July 23, 2012; St. Louis, MO. USA; St. Louis Cardinals first baseman Lance Berkman (12) hits a one-run single in the first inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Busch Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-US PRESSWIRE

Runs Hits and Errors: Cranking Up The Rumor Mill. Reality? Bah!


In a previous life as an IT project manager I was managing a particularly challenging project, the delivery date of which was impossibly tight and stood a very real chance of failing to deliver. What I came to realize soon enough was that, like Apollo 13, failure was not an option. Management had made up their mind. Let the march begin. At one point early on the project team debated spiritedly with our customer with one team member finally blurting out, “This just isn’t realistic” to which our esteemed customer replied, “I am not constrained by reality.”

It is in that spirit that this week’s RH&E takes an unconstrained-by-reality swipe at many of the Red Sox trade rumors floating around the baseball blogosphere. Serious sports journalism is like any of its cousins in the financial, hard news and political sectors – solid, fact driven and trustworthy. Even Rupert Murdock would not mistake the following scintillating tidbits for serious journalism.

Salty Gone? Credit: Kim Klement-US PRESSWIRE

OK Catchers, Line Up. One of You Has To Go.
Jarrod Saltalamacchia‘s name continues to be the most consistently uttered trade bait name when it comes to Boston’s suddenly catcher heavy lineup. The Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo cites interest in Salty by the White Sox, especially if they are unable to sign catcher A.J. Pierzynski. David Ross can easily share catching duties with Mike Napoli if the Sox finally close the deal on the Rangers’ first baseman/catcher.

Andre Ethier: A Cody Ross replacement. Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-US PRESSWIRE

Andre Dodging The Left Coast?
Both Buster Olney and ESPN.com’s Jason A. Curchill reported last week that the Dodgers and Red Sox may not be through doing business before the start of the 2013 season. Right fielder Andre Ethier has been linked to Boston as a possible final destination as he attempts to remove himself from LA’s financial mess and join forces with former Arizona State teammate Dustin Pedroia. The rub? Cody Ross‘ reported three-year $25 million asking price as opposed to Ethier’s $85 million five-year deal that he signed with LA at the beginning of last season. Shades of JD Drew? The Drew comparison is indeed apt. Ethier’s solid – not great – bat and glove would make him a potential right field  stalwart who would likely enjoy better production long-term than Ross given Ross’ mashing ways at Fenway and more Mario Mendoza-like ways away from Boston.

Sep 10, 2012; Flushing, NY,USA; New York Mets left fielder Jason Bay (44) grounds out to the catcher during the sixth inning against the Washington Nationals at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Anthony Gruppuso-US PRESSWIRE

Bay Back to the Back Bay?
Yup. It’s out there. Buster Olney reported that the Sox have been in contact with the Mets regarding Jason Bay. After a nice 2009 season patrolling left field in Boston (.267/.384/.537) Bay cashed out, went to the Mets and has since suffered through three years of declining performance and injury. Allow me to be frank. Please, please, please don’t make a deal to bring Bay back. Nothing good can come of this.

Berkman Up For Grabs?
Major League Baseball’s rumor site is saying that the Red Sox, Phillies and Astros are putting feelers out for St. Louis Cardinal outfielder/first baseman Lance Berkman. Two words: Stay away. Berkman is 36 and has been nicked up two out of the past three seasons. Don’t let his 31 homer 2011 fool you. He doesn’t have another  one in him.

AL East Meets Far East
The Red Sox are interested Japanese closer, Kyuji Fujikawa. Fujikawa has already met with five other teams – the Angels, Dodgers, Orioles, Diamondbacks and Cubs. The 32 year-old righty, one of Japan’s dominant closers for nearly 10 years, will assuredly be looking for a multi-year deal. The good news for the Red Sox and any other team involved is that Fujikawa is a true free agent, which means teams don’t have to go through the onerous and for many prohibitively expensive posting process. Is it time to pull out your Daisuke Matsuzaka voodoo doll?

Completely Random Topic – World Baseball Classic. Another Reason to Detest It.
Question: Is there anything more obnoxious in sports than watching a World Baseball Classic qualifying final game between Panama and Brazil in Panama City and listening to the incessant cacophony of a stadium filled with horns. Answer: Not unless you’ve accidentally misplaced the needles you planned on sticking in your eyes. Think of 14,000 drunken geese flying overhead – for three hours – and you kinda get the picture. I’m 54 and have a touch of tinnitus. Watching and listening is the proverbial last nerve rubbed raw.

If  you’ve read my columns before you know I think that the WBC is about the worst thing possible for baseball, especially for MLB players who show up at the WBC in March just in time to risk sustaining an injury that can affect them, and their team all through the next season. You remember guys, the games played in the summertime that you get paid millions to play back home? The business of putting butts in seats based on your health and ability to rake? Yeah, that one.

So after all that bitching, why would I put my self through it? Well…well…there was no Arizona Fall League on last night and it is technically baseball, OK. Happy now that my dirty little secret has been paraded around the circus grounds in public? Addiction is a terrible thing.

Well, I’m a’gonna raise a fuss,
An’ I’m a’gonna raise a holler.
I’ve been working all summer
Just to try and earn a dollar.
Well I went to the boss
Said I had a date
My boss said “No dice, son, you gotta work late”

Sometimes I wonder what I’m a’gonna do
There ain’t no cure for the summertime blues
- Summertime Blues, Eddie Cochran 

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Tags: Boston Red Sox

  • Michael Macaulay-Birks

    Steve,
    I agree completely on the WBC….it looks like a lot of players are opting not to play as well, and I think thats a good thing IMO. Too many injuries to key players after the last one. On the catching situation, I would hate to see Salty go, but a Napoli/Ross combo could help ease the pain. (I wish they’d sign Napoli as the primary 1B) and keep Salty. Great piece..keep up the great work!
    Mike

    • John Fahrer

      Salty’s a likeable guy, but he’s Shea Hillenbrand in catcher’s gear. Bad average and OBP and strikes out way too much.

      Be more in on Nap being in the first base fold had he hit better last season. The offensive numbers he puts up are above average as a catcher but below average as a 1B. Sign Nap to catch, trade Salty in a deal for Floyd, and trade Lavarnway in a package for Justin Morneau.

      • http://www.facebook.com/steve.peterson.10 Steve Peterson

        Shea Hillenbrand in catcher’s gear…hehehe. Awesome analogy.

    • http://www.facebook.com/steve.peterson.10 Steve Peterson

      Perhaps we start a no WBC grass roots campaign…

  • John Fahrer

    Be very surprised to see this club have 40 catchers on the 40 man come spring training. They definitely protected the right guys from the Rule 5 Draft.