11-19-2010: Crazy offseason scenario number 1

All of this Justin Upton talk has me thinking. The Red Sox need two bats to replace Adrian Beltre and Victor Martinez, and it’s generally thought that we will likely sign a free agent corner outfielder (Jayson Werth or Carl Crawford) and a corner infielder. What if, instead of blowing $100M on two good but aging players, we fill those spots via trade for good young players, utilizing our top prospects? Stay with me here.

Step 1. Send Clay Buchholz, Daniel Bard and Josh Reddick to Arizona for Justin Upton

I know, you’re saying WHAT? But hear me out.

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Links 8-27-2010: Make it or break it in Tampa, random links

It seems like the 4th or 5th time I’ve written this, but the Red Sox’ playoff hopes may ride on this series. Tonight they begin a three game series in Tampa, and if they don’t win at least two of these three, the season may be sunk. History is not on our side for a sweep, but what a great story it would be!

However, Dustin Pedroia looks likely to pack it in for the year and have surgery on his foot, which makes it all the less likely we can go anywhere in October.

Kolbrin Vitek has impressed with the bat, but his fielding has always been sort of questionable. It looks like the Sox might try to transition him to third base. We could use another good prospect there, if he can handle the position.

An interesting article looking at exactly how much clutch hitting figures into baseball, at least statistically.

Tom Tango says that ejected or not, Adrian Beltre made the better bet with Felix Hernandez for that game.

Part 2 of that knuckleballer series is up, and now we see that R.A. Dickey throws his knuckleball much harder than Wake does.

Links 8-26-2010: Consensus building, Damon, Lackey and lefties, Reddick back

I’ve been saying it since Dustin Pedroia went back on the DL, but it appears that more and more people are priming their forks to stick into the 2010 Boston Red Sox. The playoffs are a tough sell at this point, but hey, anything can happen in baseball.

For every good thing that happens to the Sox, it seems that there is a black lining to it. Jon Lester was cruising along, but then he gets blown up in his last start. Josh Beckett is back, supposedly healthy, but he still looks shaky. Clay Buchholz has been dominating, but Patrick Sullivan reminds us that his numbers rest on a lot of “luck”. Hideki Okajima is being held at Pawtucket because of his last poor outing. They don’t want him to come to the Majors on a bad note.

There are some interesting names on the waiver wire, though I don’t expect the Red Sox to be able to land any of them. Scott Downs and Manny Ramirez are both out there. I’d like to add Downs, but no way would I claim Manny. The White Sox are reportedly interested in getting him, though. And guess what else? Man-Ram wants another contract extension. Surprise, surprise.

Unlike some, I was not at all surprised at Johnny Damon’s decision not to return to Boston. With the Sox on the very fringe of contending, what reason does he have to come here? The management refused to pay him what he thought he was worth, the fans have given him an icy reception several times, most of his “idiot” friends have moved on, and most of all he knows how this club works. If he came here, he’d be a part-time guy who would only play against righties. I don’t blame him in the least, though I think he could definitely help this team right now.

It appears that more than one observer has commented on John Lackey’s inability to put away left-handed hitters this season. Southpaws have hit .308/.381/.435 off of him this year, but righties hit him to the tune of .301/.353/.493 back in 2008. Splits can be tricky, because of sample size. We don’t know if this is a real problem or just a blip due to a bad year, and we won’t know until at least next year.

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6-21-2010: Sweep of LA, roster changes, 2010 draftees play, Sox sign Broughton

The Red Sox completed a three-game sweep of the Dodgers this weekend, and it was a lot of fun to watch. Turns out Manny Ramirez’s return was nothing at all. I told you Inter-League play is a good time for Red Sox Nation. Now tied with Tampa Bay for 2nd place, we are in a very strong position going forward. Game-by-game notes:

Game 1: Felix Doubront was not half bad in his Major League debut, and it was good enough for the victory. Guided by Jason Varitek, he showcased a strong 92-93 mph fastball and mixed in a couple of decent curves and changeups. He got 80% first pitch strikes, didn’t make too many mistakes, and he didn’t pitch scared. He was promptly sent back to Pawtucket, and the Sox called up Robert Manuel.

Game 2: Tim Wakefield continues to do what he does, torn 43-year old labrum and all. A lot of errors in this one, but hey, it’s the Ws that count, not the Es. It’s not like the overall defense is bad; rather, the opposite is true. Give some credit to Daniel Nava on Dustin Pedroia’s game-winning, walk-off single.

Game 3: That changeup Clay Buchholz throws is simply unfair. The “hand of God”, as it has been dubbed, made the Dodgers just look bad at the dish. That heads-up play by Pedroia in the 2nd inning proves why he is just so valuable to this team; aware that no one was covering 3rd base because of the shift on David Ortiz, he immediately got up and took the extra bag. That, children, is the way baseball is meant to be played. Adrian Beltre just makes it look so easy over at the hot corner. He calmly picked that rocket by Jamey Carroll on a mid-hop and threw him out. Another thing he makes look easy: smacking the ball to the triangle. How in the world does he generate all that power with one knee on the ground? Watching Darnell McDonald stumble around in right really makes me appreciate J.D. Drew’s defense (hopefully he’s back Tuesday). Speaking of outfield defense, Mike Cameron didn’t look his best in center, but that’s probably because he’s not anywhere near 100% yet.

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Links 6-16-2010: Scutaro’s condition, Doubront debut, looking ahead, Lowell makes sense for Twins

Marco Scutaro was given a nerve root injection in his neck the other day to dull pain in his left arm. Turns out he’s been playing through a pinched nerve and herniated disc in his back all year. His numbers aren’t all that bad, in that light.

With two main starters out of the rotation, the Red Sox have chosen to give prospect Felix Doubront the ball Friday night against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Fenway. The 22-year old lefty, currently 2-1 with a 1.08 ERA at Pawtucket, will make his Major League debut against Manny Ramirez and friends. Best of luck, Doubie.

After all of the reasons for optimism I gave yesterday, Patrick Sullivan balances that out with some things that could turn sour for the Red Sox this year. David Golebiewski also throws some water on the idea that Clay Buchholz is having his breakout season.

Aaron Gleeman takes a detailed look at Mike Lowell and cautiously approves of him as a trade target. He suggests a prospect in their top 30 or so in return for Lowell.

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6-14-2010: Nava!, roster shuffling, draft signings, the Ellsbury fiasco

Daniel Nava stands a stocky 5-10, 200 lbs. He is 27 years old, and has never played above Double-A ball until this season. After not making his college team initially, he was an undrafted player out of Santa Clara, and went to play independent league ball. The Sox signed Nava in 2007 for $1. Seriously. He’s not supposed to be in the big leagues. Yet here he is, slugging a grand slam in his first Major League game; no, check that, first at-bat; no, check that- on the first pitch he ever saw in the Majors off of Phillies starter Joe Blanton, a legitimate big league starter. Nava is actually a very well-rounded player; it’s just that none of his tools predict any level of success at the highest level. His journey is a great story, and I hope that he does stick somewhere, if not with us. Sabermatricians have said that Nava’s excellent minor league numbers bode well for him at this level.

With Josh Reddick already sent back to Pawtucket, Nava was called up to replace the injured Jeremy Hermida, who went on the DL with a severe case of Adrian Beltre. Reliever Joe Nelson was designated as well, making room for Jonathan Papelbon to return to active duty. Unfortunately, Nelson proved ineffective in his stint here, and his future with the team is uncertain. Also called up was left-handed reliever Dustin Richardson, as Daisuke Matsuzaka was suddenly placed on the 15-day DL for forearm problems. He immediately came out and said that it wasn’t a big problem at all, which is a good thing, but I think he should keep his mouth shut more on issues like this.

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6-8-2010: Sox nab Vitek, Brentz and Ranaudo on Day 1

The Red Sox selected three players last night in the first and supplemental rounds of the draft, and were really pleased with the results. Unlike other recent drafts, the Sox went with college players early, and are earning lots of praise for their selections. Just another example of them zigging when others are zagging. True to their efficient form, Boston already has a verbal agreement in place with their first pick, and are expected to sign the second one easily. Here’s a quick overview of who we got:

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