Friday, July 02, 2004


We had a massive thunderstorm come through around 3AM last night. Lasted around a half-hour, and the sky was pretty much lit up constantly throughout, with loud bangs, booms, and crashes - some of which were way too close for comfort.

David slept right through it.

Also in the "boom" category: I'd give it two more weeks. If the Sox can't claw back at least the three games' distance that they've lost this week, it's time to blow it up and try and build a team for next year. I try real hard to keep Varitek for another three years or so (he may be slumping at the plate, but he's still terrific at handling the staff). If I can, I re-sign Pedro to a three year deal as well if the money's right because at worst he's a number two guy in your rotation. Lowe? He's had some quality starts lately and appears to be turning it around. Trade him. Nomar? He doesn't seem to want to be here anymore. Let's see if we can accomodate him. Kim and Mendoza? I've given up on Mendoza. If someone wants him for a bag of slightly used baseballs, I'd make the deal. Kim may have a little value if he shows that he's healthier.

If we get rid of those four players, that's the better part of $30 million on this year's payroll (prorated) Garciaparra and Lowe might make good rent-a-players for a real contender, which we apparently are not. Next years' team gets built around Schilling and (hopefully) Martinez in the rotation, with Wakefield a decent 3/4 starter and Arroyo probably sticking around - I like his stuff. Finding another middle-back of the rotation guy to replace Lowe isn't too tough to do and you can audition guys in the farm system for the rest of the season before hitting the market this fall. I like our bullpen, though Williamson's fragility bugs me and Timlin's getting old (he's my age, for Pete's sake).

In the infield, I want Varitek to stay even though his arm isn't great (in his defense, holding runners isn't a Sox priority), because he calls a great game and when he's hitting well, he's got good power. Mirabelli is a good backup, and they've got a kid (Shoppach) in the farm system who has a chance at getting here in a year or so. At least it seems that way, because he comes up in all the trade talk. Mueller stays at third for another season unless he's tradable. If he moves, Youkilis gets the job full-time. Pokey Reese becomes the shortstop of the immediate future - I love his attitude and hope he retires here. We make do at second for now. Hopefully, Hanley Ramirez becomes the shortstop of the future everyone says he is, but right now he's in A ball. He's at least a year or two off. First base is a conundrum. Right now, I'd say let David McCarty play it - he's their best defensive option and we haven't seen enough of him at the plate to know if he can hit or not. I know he's not a great fielder, but we should try and get Ortiz as much time there as possible. With repetition he could perhaps at least become an average first baseman. His offense gives us enough that it's worth a try.

I wouldn't mess too much with the outfield. Assuming a healthy Trot Nixon (which has been a dangerous assumption lately), I love him in right - and if Damon left I wouldn't mind him in center. My hope on Damon, though, is that he'll take less money after his contract's up next year and stay here. I like his game, and he should realize that in this market nobody's going to offer him $8 million anywhere anymore. Manny can have left field as long as he wants. I love his offense, and he's worked to improve his defense - he plays a solid left field. And with the way he really took his personality and turned it around (most say he's just decided to show us what his teammates already see), I'd be happy to see him finish his contract and retire here. Yes, he makes too much money, but that a function of the market he signed his deal in.

I'm happy with Theo's efforts to build a roster while stuck with some bad contracts from the Harrington/Duquette era. He deserves the job he's got. I'm not as enamored of Terry Francona, but that's not so much because of his strategy - it's because he reminds me in all the worst ways of Pete Carroll. It's always sunny on his side of the street, and that's not what we fans want to hear. If they suck, we want you to say it. Please.

Does it get any simpler? Please - don't hesitate to send me your suggestions.

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