I guess it’s a good thing that players still want to play for the Red Sox. Derek Lowe has been mouthing off to every Boston beat writer this past week as they descend upon Fort Myers, incessantly whining about how the Red Sox didn’t want him back despite his impressive post-season performance.
D-Lowe, shut up!
Lowe had a 5.42 earned run average last year. The Sox brass went out of their way at the trading deadline to acquire defensive upgrades in the infield specifically to help Lowe. Yet he still couldn’t pitch himself into the top four of the rotation. Only blind luck (versus the Angels in the divisional series), injuries and overworked starters as relievers (versus the Yankees in the league championship series flowing into the World Series versus the Cardinals) contributed to Lowe winning all three post-season clinching victories. He had a chance to go out on top. Now, are we going to remember the whining instead of the winning?
Lowe was ineffective in 2003. He was ineffective in 2004. Every sportswriter in town seems to be of the opinion that shuffling the starting rotation and upgrading the shortstop position were bad moves by the Red Sox. They write about how they should keep the team together. They argue that the players who won the title should be allowed to defend the title.
Have they forgotten about the New England Patriots model that they just finished praising all last week? If you stop trying to upgrade your team, you’re doomed to failure. The best General Manager’s run the team like a business. If they fall in love with these players already on the roster, they begin to overlook their deficiencies and not make the move to upgrade their team. Bill Belichick learned about that in the 2002 season following the Patriots first Super Bowl victory. The team got old in a hurry and missed the playoffs. I’m ecstatic that Theo Epstein appears to have realized that team isn’t perfect and needed to improve in key areas.
As much as I loved the defensive wizardry of the O.C., he seemed extremely out of place in the Red Sox line-up. He just did not fit with the team's overall on base plus slugging heavy batting order. Edgar Renteria is a perfect fit at shortstop. He can hit for average, power, gets on base, steal bases, and is an excellent defensive player. I laughed out loud when I read that he was "a poor man’s Derek Jeter". Derek Jeter does not compare to Renteria in any category, unless some idiot is going to pull out the old "he’s an excellent base-runner and provides intangibles" argument they always resort to when the Jeter-lovers have to face the cold, hard facts.
Renteria is a significant upgrade over Nomahhh or the O.C.
Jay Payton is a starting caliber outfielder. Gabe Kapler, though he gave a good effort, was not. Kevin Youkilis has another year of experience and is a viable starter at third base should Bill Mueller continue to have injury problems or should Mueller have to replace Mark Bellhorn if Bellhorn fall backs into his bizarre "one year on, one year off" routine of the past four seasons. Doug Mirabelli, the best back-up catcher in baseball, returns. Dave McCarty should fill the Doug Mientkiewicz late innings defensive replacement at first base role this season.
I won’t bore you all again about how the rotation is improved in my eyes. Besides, I still have more parts of the rotation analysis to finish.
Now if we could just hurry up and get the season started!!!
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