Is the future bright?

Throughout the past few days a lot of things have happened both positive and negatively effecting the Red Sox. Between trades, and rumors or even just the thought of the Winter Meetings.Just this past weekend we have seen four prospects leave, one big bat enter the Red Sox lineup, a high profile free agent’s hopes dismissed, and a player taken off the offer board.
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9 players, or the whole system?

Late Friday night, there was a rumor that on an Adrian Gonzalez deal was to be made, one that would have serious consequences such as giving up top prospects. The weekend held, it’s up’s and downs for both the origination and the fans. However, to my readers this is not considered “new”. At the same time, Jayson Werth had signed with the Nationals. The same person who the Red Sox had wanted. What does this mean for the Red Sox, in my opinion, nothing. Except, fans and Epstein should be making arrangements to put/keep Ryan Kalish in center or left. I’ve always thought that we should let the well respected Mike Cameron stay in center for hopefully the whole season, J.D Drew should spend his expected last year in right and Ryan Kalish and Darnell McDonald can share left. You’ll notice the one name I left out of this, Jacoby Ellsberry. If it must happen, let Mike Cameron share the job with Ellsberry. Then, What about Daniel Nava? Spending his year with Pawtucket just because there is no room, I’m positive it’s happened before to players, but just doesn’t seem right? Does he share the time with Drew? It all just seems, we have too many people in the outfield. Why would we want Jayson Werth? I just don’t see it.

What’s happening with the Prospects?

 I have spent some time writing up my own reports lately of what I have noticed. Though mostly there about the players who have spent either most or all of their season in Double A Portland I have included some of the bigger names from Pawtucket. With Anthony Rizzo, Casey Kelly, Reymond Fuentes and an unnamed prospect gone off to the San Diego Padres, there are some spots for movement in the minors. Or maybe, just some space for breathing. Last year, there were several movements from Pawtucket which caused movement from Portland to fill the space. I don’t predict nearly as many movements as last year which will put these players more on the spot. They’ll really have to show there true potential in order to see the next level.

Adrian Beltre? Is there still hope?
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 Since acquiring first basemen Adrian Gonzalez, there is really no place to put this third basemen. Youk can play Third and Gonzalez can fill the first base position. Just minutes after this had happened, it had been reported that Oakland, or the team that had offered Beltre a deal from the beginning had pulled their deal. For the Red Sox, this is not that big of a deal, but what does this mean for Beltre? Was it wrong for him to want to play for the Red Sox and not except other offers until he had his answer. Some might argue that it’s really too bad that Beltre has no other offers on him so far. Or some might argue that Beltre (on the free agent list) should always keep his eyes and mind open for a deal, because there is a chance, (bigger then slight) you will not be going back. With this perfect deal from the Oakland Athletics, it would have given him 3-5 years of playing, which is all Beltre had wanted at the end of the season. But, with him hoping that he would return to Boston with just that amount of time, he would just not accept. This might have been partially Beltre’s fault, although it just shows the organization that Beltre would, if given the offer, been dedicated to Boston. You never know, what if Gonzalez doesn’t adjust?

 Situation covered in dirt, or solved?

 Will losing Victor Martinez ever come up, as something that happened for a reason? Well, that is not likely. With Martinez gone, and Salty as our starting catcher, everything was in jeopardy not only because of Salty but because we only had one catcher that had the ability to catcher full time, or when needed at a major league level. But, after a little over a week of thinking they might take what they can get, they explored the idea of taking Jason Varitek back for the one year he wanted. They got him. A one year, 2 million dollar deal, not a commitment but a good idea for the 2011 season. He will be the backup catcher and mentor. Not only will the Red Sox be covered but also, the younger catchers including Salty will be trained for the time when their the only catchers behind the plate.
Jarrod

A-gon decision isn’t “gone”.

Screen shot 2010-10-11 at 8.24.23 PM.pngIt’s a good day to be a Red Sox fan, but a bad day to be a Portland Sea
Dogs fan. First basemen Adrian Gonzalez is expected to be a huge bat in
the lineup for the 2011. What does this mean for the future? Or, What
does this mean for Adrian Beltre? First, obviously this is not a bad
deal. As a Red Sox nation we got the San Diego Padres powerful hitter,
but was the cost worth it? So far we have given up, First basemen
Anthony Rizzo who is a a powerful offensive and defensive first basemen.
Having his year with the Portland Sea Dogs in the 2010 season ending
with 20 home runs and a .263 average. His fan base was not small and he
will for sure make a huge gap in our prospect list. But, Casey Kelly
made an even bigger dent in the list. Number one prospect Casey Kelly
was also given to the Padres. A right handed pitcher with a 90-95 mph
fastball. He was also expected to have one of the better curve balls in
the system. What we have seen from Kelly this year on the mound and even
in the Arizona Fall league was barely average. However, his progress is
too big to overlook. Both of these players could have made a great
difference in the way our farm teams run. Yet another prospect was taken
from us though. Outfielder Reymond Fuentes. Who played for Greenville
for his 2010 season hitting .270 with 5 home runs and 41 Rbi’s. Although
not too far along in his career still an above average outfielder with
both offensive and defensive skills. But, if that’s not enough for you
to think again about this trade. Another Prospect is suppose to be gone
off to the padres as well. Names have been thrown around, Nate Spears,
Jason Rice and Daniel Turpen. Nate Spears who’s contract had just been
signed a couple days ago. Jason Rice who the Red Sox have considered for
the ‘new’ reliever of the year and the quickly progressing right handed
starting pitcher, Daniel Turpen. There is a lot of things to consider
before making a deal like this and it’s possible it may work out for the
2011 season. But, half of the players picked from the prospect list
were projected to be on the 40 man roster by 2012. So, what happens if
the Red Sox need a new starter with a powerful curveball? Adrian
Gonzalez won’t be able to offer that. J.D. Drew is expected to retire,
what if they need a powerful outfielder that has good range and can hit
to all fields, drive in runners and is a threat on base. None of these
things, Gonzalez can offer. The only exception to this is Anthony Rizzo,
whom will be missed but first base is likely to be covered for the next
4-5 years at least.
Now, Adrian Beltre. Since now we’ll have Youk on third and Gonzalez on
first. Adrian Beltre is not likely to be paid to come back. There is a
certain point, where no matter what this one guy looks like, was it
worth giving up five?

The other side of the argument, which is also filled with opinion.
Adrian might be great, these prospects might make there way in history
with the Padres and Adrian Beltre will find he is just as happy in any
other uniform as long as he is playing baseball for the next 3-5 years.
There has been so much hype about this subject. Tweets and Blogs and
even professional articles have been all about whether this is a good
idea or not. Just a few minutes ago, I have found several rumors
pointing to the fact that we are getting A-gon and our prospects will
follow shortly, but will stay where they are for now. However, no one
seems to answer the question, “What does this mean?” In the middle of
the year they decide they need a new starting pitcher? This should not
work for the Red Sox if that’s the deal. Just today, as fans and
over-lookers we have seen the trade deadline come and pass with no
information. There have only been rumors, but after the story changing
several times in a day or even in the hour I can no longer post about
the topic accurately. It seems as if, everyone is confused even the
people who should know the most. I understand, this must be frustrating
not only for the fans but for everyone. News reporters can only give
what they’ve heard, and if there being fed inaccurate information,
nobody will know the truth. I expect this to be the hot topic for a
while. I don’t think that within the hour, we’ll have all the
information, and I don’t think we’ll ever know what happened behind
doors while we were twiddling our fingers and tweeting hopelessly. But,
then again, I could be all wrong.

Not joking; Ten seconds after I wrote that it was reported by
Baseball America that first basemen Adrian Gonzalez is going to be on
the Red Sox and they will send Kelly, Rizzo, Fuentes and a still unnamed
prospect to San Diego. Baseball America or a random guy on the street, I
refuse to believe it until I either hear about it in an interview or
see it in a game, and even then I might not believe that we lost four of
our prospects.

Scouting report; from the sidelines

Screen shot 2010-12-08 at 10.02.18 AM.pngAnthony Rizzo – A 21 year old first baseman who shared his time between Salem and Double A Portland for the 2010 season. Rizzo is one of the power swingers in the lineup. A strong first baseman with a solid build and strong arm, an everyday player who won two impressive awards this year, Portland Sea Dogs most valuable player and Red Sox best offensive player of the year. Rizzo finished his Double A year with 20 home runs and .263 average. Not a huge threat for base stealing, could improve on protecting the plate and breaking pitches.

Nate Spears – A 25 year old second basemen and shortstop who spent all season in Double A Portland. Towards that end of the season he began to hit in the first and second place in the lineup, amazing potential to get on base, a threat on base and reads the ball and pitcher beyond standards. Walks the majority of the time, finished the 2010 season with 20 home runs and .273 average. Also winning two awards, Eastern League All Star and Red Sox baserunner of the month (Aug/Sep). Mysteriously over-looked by both scouts and fans.

 Che Hsuan Lin- A 22 year old outfielder, mostly center who spent all season with Double A Portland. Huge potential as an outfielder, strong arm, has the ability to throw from mid to deep center to home plate (assists) with tremendous accuracy. Strong at bats, hits in the middle of the lineup. Works the count well, has a lot of power however could get his lower body into his swing, which would cause more power and allow the ball to travel further leading into more home runs of which he finished with 2, and an average of .275. Given one award; Red Sox defensive player of the year.

Jose Iglesias- A 20 year old shortstop with a big fan base. Minimal power, could work on hitting to all fields. Most of 2010 was spent on the DL from a wrist injury. Spent the beginning of the season with Double A Portland finishing with a .285 average with 0 home runs and 17 Rbi’s. Bats at the end of the lineup. Great defense skills as a young shortstop, good instincts. Just finished with the Arizona Fall League with a .269 average.

 Luis Exposito – A 23 year old Catcher who spent his whole season in Double A Portland. Strikes out too much, but has power at bat. Hits a lot of doubles (to the corners),not a threat on base, average for a catcher. Great defensive catcher with a strong build. Needs to work on throwing accuracy and game calling. Exposito finished his season with a .260 average and 11 home runs with a team leading 94 Rbi’s. Stronger when people are on base, like’s lefties and feels more confident with the starting pitchers.

Yamaico Navarro – A 23 year old Shortstop and Third Basemen. Who spent his 2010 season with Double A Portland, Triple A Pawtucket and The Red Sox. Navarro has good defensive skills, will do anything to get a ball. Minimal power at bat, hits in the middle of the lineup for all levels. Performing in the Dominican Winter League with a .261 average and 4 home runs.

Ray Chang – A 27 year old third basemen, shortstop and second basemen. He
spent all of 2010 with Double A Portland. He hit .298 with 9 home runs and
55 Rbi’s. Most productive at third base, pointless dives that ruin a play
occasionally. Average speed on base, not a threat. Chang does well with most
aspects of the batting, but obviously age is going to be an issue.

Casey Kelly – A 21 year old right handed pitcher who spent all of the 2010
season with Double A Portland. Kelly’s earned run average .513 with 3 wins 5
losses. He also played in the Arizona Fall League with 1 win and 0 losses.
Improving quickly. Missed the end of the season with Portland due to a
shoulder injury. He is suspected to range between 90-95 mph fastball.
Curveball is expected to become a wipeout pitch sitting at 73-79 mph. But,
for now, Kelly is simply learning the ropes. He spent his 2009 career as a
shortstop and average batter and defensive player. (Greenville: .224)

Matt Sheely – A 24 year old outfielder. Who spent most of his season with
Double A Portland but played 7 games with Triple A Pawtucket. Batting (.238)
(.222). Below Average batter, doesn’t have a lot of hits. Once he gets on
base, threat, above average speed. Can play all outfield positions
successfully with good range. Not a strong batter. Hits better with people
on base.

Aaron Bates – A 26 year old First basemen who spent all season with Triple A
Pawtucket. Hitting .240 with 12 home runs and 54 Rbi’s. Currently Playing in
the Caguas Winter League hitting .167 with 16 games played. good first
basemen, plays every game with good attitude. Team player. Started by making
solid contact in Single A but since reaching Double A has needed to elevate
the ball. Average speed on base, not a threat.

Catch A Clue

Screen shot 2010-12-08 at 9.50.22 AM.pngRussell Martin, a twenty-seven year old catcher with a shaky major league career. Performing for the L.A. Dodgers, leaving with a average lower then .250 with only 12 home runs combined. Although these numbers are not much, there is a reasoning. This young catcher had a hip injury, only allowing him to play in 97 games for the Dodgers this last season. The true potential of this short 4 year MLB career catcher is higher then we’ve seen. At full recovery which he is expected to have by early March, he has proven to finish with a average .293 average, 10-20 home runs, 70 – 90 RBI’s. As you can see for an offensive catcher this would be gold for the Red Sox. With Salty thinking he is ready for the big responsibility and the fans and Epstein thinking otherwise, we need another option whether it be starting catcher or back up. If the Red Sox were to pick up a catcher off the free agency, there is no doubt in my mind that Martin would be the best pick and match. If we look at what we lost, we will see a determined catcher with tons of ability both behind the plate and at the plate. Russell Martin, at his full standard which that Sox will know in time, would be key. When looking back, Adrian Beltre, Kevin Cash, Bill Hall and even Victor Martinez, the Sox have not had it bad while picking off the free agent list. Even though it’s a little shaky at times, they all had something the Red Sox needed in their lineup to win some games. This situation is like any other, a catcher will potential, the Sox with an option and a decision to be made. This in my opinion would be the best thing for both the team in 2011 and even in the future. Putting Salty in the backup position would give him some playing time and would allow the Sox to make a educated decision about whether to use him in later years, but hopefully by then we’ll have some Minor leaguers ready by then. One more point to add, this catcher is a two time All Star goer for the National League, which I believe is more incentive to get him. We might have lost a huge guy in the line up but we also saved more money for a younger guy with in my opinion just as much potential.

Tigers did more then steal a base this time.

Screen shot 2010-12-08 at 9.49.29 AM.pngDuring this time of year all we have to do is read and look at possibilities for trades. So, the media feeds it to us. With the Derek Jeter decision that has hit every baseball twitter page and every sports center showing things have heated up. The one things that rallies me up every time is how much thought get’s put into one person. The very recent Victor Martinez decision that has just been finalized was a hype for over a month. It was even a hype for different reasons throughout his time with the Red Sox. The Detroit Tigers gave Martinez a fifty million dollar four year contract just a few days ago. He accepted, but the question that haunts the Red Sox fans and the media is what does the catching situation look like for this New England team who struggled with injuries last year? I think about the catching situation quite often, with one of my favorite players being a talented catcher in Double A you never know when the next trade will be made, this quote is true for the most recent situation. “You never know when the next trade will occur.” Right now, Salty looks like the Red Sox best option but with his past wouldn’t it be wise to have a good solid back up. Now, I am not a Jason Varitek fan, but why not give him one more year? A solid average for his age and a catcher, a captain and it’s not a huge commitment because he will be looking for retirement next year. I find, this might be the option we see, but what I would like to see is the Red Sox “take what they can get”. By using Salty and maybe a catching prospect on the rise, someone who is young with a solid build and a solid average might keep more options open for the future. There is obviously a lot to think about for Theo Epestein. If I were the one making these decisions, I would do more then think about 2011 for sure. Setting up the future, I believe is just as important. There are many reactions to this weeks Victor Martinez trade mine is simple. I wrote on Wednesday night after a question was asked, wether I would support him on the tigers, I wrote; ” Once a V-Mart supporter, always a V-Mart supporter”. This will always be true for any player. Going into my love for baseball I went in with the same knowledge most people do, “Be prepared to loose them”. I cope with the idea of, cheering anyway.

Derek Jeter’s free agency is quite the same decision although I wouldn’t expect any moves anytime soon. To be honest, I believe this is a true way to get this 36 year old player to understand he is not worth as much as he thinks, at this older than average age, for a shortstop it would be crazy to have the same income coming in as they did 10 years ago. Although Jeter, has been with the Yankees for 16 years, there would be no reason not to believe he must get less, his skill will deteriorate not because of less practice but because of physical ability. This has nothing against Jeter because I believe he is a very talented shortstop with even more power at the bat but as for any layer this good cost for the team must go down. Every time I see the question, “Would you like to see Derek Jeter in a Red Sox Uniform?” My answer would automatically be yes, but for halloween. Since I am not known for hating the Yankees, that was not meant to be a knock but just a eye opening moment for whoever reads this, If I were a player I would love to stay on the same team after succeeding there for so long. Derek Jeter should stay with the Yankees and Victor Martinez should make a good solid transfer to the Detroit Tigers, and I honestly wish him luck.Screen shot 2010-12-08 at 9.50.05 AM.png.

New Britain Rock Cats

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There is no off season.

The time between September and March is the
basic “off season” time for a minor league baseball player.
The time when fans crave news about the next season, the time
when I twiddle my fingers and hope for the best. But, while
we are hopelessly waiting for the next trade to happen some
of these players participate in the Arizona Fall League or
the Dominican Winter League but as we know, now everyone
get’s into these places. I believe this still does not mean
these players are resting on the couch eating potato chips
and forgetting about overall health. Absolutely not. These
players work out every minute of there life, think of new
ways to face a pitcher, new ways to play their position. “Off
season” is the time where the players go home into a new
atmosphere and learn what there is to learn there. There are
jobs across the country that allow days off and the players
have these days but just like any other job it’s always on
there mind. Catcher Luis Exposito for the 2009 Portland Sea
Dogs writes on his twitter that he works out in the morning
quite a bit. He is performing in the Dominican Winter League.
Casey Kelly, Ryan Lavarnway, Jose Iglasies and Jason Rice all
performed in the Arizona Fall League. As you can see there
are many times when the fans know it’s the off season but in
the players eyes, “There’s no such thing as off
season.”