Friday, July 08, 2005

VAZQUEZ, VAZQUEZ, VAZQUEZ

When history records the Ramon Vazquez era in Red Sox history, it will be fortunate for Vazquez to get dumped in the Kevin Romine era. Romine spent seven seasons on the I-95 shuttle between Pawtucket and Boston. Not quite as popular as fellow PawSox outfielders of the 80s Reggie Whittemore or Chico Walker, Romine is likely still held in high regard by fans in the hot dog haven known as Pawtucket, RI (seriously, are hot dogs that popular down there? Every restaurant has a sign that says: Yes, we have hot dogs!)

Back to the present, I just learned that Vazquez was traded to Cleveland for fellow disappointing utility infielder Alex Cora. Cora, like Vazquez, struggled to fit in at his new home. After seven years with the Dodgers as a semi-regular, Cora signed a two year deal with the Indians this off-season and has struggled to get on track with the bat. With the glove, there is no question that this is what his true strength is, as he is above average with the occasional spectacular play and one of the best at turning the double play.

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BULLPEN ISSUES:

Curt Schilling in the bullpen? The man, the myth, the legend continues.

Personally, I think this decision makes a lot more sense the more I think about it. First off, I am totally against trading for a closer as it would cost the Red Sox one or more of their premier prospects in the minors. There is no way the Sox could pry Chad Cordero from the Washington Generals or Nationals or Expos or whatever they go by nowadays, so there is no way they would get equal value back for Jon Papelbon, Hanley Ramirez, Jon Lester, or Dustin Pedroia.

Second, there is bullpen help in the minors as we are finally beginning to see. Papelbon could join the club by August to help out in the pen, as could local star Manny Delcarmen who was just promoted to Pawtucket. Cla Meredith is still struggling in Pawtucket, so there is no need to rush him, but Jeremi Gonzalez is back up and looked good in limited action this week, Lenny DiNardo is up to help in the middle innings, and now the team has added another reliever from Pawtucket, former Toronto Blue Jay Scott Cassidy.

Finally, the Sox really do not have a starter to move to closer. Sure, Bronson Arroyo has been mentioned numerous times, but right now he is the defacto number two starter and, other than Matt Clement, the most consistent starter. Wakefield and closing do not mix. Nor do I think Wells, with his deal contingent on number of starts for bonus money, is likely to end up in the pen. Wade Miller has had arm problems, so having him warming up, cooling down, or warming up in a hurry does not seem prudent. Clement is the number one starter, so he is out. Arroyo, although he has experience in the pen and pitched fairly well in the playoffs, is not the type of closer I would like at the end of the game. Like Wakefield with the knuckler, if Arroyo does not have a good curve, he is useless out on the mound. As a starter, he can take a few innings to find that curve. As a reliever, it is game over.

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FREE AGENCY:

Who are the Celtics talking to? The signing days begin officially on July 22. All I have heard is New Jersey free agent backup power forward Brian Scalabrine has reportedly been the main target of Danny Ainge. Great, another great white hope to fill in garbage time. The good news if Scalabrine comes to Boston? No room at the inn for Antoine! HA-HA-HA-HAH! To the purgatory that is called Utah for you, Antoine!

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HERALDING THE END:

June 30 marked the final day at the Boston Herald for two very good sportswriters: Kevin Mannix aka the Professor who graded out Bill Belichick as a C every game (must be a heck of grudge there), and George Kimball who is an excellent boxing writer. Also gone is Michael Gee, made famous for being outed as the writer who could not wait for the Sox game to end. Layoffs for the Herald are not a pretty thing, and the Globe needs all the competition they can get (since they cannot seem to deliver my paper to me before I leave for work anymore!).

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KRAFTY:


I found this hilarious. After Putin seconded with the Super Bowl ring shown to him by Bob Kraft, a couple of fans put up a site to buy Krafty a new ring: http://www.replacebobsring.com/. Ever the gentleman and good PR man, Kraft requested the money raised be donated to charity.

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YANKEES RULE, NO, THEY STINK, NO, THEY RULE:

Is there any team more up and down than New York? They just won four in a row, so that means they should be on target to get swept this weekend. Here is something I dug out from a previous blog about the Sox and Yankees who were both floundering at the time. From my blog on May 28 (My new notes in ALL CAPS):

The questions remaining for the Yankees, however, include;

1. Is this the best that you can expect out of Randy Johnson? APPARENTLY, YES. HE REMAINS CONSISTENTLY INCONSISTENT.

2. Will Kevin Brown and Chieng Ming Wang continue to pitch as effectively as they have against the bottom-feeders in the A.L. West? BROWN, NO. THE WANGER, YES.

and

3. Will the inconsistent offense continue to keep piling on runs? AGAINST BAD PITCHING, YES. OTHERWISE, NO (WHICH EXPLAINS WHY THEY ARE SO STREAKY).

The Red Sox have their own series of questions to answer over the next few series, which include:

1. Will Kevin Millar, like last season, start hitting now that he has some competition for playing time?
APPARENTLY, HE NEEDS CONSTANT COMPETITION TO RAISE HIS LEVEL OF PLAY.

2. Will the really Manny Ramirez and Edgar Renteria please stand up? YES, AND YES.

3. How long until Wade Miller and David Wells settle into that groove that starting pitchers get into? IT APPEARS THEY ARE BOTH CLOSE.

and

4. When will Francona bench Bellhorn, play Mueller at second base, and put Youkilis at third base where he belongs everyday? I AM STILL WAITING ON THIS ONE, TITO!!!

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