Seriously. I've eaten more Tums the past few hours than I have in the past year. And why? I thought the Red Sox would win last night and either have a play-in game today or be matched up against Texas in the first round. Either way this team was heading for an early exit. So why did last night's debacle so upset my tummy?
If there was a game today - who would have any confidence in John Lackey pitching the team to victory? Even if they made the playoffs the team just didn't have the pitching to win a series. The team was doomed either way. There wasn't even a "Little left Pedro in too long" situation to gripe about. So why is it that every time I hiccup it feels like acid might squirt through my tear ducts?
So what's next? What does the team do to fix this? Here's my suggestions.
The first step is to get rid of John "F*cking" Lackey. If anyone deserves to be the scapegoat - this piece of sh*t deserves it. Opposing batters hit .353 against him in September - a month where he posted a 9.13 ERA. Those 5 starts for Lackey in September easily was a difference between making the playoffs and not making the playoffs. Giving Lackey those starts may be what in the end costs Terry Francona his job. And it's not like this is a Monday morning QB situation. EVERYONE knew Lackey was hurting the team!
Top off the Lackey situation with the fact that Lackey is divorcing his wife who had a double mastectomy and is still fighting cancer. The Red Sox have long supported the Jimmy Fund and all facets in the fight against cancer. No way they can keep this loser.
The question is who will take Lackey? If the Red Sox eat $30 million of the remaining $45 million - I think (hope) some West Coast team would take a chance. If they can't find a taker - my hope is the Red Sox exile Lackey to pitch in Pawtucket the way the Yankees exiled Kei Igawa to the minor leagues.
Some quick thoughts:
- JD Drew is gone. He will retire. That clears $14 million off the books.
- Do the Red Sox bring back David Ortiz? Would a 2-year $25 million offer get it done?
- Will Jonathan Papelbon come back? He's a free agent and will some team just throw the moon at him or will the Red Sox be able to bring him back? I was one of those guys who thought the team should go with Daniel Bard as closer next year but right now none of us guys feel comfortable with that thought. You could argue that it was Bard's September meltdown that was just as responsible for the team missing the playoffs. Bard went 0-4 with a 10.64 ERA in September.
- Do the Red Sox trade Kevin Youkilis? He's got one year and an option on his contract so he would be attractive trade bait which could bring back the pieces needed to fill any hole in the roster.
- The Red Sox should bring back Marco Scutaro who has a $6 million team option.
- I'm guessing that the team will part ways with both Tim Wakefield and Jason Varitek -who will both probably retire. Wakefield could open a knuckleball academy while it would be cool if Varitek could stay with the team as assistant pitching coach and emergency 3rd catcher.
- As far as free agents - I would make a strong push for Mark Buehrle and maybe Chris Young (if he passes a physical) but otherwise I don't trust Theo to make a big splash.
- Bring back Theo and Tito for another year. Give them extensions and one more shot.
- I would love if the Red Sox traded for Marlins ace Josh Johnson who is coming back after injury but is owed about $26 million for the next 2-years. Offer them a big package for Johnson - please!
Less than 140 freakin days until pitchers and catchers.