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The Good Ol' Days

     Not really a Red Sox entry here, but Tom Singer recently published an article on that I found very interesting.

    I don't know about every fan, but many a baseball fan has complained about the lack of team loyalty in today's game. This isn't to criticize the players; they have every right to earn what they possibly can. But don't we miss the Ted Williams', Bob Fellers, Joe DiMaggios, and Stan Musials? Great players (legends, all), that all spent their entire careers in one town? In recent years, a star player willing to take a smaller pay cut to stay with their original team has become a rarity. There are often many other factors than money - look at Roy Halladay. The man has given Toronto all the opportunity in the world, but he is leaving because he wants his ring.

     However, recently, a player jumping ship for the amount of zeros is not an anomaly. Alex Rodriguez became the poster boy for such behaviour when he left Seattle as a free agent in 2001.     

     Tom Singer's article, however, shows that a recent trend in the game is the more common occurence in teams locking up their young players through their arbitration years, and into free agency. Boston fans witnessed this last winter when Boston handed out long-term deals to the homegrown trio of Dustin Pedroia, Jon Lester and Kevin Youkilis. Jacoby Ellsbury can probably look for one to be offered this winter.

     But league-wide, these contracts are being doled out. Look at almost any team, and they are saving money by having a home-grown star locked up long term. The games reigning greats - Albert Pujols, Hanley Ramirez, Joe Mauer - are all in this category. 2009's most dominant pitcher, Zack Greinke, is in the midst of a four-year deal, and the games best emerging pitcher, two-time and reigning Cy Young Award winner Tim Lincecum, is in a position to talk long-term to San Fransisco this winter.

Evan_Longoria      The long-term deal to a young player was epitomized by the Tampa Bay Rays in 2008, when they locked up budding All-Star Evan Longoria to the tune of nine years, just seven games into his career.

     This trend is reflected in the free agent market these past few years, as well. For several seasons now, the lack of impact players on the open market has been growing. And when the free agent pool is deep, as in the '08-'09 offseason, seemingly no teams are interested, presumably because of their good, young talent.

     The return of the franchise player is something I think many fans can agree is a welcome sight.


     In Red Sox news, basically nothing has happened so far this postseason.

     Alex Gonzalez has departed for Toronto, creating a unique infield with defensive stars John Macdonald and Aaron Hill up the middle, but defensive liability Edwin "E-5" Encarnacion at third.

     I was, and I'm sure many Red Sox fans were, sad to see Gonzalez go. A combination of defensively-gifted Gonzalez and durability-questioned Jed Lowrie was at least an answer at a position where the Red Sox have managed to have eight different names at the top of the depth chart in a six-year span.

     Now Boston just has a big question mark. Does Jed Lowrie get the starting nod? If he does, will he be 100% by April? If he is, can he be productive? If he is, who will be the Red Sox' backup SS?

20090411080314163_1      One name being thrown around the Hot Stove in heavy connection with the Red Sox is Marco Scutaro. This is somebody I have no interest in. Scutaro has a good 2009. A .379 OBP stands out, but this season was clearly an anomaly for Scutaro, who recently turned 34. He holds a career batting average of .265, with an OBP of .337.

     I could stand for mediocre (at best) offensive numbers if he was a defensive treat like Gonzalez, but Scutaro has never turned heads in the field, and by the numbers, ranked 15th among 26 major-league shortstops with 750 innings played in UZR, 13th in Range Factor, 18th in Double Play Ranking. In short, he is an offensively-overrated, defensively unattractive, nonathletic (for a SS) player who, let's not forget, is 34.

     Also, he is listed as a Type-A free agent, meaning that Boston would forfeit their first-round draft pick to the Jays, assuming they offer Scutaro arbitration, which should happen, and which he should refuse.

     The only other Hot Stove news to report is that Boston is apparently applying a 'full-court press' to the pursuit of Jays ace Roy Halladay. I love this move. There are few Red Sox players or prospects I would hate to lose, and none of them are names being brandied. The proepect of a Halladay-Lester-Beckett-Matsuzaka-Wakefield rotation is worth losing Clay Buchholz, Casey Kelly, and (prospect's name here).

     Theo is supposedly trying to pry Halladay away from the Jays before the Winter GM meetings, where an all-out derby for Halladay could develop (think Johan Santana in 2007). If the Red Sox pull this off, not only is the rotation upgraded, but it's another 30+ innings of a lighter load on the bullpen, which trickles back down to the rotation again, and essentially the Doctor turns the whole staff up a notch. Boston goes from a 90-win team to a team that could topple the Yankees and win 100+ games.

     Well, there are my thoughts on recent happenings around the league.

     Thanks for coming out,



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