Friday, September 01, 2006

In which Dan tries to be tactful

After a hiatus of maybe three days, Dan returns this morning! Let's face it: the column title is appropriate. It is indeed time to mail it in and look ahead. This August has, to put it in dignified terms for our sensitive friend Bruce, sucked. It's hard to even know what to say any more. Nothing is probably best, so rest assured Dan will not do that.
Think of September at Fenway as Fort Myers with higher ticket prices.
We never miss an opportunity, do we, Dan? I could think of several differences between Fenway and Fort Myers other than the ticket prices, such as "Fort Myers has not been around since 1912 and is basically a strip mall with palm trees" or "Fenway is not like Fort Myers, because Florida is really awful to be in this time of year, unless you enjoy getting concussions from flying pieces of aluminum siding and drowning in your car." But moving on!

Sox general manager Theo Epstein was reluctant to admit the significance of yesterday's deal, which is expected to bring Triple A catcher George Kottaras into the fold. Boston's young executive with the faded halo said, ``It doesn't mean that these games aren't important. It doesn't mean that the performances of our players aren't important, but it's a balancing act and we thought this was the right thing to do.

``It's not where we expected to be," he admitted. ``It's not where we want to be. But we're not immune from that kind of month [9-21 in August] . . . This is the reality now. And we're going to work hard to make sure it's not going to happen again."

I watched this press conference. It was the funniest thing ever. Dan kept trying to get Theo to come out and say he was throwing in the towel, and Theo just wouldn't do it. Damned if you do and damned if you don't, Theo. If you say you're throwing it in, he jumps on that. If you don't, he jumps on you for being disingenuous. May I suggest a restraining order?

Now, I actually want to congratulate Dan on this next part. He handles the Lester cancer rumors very well, in a sensitive and appropriate manner. Given that his own daughter had cancer some years ago, he probably knows exactly what the Lesters are feeling right now. Kudos, Dan. Also, kudos for including this quote from Francona:

Irresponsible headline update 2: ``His family is going through a little bit of a loop when they woke up and saw what they saw [including a Herald front-page headline that read, `Sox cancer scare -- Lester's enlarged lymph nodes a big concern.'] "
Although this is perhaps somewhat ironic, I think this amounts to calling the Herald out on their incredibly insensitive headline, and I like it. Tony Massarotti, you know you've hit rock bottom when I'm calling Dan a better man than you.

Of course, he then takes most of the second page to play his favorite game: "Crap on Theo Epstein." You can just hear the glee in his voice now that the team has hit a rough patch. How happy you must be, Dan. The team sucks AND you can blame it on Theo! This must be like Christmas!


Shawn said...

Jenny, how on Earth do you manage to watch Sox press conferences from down here in DC? Share!

Anonymous said...

Actually, Ft. Myers was incorporated in 1886, so yes, it was around in 1912.

jenny said...

I should have been more clear. I meant the Sox complex in Ft. Myers, not Ft. Myers itself.

And Shawn, important stuff like that is usually available for playback on the NESN website or on the sidebar at the Globe's Red Sox page. That's where I watched this one. CBS4 Boston has some good videos, too.

fadedredsoxhat said...

Great call-out by Tito towards the Herald and I'm glad that CHB put it in his story.

jenny said...

Unfortunately, it looks like the fear-mongering was accurate. Lester has cancer. Terrible news.

Still doesn't excuse the articles, though.

The Chief said...

So, so many things wrong with this piece. Dell should sue Shaughnessy for misuse of its PCs.

1. "This has been a fold of epic proportions and it's a cop-out to simply blame injuries and bad luck."

Actually, it's not. The Red Sox already have lost

Coco Crisp - DL
Mark Loretta - Injured, not on DL
Ortiz _ Injured, not on DL
Manny Ramirez - Injured, not on DL
Trot Nixon - DL
Jason Varitek - DL
Mike Lowell
Kevin Youkilis
Alex Gonzalez - DL

And here was the opening day pitching rotation:
Curt Schilling
Tim Wakefield - DL
Josh Beckett
Matt Clement - DL
David Wells - DL

That's seven of the nine starting position players and three of the five starting pitchers. Injuries have not only been a factor, they have been a huge one. And can't we ever acknowledge that the Yankees simply have a better team?

2. "Last night, Theo was forced to admit he sold off a contract -- someone who could help this year -- in order to get some value for 2007 and beyond."

Uh, how about a direct quote, Dan? I'd like to hear exactly what Theo said before taking your word for it. Nothing personal, of course.

3. "Go back to the end of the 2004 World Series and list the good moves made by Epstein. It's tough to come up with many. The GM is in a slump reminiscent of the final days of the Lou Gorman regime."

It took my friend Joe about 10 seconds to rebut this. The rest of this reply is his doing.

"Here's a partial list;

Trading a backup catcher for Mark Loretta
Signing Alex Gonzalez
Letting Bill Mueller go and Installing Kevin Youkilis as an every day player
Trading Bronson Arroyo for Wily Mo Pena
Signing David Wells
Acquiring Eric Hinske for nothing
Acquriing Carlos Pena for nothing
Not Giving Derek Lowe $30 million
Signing David Ortiz to a long term contract
Having Back to Back highly rated drafts
Not overpaying Pedro Martinez (4.17ERA vs. AL since 2004, 3 trips to the DL)
Trading David Wells for a well regarded minor league catcher
Acquiring Coco Crisp
Signing John Olerud
Trading for Tony Graffanino
Trading Ramon Vazquez(!) for Alex Cora

OK, I'm tired now."

Objectivebruce said...

Theo is a leading candidate for Major League Executive of the Year, for all he's done for the San Diego Padres -- the outright gifts of Roberts, Bard and Meredith (brilliant, giving up a .328 hitter and a pitcher with a .194 OBA so an aging knuckleballer can have a personal catcher who frolics beneath the Mendoza Line), followed by the Wells dump.

Then there are the breakout years of Hanley Rameriz and Freddy Sanchez (while Beckett is 7-8 against AL teams NOT in last place, Brandon Lyon reached his Red Sox apogee by being traded and Suppan was Cal Koonce-like in his contributions). Or look watch Lowe help pitch a team to the post season at a LOWER annual salary than the Sox pay the pathetic Clement (whose season was IMPROVED by a DL stint) and seeing Lowe do pennant-race-winning things like volunteering to pitch in an extra-inning marathon between starts and winning both the extra-inning game AND the short-rest start which followed. AS for Pedro, the non-baseball related DL stint may be a blessing as he first helps the Mets run away and hide and then is left with many innings left in his arm for the post season.

The rebuttal to this is Carlos "Once, Twice, Three Times A Failure" Pena? Or Coco "Curt Flood Arm" Crisp? Or Eric ".206 vs. RHP" Hinske? Or excuses about the inevitable breakdowns that hit a geriatric pitchig staff? Or that he signed a shortstop after a wasted year when Cabrera was foolishly allowed get away in favor of Renteria (and blowing an extra $2M to ignore old-time baseball people and listen to the stat boys on that one).

Raffling off Wells was a concession speech, spare us the nonsense about balancing acts. It was the kind of late season dump made famous by small-market non-contenders. Theo has had a terrible year, the team we see playing out the string is as dull as at any time since Gorman/Hobson, maybe even since Haywood/Houk.

In the final analysis, at the trading deadline, the Sox led the Yankees by a half game. The Yankees improved themselves by more than a half game. The Sox stood pat. The Sox went into a free-fall that will be the stuff of legend. Now, with the Rameriz and Sanchez trades, Theo is gun-shy.

The GM said, "The buck stops with me." Unfortunately, the GM who said it was J.P. Ricciardi.

Theo had an incredibly lousy year and it taking his lumps for it, just as Shaugnessy predicted he would.

Looks like he columnist is entitled to a rousing session of I Told You So. Perhaps Mike Port and Bill Lajoie can join in the chorus.

And Larry Lucchino makes three.

The Chief said...

Bruce, you are getting weak in your old age.

Cla Meredith pitches in the best pitcher's park in baseball and has thrown all of 30 innings. Great; he's a real Cy Young candidate.

And here's what The CHB wrote on May 2 this year: "The Red Sox, meanwhile, appear vulnerable, never more than when Josh Bard tries to catch Tim Wakefield's knuckler, as he will tonight."

The CHB hated that the Sox let Mirabelli go. He loved the deal for Beckett (wanted to issue him Clemens' number, remember?).

He loved all these moves as they were made, then criticized them when they went awry. Let's just give him the Pulitzer Prize right now.

Oh, and Orlando Cabrera sucks. Except to guys who like playing $8 million a year in exchange for .257/.309/.365/8 HRs.

fadedredsoxhat said...

Some people are not so quick to call Wells a dump.

fadedredsoxhat said...


thats the rest of the URL.

Anonymous said...

Chief, I love this site, but man, when you misfire, do you misfire. C'mon now. Is Petco a pitcher's park? Yes. But there's no way you can pin all of Meredith's improvements to play in that ballpark. He looked like a deer in the headlights when he was here.

The Chief said...

You're right; it's not just the park. Other factors would be pitching against inferior hitters, including other pitchers, and in a much lower pressure environment.

Neither of those things were going to happen here.

Bronson Arropyo experienced the same changes (park excepted) and saw many of the same results, until the NL got a couple of looks at him and started teeing off.

I for one am not ready to induct Cla Meredith to the Hall of Fame -- or even call the trade a mistake -- on the basis of 30 IP. There's little probability he would even have made it back to the big club this year had he remained in Boston.

The Chief said...

Looks like "Carlos Once, Twice, Three Times A Failure Pena" just won the Sox a ballgame, Brucey boy.

Objectivebruce said...

Yes, Carlos Pena is now just one behind the immortal Jim Gosger on the all-time Red Sox walk off homers list. Wonderful. Bet the Rangers, A's and Tiggers are firing people left and right because of this one.

Objectivebruce said...

Oh, and Chief, Cla Meridith just got an extra-innings win in a pennant race. Pitched the final inning and two-thirds in game that entered the 11th scoreless, with his team teertering between 1.5 and 1 game out for the division title. Doesn't that top a walk-off homer for an also-ran?

And BTW, Derek Lowe pitched a n 8-inning, 79 pitch, one-run masterpiece with a fabulous sinker that was absolutely dropping off the table.

What a rotten year for Theo.

objectivebruce said...

Whoops. I forgot the Marlins game.

Anibal Sanchez. No hitter.

Hanley Rameriz. GW RBI in no hittiter.

Josh (1-5 in Aug/Sept.) Beckett.

Is there a record for most All-Rookie team candidates traded away by a single GM in a single year. Or most stupid deals by a GM?

But then, Theo is a genius because the Duquette-dominated club he took over won the World's Series.

The Chief said...

Bruce the issue isn't Theo. The issue that Dan congratulated management left, right, up, down and on the ass-cheeks for its off-season moves. And now he's acting like that never happened (Have you forgotten how he wanted to give Clemens' 21 to Beckett?).

Rookie pitchers who have thrown no-hitters:

Earl Moore, Indians
Nick Maddox, Pirates
Jeff Tesreau, Giants
C. Robertson, W. Sox
Paul Dean, Cardinals
Vern Kennedy, W. Sox
B. McCahan, Athletics
B. Holloman, Browns
Sam Jones, Cubs
Bo Belinsky, Angels
Don Wilson, Astros
Vida Blue, Athletics
Burt Hooton, Cubs
Jim Bibby, Rangers
Steve Busby, Royals
M. Warren, Athletics
J. Jimenez, Rockies
B. Smith, Cardinals
A. Sanchez, Marlins

That's a real indicator for career success. What's the Marlins record? 70-69? Yeah, the Sox are really missing out.

The Chief said...

As for the rest of the ass-clowns you cite, well, last time we saw Derek Lowe he was putting up a 5.42 ERA. Sure, $9m/year sounds good!

Meanwhile Pedro has 4.16 ERA against the A.L. since he became a Met and has been on the DL three times in that span. Let's pay him $13m!

Meredith bombed in Boston, has pitched well in San Diego. Rudy Seanez bombed in Boston, pitched well in San Diego (and they brought him back, btw). See a pattern here? Easy environment...difficult environment.

As my friend Joe notes, Anibal Sanchez this season: 7-2, 2.88, Aaron Sele 1993 - 7-2, 2.74. Someone tell the Hall of Fame to get that plaque ready, stat.


fadedredsoxhat said...

Whoa!! Now we're defending Dan Duquette?

A world title under Duquette/Kerrigan? Never!

dbvader said...

the outright gifts of Roberts

Getting a good 4th OF and a solid backup IF plus cash for a 4th OF is a not gift, you anything but objective moron.