I’ve been a little ‘laxed about blogging over the busy period of the year. Work and play and other necessary life endeavours have stolen me from writing about most things. That gon’ change right now.

The BoSox haven’t really done anything dramatic since before the new year. Still no legit middle-of-the-rotation starter or right fielder. But Big Ben has sign and traded for about 15 players, most of which will need to prove themselves in Spring Training. That’s cool. At least they’ll want it more than some other hot dog who believes he’s made the team just by signing on a dotted line.

So, here’s what I’ve been thinking over the past few weeks.

The Back End

Trading Jed Lowrie and Kyle Weiland for Astro’s closer, Mark Melancon, was a smart move. Lowrie’s been injury plagued since I finished high school and Weiland looks like a potential No. 4 starter, with a bit of luck. With Bard fighting for a rotation spot in the Spring—which could be a good thing but how will he handle the dramatically increased inning work load? Dice-K should return in the second half and could bear a bit of the burden—we needed a set-up man and a closer. Melancon was decent for the Astro’s last year, given their horrible record.

I can’t see how this trade is in favour of the Astro’s. Fair enough if they’re rebuilding, and I suppose Lowrie’s not that old, but he’s a sometimes player, not an all-the-time player. Weiland will get a huge chance to crack their rotation, so good for him. We got plenty in the starting pitching tank in the lower levels anyway.

The setup man had arrived; now, for the closer. Boston pulled the trigger on a trade that saw Josh Reddick and two minor leaguers head to the West Coast for Andrew Bailey and Ryan Sweeney (more on him in a bit). I thought of Reddick as a possible right fielder for us this year. He showed some promise early in the season but, once pitchers figured him out, it looked as though he was swinging a wet paper bag. And swinging it badly. Once again, it seems Boston did the best in this trade too. Bailey’s and All-Star, throws gas and has a nasty cutter. An article today revealed he tries to base his fastball on Pap and his cutter on Mo. What a guy! But it’s not only his on field skill set that makes him a nice replacement for Pap. He’s got fire. Any article quoting him shows how passionate he is about baseball, about closing and about the challenge of closing out big games in the AL East and beyond.

“I’m not going to blow by you at 98-99 [mph],” he said. “I’m not that kind of guy. I sit in the low 90s, rely on control and getting ahead of guys. The motto I live by is ‘strike one is the best pitch in baseball.’ As long as you stick with that, you’ll be fine.”

I like him.

It’s nice to think that, after all that dallying about during the Winter Meetings, Ben has managed to pull the trigger on some really smart, really decent trades, concerning the bullpen.

Ryan for Right Field?

The other guy from the Bailey Trade has true, proper grit. Well, that’s what everyone’s been saying. I’ve even heard a few Trot Nixon comparisons…..*gets belly butterflies*. He’s an above average defender with a decent arm, hits for a little average, gets on base, and is a gap hitter—this could be the defining feature that makes him work at Fenway; his numbers could increase nicely with the Monster and the right-center gap. And the best part about him, from what everyone has said, particularly Bailey, whose word I will soon take as being the law, says he’s a grinder. Like a bigger version of Pedey. Eff yes! We need a guy like this! It doesn’t matter if he doesn’t hit 20 home runs, or drive in 90, or even hit .300. We have about five other guys that are capable of all that and some.

All we needed was a good defensive right fielder to put in good at bats for when the top of the order comes roaring through. Sweeney’s could be that guy. Oh and then we have McDonald and Aviles if he needs a rest. Winning.

Then again, what about Cepedes or Soler? They could still be on the radar. We don’t need them. Wait, if we got one, maybe he could teach Iglesias how to bat! Then, we wouldn’t need to keep holding on to Scutaro, sewing him up every third week, like an overused doll.

Misc.

We signed more free agents to minor league contracts than there are people in my suburb. They’re using Fenway as a second Spring Training facility because JetBlue won’t be big enough now. And every room must house at least eight players. Which is also a way for the Sox brass to make sure team chemistry is at a high by April, which makes this article somewhat more relevant….

Bobby finalised his coaching staff. Congrats to Tim Bogar for making bench coach. Everyone in the dugout has been asked to wear helmets and steel capped cleats until at least the All-Star break, just in case Timmy gets excited as someone rounds third and starts running in the dugout, windmilling all up in everybody’s kitchen.

Ummmm. That’s all for now. Hopefully a Papi extension will arrive soon, and our effing compensation. Garza, anybody? Hmm.

SDH

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