First off, thanks to evilsnare and lefty and everyone else who offered their condolences, I really appreciate it. Last week was pretty lousy but leave it to the Red Sox to try and brighten my days!
The trade. Made even juicier late last night with the addition of Guillermo Mota. There’s too many factors to consider here…so I’ll break down MY feelings about the trade by player.
Hanley Ramirez: The golden boy around these parts. In 2004 the baseball world was wondering why he hadn’t been called up (many rumors pointed at his maturity level as opposed to his playing skills as the reason)…in 2005, with the addition of Edgar Renteria…many were wondering why Theo wasn’t using him as trade bait. I had the chance to see Hanley play in person twice in 2005, once at Spring Training and once during the season in Portland. The kid obviously has "skills" in the field. But both times I saw him, he barely got the bat off his shoulder, and when he did, he did nothing with the contact. Not one hit in both my sightings. Now in the big picture this means absolutely nothing…but from a personal view, I was never all that attached to him as anything other than good trade bait. So for ME, this was a no-brainer. We want the hottest pitcher available on the market? We give up the kid so many others think is the next "it" boy. I don’t see it happening for Hanley, but good luck to him. He’s a good kid (he’s AMAZING with the fans, especially the kids…I hope he doesn’t lose that) and I wish him well.
Anibal Sanchez: Another "not ready for prime time player" if you ask me. But I’ve never seen him pitch in person. Color me happy that Jon Lester, Jonathan Papelbon and ESPECIALLY Craig Hansen are still on the team. If Sanchez had to be sacrificed, so be it.
Jesus Delgado and Harvey Garcia: Good luck in Florida boys. Where I sense you’ll be as well-known as you were in Boston.
On to Florida.
Mike Lowell: Being a player’s fan…I like Lowell. He plays hard, is great with the fans and his teammates all seem to just love him. Problem for me is, we already have this guy on our team in the name of Kevin Millar (and Kevin is MUCH less expensive). Okay, to be fair, Lowell is FAR superior to Millar in the field. But he isn’t an upgrade from Mueller. (Yes, I know Bill Mueller didn’t get a gold glove last year and Lowell did…but many, including me, think Mueller played Gold Glove calibre ball in 2005 – alas, so did Eric Chavez…) On the plus side, I think playing in Fenway will definitely help boost his dismal batting average from 2005. Although, if I’m being honest, I’m hoping the Sox find a way to flip him in a trade (Sorry, Mike, if they keep you I’ll definitely be rooting for you!).
Guillermo Mota: This name kept ringing in my ears. Like I had been talking about him a while ago to friends and couldn’t remember why. Then I received an email this morning reminding me. This is the former Dodgers pitcher who ran into his dugout after hitting Mike Piazza (twice in two seasons) and being chased there by Piazza and Jeromy Burnitz. (Piazza then stalked Mota after the game, even going so far as to burst into the Dodgers clubhouse screaming, "Where’s Mota?") At the time, I remember thinking that Mike Piazza was a psycho and Mota was a bit of a wuss. Now I’m glad to have another pitcher in the ‘pen (and Mota is miles better than any guy the Sox have in the bullpen right now whose last name isn’t Timlin) but the idea of having someone on the team who can’t stand his ground during a fight…man, that just has "plays of the week" written all over it. Mets come to Fenway this year….a Mota/Piazza rematch would be sweet! Red Sox fans are already making space on their hard drives for all the pictures they’ll be downloading from that brawl.
Plus that whole, "we just picked up two better than average pitchers for some prospects" angle…that’s nice too.
Josh Beckett: Am I worried about his shoulder? Slightly. But not enough to quash the trade. Am I worried about his blisters? Nah. Derek Lowe helped bring us to the World Series with a very similar malady. Here’s a guy who dates a "famous hot chick"…so he already knows how to deal with the press and with attention being dumped on him from all sides. He’s the hot new thing in Boston, which will take the pressure off of Curt Schilling and Keith Foulke (their both being the hot new things in 2004 and having to live up to the hype and their history in 2005)…he’s from Texas, apparently we Red Sox fans love those boys…oh yeah, and 25, one heck of a pitcher generally and pretty much had the Yankees number…so I’m a happy gal.
One more thing about Beckett…the Sox better let him wear number 21. There is NO reason he shouldn’t be given that number. It’s his, he’s going to be a big part of this team…let him wear it.
My man Thome got traded to Chicago while I was "away". Good for him, good for Philly and bad for Chicago. (I love Thome, he’s my favorite active, non-Red Sox player, but he’s had his day. And for Chicago to give up Aaron Rowand for him – well someone there was sniffing glue the day that call came in from Philadelphia.)
I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving. Mine was nice, but I’m much more of a Christmas person (my apologies to those who that might offend…I’m Catholic, I celebrate "Christmas" not the "holidays") so now we’re getting into my favorite season (second only to baseball), the Christmas season!
I’m not sure how much better the hot stove can get for the Red Sox…but I can’t wait to find out!