Anyway the lovable Bronx Bombers are the ‘Cold Plate,’ apparently because they haven’t succeeded in the post-season in 6 years. The explanation mentions getting rid of Randy and Sheff, and replacing them with Pettitte and (maybe) Roger, then informs us that the Yankees are old and that failure is unacceptable. How this relates to the others on the list, I haven’t the foggiest.
    I’ve never read John Shea before…given the ambiguity of the category, maybe he was as unsure of what it meant as I am? No, wait, this is the same guy who thinks Manny is going to shut it down this season, Lowell is too bitter about the trade attempt to perform, Drew is inconsequential because he might get hurt, Theo failed miserably when he didn’t sign Todd Helton because he was clearly the guy driving those talks on, Sammy Sosa could have a monster year with the Rangers, and the Cubbies–thanks entirely to the additions of Alfonso Soriano and Cliff Floyd–will score more runs then the Yankees. Or at least, I’m assuming that’s the criterion used to judge lineup effectiveness…nothing else makes much sense.
    Don’t have much of a point, and I know most of this was already covered; I saw these pages earlier today and was waiting for a place to rant. And for the record…having my team get underrated doesn’t bother me, if the writer’s reasoning is sound or he presents an argument in favor of another team’s relative superiority without just using words like ‘gritty’ or ‘scrappy.’ But bad writing and what can only be described as stupidity and/or flawed logic gets under my skin, especially when the author’s e-mail address is unavailable…

    desturbd1 February 9, 2007, 9:33 pm
  • Triskaidekaphobia,
    You mean except for SF and Brad.
    :-)

    yankee38 February 9, 2007, 9:52 pm
  • …gentlemen, don’t get too worked up about the “experts” rankings…it’s what we think that counts…we got the 2 best teams again, period….

    dc February 10, 2007, 2:02 am
  • Underrate the Red Sox? Not a chance.
    Battling the Sox every year is the absolute zenith of the baseball season. Yfans and Sfans know this. Other fans looking in may not comprehend what goes on every year between New York and Boston.
    As for this year, the Sox have a ton of talent on their roster, and depending on how things go, could be the best team in MLB.

    Whatever February 10, 2007, 9:37 am
  • YFs with the en masse reverse jinx!

    SF February 10, 2007, 9:59 am
  • or I’m getting a burger when a random Brewers fan comes to sh*t on my fanbase, because he apparently hasn’t gotten used to to being around fans who treat the Sox like some bizarre combination of a family member and a highly addictive drug. Lame.
    HAAHHAHAHAHAHAHAH.

    Brad February 10, 2007, 11:15 am
  • I’d post this in the top thread, but it doesn’t seem appropritate: Steve at waswatching has a newsworthy post about Bernie’s decline of the Yanks offer to show up and compete for a spot. We should get something going here, even though it’s been beaten to death. It’s strange to me that Bernie said “no thanks” to them. Furthers my belief that he’ll be in another outfield this year, trying very hard to make the Yankees regret their decision.

    Brad February 10, 2007, 12:33 pm
  • ” It’s strange to me that Bernie said “no thanks” to them. Furthers my belief that he’ll be in another outfield this year, trying very hard to make the Yankees regret their decision.”
    I don’t think it’s so strange, Brad – after the great career he’s had, he simply won’t sacrifice his dignity by accepting a minor league deal. From the articles I’ve read, I don’t sense bitterness, just resignation.
    My guess is that he sits and waits for a call to come when a need arises somewhere. Best of luck to him, wherever he ends up…

    Andrews February 10, 2007, 12:56 pm
  • You cant take too seriously the opinions of sports writers.
    Someone could say the Red Sox have the greatest rotation because they added the greatest Japanese pitcher out there, a strong closer to the rotation, and still have schilling and beckett to put on the top of the order.
    Adversely, someone could say that the Red Sox don’t have the greatest rotation – they have an unproven japanese pitcher, the 4 and 5 ERA’s of Schilling and Beckett (who are unquestionably out of their prime), a proven closer/unproven starter who went out for arm injuries after throwing not-too-many innings, and wakefield limiting the clubs options for backup catcher and also was injury-prone.
    Sports writers are infamous for being selective in which aspects of the game they highlight, downplaying everything else.

    Russell February 10, 2007, 1:26 pm
  • Offensively sports writers can say Manny has a bad knee and hates the Boston media. Ortiz is a cause for concern with his weight. Drew is injury-prone (cmon, hypersupersonicexcaliber-like chambers?), Lugo hit .278 with an “ok” obp, Varitek isn’t an offensive beast, pedroia hasn’t shown anything worth noting yet, and comparing coco to gary matthews’ 2005 is unimpressive considering he hit .255 with a .320 obp that year. Not to mention that if Manny or Ortiz go down in the lineup then the Red Sox are going nowhere. A lot of offenses out there depend on more than 2 players (mind you 1 is overweight and cant play defense, the other hates where he is, complains of knee pains, and acts like a doofus).
    Then you can say they scored a lot of runs.
    It can go either way.

    Russell February 10, 2007, 1:38 pm
  • Josh Beckett is “unquestionably out of (his) prime”? That’s the funniest thing I’ve read all day.

    Paul SF February 10, 2007, 4:39 pm
  • Well, he’s certainly not IN his prime.

    Andrew February 10, 2007, 4:42 pm
  • is overweight and cant play defense
    Paul, consider the source you are responding to. The above line was the best that could be conjured up to take the piss out of Ortiz.

    SF February 10, 2007, 4:44 pm
  • Russell could be a special contributor for ESPN.com

    desturbd1 February 10, 2007, 7:28 pm
  • Well, he’s certainly not IN his prime.
    You’re correct. I don’t believe that he’s come into it yet.

    Brad February 10, 2007, 10:36 pm
  • If 26 is not in his prime, what is a pitcher’s prime?
    Russell, I understand you’re trying to say you could make arguments to knock down the Red Sox (probably to make yourself feel better), but don’t forget we could easily apply all those arguments to the Yankees and every other team in the league. If you want to get into a pissing contest over question marks, I’m more than up to your challenge — Those in glass houses constructed by Carl Pavano and Doug Mientkewicz should not throw stones.

    Paul SF February 11, 2007, 2:11 am
  • I’m guessing Russell is basing his opinion that Beckett is past his prime on the subpar year that Beckett had last year.
    That’s not to say that Beckett couldn’t bounce back and harness all that stuff and once again be a very good pitcher. And yeah, he is only 26.
    Thing is though, when Beckett was at his best, and throwing more breaking pitches, those blisters would pop up.
    How Beckett does will be one of many fascinating aspects about the Sox to watch this year.
    As for Mientkewicz and Pavano, I don’t see either guy as critical to the Yankee’s chances this year. The Yanks are counting on decent defense from Minky and hoping he can hit a little. Emphasize little.
    And Pavano, well, The Yanks are counting on NOTHING from this guy. In fact, if he can get through spring training without another injury popping up, he could very well be traded. Or they could hang on to him if he’s showing he may be able to contribute.
    Bottom line here, IMO, I think the Sox have more ?s than the Yankees do, but also have a bigger upside if things work out well for them.

    Whatever February 11, 2007, 12:04 pm
  • I agree that the Sox have ?’s, WE, but Russell was clearly reaching on many of them. Using those standards, every lineup and rotation in the league is a likely candidate for implosion.

    Paul SF February 11, 2007, 1:10 pm
  • Paul,
    I’m not agreeing or disagreeing with everything Russell said, just speculating on his quote about Beckett.
    Looking at any team, any player, any situation, one can make a good case-bad case scenario on how the season will play out.
    Russell obviously doesn’t like the Sox and is not willing to acknowledge the possibility of things working out in a positive manner for Boston.

    Whatever February 11, 2007, 1:43 pm
  • “Bottom line here, IMO, I think the Sox have more ?s than the Yankees do, but also have a bigger upside if things work out well for them.”
    I think that’s a pretty fair statement. I worry about the upside and I hope for some of those questions to be answered negatively.
    Not that the Yanks don’t have question marks. They’ve got plenty… just less, I think.
    There are plenty ?’s to keep the season all sorts of interesting.

    Rob (Middletown, CT) February 12, 2007, 9:01 am
  • The Sox’ question marks seem to be the same question marks that exist around Phil Hughes: will a young tyro reach his potential? The Sox have this with Dice-K, Papelbon in the rotation, Lester’s return, Pedroia, the return of Crisp and the continued development of Youk. These are exciting questions to watch answered. They also have age questions: can Schill, Tek, and Wake stay together and contribute full seasons? The Yankees questions revolve almost exclusively around age and injury: can Moose anchor a rotation and avoid the DL? Can Pavano return? Will Damon, Matsui, and Abreu, and especially Rivera age healthily? There are more known quantities on the Yankees, which makes the situation more stable, at least on paper.
    But ALL teams around baseball have issues: the Sox and Yanks fortunately are dealing from strength: if the questions are answered badly they’ll still be better off than most clubs.

    SF February 12, 2007, 10:07 am

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Next post:

Previous post: