I guess it was worth a shot but it didn’t look like the Red Sox were offering up enough for All Star first basemen Todd Helton. The deal on the table was Helton and some cash for Julian Tavarez and Mike Lowell but the Rockies wanted a couple of prospects that the Red Sox weren’t willing to give up. So Helton will be mired in mediocrity and life goes on for Red Sox.
It would be just like the Yankees to now complete a deal for Helton in like a month. Vultures.
Curt Schilling wants to play in 2008 after initially saying that he’d retire after the 2007 season. Good news for the Red Sox IF the two sides can come to an agreement on a contract extension. So far, it’s in the preliminary stages but Schilling has said he’d like to stay in Boston. He didn’t rule out playing for another team though, as long as it wasn’t the Yankees.
According to Buster Olney, the Red Sox have a potential deal in the works that would send Mike Lowell and Julian Tavarez and some prospects to the Colorado Rockies for first baseman Todd Helton. The Rockies would be on the hook for less then half of Helton’s salary over the next six seasons as part of the deal.
There’s no doubt Helton would be a huge addition to this lineup and he’s just the kind of patient hitter that the Red Sox like. The problem is, he comes at a huge price tag and he’s lost a lot of power, which is saying a lot for a guy who plays half of his games at Coors Field.
Helton is an on base machine though. In each of the past seven seasons, he’s had an OBP on the north end of .400. His OPS has dropped in each of the past two seasons though and this year it dipped below .900 for the first time since his rookie year in 1997.
With Lowell leaving, you’d probably see Kevin Youkilis move to third base and Helton would then be the first baseman. Regardless, if Helton could maybe even revert back to his 2005 numbers (which were down from his past seasons but not as down as 2006), he’d be a huge addition to the lineup. Then again, PECOTA seems to think he’ll regress another season, although I could live with his weighted mean average of .303/.396/.501.
This seemed like it took forever, but the Red Sox and J.D. Drew finally wrangled out their differences in what will hopefully be a five year, $70 million deal for the outfielder. Things hit a snag when a physical showed that Drew still had some shoulder problems so the Red Sox wanted an out if the injury turned into a debilitating one. So the end result has a team option to opt out of the guaranteed money in 2010 and 2011 if a specific pre-existing injury occurs.
It looks like Drew will bat fifth but I think he should be hitting second because he provides a good table setter for Big Papi and Manny Ramirez. It is what it is though and just having Drew in the lineup is a good thing. PECOTA has him hitting .285/.392/.476 and that .392 OBP would be better served in front of the sluggers and not behind.
John Walsh at the Hardball Times tackled an interesting subject and that’s who benefits and who doesn’t from the green monster in left field. This is some really interesting stuff and he concludes Kevin Millar and Manny Ramirez both benefited from the wall. Good stuff here.
In other Fenway Park news, renovations have been done in the offseason that will allow for a couple of hundred more standing room only tickets. While this isn’t a huge improvement, it’s just one more notch in the current ownerships’ belt as far as making sure Fenway Park fits the bill. Larry Lucchino even said that they’re not done and to expect more renovations in the upcoming years.
I recently finished an excellent book that will near and dear to any Boston sports fan. Authors Jim Caple and Steve Buckley tackle question after question in The Best Boston Sports Arguments. As the subtitle indicates, you get an analysis of 100 of the most controversial and debatable questions that die hard Boston Fans have.
What I like about this book is it has a little bit for everyone. I’m not a huge basketball or hockey fan and I was more concerned about the baseball arguments, but I found myself reading the questions for all of the sports because I enjoyed the writing style so much.
Want to know the author’s opinion of which Red Sox World Series team is the best? It’s in there. Want to know who they think the Red Sox best clutch hitter of all time is (and I disagreed with the authors here)? You can read about the authors line of thinking here as well. And while there’s a lot of emotion in the book, the authors also do a great job of picking up the facts and running with them.
The one thing I took away from the book, which I kind of knew but didn’t appreciate, was how the 1967 was sort of the evolution of baseball for the Red Sox. Prior to that World Series season, attendance had been down but since then, the team has gone through a renaissance of sorts.
And the book is also a fun read. While each question only takes up two or three pages, I found myself tearing through the book because it was such an easy and enjoyable read. If you’re a Boston sports fan, I highly recommened this book.
Baseball Prospectus put up a very detailed player profile of Julio Lugo today. This gives you pretty much anything and everything you ever wanted to know about the Red Sox starting shortstop in 2007. Good stuff and the final prognosis on how Lugo should do with Boston is pretty positive.
The Red Sox signed right handed pitcher Kyle Snyder to a one year deal that will mean the two sides will avoid arbitration. Snyder was picked up off waivers by the Red Sox in June of 2006 and he’s never shown that he’s been able to make it the major league level. He has a career 5.94 ERA in 181 2/3 innings and while his strikeout numbers were good when he came to Boston (55 in 58 1/3 innings) this really bucked a trend in which he has 115 strikeouts in those 181 2/3 career innings.
I’m not sure if Snyder will even make the team but if it does, it might be as the last pitcher so most of his time will probably come in a mop up roll. We’ll see.
I may not live in the Boston area, but my one trip to Boston to see the Red Sox play at Fenway Park was something to behold. After years of minor league ball, Fenway Park seemed huge, even if it is the smallest stadium in baseball. And what a place to watch a game. When I heard they might be looking to replace it, I though they were nuts. Fortunately Red Sox ownership has decided to stick with the old ballpark, which is the oldest ball park in existence.
ESPN the Magazine writer Tim Kurkjian recently penned an excellent story about Fenway Park. He talks about the history of the ball park and puts it at the top of his list of ballparks because it’s closeness. I couldn’t agree more. He talks about his top five ballparks and there’s a mix of new (PNC Park) and old parks (Wrigley) on there. Good stuff.
Minor League Baseball expert Kevin Goldstein recently unveiled his top 10 Red Sox prospect list. There’s no surprises as Clay Buchholz tops the list and he ranked as the only excellent prospect in the Red Sox system. Buckholz had solid stops at both High A and Low A and Goldstein speculates that the right hander could start the season at Double A. He’s a junior college player so while he might get fast tracked, he might not move as quickly as other top flight college players and it wouldn’t surprise me if Double A provides some solid comp. that keeps Buckholz there for seasoning most of the year.
Goldstein lists two players as “very good” prospects. Centerfielder Jacoby Ellsbury and right handed pitcher Michael Bowden come in at two and three. Ellsbury had a nice showing at Double A but with Coco Crisp out there, Ellsbury will either get a repeat at Double A or some time at Pawtuckett. Bowden is a youngster and at age 20, will probably start the season at High A.
Rounding out the top five are centerfielder Jason Place and right handed pitcher Dan Bard. Both players are still a ways away and Bard hasn’t even played minor league ball yet. He signed too late after being the Red Sox number pick in 2006.
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