Links 12-15-2010: Guerrier to LAD, Albers, ticket$, WAR expectations, more

Now that Scott Downs has signed with the Halos and Matt Guerrier with the Dodgers, the Red Sox are hesitant to go three years with any of the remaining relievers, hence the lull. They are supposedly adding hard-throwing righty Matt Albers, who has never done well in the ERA department, but has a good sinker and pitched very well towards the end of last season. Hey, at least it’s a start.

The two big signings last week accomplished what ownership set out to do, as the Red Sox sold 238,818 tickets last weekend. That’s almost back up to post-2007 World Series level. Wow.

The Phillies are pretty darn good now that Cliff Lee is in the fold. Dave Cameron does the WAR analysis, and says that he expects the Red Sox to be right up there as a team that’s expected to win 98 games. “Expected” is the key word here.


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Links 5-25-2010: It’s all coming together, roster moves, pressure to win, more on the AL East

Kevin Youkilis is scorching the ball (.388/.563/.821 in May), as I saw signs of it back in late April. The man is just in the zone, and not even Roy Halladay can stop him. Hope you’ve also noticed that Victor Martinez is also getting hot at the plate (.423/.444/.923 in 26 AB since May 17), just as David Ortiz morphs back into a pretty good imitation of Big Papi. This is the nature of baseball; players go through long, frustrating streaks as well as long, torrid ones. Let’s hope they stay hot for a long time. The rest of the year wouldn’t be bad.

BTW, Martinez appears to be okay after taking a foul tip off his left foot last night. X-rays were negative, so the Sox are not making a roster move.

Speaking of hot, the Boston rotation is finally putting it together, and surprisingly, the laggards are Josh Beckett and John Lackey, who were among the pitchers expected to anchor this staff. How about that Clay Buchholz? And with Jason Varitek catching him, Daisuke Matsuzaka put together a near no-hitter (that would have been number 5 for Tek, all with different pitchers). Varitek was quick to put down any suggestion that he should play over Martinez, and Terry Francona continues to insist that Dice-K will not always be caught by Varitek- but I think that’s meant to defend Victor’s reputation as a catcher more than anything else. Why break up what works? Not to be outdone, Tim Wakefield turned in a gem of a start in his go against the Phillies as well. He also knows when to call it quits; that’s why he’s still around at 43 years old. Bless that pitching depth.

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Meet Chris Woodward (before he’s gone)

For those tuning in to this Yankees series, you might not recognize that face at shortstop – 33 year-old Chris Woodward. I vaguely remember him from his days with the Toronto organization. He’s kind of one of those no-hit, good fielding middle infielders you see traveling around the Majors. He came up with the Blue Jays, spent some time with the Mets and the Braves, then was picked up by Seattle this season. You may not see him around for too long, as the Sox are doing everything they can to acquire a shortstop in this post-trade deadline environment.

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Saito for Blalock deal nixed; Smoltz to debut Jun 25

The Red Sox revealed that they were considering a trade of Takashi Saito for Hank Blalock with the Texas Rangers, but Josh Hamilton’s trip to the DL deep-sixed the talks last week. Blalock is a left-handed power threat whose bat has come around recently, and he is a DH-type who can play first or third base in a pinch. He’s making $6.2M in his walk year. Sounds like a decent acquisition to me. This confirms a couple of things about the way the front office views our team: they are indeed worried about David Ortiz, and they view the bullpen depth as a strength from which we should deal to get what we need.

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Links: Sox on the mend, Francona’s health

Mark Kotsay. Now that’s a name you haven’t heard much of lately. But Kotsay is scheduled to return to the Major League roster this Tuesday. It looks like Jeff Bailey’s run as our 1B/OF reserve is over, unless something unexpected happens, like David Ortiz hits the DL or something like that.

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Links: Health reports, Bay, Dice-K

J.D. Drew is sitting with that quad again, which was fine today with Scott Kazmir on the mound. But it’d be nice to get him back in the lineup sooner rather than later. Somewhat more worrisome to me is Kevin Youkilis being out with tightness in his side. It’s improving, but the Sox are loathe to test it prematurely. Asked about it today, Youk said he has no clue what it is. Jacoby Ellsbury is back in the lineup after tweaking his hamstring at the end of last week. Read more of this post

2009 Offseason: Pedroia signs 6-year extension

It was announced today that Dustin Pedroia signed a 6-year deal with the Red Sox worth $40.5M. The deal locks him in until 2014, two years beyond his free agency-eligibility year, and includes a team option for 2015 (which is voided in the event of a trade). Pedey is thrilled with the contract, and understandably so. Pretty heady stuff for the 5-9 (wink, wink) second baseman, who’s already been an All-Star and won Rookie of the Year, a Silver Slugger, a Gold Glove and AL MVP awards. It’s hard to believe that the guy has yet to reach his prime years, and there’s a lot of good baseball left to come from him. Here’s the money breakdown:

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