Red Sox Hub Digest September 20, 2004
Big Papi: The Big Movie
He has his own salsa and his own sandwich, so it is only a matter of time before he has his own movie. So who should play Big Papi? Ving Rhames quickly comes to mind, as does Michael Clarke Duncan of the Green Mile and Dare Devil fame. Well, we at the Hub are partial to a darkhorse: Florida (Esther Rolle), the loveable mom from good times. Sure, she likely wouldn’t look good trying to hit the long ball, but she just has that winning big papi smile, not to mention the perfect shaped head and hair to play the Cookie Monster…Now, we have to overcome the whole dead in 1998 thing, but hey, this is the movies...If Sinatra, John Wayne, and Fred Estaire can peddle products from beyond the grave, certainly Esther can "pull off a Big Papi" for a "B" movie.
In 2003 and 2004, everything that Theo Epstein touched seemed to turn to gold. Everything he missed turned out to be lucky. In 2005, it can now officially be said that his run of luck has turned. Put these in any order that you see fit; Each move had a domino effect on the others, and the result seems to be a pile of rubble in September...
SUCCESS IS A CHOICE
1. Matt Clement and David Wells over Pedro and Derek Lowe:
AND THE SURVEY SAYS??????
The “Big Three” are not walking through that door in 2005, Slick Ricky Pitino.In the long run, the Sox have saved some significant dollars, and if Pedro’s shoulder falls off next season, few will argue against Theo on this one. For the next 2 seasons, however, this looks like another large blunder. Even if the Sox get into the playoffs, they no longer have the advantage of a big 3 in the rotation. Wells has made almost $10 million this year, and his option has now kicked in for next season that could pay him another $8-10 million. Over paid, Mark Blount. Wells is a pretty good #4, who is now likely the #1 or #2 should the Sox limp into the playoffs…Clement is signed for another 2 years at $8-9 million per, and has shown to be the same second half flop that has been dumped out of Florida and dropped from the pennant race rotation in Chicago last September. He is 4-7, 4.80 E.R.A. the last 3 seasons in September; If the playoffs started tomorrow, this guy would be the long man in the pen. One cannot live on stats alone, but in this case the evidence was damning for both “Sabregeeks” and “Old School Scouts”: Clement’s second half history and psychological reputation should have scared the Sox off. With a stable top of the rotation of Pedro and Lowe, the Sox could have used guys like Bronson Arroyo and Tim Wakefield to plug the sinking bullpen. Instead, Craig Hansen, a 21 year old with 11 INNINGS of professional baseball, is forced into a pennant race. That, Costanza, is a chucker…or an Epstein clunker.
2.The O.C. finally walks, for O.C.,
Error Renteria shows us it IS about the money
Orlando Cabrera was a catalyst of the Red Sox World Series Championship (Still love typing that) and provided a spark both at the plate and especially with the glove-just ask Derek Lowe. Sure, he is an impatient hacker that isn’t one of Theo’s cherished “On Base Machines.” Well, Ghost of Jeremy Giambi, the Sox had plenty of those in the lineup going into 2005, and clearly could have lived with a low count Cabrera. A .270 average with unsurpassed range and steady hands (5 errors this season) would have been more than enough for $18-20 million. But, the Sox missed on their free agent fancies like Adrian Beltre, Carl Pavano, and Carlos Beltran, and overpaid to grab the last available name from the claws of mid-market Cardinals.Edgah now looks like a 40 year old (he may actually be, I’d check those birth records), and is likely the love child of Steve Sax and Jose Canseco in the field, with Jackie Gutierrez in his blood the plate. Four years and $40 million…29 errors…The routine has now become a hellish adventure.3. Deeper and Deeper: Trades Jake’init Payton for The Chad.Bradford proved with the A’s that he is nothing more than a long guy, failing multiple setup and closing job opportunities. Payton has produced 17 homers and has been a very productive starter in Oakland. The Sox now have two contact pitchers in key bullpen roles that can simply be managed around in Mike Myers and Bradford. With the expanded September rosters, this has been a major issue for the Sox bullpen, as teams have plenty of bench players to neutralize these guys through lefty/righty matchups. This was an out of character, Panic move by Theo to unload Jay “Pay-back is a bitch” and try and stop the bleeding in the pen.
4. No More Mr. Nice Guy: Trades Hero Dave Roberts for
$$Payton and "Lead" Vasquez.
Vasquez can’t play, while Payton is miserable from day 1, telling the Sox that he doesn’t want to be a 4th outfielder anywhere. Roberts is a catalyst, and likely leads the Padres to the N.L. West. Title.
5. Yeah, I Meant To Do That: Schilling over Vasquez.
Curt Schilling was actually the Red Sox 2nd choice back during the offseason of 2003, but the Yankees were able to put together a better package of prospects for his services, signing the young righty to a $40 million deal. The Sox, desperate to match the Yankees rotation, ignore father time and and extensive injury history, extending the then 37 year-old Schilling’s deal to 3 years and up to $45 million in order to convince him to leave Arizona. Well, we all know what happened in 2004: Vasquez wilted in Gotham, while Schilling’s heart was even stronger than his flame throwing arm. Curt and the Sox take a big risk ($30 million over 2005 and 2006 to be exact), and send Schilling to the lions den on a stitched up, bloody drive wheel. It was the ultimate in drama, heroics and underdogs. Well, David knocks out Goliath, and the curse is history. Lucky miss indeed.Fast forward to 2005: The Sox now have a 38 year old would-be-ace with an unstable push off ankle, an E.R.A. over 6.00, and an uncertain short and long-term future. The Sox took the risk last year, and it paid off; Now, we are beginning to understand the true cost of the 2004 World Series Championship, both to Schilling personally and to the Red Sox through 2006.