Wednesday, June 10, 2015

They Owed Us One

Shank sure has an irritating way of starting one of his once-in-a-blue-moon positive columns about a Red Sox player.
BALTIMORE — Anybody remember the Jeff Bagwell deal?

They have one like that here in Baltimore now. Eduardo Rodriguez has a chance to become Dan Duquette’s Jeff Bagwell.

Red Sox fans over the age of 35 know what we are talking about. In 1990, lovable Lou Gorman swapped Sox infield prospect Jeff Bagwell for a journeyman pitcher named Larry Andersen. Andersen was a funny dude who used to attach sunflower seeds to his face. He pitched 22 innings of pretty good relief for the 1990 Sox and the Sox won the AL East by two games. Then they were swept by Oakland in the ALCS.

Bagwell went on to hit 449 home runs with a .297 lifetime batting average. He won a Gold Glove. He was National League MVP in 1994. In 2002, fans responding to an ESPN poll voted the Bagwell-Andersen deal as the second worst in baseball history, trailing only Babe Ruth-to-the-Yankees-for-cash.
Just have to rub our noses in it, doesn't he?

Well, now the shoe may be on the other foot:
The Orioles last summer gave the Red Sox Rodriguez in exchange for Andrew Miller at the trading deadline. Miller pitched very well for Baltimore the rest of the way. The Orioles won the American League East by 12 games but were taken out of the playoffs by the Kansas City Royals in the ALCS. Like Andersen, Miller immediately signed with another team.

Eduardo Rodriguez threw six shutout innings, adding to what has been a brilliant introduction to the majors.

Meanwhile, the Red Sox have a guy who looks like one of the best young pitchers in baseball. The 22-year-old Rodriguez was positively dazzling in his first two big league starts, going 2-0, allowing only one run in 14⅔ innings. He walked four and struck out 14. He worked quickly. He immediately made himself the darling of the fandom.
Does anyone else think John Henry pulled Shank into his office and said "Humor me - try writing one damn positive column about the Red Sox!", or is this just a coincidence?

Exit question - isn't the aforementioned Jeff Bagwell one of the players not on Shank's 2013 Hall of Fame ballot because he 'suspects' him of using PED's back in the day? (Answer - why, yes he is!)

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