Friday, December 29, 2006

Happy Birthday Theo

Today is Theo Epstein's 33rd birthday and I extend the warmest of birthday wishes. Enjoy your day Theo. Yes - enjoy today because most likely you'll be in for some rough sailing in the weeks and months ahead.

Red Sox Nation is watching you and to be honest - the bloom is off the rose. Right now all Red Sox fans are waiting to see who will be the closer in 2007 and the current situation doesn't make us happy. Mike Timlin and Brendan Donnelly smack of "closer by committee" - three words that send shivers down the spine of all Red Sox fans.

Now I know that "closer by committee" is misunderstood and that the reason the Sox went into 2003 without a true established closer was that there were none available as free agents. In 2003 it was more "what else could we do" than "closer by committee" but this year is shaping up differently. This year the perception is that you plan to trade Wily Mo Pena to either the Nationals for Chad Cordero or to the Pirates for Mike Gonzalez (who you traded away in 2003) but that transaction can't take place until JD Drew is signed.

All this smacks of trying to be too smart or too cute and from what I've seen - when you try to be too smart or too cute it backfires. Orlando Cabrera wanted badly to stay in Boston and the fans loved him but instead you got cute and signed Edgar Renteria instead. Correct me if I'm wrong but I think Boston is still paying a big chunk of Renteria's salary while he plays for the Braves. Last year you traded Bronson Arroyo for Wily Mo Pena because you thought the Sox had plenty of starters but in the second half of the season it was a lack of starting pitching which sunk the season. Only the Devil Rays, Orioles and Royals had worse team ERA's last year meanwhile Bronson Arroyo made the All-Star team for the Reds. Now we are waiting to see if JD Drew's shoulder can handle the scrutiny of a physical exam.

So enjoy the day and happy birthday. But tomorrow I'd like to see this closer situation squared away. And don't try anything cute.

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