Friday, December 27, 2013

What Does the Sox Say?

For the two of you who haven't seen this.

While you may take a few things to the bank, the Yankees' internal pledge to stay below the salary cap isn't one of them. Their salacious pursuit of Masahiro could easily blow their pitching budget into the stratosphere. The posting fee for the Japanese import is twenty million and the right-hander is angling for a 17 million dollar per year contract. "If you want economy, then you have to pay for it."

Meanwhile, the Sox have a surfeit of pitching (a dangerous concept indeed with the fragility of pitchers), but the odds favor them relocating one for cap space and maneuvering room to sign either Stephen Drew or more outfield help. Drew must be kicking himself (better yet uber-agent Scott Boras) for declining fourteen million dollars. First round draft pick compensation weighs on Drew like Roseann Barr singing the National Anthem.

What I fail to understand is the bum's rush for Will Middlebrooks. Yes, I understand that he has a nasty habit of chasing sliders away. When dogs can be trained to sing (everyone has seen the howling puppy video), why can't a twenty-something year-old slugger be trained to "see" those sliders go by? So you want to hold him responsible for the obstruction call? Three-run homers compensate for excessive strikeouts. Post All-Star break he was .276/.329/.476/.805. You're saying what about October, he hit .160. Then you can't lust after Stephen Drew, who hit .111 in fifty-four October at bats. While consistency may be the hobgoblin of little minds, sabermetricians eat that 'stuff' up.

Decisions, decisions. What will the Sox ante up to start the Jon Lester Retirement Fund? I'm feeling that 100 million over five years would be reasonable for a guy who can take sure-fire financial security and run, or go sign with the Baltimore Orioles (or others) and get torpedoed by medicals.

What won't happen in 2014? Unless Dennis Eckersley has been cloned and stashed away somewhere, nobody is going to have a Uehara-like relief numbers. Short of putting gawd almighty himself on the mound, John Farrell simply can't expect a repeat. Including the post-season, 88 innings, 40 hits, 9 walks, 117 strikeouts. Post All-Star break, including the post-season, 45.2 innings, 16 hits, 1 walk, 57 strikeouts, and an E.R.A. of  0.39. Strikeout ratio of 57 to 1 after the All-Star break. Those aren't even Nintendo numbers.

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