Sunday, August 01, 2010

Random Thoughts at the Deadline

Some quick thoughts coming off the heels of the trading deadline, a great comeback win and Big Papi proving that the third time truly can be a charm:

- Let the Ryan Kalish Era begin. He was raking in AAA and should play almost every day in either Left or Center. I caught the replay of the game, but going two for 4 with a GIDP that was a laser and would have been a hit if Cabrera wasn't holding the runner on is a pretty nice debut. Couldn't be more excited - really pumped to watch this kid. This also will mark the end of the Hermida era - I wish the kid luck; seems like he has the talent, just can't get it together. Theo loves those low risk, high ceiling players, which brings us to...

- The Jarrod Saltalamacchia Era. I have to say, I'm not falling off my chair in excitement as much here as for Kalish - but I understand it. I'll say this, two years ago people were calling Theo to trade Clay for Salty... thank god that didn't happen. The biggest issues right now are twofold: 1/ he is not hitting at AAA and 2/ he has an embarrassing case of the Yips... he can't throw the ball back to the mound; and it is pretty bad - but Theo thinks he can get over them. The low down on McGuinness and Mendez is they are both pretty projectionable players. Mendez is in Lowell and had a whole lot of upside - and he is the reason I don't love this move. He has a lively fastball with movement (95-99) and some nice secondary pitches that will obviously develop through the system. His best is a tight slider in the mid-to-low 80's that breaks very sharp - a great out pitch, but still needs consistency. He's only 19 - so a long road, but could turn into a nice arm as he travels down it. McGuinness is a 6'1 lefty with excellent plate discipline and by all accounts an incredible hard worker, spring coil swing, and above average defense. He hit very well at single A, was about to move up (or maybe he did recently), and from what I can tell there was some excitement in the Sox minor league circles. I think he was slugging over .500 and carrying an on-base over .400 with a bunch of homeruns. That all said, this is a huge buy low scenario around Saltalamacchia. Lots of people think the fact he can't throw the ball to the pitcher is causing a string of problems throughout the rest of his game. The Sox think that the kid has a huge ceiling and have wanted him in the past but the price was always to high - and they believe the change of scenery, and some meetings with Tewksbury may be the first step. We also sent $350k and a PTNL

- Our bullpen is not good, sitting in the basement in nearly all important statistical categories... it just has been a huge hole with the team and they looked for something to patch it up right up through the deadline. But now that the deadline has passed, it seems like the opportunity is going to be given to the kids... Bowden and Doubront. The hope is that one of them can be trusted in the 7th/8th and I think that they are going to be given the chance to succeed or fail over the coming weeks. The exciting part for me is, if one of them does relish in the role, we will have a true home grown back end. It will, hopefully, be fun to watch and with two of them there should be that healthy internal competition that can do nothing but good.

- There is just no market for Mike Lowell, zilch, nada, zip. What a weird, tough, unfortunate situation this has turned into. There were a whole bunch of moves for corner infielder/DH types as we came to the deadline - and Mike had to just sit back and watch. Cantu, Peralta, Tejada, they all found homes - but they all have so much more flexibility and in the end that is where Lowell's value gets the biggest hit. His hips and knees just don't allow him to be a viable option defensively. From the Sox perspective, not much we can do either. There is no room on the major league roster - especially with Ellsbury coming back. He will end up playing more in Pawtucket and will probably be asked to accept the role. Maybe they can move him on waivers - but any way you slice it this is a crappy situation for a class act guy that has done a lot for our club... but his time has passed.

- With 58 games left, we have 10 against the Yanks, 6 against the Rays... the rest are against teams the Red Sox should beat - and I expect them to put up a strong winning percentage in those games. So the season is really going to come down to the 16 games against our two divisional foes. A few bits of good news.
1) They also have a couple more series against each other, and someone has to win, someone has to lose.
2) The first of the 16 games starts 8/6, and the Sox will be close to healthy with Ellsbury probably back. After that, we get Pedey and I think this team is the best of the three. Especially with a healthy Beckett, Lester, Clay and Lackey - finally.

As always, if nothing else - it should be a fun ride. I can't remember the last time we were 7 back at the deadline and I felt so optimistic... such a weird year.