Must reads of the day:
-AL East roundtable at Baseball Analysts.
-Jim Caple on Chinese baseball
From the Analysts article:
“Derek Jeter sends text messages to the Rocket all the time”
What’s next, sleepovers?!
I lost a lot of respect for Abraham with the following line:
“I think what we saw of them late season is what they are.”
That’s just willfully ignoring three offseason additions and at least two key injuries. Homerism at its finest.
“I think what we saw of them late season is what they are.”
To me, it seemed like he was talking about Varitek and Crisp, not the offense as a whole
Andrews is right: he’s talking about Coco and Varitek. I don’t think it’s “homerism” to have the opinion that they aren’t better than the last few weeks of the season, but I do think it is shortsighted and devoid of context: Crisp suffering from a season-long injury and Varitek returning from a significant one. Abraham may be a Yankees beat writer, but he’s one of the best out there, and this strikes me as nothing but a differing opinion, and a negative one, but not much more. He also says the Sox are “loaded”, so you have to consider the overall context of his comments, which is that the Sox are good. He has questions about Matsuzaka, but don’t we all? The most useless comment he makes is that Manny could “quit on the Sox at any time”. This is media party-line BS, as far as I am concerned, and I am surprised that Abraham would repeat this tired meme. It’s completely unoriginal and uncritical.
The odd thing is that Abraham says the Sox are “loaded” but also a “house of cards”. I am not sure he has his story straight, upon closer examination.
SF, I think he means “loaded” as on paper, but a house of cards in that a lot of significant questions abound: Drew from the injury standpoint and his ability to deal with playing in Boston; Lugo, while highly thought of, didn’t impress with LA, Pedroia, will Lowell regress, Crisp, etc.
If everything works out, then your offense will be formidable, no doubt, but seasons are littered with newly aquired players who don’t live up to expectations.
I think JD Drew just sprained his neck shaving this morning.
Thing is, for every question you can think of about the Sox, there’s one for the Yankees as well.
-Can Jeter and Cano continue to hit for average like they did last year?
-How good is Igawa?
-Can Pavano really stay healthy?
-Can Pettite adjust back to AL East offenses?
-Can Jorge stay healthy?
-What about the relief in front of Mariano?
Every team’s got a list of things they hope go right, especially in our division. Frank Thomas/John Thompson/Tomo Ohka/Josh Towers in Toronto, as well as Aubrey Huff, Daniel Cabrera, Adam Loewen, and all the expensive bullpen guys picked up by Baltimore, just off the top of my head.
Regardless of the team you root for, is anyone else scared by the talent level in the AL East? I don’t know if the Blue Jays have enough back of the rotation pitching, but the offense with Wells, Rios, Glaus, Overbay and Thomas, that’s pretty darn good. Not to mention a CY Young pitcher in Halladay and decent options in Burnett and Chacin. Then there are the Orioles who quite frankly could have the best young staff in the game. Bedard (27), Cabrera, Loewen and possibly Hayden Penn, that’s a bright bright future. The offense is good as well Mora, Tejada, Markakis, Gibbons, Huff. Even the D-Rays, who if they had more pitching could battle the Orioles for 4th place. Crawford, Baldelli, Young, Cantu and a ton of minor league talent. It’s unfortunate their pitching is just awful. This season is going to come down to how well the Yankees and Sox play the rest of the division. As history tells us the Yankees and Sox generally are close to even by seasons end head to head. Those games against the Orioles and Devil Rays just got a whole lot more important!
Agreed. The D-Rays might have the best outfield in all the majors, and that’s not counting B.J. Upton.
If Jonny Gomes bounces back from his injury, that will be a damn good lineup.
I get that, Andrews, but that type of argument can be made about every contending team in both leagues, so I don’t find it all that enlightening. The Yankees have a ton of “ifs”, so do the Blue Jays, the A’s, the Twins, the White Sox, the Mets, the Cardinals, the Dodgers, etc. What Abraham is saying is that he thinks everything will pretty much go wrong for the Red Sox. What I find strange is that he thinks everything will go right for the Yankees. As for me, I typically think that some things will go wrong, some things will go right. Predicting the extreme is showy.
The sox have two new middle infielders who never played with each other. One is a rookie. There hitting is not a house of cards. The yanks biggest non pitching question is did Phillips learn how to hit. If so, how far. All teams have injury concerns. You have to go to battle with what you have. Sully also called Pete out, rightfully so.
SF, Your last statement is why I called “homerism” on Abraham’s comments. He questions whether Matsuzaka is “merely a very good pitcher,” which was roundly questioned by the other analysts. Perhaps that’s just poor word choice, but itsn’t it a very ood thing for the Sox if he’s a very good pitcher? Then he repeats the same tired questions about Manny and Drew that are far less relevant than their respective injury issues and acts as if Crisp wasn’t injured last season. He also ignores the Lugo acquisition entirely. As a Yankee beat writer, you’d expect him to have a better grasp of his team’s chief rival. Either he doesn’t have it, which is disturbing, or he does and decided to ignore those things, which is even more disturbing.
He also picked the Sox to finish third again, which makes absolutely no sense unless you predict every single question mark, no matter how slight goes the wrong way for Boston and the right way for Toronto and New York. This doesn’t seem realistic, which is why it strikes me as homerism.
Wow. “Isn’t it a very good thing” is what that should have said.
I don’t think Pete said it well but it’s also not such an extreme view. Consider this observation made by Sox fan and BP writer Keith Woolner:
“The Red Sox fortunes boil down to one word: health. The lack of it doomed their 2006 pennant aspirations, and landed the team in third place in the AL East for the first time since 1997, breaking a string of eight straight second-place divisional finishes. The team is surprisingly old: two-thirds of their starting lineup is 31 or older, including a pair of 35-year-olds in Manny Ramirez and Jason Varitek. The starting rotation sports Curt Schilling and Tim Wakefield, both 40. The bullpen features Mike Timlin (41), Brendan Donnelly (35), and Julian Tavarez (34).”
More so than almost any other team, the Sox have big injury risk questions both at the bat and at pitching. It’s a team that looks loaded on paper. I have to say I thought the Sox looked great on paper going into the season, and almost every Sox blogger thought so as well. If there is a criticism of the way the Sox’s roster is constructed it’s that it seems to be more vulnerable to injury than any other team besides the Giants. And I’m not trying to play down the fact the Yanks also face great injury risk. I just don’t think the Bombers are as vulnerable to injury as the Sox are. Comparing the positional players, the Yanks have more durable players. I don’t think that’s a controversial statement. I think the pitching staffs are very similar though in regard to injury risk, with the Yanks having better depth in the bullpen and both teams well covered in the starting rotation. I think Pete’s words are colored by his homerism because he didn’t acknowledge inuury-risk for the Yanks as well, but I don’t think he was being so extreme.
I’m actually excited for the non-rivalry games. The last few years its seemed like the Sox have owned the O’s, while struggling against the Rays. If those trends change or for one reason or another one of those lower-tier teams gets a bee in their bonnett and decides to put up a fight against the Big Dogs then a 5 game swing could be the deciding factor in the division, and perhaps the playoff appearance.
Oh, something that I think got lost in the analysis was the potential drop in defense for the Sox. They were one of the best last year and booting DP’s will have a trickle-down effect, not to mention riling up the fandom. Lugo is no A-Gon and a rookie 2B could spell trouble.
“What Abraham is saying is that he thinks everything will pretty much go wrong for the Red Sox. What I find strange is that he thinks everything will go right for the Yankees.”
C’mon, SF he’s not being that partisan – he view on Igawa proves that, as does his comment that the sox are loaded. While all teams have injury issues, and question marks, the fact remains that the sox did an awful lot of tinkering this offseason, with, IMO, good reason in most instances. How all this will come together remains to be seen. How important are Drew, Lugo and Pedroia (a rookie; an oft injured player with questionable drive and team orientation; and a player as yet unproven on the big stage) to your lineup? How important is it for Varitek and Crisp to have bounce-back years? The Yanks seem to have a bit more stability, esp in the lineup. I agree that this comment is not all that enlightening – I’ve held the same view for a while- and you’re also right IMO, to say: “I typically think that some things will go wrong, some things will go right.” I just don’t buy that Pete’s predicting the extreme, though, no more than Sullivan is with his pro sox stance.
“Sully also called Pete out, rightfully so.”
He called Pete out in the same way that Paul did – he misunderstood the “I think what we saw of them late season is what they are.” comment. It was odd that Abraham didn’t clarify.
That was me, sorry
And check out this comment posted by Sully in the same thread:
“On the homer front, I think I come off a whole lot worse than Pete. Pete’s the one honest journalist of the bunch. It’s not like it’s a huge stretch to assert that the Yanks are good.”
Posted by: Sully at March 2, 2007 10:54 AM
This just in…
Runelvys Hernandez is not good.
1IP, 6H, 6R, all earned.
Hey, I think Pete’s one of the best, the Rob Bradford of the Yanks’ beat.
Perhaps it’s just the forum that these comments came in, and they sound worse written down than they did in person, but they seem a tad armageddonesque for the Sox. Last year everything DID go wrong for the Sox, and they finished third. Seems like they added some depth in the offseason to shore up the team in case of worst-case situation, right? They added starting depth, they added a shortstop who can hit (hopefully offsetting defensive mediocrity), they added a right fielder who is potentially much better than who he replaced, and (shockingly!) more likely to be healthy. To pick them third, again, means one of a few things:
–everything falls apart again
–everything goes well for the Blue Jays, and their oft-injured and young staff excels while healthy
–the Yankees either stay healthy or their offense comes through, offsetting what might be an inconsistent or injured staff.
The first scenario is plausible (denying that would be, uh, denial, particularly after last year) but less than very likely — the Sox are deeper this year. The second scenario is plausible, but seemingly less probable, considering the track record (or lack thereof) of the pitching staff. The third scenario is totally plausible, and also probable. So for Abraham, the situation he is predicting is: Sox fall apart, Blue Jays excel in an almost ideal health and player development situation, and the Yankees excel the most. Considering the roster moves that the Sox executed, Abraham is predicting a worst-case scenario for the Red Sox, for the second year in a row. That strikes me as slightly dubious and improbable.
I guess it’s up to a matter of interpretation, but I don’t know why the “they” in that statement necessarily means Crisp and Varitek. That makes no sense when you look at Crisp’s injury. If the “they” means the Sox’ whole offense, that makes more sense considering the time he spent propogating the stupidity surrounding Manny and Drew. It doesn’t make him sound any smarter, sadly.
And in other news…
I like this Donnelly guy.
Paul: I think you are over-parsing here. He follows a statement about Tek and Coco with that line. The sentence before that is about JD Drew, who wasn’t in Boston last year and so wasn’t in Abraham’s cone of vision. The simple logical extension, to me at least, is that he was talking about Tek and Coco.
The idea that Crisp was “suffering from a season-long injury” is a new one to me. Seems more than a tad overstated, or am I missing something?
“Their offense is a house of cards and I don’t mean St. Louis. Manny quit on them last season and could do so at any time this season. J.D. Drew’s placid personality will be a bad fit in Boston. Coco Crisp and Jason Varitek need bounce-back seasons. I think what we saw of them late season is what they are”
” he spent propogating the stupidity surrounding Manny and Drew. It doesn’t make him sound any smarter, sadly.”
Sorry Paul, but IMO, you’re way over the top on this one, considering the record. Though I don’t agree with all of this ( the part about Manny) it’s far from stupidity. And given the quote which I copied above, it seems clear that he’s talking about Crisp and Varitek – Drew wasn’t there late last year, and Manny wasn’t playing.
I think SF is onto something. This was a sit-down chat. They were shooting the sh*t. It’s not a forum for real detailed analysis. Basically, they were asked their opinions on big questions like how’s the AL East going to pan out next year. Pete said some things that Sox fans are going to disagree with. To my eyes, Sully said things I felt needed greater substantiation. If there had been more time, perhaps, both would have explained their positions better. But to lose “a lot of respect” for either one based on this exchange seems too harsh.
“Oh, something that I think got lost in the analysis was the potential drop in defense for the Sox. They were one of the best last year and booting DP’s will have a trickle-down effect, not to mention riling up the fandom. Lugo is no A-Gon and a rookie 2B could spell trouble.”
Blah. I’m a SF and I think A-Gon was overrated. Don’t get me wrong, he made some fantastic looking plays and he’s got arguably the best hands in the game, but his range according to most models was quite limited. Not Jeter-esque, but close…heh. Loretta’s range was even worse. Lugo will make more stupid mistakes then his predecessor–like his throwing away a sure out at first yesterday–but I tend to doubt the defense will be quantifiably worse in anything but FPCT. Hell, Drew’s an upgrade over whatever Boston stuck in RF for most of last year, Lowell’s GG-caliber and Youk isn’t far off himself. Pedroia’s a converted SS, and (I think) his arm is above-average for a 2B, with average range. He’ll be at least as strong as Loretta was last year. I’m still perfectly satisfied with the defense as-is.
As far as this Abraham controversy…the Manny throwaway was asinine, and the Drew-personality quip doesn’t make any sense. But it’s not really that big a deal…Olney said a while back that a lot of baseball guys expect Drew to flounder, and Abraham spends his time with baseball guys. Sure, the rationale seems to be that Drew doesn’t care enough, and will therefore collapse under the pressure…which makes no sense to us, but apparently bears some weight in baseball circles. Go figure. I don’t think it’s anything to really get worked up about, just a different opinion. And I agree that he was talking about Crisp/Varitek in that line about the end of last season…and that’s really just a difference of opinion, him assuming that they won’t be any better this year.
” they added a shortstop who can hit (hopefully offsetting defensive mediocrity)”
His .219 BA with the Dodgers, in the middle of a pennant race last year, makes me believe you should put “potentially” in front of this one. I know he was a part timer, but I’ve heard Kevin Kennedy and others talk about how unimpressed they were with Lugo.
I agree, Nick. I find Abraham’s conclusions dubious but defensible. Losing respect for him would take a lot more, like predicting Wang to win 22 gam–er, wait a second. ;-)
As for Crisp, he wrecked his thumb 8 games into the season and it apparently never really healed fully, even though he was able to return to the lineup. He was unable to swing like he was accustomed to. That’s the genesis of the “season-long injury” tag. I think it’s pretty fair to say that he wasn’t fully healthy all season. Since he is supposedly fully healthy, it would be surprising and unlikely that he would, in a best case scenario, only match last year’s production. Tek is a different story, since he’s aging and in a physically demanding position. I’d be much less surprised if he were to stay at last year’s level, though I obviously hope that’s not the case.
Using Lugo’s part-time performance with the Dodgers in a return to the NL after a fewyears in the AL over the much-larger sample of his career in the AL is just a flawed piece of analysis, I don’t know how else to put it.
SF, one thing about Crisp. Will Carroll is saying that he still feels pain, albeit not as much, in his fingers and will probably have to deal with it all year. It’s one of those things that’s hard to get rid of.
“will therefore collapse under the pressure…which makes no sense to us”
Keith Foulke anyone?
I mean, disagree, but it does make sense.
“is just a flawed piece of analysis, I don’t know how else to put it.”
Wait, Keith Foulke collapsed under the pressure? When? While he exhibited ginormous testes in the 2004 playoffs? Or when he had debilitating, career-ending knee injuries?
When he sucked in ’05 after his return, and caught absolute hell from the fans and media in Boston, that’s when.
Billy Beane is on recoed saying that Foulke would wilt under the pressure in Boston, and he did, albeit a year too late.
um…As a Yanks fan who watched Foulke shut down my team in late inning high pressure situations in 2004’s postseason, I can’t agree with this theory.
Nick, that’s why I said ’05.
Foulke was injured. He never recovered. He retired this year in large part because of them. To argue that 2004 was less indicative of his ability to perform under pressure than were the last two years of his career, played in terrible health, is really silly.
You, my friend, like to overstate injuries. He actually pitched well some of the time last year, and I seriously doubt the Tribe would have signed him if he was in such terrible health.
I’m talking about the pressure generated by the media and fans in Boston. If they weren’t a factor, I doubt the guy would have just walked away from his option. I think he quit because he lost his drive to play the game, no doubt the bad treatment he received in Boston after he took them to the “promised land” was a factor, in my book.
IMO, Crisp will be a wild card until I see consistent performance. I hate when you hear “well, he was hurt all year but…” when it comes from any source. And I’ll always be skeptical of new players coming into the NYY/BOS cooker. As far as Tek goes, I can’t see him making a major rebound (due to his age and position) and I’ve heard that his pitch calling had a lot to do with Beckett’s lack of success. Will he change his approach? It will be interesting to see how that shakes out.
You know what is really silly? Continuing this discussion – it’s going nowhere – you’re not going to convince me, and vice versa…
Bottom line: Time will tell whether or not Drew can handle the media/fan pressure in Boston – and I’ll really enjoy the ride
“the Yankees either stay healthy or their offense comes through, offsetting what might be an inconsistent or injured staff…The third scenario is totally plausible, and also probable.”
You did not elaborate on why. The yanks lost two all star OFs last year and won the division. Injuries only dismantled the Sox(gratned more but teams have injuries it happens), the yanks got through them. The yanks then they go out and trade for pitching depth a weakness and may have a health Pavano. So they need to lose 2 OFs and Pavano to bring them to last year when they still won the divison.
For the record, Foulke had bum knees and also a bum elbow that was flaring, apparently. I wish people would stop blaming the fans and the media for Foulke’s medical history, which played an enormous part in his decline and his ultimate retirement.
The Yankees are likely to rock offensively this year. Even if a pitcher goes down (Pavano?) or regresses (Wang?) or doesn’t meet nominal expectations (Igawa) or ages (Moose?), the lineup will bang. Abreu – full season. Cano – healthy. A-Rod – the best. It goes on. The question mark for the Yankees is the staff. If it falters, their offense can cover.
I thought this was pretty obvious.
“I wish people would stop blaming the fans and the media for Foulke’s medical history”
That’s a ridiculous statement. No one blames the fans/media for Foulke’s medical problems – blame is only assigned for the treatment he received at their hands – during his tough ’05 year especially.
Didn’t he have surgury to correct those problems? It’s not like he had some new, exotic injury for which there was no treatment. Other players have had knee and elbow problems, had them repaired, and resumed productive careers.
Ok, enough of this dead-end. How about instead you explain why basing an analysis of Lugo on a small-sample in the NL last year as a part-timer is reasonable?
Just because you get operated on does not mean a chronically bad back or knees will get better and return to form. Ask any retired football player.
Remember Bill Mueller? Nothing was going to fix his knees.
Beckett as much confirmed it a few weeks ago when he said that Foulke was miserable over his injuries all last year. He wasn’t healthy in 2005, either. When he started experiencing elbow pain before Indians camp, he must’ve gotten frustrated and just hung them up.
The question mark for the Yanks is the staff, agreed, but that is a far difference than it being probable to falter. They are in better shape than last year, Wang is now a proven guy and Moose/AP have been. Over last year they have greater potential depth with Pavano, Igawa and some of the young guys. This may not be the most dominating staff but you have 3 probable 15-20+ win guys and a ton of guys who should be able to give lots of quality innings even with question marks. Wright and Johnson were no superstars last year and Chachon/Lidle started 20 games.
I shouldn’t have said my third scenario was “probable”, without qualification. That was an editorial mistake. What I meant was that if there was a way in which the Yankees might falter performance-wise, it would be that the staff wouldn’t be consistent. In other words, barring worst-case scenarios (which I find silly to predict – “if A goes down and B gets sent to jail and C gets in a car accident and D”, etc.), the Yankees seem quite able to get through their biggest question mark, simply based on their lineup. My point was to defend Abraham’s assertion that the Yankees are very strong, since they have a bailout in place, their offense, in the case that their biggest wild card, their pitching, doesn’t perform at expectations.
for what it’s worth, Pete Abraham grew up in the Boston area, and is a huge Pats fan.
I’ve never seen him mention growing up a sox fan. If he did, he hides it well and tells it like it is when writing about the yanks. On his blog, anyway, which is excellent.
I suppose covering the yanks for a few years could instill some homerism though, even if he grew up watching the sox.
I think it’s been hinted that Abraham is a big Mets fan.
oh yeah, I think he covered the mutts before he got the yankee beat
The D-Rays might have the best outfield in all of baseball.
Is that an original thought or did you simply read that and your other observations over at Baseball Analysts?
Yeah, I thought so.
Off the top of my head, my eye.
From what I’ve read here, PaulSF accusing Mr. Abraham of homerism is like the pot calling the kettle black and then some.
…’the sox won’t have any problems until they have a problem’…’same difference for the yanks’…sounds like i’m doing a bad yogi impersonation, but both teams have strengths and both teams have some soft spots, but overall we’re looking at 2 very strong teams…i’m a little weary of all the specific predictions about how players will perform, and who is more likely to get injured…we all know the season is full of surprises…just last year we had papelbon and cano, and i never expected matsui to go down…he’s been a rock and the injury was a freak one…so, you never know…
…sorry sf, but i can’t pass up a foulke discussion…we all realize that he had legitimate injuries that led to his decline, but there was always a bit of a question about whether he really wanted to be in boston, the fans were rough on him when he struggled as andrews pointed out, and you could see the frustration and disappointment all over his face last year when he couldn’t get it done…to me it just looked like he couldn’t wait to get out of town…
to me it just looked like he couldn’t wait to get out of town
Even if this were the case, how would this prove that Foulke couldn’t take the pressure? All it might mean is that he didn’t like Boston. Those are two very different things. I’d say that Foulke was perfectly capable of dealing with pressure, of all kinds.
We went through this when Johnson was looking to leave NY – there are a wealth of opinions about the impact of a city on players, and whether this is “pressure” or something else. The “media” category is useful.
Frank – you don’t need to look much past the names to realize it could be devastating. Baldelli, Crawford, and Young have as much potential as any OF out there, and Upton is also going to end up out there.
As far as proven talent goes, the Yankees should be great, and the Red Sox are up there as well.
I’m expecting a solid bounce back for Coco. His finger injury supposedly made it very difficult to swing, and he went from a “fastball hitter” in Cleveland to not being able to catch up with one at all. Also, I imagine there will less pressure to “be” Johnny Damon, and less pressure because he’s not expected to be the lead-off guy. I actually like the idea of him hitting 9th, so between him and Lugo we have great speed in front of Youk, Papi, etc.
Of course, if Coco sucks again, I wouldn’t mind WMP getting 500 ABs in centerfield. Sure, he’s an adventure in the field, but he was better in center than he was in right, and he’s got more raw power than anyone I’ve ever seen.
Unfortunately a gig tonight, and students this afternoon will keep my shovel in the garage – but I will get back to you on this…
“an analysis of Lugo on a small-sample in the NL last year as a part-timer is reasonable?”
I’ve got 5 min … you’re telling me that his performance doesn’t make you doubt him at all? He stunk with the Dodgers; couple that with well respected guys saying he was unimpressive and not up to his hype gives me hope that he’s not going to pan out for the sox.
Why don’t you explain why he dropped off so sharply when he went to a team in a major market that had something to play for? Yes, it’s a small sample size, but not so small as to not give pause.
Lugo is a pretty unimpressive ballplayer, from a major league standpoint. Certainly not deserving of a four-year contract. I expect him to go the way of Renteria in the continuing revolving-door of the Boston shortstop. Honestly, I think Nomar pulled a Voldemort and cursed the Boston shortstop position until he played a full season elsewhere. Hasn’t happened yet.
dc says: “…to me it just looked like he couldn’t wait to get out of town…”
sf responds: “…Even if this were the case, how would this prove that Foulke couldn’t take the pressure?…”
…i didn’t say he caved in to the pressure sf…define “pressure”…
[my thought: the guy just became fed up with the constant demand for perfection that being in a town like boston or ny demands…winning one ws wasn’t enough, he couldn’t live up to the higher expectations because of his injuries, and decided to pack it in….i’m not criticizing him, just speculating on how he may have perceived his situation]
the constant demand for perfection
The stakes have been raised the last couple of years, but I don’t think you really understand the collective psyche of Boston from a baseball standpoint. Only the youngest generation of fans has any kind of expectations for “perfection”, if that’s even an accurate representation of the “younger generation” — I hate to generalize. I grew up with expectations of failure, and though 2004 was cathartic and proved a great adjustment (as far as not feeling completely doomed), most of the Sox fans I know are still habitually pessimistic, though no longer fatalistic.
There’s pressure in Boston, without a doubt, but it’s not pressure for perfection. That’s New York territory.
First off we need the season to start ASAP. Discussing Lugo and each others flaws is getting boring.
Second, I wouldn’t be so concerned about Lugo’s offense. He is historically a .270/.280 hitter. He has the ability to steal bases, although I doubt he reaches the 20’s in Boston, no need. His OB% is ehhh, career high of .359, but averages more in the .330’s. He is not as good as his 2005 numbers, but he is also not as bad as his numbers in LA. If nothing else looks at his numbers, he’s consistent except for that jump in ’05. He is best suited hidden in the bottom of the lineup. He is not a 2 and most definitely not a 1. He’s an upgrade over last season and in all honesty isn’t that really the goal and all that matters?
Side note Theo was on Michael Kay today did anyone hear the interview?
“There’s pressure in Boston, without a doubt, but it’s not pressure for perfection. That’s New York territory.”
Unfair statement SF. Derek Jeter and company may say anything short of a Championship and the season is a failure but I don’t believe that’s the feeling of the fans. It’s great that the players feel that way, keeps the fire burning. Does the media feel the Yankees should be perfect every year, sure. Do the Yankees fans need perfection I would imagine the majority do not. I for one do not.
Gammons says the AL Central is the best division, pointing to the Sox, Tigers and Indians. He loves the Indian offense.
“Do the Yankees fans need perfection I would imagine the majority do not.”
Doh, I meant to respond to that quote. “Do the Yankees fans need perfection I would imagine the majority do not.”
Why do the fans boo Arod, if not for lack of perfection? In three seasons, Arod has averaged 40 hrs, 120 rbi, .300 average. Pretty damned good numbers, if you ask me. So he’s been less than perfect in the playoffs, but those regular season numbers are a big reason why y’all are there in the first place.
“That’s New York territory”
Just a dig…
The Boston stuff stands, though.
“expectations of failure…most of the Sox fans I know are still habitually pessimistic”
This explains the short grace period fans and media grant players who struggled like Foulke did in ’05. In my book, Foulke couldn’t take all the shite he caught, and decided he wanted out. That, IMO, is the pressure he couldn’t handle.
As far as Lugo goes, in ’06:
Tampa 73G 289AB .308AVG; .373OBP .498SLG
LA 49G 146AB .219AV .278OBP .267SLG
Pretty startling drop off over what amounts to the last third of the season.
Compare those numbers to Doug Mientkiewicz’ 2004:
Min 78G 284AB .246 .340 .363
Bos 49G 107AB .215 .286 .318
Both had very good years in the season proir to being traded.
Say what you will about my “flawed analysis”, these numbers would worry the h@ll out of me if I were a SF…
…it’s also unfair trisk because before the sox fans i know tasted this first victory in many years, they suffered greatly…now that they’ve savored it, some will be sated forever, while others [young and old] want more [i don’t blame them]…sf, i think you missed my point because you honed in on the word “perfection”…probably not the best choice of words, but my point was that once foulke proved that he could be part of a winning combination, anything less was unacceptable, and he knew it…when you say the following, you couldn’t be more wrong:
“…I don’t think you really understand the collective psyche of Boston from a baseball standpoint. Only the youngest generation of fans has any kind of expectations for “perfection”,…”
…i’m surprised you believe in the concept of a “collective psyche” given your aversion to generalizations…each fan i know handles the success and failure, and their joy, disappointment, and expectations somewhat individually…you can certainly point to similar traits and reactions among large blocks of the fanbase, but i wouldn’t call the psyche “collective” lest you leave out other important elements…it’s like the generalization you sometimes let slip out about all yankee fans only care about winning, implying that the mere joy of the game escapes us somehow…without giving away my age, i may have as much personal history and experience with this rivaly and sox fans’ satisfaction with quenching that deep desire to win a ws and finally vanquish the hated yankees, and how it affects many of those same fans going forward as individuals, as anyone else participating on this site…by far it doesn’t make me an expert on the sox or their fans’ psyche, but it does invalidate your opinion of me…
Tommy those in glass houses…..
I have never boo’d A-Rod. I have disagreed with much of the nonsense that comes out of his mouth, but his on field play is fine. I think this is the 1 millionth time I have said this, A-Rod didn’t lose the series for us against Detroit the entire offense did. But back to my point, sure I expect this team to win and go to the playoffs, but as we have seen over the past few seasons the teams with the most talent don’t always win.
if that’s even an accurate representation of the “younger generation” — I hate to generalize
dc: did you get this far in my post? I qualified my post by mentioning my hesitancy to generalize, so I was indicating that my generalization may be too broad. However, I DO think that there is a profound difference between much younger Sox fans and fans around my age and older, whatever that’s worth. I also think that a lifelong Sox fan has a different and more astute perspective of the Sox than a Yankees fan, and a lifelong Sox fan would be more “in tune” with what a Sox fan expects than does a Yankees fan. The inverse is true about Yankees fans; as I stated, my “perfection” quip was just a dig.
Pretty startling drop off over what amounts to the last third of the season.
Andrews: look at the role Lugo played on the Dodgers. Look at his move to a new league. You can’t just pick numbers out and also not qualify them. Certainly it would have been better if Lugo had excelled in LA, no question. But one must consider the context of performance to make a more sound analysis of whether this is indicative of a career slide or an outlier sample. Most signs point to the Dodgers stint as an outlier. If the blended sample is what Lugo achieves, that would be a good thing for the Sox, but I am not sure if that’s a relevant idea.
As for the comparison to Mientkiewicz, it’s irrelevant. DM was already in a slide with the Twins, and his numbers with Minnesota were mediocre to poor. The numbers with the Sox were for part-time play with occasional spot-starts. For the Mets in ’05 he returned to ’04 Twins form, in a lesser league. Last year he hit .283 with the Royals with a .359 OBP and a .411 slugging percentage, in a horrible lineup. How convenient that you didn’t mention these.
Once again, you’re trying to move the goalposts. I merely said that his sad numbers with LA should make you add the word “potentially” to ” they added a shortstop who can hit (hopefully offsetting defensive mediocrity)”
Aren’t you making a little too much out of the league switch? He played in the NL as recently as ’03, so it wasn’t completely foreign to him.
Wasn’t Mientkiewicz considered a failure in Boston with similar numbers in roughly the same number of AB’s?
Again, my point is simply that if he was on the yanks roster, his LA numbers would dampen my enthusiasm significantly.
As would the comments Kevin Kennedy and others made about Lugo when discussing Boston’s offseason moves.
Hey, if none of this bugs you, good for you…
The last time I worried about Kevin Kennedy’s opinion was when he was managing the Red Sox. Seriously, you’re leaning on Kevin Kennedy’s opinion? What’s next, Steve Phillips doesn’t like Lugo?
Wasn’t Mientkiewicz considered a failure in Boston with similar numbers in roughly the same number of AB’s?
Was he? I remember a few things about Minky, and none of them were his batting average. One was his glove in general and the feeling of comfort it brought, another was him playing second base in a game, the other was catching a toss from Keith Foulke. I don’t recall anyone calling Minky a “failure” in Boston. Where do you get this idea from?
“Seriously, you’re leaning on Kevin Kennedy’s opinion?”
Dude, Kennedy’s been around the game his whole life – even managed the sox the last time you won the division back in ’95… since he’s still involved with the dodgers, he saw a lot of Lugo when he was there, so yeah, I respect his opinion.
“Tommy those in glass houses…..”
Trisk – huh? I can’t recall in my lifetime any member of the Sox getting consistently booed while putting up comparable numbers to Arod, or even 60% of those numbers. I think Manny was booed once after demanding a trade and taking himself out of a couple games, but that didn’t last more than an at bat or two.
In my experience, Sox fans are pretty damned forgiving if the player is any good. We reserve our wrath for players who genuinely suck (BK Kim, Clement, Offerman, Seanez, Millar), for players who insult the fans (Foulke), and for the MFYs and MFYFs. The one guy who comes to mind as someone I felt sorry for was Bellhorn, who was pretty damned lousy in 2005 but who was the Man in the 2004 playoffs.
And in regards to you never booing Arod, bravo. But there is no denying that he gets booed a little too often at Yankee Stadium, and my comment was a response to your original comment on YFs in general, no?
Millar, really? Without that walk against Mo in the ALCS in ’04, the sox most likely wouldn’t have gone to the WS…
Did I just defend Millar? Ugh, time for a shower.
The only player I can actively remember booing was Jack Clark. What a putz.
Yes, Millar was a hero in 2004, but he was pretty lousy in 2005, and he complained loudly whenever he was sat in favor of Olerud (sp?), who IMHO was far superior. I didn’t participate in the boos, but he was heckled pretty roundly. I think his whole persona grew tiresome once he stopped hitting. And boy, did he ever stop hitting.
I can’t remember personally booing any of our guys other than Kim, actually. “Maybe” Cordero, though I may have just been watching the game at home and rooting for the booers.
One of the only things I remember about Jack Clark was that he hit a grand slam against the Blue Jays very early in the season. I was in 7th grade, and my coach told me. I think.
Kevin Kennedy also thought it was a good idea to pitch Jose Canseco in a game, thus blowing out his arm. Kennedy’s opinion of Lugo is anything but well-respected around these parts, Andrews. Likewise a decline during a transition to a new league while being asked to change positions nearly every game is not particularly worrisome to me. If we’re to be worried about that, why should we not be excited about the numbers he put up in 2006 while playing his natural position in the AL East? Which, by the way, is exactly what he’ll be doing this year.
Back to my orihinal point. I was on a camping trip and missed all the fun stuff. Anyway, I’ll agree I was a little over the top in my criticism of Abraham, although the main hrust of my point still stands. He predicted that the Red Sox will have the same disastrous injury problems and performance issues they suffered in 2006 (highly unlikely, IMO, considering I’ve never seen a Sox season like that in my 13 or so years of following them and have heard of no season like that ever in the team’s history), while the Jays have to have nearly the exact opposite luck (equally unlikely because predicting such extreme variations is simply mathematically unwise). It seemed Abraham was predicting unlikely scenarios to take place without any credible explanations, and it’s hard to figure out why — particularly because he is one of the better beat writers out there.
predicting any scenario is risky paul, even the most likely…i was counting on matsui to have another decent year last year, and look what happened…i was hopeful for wang and cano, but who knew that they’d do as well as they did…substitute some sox names and you got the same deal…this is the part i don’t like about this time of year…too much guessing…lugo might be be better than anyone expected, or he may stink…i’m familiar with the use of statistics and probability to determine outcomes, but how any of you guys can be so certain one way or the other is beyond me…
by the way sf, i did read your entire post the other day…that’s what made your generalization about sox fans so startling…i know you abhor generalizations, but they were your words, i didn’t make them up…you still generalized to make your point despite the disclaimer…we all generalize at times to make a point, including me and you obviously, but it’s funny, you let the name-calling go on all around us, but let one generalization slip and you’re all over it [even yourself]…i also told you that i based my comments on years of history with fellow baseball fans…my roots are in the northeast so i’ve crossed paths with many sox fans young and old, so i believe i am just as “astute” as you are at understanding how my many co-workers, friends, and relatives feel when the sox don’t win, your usual condescension notwithstanding…
Ah, now I understand how things work. You have a greater insight into psyche of Yankees fans (this I grant seeing as I am not a Yankees fan and didn’t grow up around them), since you are one, but we have equal insight into the psyche of Sox fans, though I grew up in Boston going to Fenway on a regular basis, reading the Boston sports sections daily for the last 30 years.
And you think I am condescending?
once again you’re wrong about me sf…you’d do better to stick to analyzing what i say and not making up stuff…i don’t think i ever said that i had greater insight to yankee fans than you do…i think you know us fairly well [except your contention that ALL we care about is winning, and we get despondent when we lose]…experience does help though, and that was my only point re. sox fans…i specifically told you that my comments are based on my personal experiences, and i also said i wasn’t an expert…i’ve corrected you before on your broad statements about yankee fans, and you’ve caught me a few times, so we’re even…the condescending statement you made earlier was this:
“…I don’t think you really understand the collective psyche of Boston from a baseball standpoint….”
i debunked that by telling you that i do understand how some sox fans feel about things because i know so many of them personally…you don’t respect my opinions because you don’t like them, and i’ve p-o’d you somewhere along the line…that’s fine, i know what i’m dealing with when i converse with you…i still respect what you have to say most times, just not when you go out of bounds, like this time…
“i don’t think i ever said that i had greater insight to yankee fans than you do”
I am granting you this. I am not a Yankees fan. I didn’t grow up one. I have lived around them for 13 years, but that pales in comparison to someone who is a lifelong member of the “society”. I wasn’t trying to put words in your mouth, or make you out to be claiming something you didn’t, I was simply giving ground on something I believe to be quite common sensical, that I am not as astutely aware of the psyche of Yankees fans as Yankees fans are themselves. YF is a far deeper observer of the Yankees and their fans’ attitude than I am, I would hesitate to argue anything differently. Not that I don’t have valid opinions about YFs (I think I do), or that you don’t have valid opinions about SFs (you do), but there’s a different relationship, one less intimate and less “astute”, to be consistent in my word choice.
Meanwhile, you claim to be “just as astute” about understanding Sox fans. While I don’t think that just because someone isn’t a fan of a certain team that they cannot understand that other fandom, I simply don’t think that one can be an outsider to something as perversely complex as the mind of a Sox fan and claim to “get it” just as well as someone who lives that mindset.
But I am no shrink, so take that for what it is worth. A professional might tell me I have it all wrong, that I am “too close” to the Sox to really get it.
” Likewise a decline during a transition to a new league while being asked to change positions nearly every game is not particularly worrisome to me.”
Remember, he did play in the NL as recently as ’03, so that qualifies the “new league” idea somewhat. We’re talking about offensive stats – I’m sure being used as a utility man affected his offense somewhat, but he had a startling drop off. If you’re willing to give him a pass for a dismal last third of a season, then good for you. My point was merely that if he were with the yanks, this, coupled with a baseball lifers low opinion of him after watching him work with LA, would worry me. That’s all.
I’m a little less hesitant to completely discredit a lifelong baseball man’s opinion than you and SF. While I’ve loved and followed the game my whole life, I’m just a fan, and therefore don’t presume to have the insight of someone who has “been there” every working day.
But dude, it’s Kevin Kennedy.
And at last check, Mike Hargrove has been there every working day for decades, so that should throw your theory right out the window.
I’ll tell you what, my condescending friend – get hired as a ML manager and get named manager of the year like Hargrove did, or win 95 games like Kennedy, and I’ll be glad to throw my theory out the window.
I’m going to go out on a limb and assume you respect Francona. Here’s how he stacks up lifetime against Hargrove, Kennedy and Torre as a manager:
W L PCT
Francona 564 570 .497
Hargrove 1139 1132 .502
Kennedy 309 273 .531
Torre 1951 1687 .536
That’s 86, not 95 games…
Obviously, as a group Sox fans have more experience with the Sox than Yankee fans as a whole. But is someone saying that therefore no Yankee fan can have greater insight on some particular issue than a Sox fan?
This argument has become so convoluted that it’s difficult to follow.
Not sure the “if you didn’t hold the job you can’t criticize” logic is the best course, Andrews. It’s basically a muzzle job, if you think about it. Or is that not what you are saying?
Francona won 95 games as well.
Apples and oranges comparison much with Torre? Look at the quality of teams Francona fielded before he came to Boston as compared to what Joe’s had to work with since the mid 90s.
Lugo also had a fingewr injury during his time in LA. I had forgotten hat until reading the BP07 I finally got in the mail yesterday. That actually worries me more than anything else, considering what we went through with Crisp… But that, ombined with having to docus so much energy on figuring out a new position every other day is certainly a logical reason for the dropoff. Uninjured and comfortable, there’s no reason NOT to expect Lugo to repeat the better-than-average offensive stats he put up in Tampa in 2005/06.
While I just threw Torre in there for reference, if you look at the NYM teams Torre managed, I believe you will find the comparison to be apples to apples
SF, what do you mean by “muzzle job”?
I mean that if the criteria for being able to criticize something is proficiency in said field or experience doing what you are criticizing, then most of us have to keep our mouths shut about almost everything, baseball or otherwise. In other words, this criterion is a kind of muzzle.
I don’t think what you are doing is criticizing; rather, you are saying that because you didn’t like him as a manager he’s incapable of evaluating a player’s performance. Kind of like a music lover saying that I’m incapable of evaluating a musician, just because he doesn’t care for my playing, even though I have 27 yrs of professional experience.
Paul, a finger injury would explain a lot.
Andrews: Over a decade is a lot more time than three years to iron out a bad showing. Francona hasn’t even had enough time to get his career record back to .500, even after three years (last year was an injury trainwreck, but still got +10 out of it.)
Besides, manager win-loss records are overrated. If Tito or Torre had been at the helm of the Royals for the past decade, it wouldn’t matter how good they are, the records would be horrible.
Man, I’ve really got to use Preview more often.
Tito or Torre had been at the helm of the Royals for the past decade, it wouldn’t matter how good they are, the records would be horrible.
That’s an excellent point, Steve. All one has to do is look at the success rate of either Torre or Francona before their new homes (the ones that came fully loaded with all-stars and bags of money). In fact, Torre was one of the losingest managers of all time before coming to NY. The team makes the manager, most of the time; even the great Bobby Cox (whom I consider the best manager in baseball) struggles without the players.
Andrews, did Lugo run over your dog or something?
sf, regarding our discussion about being able to understand each other’s fans…i think we’re closer together on this than when we started the discussion, but something needs a little clarification…i didn’t come close to claiming i understand how you personally feel, just like i bristled at the notion some time ago when one of you suggested that you knew exactly how i felt about the yankees 2006 season…to call that insulting and presumptuous would be an understatement…rather this was about my little sphere of friends, relatives, coworkers, and other acquaintences who call themselves [representative] sox fans, some diehards, some not so, but collecting all of that data over the years has led me to, i think, a pretty fair understanding of the different kinds of sox fans…no, i don’t understand what it is to be a sox fan myself because i’m not one, but that doesn’t invalidate the feelings and opinions that sox fans have shared with me over time…it’s in that sense that i made the claim that i’m just as “astute” as you are…
“Andrews, did Lugo run over your dog or something?”
I know you’re kidding, but I have nothing against Lugo. I was just trying to make a simple point, and that turned into an argument about the merits of managers somehow. Yeesh
Fair enough, dc.
“In fact, Torre was one of the losingest managers of all time before coming to NY”
I really wish I hadn’t included Torre in that list – I wasn’t looking for a comparison with Francona. Nevertheless, Brad pre NY/Bos, Torre’s .463 pct is still better than Francona’s .440
I agree that W-L is not the best measure of a manager; however, it is the one that carries most weight with HOF voters.Maybe the smartest managers are the ones who don’t accept gigs with lousy teams?
sf, damn, we agreed [sort of]…we’re making progress here…let’s keep agreeing and disagreeing…you’re alright my friend…
“Maybe the smartest managers are the ones who don’t accept gigs with lousy teams?”
The money’s still green in KC, DC, and Pittsburgh.
When it comes to being a ML manager, you don’t often have the luxury of picking and choosing.
“you don’t often have the luxury of picking and choosing.”
The quote you’re responding to was meant to be tongue in cheek…
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