Thursday, 9 December 2010

The tide has turned!

After months of complaining and wondering whether Theo Epstein has lost his mind I finally have something positive to say about the Red Sox:

Adrian Gonzalez AND Carl Crawford!

This is clearly going to make the Red Sox formidable once again going into 2011. I was secretly delighted when V-Mart was allowed to sign with the Tigers. His shoddy defence means he is simply not worth paying big bucks to as a big-league catcher. And, if he is only fit to DH or play 1B then why not go after a legit 1B, like Gonzalez. Martinez is only an elite level hitter as a catcher, as a DH/1B he is relegated to being above average. Gonzalez is the best hitting first baseman not named Pujols in baseball. He is also a gold glove calibre fielder.

Another happy development in this move is the likelihood that Beltre will now leave as a free agent. This is also fantastic news! While I would never deny the greatness of Beltre’s 2010, nor would I diminish his value to the Red Sox during this injury-plagued year, I simply cannot get over the idea that he has historically been so much better in contract years than when he has the security of a fat contract ahead of him. I’m also not sold of his defensive prowess at third either. Yes, Beltre makes the flashy play and makes the highlight reel, he looks decidedly shaky making routine plays. Personally I will be much happier seeing Youkilis man the hot corner in 2011.

Crawford is another great signing. I’m not entirely convinced that paying $142,000,000 over 7 years is entirely wise, although if Jayson Werth is worth $126,000,000 (he isn’t, nowhere close, much like Jason Bay last year) then Crawford was clearly going to get a contract of this type. Crawford is the sort of play we all hope Ellsbury can become, he will make the 2011 Red Sox instantly far superior defensively and offensively to the 2010 version. I can only assume (and hope) that Crawford will play CF for Boston, with Ellsbury moving to LF. Crawford’s talent is utterly wasted in LF whereas playing in the shallowest LF in baseball will definitely extenuates the positives in Ellsbury’s defence.

Mike Cameron needs to go, there is absolutely no value in keeping him on the team at this point. None whatsoever.

Let’s see how the Red Sox compare to the Yankees in 2011 (I just can’t see a Rays team without Crawford being able to compete):

Red Sox Yankees Decision
C: Saltalamacchia Posada Yankees, particularly is one considers likely backups.
1B Gonzalez Teixiera Sox on the basis of Gonzalez being thus-far slump proof.
2B Pedroia Cano Tie.
3B Youkilis Rodriguez I’d give Youk the nod as A-Rod seems to be in decline.
SS Scutaro/Lowrie Jeter Yankees, for the so-called ‘intangible’.
LF Ellsbury Swisher Tie.
CF Crawford Gardner Red Sox, a clear winner.
RF Drew Granderson Tricky one here, I’d have to call it a tie.
DH: Ortiz Thames Red Sox if Papi can squeeze out another good year.

A pretty even split here, though as a whole I think the Red Sox are the more complete, more multi-dimensional team, particularly if Jeter and the post-steroids A-Rod continue to decline offensively.

How about pitching? I’m assuming here that the Yankees will sign Cliff Lee. I just can’t see it not happening.

Red Sox Yankees Decision
Josh Beckett Cliff Lee Yankees, unless Beckett has a major return to form.
Jon Lester CC Sabathia Tie.
Clay Buchholz A.J. Burnett Sox. A.J might be the biggest bust in Yankee history (inc. Pavano).
John Lackey Phil Hughes Tough one, I’ll give it to the Sox as Lackey should bounce-back.
D. Matsuzaka Mitre/Nova Red Sox.

Red Sox are clear winner here. Congratulations Theo, I think you’ve cracked it!

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