Hey everyone, welcome to our first chat from Fort Myers. Thursday is the official report date, but a number of pitchers are already out and throwing. On with the chat
Putting you on the spot right now, pick the six best teams in the American League in order.
Frank, My six on the eve of camp: 1. New York Yankees 2. Boston Red Sox 3. Los Angeles Angels 4. Minnesota Twins 5. Tampa Bay Rays 6. Seattle MarinersOn Feb. 17, this prediction plus 50 cents won't get you a cup of coffee
Hey Gordon! Please tell me the Red Sox have enough offense to compete with the Yankees. I just dont see it myself. To me, they lost Bay and added Beltre, who hit, what, 9 HRs in a walk year? I trust Theo, but I worry about Papi, Drew
Jay, just remember Beltre had injury issues last season, a shoulder and the dreaded torn testicle, while playing in a park unfavorable to power hitters. They have nine guys who have hit 25 HRs or more, most in the majors. These guys aren't going to suddenly be playing a lot of 2-1 games.
Gordon: Why wouldn't the Red Sox hold onto Lowell for a month or two as insurance that Big Papi can still hit? I don't understand why the Sox would be so quick to trade Lowell away (and eat $6-9MM of his contract) and then still possibly be faced with also effectively eating Papi's contract too (if they had to waive or DL him). Lowell could be a great one year DH and he is a standup guy who will not "make trouble" in the clubhouse if not playing. I know he takes up a roster spot but if they need a temp fielder in April or May due to an injury, they just tap the Pawtucket shuttle. Throwing away that much money has to matter even to the Sox (and Lugo is still cashing Sox checks right?).
Uncle M, The Red Sox simply feel they can't count on Lowell physically. The thumb is just a minor setback. The hip is the dominant issue here, and if Papi falls off the map, they'll most likely go outside the organization for an answer.
Gordon, with Jacoby's speed in left (which we've not had there for quite some time) and Cameron with good speed in center, and Jacoby not having a lot of room to patrol in left, the potential for serious collisions in left-center seems high. How can this be addressed in spring training given the different field dimensions? It just seems there will be a lot of balls in the gap that both players can get to and Jacoby's used to going for them.
Detva, We all remember what happened when Cameron was with the Mets and had that horrific collision with Carlos Beltran, in a similar situation where another CF was playing a different position. I think it will be a matter of Cameron and Ellsbury becoming familiar with each other, and Cameron defining the parameters of his position, so there is as little confusion as possible. But I suspect it's inevitable we're going to see some near-misses, with two aggressive fielders out there. But I think the more they play together, the less likely that becomes.
Gordon, do yoiu beleive the red sox are not talking extension with V-Mart because they are waiting to see what happens on the Joe Mauer extension talks?
Perhaps, Patrick, mostly in the sense of learning what the number Mauer gets, rather than holding out hope Mauer could still fall to them next season. I think there is a consensus expectation that the Mauer deal with the Twins gets done. This is the time that talks on extensions starts to heat up, after the free agent and arbitration periods end, so while no talks are as yet scheduled between Martinez and the Sox, I expect that to change pretty quickly. The same holds true for Josh Beckett.
Who do you think will be the starting left fielder for the New York Yankees in 2010?
Chris, It's an interesting development to me that the Yankees have asked Curtis Granderson if he would be willing to play left, which would seem to give Brett Gardner a shot at starting in CF. Otherwise Randy Winn would appear to be the default plan.
How can you spot the difference between a bandwagon Red Sox fan and a true Red Sox fan?
If they own a cap as dirty as the helmets Manny Ramirez and trot Nixon, then I know they've been Sox fans through thick and thin. Seriously, Ray, I don't worry much about making that distinction. I don't think every Red Sox fan needs to know that Rudy Pemberton was the team's Opening day right-fielder in 1997, my first year on the beat. I'm not one to disparage the so-called "pink caps.' It's possible to enjoy the game on a lot of different levels, though I'm no fan of the people who come to the ballpark and don't bother to watch.
With the arrival of Mike Cameron and Adrien Beltre this season and their added defensive play will the Red Sox switch to a more National League type mentality of hit and run ,sacrifice and steals and win the close games with pitching and their improved defense.
Tom, That's the last thing I expect will happen. At 37, Cameron's days as a base-stealing threat are pretty much over. Beltre is a power hitter, as I noted earlier, the Sox have 9 guys who hit 25 HRs or more. The Sox as an organization eschew the sacrifice as a waste of an out.
Possible landing spot for Lowell? Or will the Red Sox end up with an expensive DH platoon in 2010 using Lowell and Ortiz?
Joe, It's hard to predict at this stage where Mike could end up, though Minnesota might make some sense. I know the Astros thought about him a little before getting Pedro Feliz. It's an old refrain, I know, but he has to show he's healthy first. The next thing you know, another team has an injury and a need, and the Sox find a willing taker for Lowell.
why are you such a homer for an organizations thats won 3 championships inb the past 100 years?
Jeez, Ronnie, I don't know. Might be because they've won 95 games or more in six of the seven seasons Theo Epstein has been GM. Would I sound more credible to you if I said the Red Sox would stink this year?
Do you see if Terry ever leaves and John Farrell steps into that role that maybe Jason Varitek might retire and become the pitching coach? even though he is a catcher he has worked really well with our pitching staff.
Wow, Rick, you're looking way down the line. Tito is signed through 2011, with the club holding options on '12 and '13. As long as his health holds up, I can see him managing through that contract. I do think John Farrell will manage, but he may get an offer from other club that he won't pass up. And I haven't talked with Jason to know whether he wants to stay in the game at this point. He may want to take a break for awhile.
7 starters plus a SP are in their 30s. Where will the the scales tip this season between experienced and old Sox?
Jem, That's why you saw Theo signing people like Scutaro, Beltre and Cameron to such short-term deals, and why next season could look very different, with Jason Varitek and Mike Lowell no longer here and david Ortiz's future up in the air. I think Theo's plan looks ahead to a roster changeover that will integrate some of the young talent headed this way, Casey Kelly and Ryan Westmoreland, Josh Reddick and Ryan Kalish, Jose Iglesias and perhaps Lars Anderson. This team will not grow ancient before your eyes.
Thanks everybody for your time. Have to head out to a TV studio and a spot on Baseball Tonight, which airs at 3:30 on ESPN.