BOSTON RED SOX:The Boston Red Sox are rapidly approaching the trade deadline, with nary a move in sight. Does the Larry Lucchino led front-office try to make a sad, pathetic attempt to grab the second wild-card spot to lose the one-game play-in? Do the Red Sox blow-up the roster by moving any tradeable parts on the roster and start reloading for next year? I've opined on this multiple times (here and here), and the fact remains: This team is not exciting, not winning, and most importantly, boring.
Josh Beckett and Jon Lester are huge disappointments. Clay Buchholz is up and down, and if healthy may be their best starter. Daisuke Matsuzaka is coming back soon and Aaron Cook (seriously?) has outperformed the Dice-man. Big lefty Felix Doubront started off great, but has hit his wall this season and needs to be watched so as not to burn him out with too many innings. Daniel Bard (if he gets straightened out in Pawtucket) and Andrew Bailey (if he ever gets healthy) should return to rescue the bullpen which has kept the team in contention by overachieving all season long. A solid closer and set-up man should do wonders for saving Alfredo Aceves and the rest of the arms throughout the rest of the season.
The offense, when healthy, can score some runs, but anyone not in the long-term plans needs to be moved to a buyer so as to get something in return that potentially could fit into long-term plans. Cody Ross, Ryan Sweeney, Kelly Shoppach, Pedro Ciriaco, Mauro Gomez, Daniel Nava, Mike Aviles, and Nick Punto should not be part of any long-term plan and if anyone is desperate enough to want any of them, they should be traded post-haste. The Red Sox should be taking on single-A prospects with a flaw (as that would be the best they could conceivably get for these bozos) and see if their minor-league staff can turn them around or use them for future trading chips.
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BOSTON CELTICS:The Greg Stiemsma era appears to be over as the Minnesota Timberwolves have decided to throw enough cash at "the Steamer" to get him out of Boston. Danny Ainge wasted no time and brought in veteran minimum contract and defensive specialist Jason Collins from Atlanta. Collins, a much better player than Greg Stiemsma or the recently departed Ryan Hollins (leave it to the Clippers to throw a two year deal at this chump), is a solid back-up to Chris Wilcox and gives the Celtics a legitimate big man off the bench. Not a great shot-blocker, scorer, or glass cleaner, Collins has size, knows how to play defense, and can give a solid 12-15 minutes off the bench. For this team, that is a huge asset as Fab Melo is probably on a three year plan (remember how Kendrick Perkins was stapled to the bench until his body was NBA ready?) before he gets any real minutes.
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Courtney Lee was a great pick-up. The Celtics really did not give up anything of value, and with Houston trying to free-up cap space (as always!), the Celtics were lucky the Rockets were willing to sign-and-trade Lee to get him in green. Losing the 38 year-old defensive liability Ray Allen doesn't sting so much with Jason Terry AND Courtney Lee in the fold now. E'Twaun Moore, JaJuan Johnson, Sasha Pavlovic, Sean Williams, and a few second-round picks is the equivalent of "junk". Johnson is the only player with potential upside (and even that is limited) in the package, to get a guard who can start, score, has finals experience, and is only 26 years old. Look for the Celtics to add to the end of the bench by offering a veteran's minimum deal to Keyon Dooling and maybe Mickael Pietrus (if he gets no better offer). Second-round pick Kris Joseph, Jamar Smith, (Smith and Joseph take up two roster spots for under $1 million combined) and perhaps summer-camp star Dionte Christmas with E'Twaun Moore out of the picture will fill-out the end of the bench.
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