>First of all, Butch doesn't choose whether or not a player gets a hit
>or flies out, so let's not pin the blame on him for poor hitting.
He makes some rather strange game decisions, though. Like playing
one-run strategies early in the game, and failing to pinch-hit for
Pena in key situations.
>Why is Pena in the lineup?
Because he's better than Melvin and Flaherty. But that isn't saying
much. Melvin is slightly less of a hole with the bat, but his defense
is noticeably worse. Flaherty has (so far) been *worse* than Pena
>I would love to see a good hitting
>catcher who does a great job defensively, but I don't think the Sox
I would love to see an average hitting catcher who does an average job
defensively, but I don't think the Sox have one of those either. At
the beginning of the year I was reading all about how Melvin was a
Good Defensive Catcher. I don't believe it. I think he is mediocre
defensively, and has earned most of his good defensive reputation with
his weak hitting.
>Another point: You make it sound like the 1993 season was a major
>disappointment. Although I am (as is usually the case) disappointed
>that the Sox aren't going to win anything, you should keep in mind
>that this is a team that finished in last place last year and almost
>nobody expected to contend.
Last October I thought the Sox *could* contend this year. It was Real
Easy. They had several big contracts expiring, freeing up a fair chunk
of extra money. I had two proposals:
1) Spend minimal money, play the prospects, and finish around .500.
The starting lineup would have looked like Greenwell, Zupcic,
Plantier, Cooper, Valentin, Fletcher, Vaughn, and Flaherty. Fill in
with Naehring, Blosser, Ortiz, and McNeely when ready. Sign Riles,
Melvin, and Hatcher if you really need extra bodies around. (They are
cheap enough, though not as cheap as Fletcher.) Starting rotation?
Would look exactly the same. Clemens, Viola, Darwin, Sele, Quantrill,
Dopson. Bullpen? Weaker, with Harris and Ryan being the only
reliable arms at the start of the year. Again, I have nothing against
signing Bankhead and Russell, as they were cheap.
Note that Fletcher+Riles+Melvin+Hatcher+Bankhead+Russell is only about
$5.5 (?) million of spending. And I think this team would have won 75
games, more or less, depending on what fill-ins were signed, how they
performed, and so forth.
2) Spend $10-$15 million on a big bat or two and win the pennant.
Picture a starting lineup of Greenwell, Bonds, Burks, Plantier,
Cooper, Valentin, Fletcher, Vaughn, and Melvin. Add the "cheap" free
agents if you like (though there's really no room for Hatcher on this
team). Pitching staff as above.
Total spending is probably around $15 million (assume they sign Bonds
to an $8 million/year deal, and Burks pulls down $2-$3 million in
arbitration.) If Bonds can take the Giants to a pennant race, he
could have taken the Red Sox to a championship. If Bonds won't sign?
Sign McGwire. (Of course, McGwire went and got injured. But I
couldn't predict that.)
Instead the Red Sox bought Dawson, Calderon, and Pena. Total spending
of about $10 million on those three players alone! That's what I was
proposing spending on Bonds and Burks. And because they needed to
make room for these "all-stars", they ditched Plantier in a *stupid*
trade. To free up money to pay those salaries, they dumped Burks.
I'm not pissed that the Sox are losing. I'm pissed that they are
*pretending* to be "doing their best" and "making progress". I
realize that my plans depend heavily on Plantier and Burks. And it is
possible that they were so upset with the Red Sox that neither of them
would have panned out in Boston. But even if that is true, it doesn't
make me any happier. Good management includes good personnel skills.
And if the Red Sox management is not getting the most out of its star
Ah, well. I hope Burks makes it to the World Series. He wasn't about
to in Boston, not with Lou Gorman around.
>Overall, the team seems to have made good
>progress. If Roger had pitched the way we had come to expect, they
>would probably still be in it.
And if pigs could fly they'd be chickens. In any season there will
be some good surprises (Darwin, Sele, Vaughn, Hatcher) and some bad
>I have lost track of who's coming up the farm
>system, but I hope there is another Mo Vaughn around.
None on the immediate horizon. McNeely is a good basestealer, and
walks a fair amount, and plays good defense. He will probably step
into CF and the leadoff spot by the end of next year, but he has not
progressed as well as I had hoped a couple years ago. (I was hoping
that he would do all of the above *and* hit .280 with 15-20 HR power.)
Blosser has good power, but has trouble connecting. Lots of
strikeouts. Of course Plantier struck out a lot in the minors too.
Blosser is still reasonably young, and could turn out to be a gem. He
could also turn out to be Rob Deer minus the defense.
Ortiz is your classic Latino hitter, with decent power, a good BA, and
little patience. He plays 3B, but is being considered at other
positions due to (supposedly) poor defense and Scott Cooper.
Tim Naehring, if he can stay healthy, could hit like Cooper and play
anywhere in the infield. He might fit in nicely at second base. He
might also develop another mysterious injury.
I don't really see any players with star potential... There are a
couple pitchers who might turn out okay (including Minchey who had a
nice game the other day, and Frankie Rodriguez who has been much
ballyhooed), but none that are about to make a "top prospect" list.