Sunday, May 20, 2012

State of the Red Sox

For a guy who is down on the Red Sox - I sure do think about them a lot. That's what it's like to be a Red Sox fan these days. It's like having a blood relative cousin who seems to be doing OK on the surface but who you know is having all sorts of issues behind the scenes. You are concerned, you want to do something but it really isn't your place.

At one point you couldn't have been more proud of your cousin. You used to brag about him to all your out of state friends. But your cousin had a couple of rough months last year and now your cousin is getting over a tough divorce (Terry Francona and Theo Epstein) and you aren't so sure that the new flame(s) are good for him (Bobby Valentine and Ben Cherington). But who are you to say anything?

You also think your cousin is not hanging with the right sort of friends. One of the guys he's hanging with is much more concerned with finding snitches than being a good member of the community. You see this as a bad thing but the professional counselors (sports writers) think anyone who wants to get rid of that bad friend is stupid because the friend has had great success when he was younger and that's all that counts.

The thing about relatives who have issues and may not be all that likable when you take a good look - you lose interest in them and their problems after a while. Even if they have some success - it doesn't mean as much to you as it once did. That's the state of the Red Sox in a nutshell.

Warning to Red Sox front office types - once people stop caring it is very hard to get that passion back. Expect lower NESN ratings. And lower advertising revenues.

Three Points:

1. Perhaps the most heart warming team success story this year is that of the first place Cleveland Indians. It should be noted that the core players for the Indians Sin-Soo Choo, Asdubal Cabrera, and Carlos Santana were players Cleveland obtained in trades for veterans. Are we to believe that Josh Beckett and Kevin Youkilis would not have the sort of trade value the Indians found for Ben Broussard, Eduardo Perez, and Casey Blake? Kevin Youkilis and Casey Blake are almost the same player!

2. Not to rain on the accomplishments of very likable Mike Aviles this year for the Sox but look at this player comparison:

Mike Aviles - 25 R/ 7 HR/ 25 RBI/ .272 BA/ .300 OBP/ .781 OPS
Player B      - 15 R/ 5 HR/ 16 RBI/ .274 BA/ .357 .OBP/ .801 OPS

Player B is Jed Lowrie who the Red Sox traded away. Would the Red Sox have been better off if they had just kept Lowrie? I think the answer to this question still hasn't been answered.

3. People are still talking about moving Daniel Bard back to the bullpen. Why? Despite a bad first inning the other day - Bard has been perhaps the most consistent Red Sox starter this year. Why mess with the guy? Especially when you have Mark Melancon (the guy Lowrie was traded for) tearing it up at AAA Pawtucket. Melancon has a 0.00 ERA in 13 games for the Pawsox but he hasn't been recalled because the Red Sox bullpen has been doing so well. But if they are doing so well - why do people want to chuck Bard back into the mix and out of the rotation?