Tag Archives: New York Yankees

2011 Boston Red Sox Predictions

2011 Boston Red Sox

With Major League Baseball’s opening day looming just two weeks away (March 31), it’s time for my 2011 Boston Red Sox predictions. Following an offseason highlighted by the signings of Adrian Gonzalez and Carl Crawford, I think that NESN has said it best with their slogan for the Sox 2011 campaign — “We’re all in.”

The Offense — Contrary to popular belief, the Red Sox had plenty of offense last year — they finished second in MLB in runs and slugging percentage. This year’s offense is that much more dynamic — Carl Crawford essentially gives us a second Jacoby Ellsbury on the base paths, in the body of a much better hitter. A left-handed Adrian Gonzalez should bring Fenway’s right field fence to its knees, Kevin Youkilis and Dustin Pedroia are just hitting the stride of their primes, and David Ortiz is  coming off a good season. There will not be a more fun offense to watch in baseball, with the Sox combination of speed and power.

The Pitching — Critics like to poke holes in the Red Sox pitching staff. I look at it like this — John Lester has been just about as good as anybody the last few seasons. Clay Bucholz has finally lived up to his potential, following a 17-7 season with a 2.33 ERA. And my Red Sox pleasant surprise of the year is going to be John Lackey — I’m expecting a big season out of him. Clearly frustrated with his performance last year, Lackey arrived at camp 15 pounds lighter and ready to roll. I’d look for 16-10 or so out of him this year. That leaves us with the Red Sox perennial question marks — Daisuke Matsuzaka and Josh Beckett. These guys both have fierce stuff, but get lit up more than your average patron at a Grateful Dead concert. Who knows what to expect out of these guys — if either of them give us a season substantially over .500 we can consider it a bonus. As for the pen, Papelbon is obviously a bit of a question mark. No pitcher has ever saved 35+ games in a season to more criticism. The likes of Daniel Bard and newcomer Bobby Jenks should help sure up the closing roll.

The Question Marks — The Sox have 3 questions marks in my eyes. The first is middle relief, where the Sox did do some substantial offseason work. That said, I’m not as sure of the bullpen as the rest of Boston seems to be. I am always leery of relievers — a few closers aside they are usually just pitchers not good enough to be starters. I’m not predicting anything terrible here, I’m just not quite sure who is going to emerge as the backbone of the middle relief crew.

The second question mark I see is the shortstop position, which I consider to be the 3rd most important position on the field. I’m not buying into Jed Lowrie, and I never bought into Marco Scutaro. I was a big Nick Green fan myself and saw big things for him. Even so, every team has to have a weakness somewhere and I don’t think this is a big deal.

The biggest question mark in my eyes, by far, is at the catcher position. Jason Varitek is valuable in his leadership and the experience he brings working with the pitching staff, but he’s a glaring weakness in all other ways and likely won’t be able to play too many games. Jarrod Saltalamacchia is young, unproven, and inexperienced — not what you’re looking for in the catcher of a World Series contender. I think that the Sox will miss Victor Martinez much more than any player that they lost — Adrian Beltre included.

2011 Season Prediction – I’m not going out on a limb here at all, but I think the Red Sox will meet the Philadelphia Phillies in the World Series. While the Phillies’ starters are undoubtedly superior, I think that the Red Sox offense will be dynamic enough to score the runs needed to beat a lackluster Phillies offense. I hereby predict that the Red Sox will win the 2011 World Series — and don’t call me a homer — I predicted that the Yankees would win the last two seasons.

Bookmark and Share

22 Comments

Filed under Baseball

Joba (Chamberlain) the Hutt

Joba Chamberlain

By Thalia Bardell, howiGit Contributing Writer, Boston, MA

Boy, could this Red Sox off-season get any better? Theo Epstein makes moves to sign Adrian Gonzalez and Carl Crawford. Cliff Lee decides to take his talent to the National League, Andy Pettitte retires, and now Yankee reliever Joba Chamberlain shows up to Spring Training looking, well, a little doughy. Of course, the Yankee organization does not want to focus on the weight, but General Manager Brain Cashman did say that Chamberlain was, “obviously heavier” and gave no indication as to whether the pitcher weighed in above or below the number suggested for the beginning of Spring Training. Chamberlain says it’s all muscle, but I say cue the Joba-the-Hutt jokes because if he’d been getting ripped in his bi’s and tri’s Cashman wouldn’t have called him “heavier,” he would’ve called him “fitter.” It’s not the weight that really matters – that’s just another excuse for me to rip on the Yankees — but  rather the question of preparedness. This extra weight around Joba’s middle suggests that perhaps he spent a little too much time watching pod racing and not enough time busting his butt at the gym. He didn’t work as hard in the off-season as he could have, or even should have, as a player who struggled last year and who’s future with the Yankees is up in the air. If I had something to prove I’d do my best to show up to Spring Training with a Situation style six-pack.

Like John Lackey – ok, he doesn’t have a six-pack – but he did arrive in Ft. Myers looking pretty svelte. Perhaps he wants to prove he can live up to the hype that he fell a bit short of in 2010 – that he’s worth the $82.5 million contract the Sox gave him. Whatever it is, something lit a fire under Lackey’s butt and instead of joining Joba at the buffet he amped up his cardio routine and lost about 15 pounds for the start of the 2011 season. This was at no urging from the Red Sox staff – now that’s taking some initiative. So really what I’m saying here is that the Red Sox look much better than the Yankees coming into 2011. No literally. We’re better looking. So what if the Yankees have Alex “the popcorn eater” Rodriguez at the hot corner? They’re down Pettitte’s cheekbones and we’re up a Jon Lester, a Clay Buchholz, and a newly slim Lackey. I say, bring it Yanks, because baseball is life and the same saying applies: “When you’re hot you’re hot and when you’re not you’re not”.

Bookmark and Share

9 Comments

Filed under Baseball

If Pujols and A-Rod Were Paid on Commission

Pujols A-Rod

This time of year sucks. Football is over, baseball hasn’t started, the NBA is at the midseason point and March Madness has yet to begin (sigh). That said, I naturally find my thoughts turning to the upcoming baseball season this time of year, and I came across one hell of stat.

Albert Pujols was in the process of negotiating a contract extension with the St. Louis Cardinals, a process which has come to a halt until the end of the season when he’ll either resign with the Cardinals or become a free agent. The Cardinals supposedly offered him a deal that would make him between the 6th and 10th highest paid player in baseball — not to shabby, but not a deal worthy of the best player in the game. So think for a minute — what if these superstar athletes were paid based on their actual on-field performance, a la a waiter or a salesperson?

Since the 2001 season, A-Rod has earned $594k per home run, and $204k per RBI. Albert Pujols has earned $237k per home run and $79k per RBI.

Absolute craziness, and further evidence that athletes are overpaid (especially A-Rod). Think about it. You stroll up to the plate with a runner on third, maybe half hungover, and slap a single up the middle. Cha-chingggggg — $204k in the bank. My god.

One final note while I’m ranting on the baseball front. I’d like to send a shout out to a former Yankee (yes, you heard me correctly). Hideki Matsui. This guy delivered the Yankees their last World Series title on a silver platter, never once complained about his role, and had countless other big-game hits for the Yankees. Yet he gets little or no credit — you never heard any buzz about Matsui in New York. Sure, he’s foreign, older, quiet, reserved, and generally not tabloid material. But if someone like Nick Swisher ever contributed half as much to the Yankees as Matsui did, he’d have the entire city of New York eating out of his palm. You know I’m right. Just sayin’.

When’s the first pitch?

Bookmark and Share

21 Comments

Filed under Baseball

Andy Pettite — Thanks for the Memories

Andy Pettite

By Jimmy Cunningham, howiGit New York Writer, Manhattan, NY

Andy Pettitte is scheduled to announce his retirement today. As a Yankee fan this hurts for two reasons, one because the Yankees pitching staff will suffer and two because its Andy Pettitte.

Andy has been a warrior during his two stints with the Yankees winning the World Series 5 times. When the Yankees faced a team in a series clincher fans always felt comfortable with Andy on the mound, as is shown by his record 6 series clinching wins. Another record Andy hold is all-time playoff wins by a pitcher with 19.

Andy’s career is not without controversy with him being outed as using performance enhancing drugs. But Andy was a man about the whole thing admitting to using HGH twice in 2002 to recover from an injury while with the Astros. That does not excuse his use of performance enhancing drugs, he used them and will go down in history as one of those who used. I would rather players do things the way Andy did though and stand up, admit their mistake, apologize, and move on. Something his good buddy Roger Clemens, among others *cough Papi cough*, should learn from.

I will miss Andy Pettitte’s fire and post season “clutchness”, I will miss his staring down of the catcher and lethal pick off move, and I will miss him when his spot in the rotation comes around this year.

Bookmark and Share

17 Comments

Filed under Baseball

Manny Ramirez, Johnny Damon Sign with Rays?

Manny Ramirez Rays

I say……good for them! I don’t like this move because it obviously makes the Rays much more competitive than they would be without these guys. That’s a very solid lead-off hitter and an all-time great clean-up hitter. Sure, they are old, but I don’t want to hear it. Both of these guys are great players and have plenty left in the tank, although Manny is also an all-star head case. It’s good to see that the Rays aren’t simply dumping all of their players and are making moves to remain competitive in the AL East.

Both players signed one year deals, Damon for $5.25 mil plus incentives and Manny for $2 mil. In my book, both of those deals are straight up bargains. You can’t tell me that signing Manny Ramirez to the Red Sox for $2 mil wouldn’t have been a great move. Well played, Rays.

Bookmark and Share

28 Comments

Filed under Baseball

Dustin Pedroia Versus Robinson Cano

Dustin Pedroia Versus Robinson Cano

Last week we briefly got into a little spat over the question of who is the better second baseman: Boston’s Dustin Pedroia or New York’s Robinson Cano. After our previous looks at David Ortiz versus Alex RodriguezTom Brady versus Derek Jeter, Tom Brady versus Peyton ManningMichael Jordan. versus Kobe Bryant, and Luke Harangody versus Shelden Williams, I couldn’t resist. So here it is….

I’ll start by saying this: Robinson Cano was a rookie in 2005, whereas Pedroia was a rookie in 2007 (Can0 is 28, Pedroia is 27). Given his past two seasons, you’ve got to give the edge to Cano. That said, for comparison’s sake, I think it’s much more fair to compare the first 4 seasons of each player’s career. Cano’s numbers popped in his 5th season, and Pedroia’s were beginning to pop last year until he was sidelined with an injury. A look at the first 4 years of each players career might be enlightening in telling how good each of these players could end up being.

Dustin Pedroia (2007-2010) – .307 AVG, 16 HR, 76 RBI, .374 OBP

Robinson Cano (2005-2008) – .304 AVG, 17 HR, 87 RBI, .336 OBP

Those numbers are adjusted 162 game averages for sake of comparison, and needless to say they are pretty damn similar. Let’s look at other accolades earned during that time:

Dustin Pedroia (2007-2010) – 2007 World Series Champion, 2007 Rookie of the Year, 2008 All-Star, 2008 AL MVP, 2008 Golden Glove, 2008 Silver Slugger, 2008 League Leader in runs (118), hits (213), & doubles (54), 2009 All-Star, 2009 League Leader in runs (115), 2010 All-Star

Robinson Cano (2005-2008) – 2006 All-Star, 2006 Silver Slugger

Pedroia clearly wins in this department by a landslide. Why is this, given their similar statistics? A great question. The common sentiment seems to be that Pedroia’s play had a bigger impact on his team. He certainly has displayed more leadership early in his career than Cano has. That said, he’s going to have a tough time keeping up with Cano in terms of power numbers, although he was off to a great start least year. Regardless of who you prefer, these are probably the two best second baseman in baseball. This will be an interesting rivalry to watch develop, that’s for sure.

Bookmark and Share

48 Comments

Filed under Baseball, Player Comparisons

2011 World Series Predictions — Cliff Lee to the Phillies

Cliff Lee Phillies Trade

It’s beginning to look a lot like Chrrrrristmasss — well at least in Boston and Philadelphia. The Phillies shocked everybody yesterday, signing Cliff Lee to a 5 year $120 million dollar deal that instantly gives the Philadelphia the best starting rotation in baseball. I see this as a major setback for both the Yankees and the Rangers, as the Ranger have lost and ace and the Yankees have lost the best left-handed arm they could have gotten to help combat Boston’s new left happy line-up. This does mean, however, that New York will have deep pockets to sign nearly every other available player they want — and you know they’ll pull a big trade out of their hat sometime next season. All of that said, I think this move immediately makes the Red Sox and the Phillies the favorites for next season — I’ll predict here and now that they meet in the World Series. Let’s take a look at their starting rotations for 2011:

Phillies: Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, Cole Hamels, Roy Oswalt

Red Sox: John Lester, Clay Bucholz, Josh Beckett, Daisuke Matsuzaka, John Lackey (Tim Wakefield)

Those rotations could create some fantastic pitching match-ups, but I think the Red Sox have a serious advantage offensively. That said, the average Philadelphia starter is a better pitcher and the Phillies have the advantage of playing in the National league — meaning the Red Sox won’t have nearly the opportunity to familiarize themselves with the Phillies rotation, as they would, say, the Yankees. Still, I believe that Boston’s chances of beating the Yankees in a 7 game series went up substantially with the Yanks missing out on Lee.

Lee’s move to the Phillies certainly was a surprise, and I can’t help but speculate on why he chose the Phils. He seemed to be happy in Texas, where he pitched the team to the World Series. The Yankees offered him crazy money and a chance to play in a huge market for a serious contender. His reasons for passing the Yanks by could have been the quality of life issue he raised, or it could simply have been the fact that he’d have to share a division with the Red Sox. Lee must have seen the Phillies’ rotation, wanted to get in on the action, and realized a playoff birth was more of a guarantee in Philly than anywhere else. His career numbers will likely be much better in the NL than the AL East, suggesting that he may have been concerned about his legacy. I’m sure his true reasons had something to do with getting a chance to win and his family’s quality of life — maybe his family has friends in the Philly area, who knows.

Regardless, the 2011 season should, without a doubt, be a competitive one.

Sox in 7 games.

Bookmark and Share

30 Comments

Filed under Baseball

Carl Crawford To Boston? You Kiddin’ Me?

Carl Crawford

Theo Epstein made a statement yesterday, saying loud and clear — “We’re here to win in 2011.” You gotta give it to the guy, every time I start to question him he answers. You also got to love his sneakiness, stating after signing Gonzalez that his focus was now on the bullpen. He made moves in a major way, and he made them early. Gotta love it. After signing Crawford to a 7-year $142 million deal, the Red Sox have the best team in the Bigs. Here’s a look at my new proposed line-up for the Sox.

1) Carl Crawford, L, LF

2) Dustin Pedroia, R, 2B

3) David Ortiz, L, DH

4) Kevin Youkilis, R, 3B

5) Adian Gonzalez, L, 1B

6) JD Drew, L, RF

7) Marco Scutaro, SS, R

8)Jarrod Saltalamacchia, C, S

9) Jacoby Ellsbury, L, CF

Yes, that is going to be 6 left-handed hitters if need be. This line-up has it all in my opinion, minus a good catcher (which is the second most important position in baseball). That said we’ve got a gold glove infield, an incredibly fast outfield, power, and two of the best on the base paths in the league. Coupled with our starting pitching and a bullpen that Theo is trying to add to — watch out.

Now now now. Shut up for a moment Yankees fans. I’ve already started to hear it. “The Red Sox sold out, the Red Sox are the Yankees.” Frankly, New Yorkers, you’re just making yourself look pathetic by saying these things. Your showing us Boston people that our comments get to you. Because if you sit back and look at the numbers, well, how about we do that?

Players making over $30 million in 2011 — Yankees 1 (A-Rod), Red Sox 0

Players making over $20 million in 2011 — Yankees 3 (CC, A-Rod, Tex), Sox 0 (Crawford may, but his contract likely increases by year)

Players making over $15 million in 2011 — Yankees 6 (AJ, Mo, CC, Jeter, A-Rod, Tex), Red Sox 2 (Lackey, Crawford)

As far as signing players to long-term, big deals I gave the Yankees hell for signing AJ Burnett, CC Sabathia, and Mark Texiera in the same offseason to the tune of $441 million. The Red Sox have really only signed Crawford, although it does seem very likely they will give Adrian Gonzalez a contract extension early in the season. Even if they pay his 150+ million over many seasons, that brings Crawford and Gonzalez’s signings to about 2/3 of the Yankees spending that off-season.  Which seems about right. Boston’s payroll will be less than the Yankees, significantly, as it always is.

Oh, and that’s not to mention the deal the Yankees will likely sign Cliff Lee too. That makes those numbers look even worse. Frankly, they have no option other than to get him now — they’ll need another lefty arm to pitch the Red Sox lefty-happy line-up.

Bring on the spring.

Bookmark and Share

56 Comments

Filed under Baseball

Yo Adrian (Gonzalez)! Welcome to Boston

Adrian Gonzalez Boston Red Sox

Theo Epstein has made me very happy, as the Red Sox have a 11:00am press conference today to officially announce that they have traded for San Diego Padres’ first baseman Adrian Gonzalez. This move is the single move I most wanted the Red Sox to fulfill this offseason, as they have been targeting Gonzalez for some time. Although Gonzalez has yet to sign a long-term deal, the Red Sox have offered him 6 years for $120 million. He is reportedly looking for 8 years, paying about $23-$25 million per season, and according to several sources it looks probable that he will eventually sign for a 7 year deal at $22 million per season. Simply put, Adrian Gonzalez is our new Mark Texiera.

I like this deal for many reasons — Gonzalez is young (29), a Gold Glove winning defensive player, and a perennial 30 home run 100 RBI hitter. Although his career batting average is .284, his on base percentage numbers are excellent — he had a .396 OBP last season. Perhaps most overlooked is the fact that Gonzalez posted these numbers in an extremely hitter-unfriendly ballpark with no protection in the Padres’ lineup — as a left-handed hitter his power numbers will likely pop in Fenway Park. This move also sures up a fantastic infield defense, specifically at the corners with Kevin Youkilis’ move to third base.

So what’s the bad news? He’s going to require a big money, long-term deal. If he’s able to agree to such a deal, the Red Sox will then have a core of Gonzalez, Kevin Youkilis, and Dustin Pedroia signed for several seasons — which is great. However, Jason Werth’s signing with the Washington Nationals for 7 seasons at $126 million really hurts the Red Sox’s chances of landing Carl Crawford, who is represented by Scott Boras and is younger than Werth. He’s likely out of reach financially for the Sox now, although if we did manage to sign him it would an unbeleivable lineup.  All of that said, the real reason to be excited is a look towards my proposed opening day lineup for the Sox — they still need to add some depth, but this lineup is undeniably good.

1) Jacoby Ellsbury (L)

2) Dustin Pedroia (R)

3) David Ortiz (L)

4) Kevin Youkilis (R)

5) Adrian Gonzalez (L)

6) JD Drew (L)

7) Ryan Kallish (L)

8)Jason Varitek or Jarrod Saltalamacchia (R) or (R)

9) Marco Scutaro (R)

Starting Pitcher: John Lester

That’s a huge reason to get excited, although I still think we need one more significant bat (yes, Crawford would be perfect). Regardless, it’s great to see the Red Sox take such a huge step in the right direction.

Bookmark and Share

26 Comments

Filed under Baseball

Tom Brady Versus Derek Jeter — Who is Superior?

Tom Brady New England Patriots

By Jimmy Cunningham, howiGit Contributing Writer

New York, NY

Mr. howiGit loves his comparisons, so here is one for him: a comparison of the two most iconic heroes in New York and Boston of the past generation — Derek Jeter versus Tom Brady. As with most comparisons on this blog, this one will dig deeper than just the numbers and performance on the field, but will examine the whole person — and in the end will determine the more iconic figure.

Winning – Both Jeter and Brady have won a lot in their careers. Both have been in the playoffs every year except one, with Brady missing one season while hurt in 2008. Jeter has played in seven World Series in 15 seasons; Brady has played in four Super Bowls in nine years. Jeter has won five World Series championships and Brady has won three Super Bowls. With those numbers being too close to close to call, this is a push.
Result: Push

Records – Currently, Jeter is the active leader in hits in the MLB, and looks to continue to move up the all-time list. I have a bet with Mr. howiGit Derek Jeter New York Yankees that he will break Pete Rose’s record for the most hits all-time, so we will see how that one ends up. That said, most of Jeter’s records are playoff records: leading in playoff hits, runs, and doubles. Along with that, he is third all-time in playoff home runs. Brady’s records come mostly from the 2007 18-1 season with Patriots, with his single season record-breaking 50 touchdowns being his crowning jewel. He also owns the record for most completions ever in a Super Bowl with 32 against Carolina in 2004. For both Brady and Jeter, career records have yet to be determined, but due to his touchdown record season the edge goes to Brady.
Result: Brady Wins

Clutchness – Mr. howiGit’s favorite intangible quality is clutchness. Both of these players seem to have ice water in their veins and step up when their teams need them most. Jeter’s batting average when his team is down is .317, which climbs to.322 when his team is down by one run. His career average climbs by nine points when his team is losing by any margin, from .308 to .317. His average also continues to grow on the games highest stage; the World Series, going from .308 to .321. With that, Jeter has a .400 on-base percentage in the 9th inning, to go along with a .333 batting average in extra innings as well as a .500 on base percentage in those extra innings. Brady has 30 4th quarter wins, in which his team is tied or down heading into that quarter. Along with that, he has engineered two last-minute Super Bowl winning drives and has been near perfect in overtime throughout his career. The edge here goes to Jeter. Looking at Brady’s career by quarter, the 4th has been his worst. He has his most interceptions, fumbles, and worst quarterback rating in the 4th quarter. According to quarterback rating, Brady plays his worst when his team is down, while Jeter elevates his play at crunch time.
Result: Jeter Wins

Women – Tom Brady has a gorgeous wife in Gisele Bundchen. I would question you to find anyone who would say that she is ugly. He also has dated Tara Reed, pre letting herself go, and also has a kid with Bridgette Moynahan who also is no slouch. But this one is not a contest. Derek Jeter has dated 6 women on Maxim’s top 100 lists; Jessica Alba, Vanessa Manillo, Scarlett Johansson, Gabriele Union, Mariah Carey, and Jessica
Biel. That is just the All-Star team which does not include a Miss Universe, singers, and actresses. Oh and he is engaged to Minka Kelly who was recently named sexiest woman alive by Esquire Magazine.
Result: Jeter Wins, by a landslide.

Endorsements – Jeter is endorsed and heavily featured by Gatorade and Jordan. He is also one of three athletic spokesmen for Gillette with Roger Federer and Tiger Woods, two of the best at their respective sports. Jeter makes over $10 million a year total in endorsements. He was recently in a movie, The Other Guys, staring Mark Wahlberg and Will Farrell. He also currently has the top-selling jersey in the MLB, coming in his 15th season. Brady, on the other hand, has endorsements with Smartwater and Movado watches, and makes about $4 million annually in endorsements. He also has the 14th highest selling NFL jersey, one behind Eli Manning.
Result: Jeter Wins

Personality- Derek Jeter seems to have the respect of his peers, media, and the public in general. The knock on Jeter is that his defense has declined. People that do not like him have the type of dislike that comes from respect. Brady gets much love from the media and seems to have a healthy rivalry with Peyton Manning. However ask the Baltimore Ravens or the Pittsburgh Steelers, who have both had issues with Brady on the field, what they think of Tom Terrific. I don’t think you would ever see Jeter get in the face of a back-up left fielder, a la Anthony Smith or question how many runs his team is going to score in the World Series, a la Plaxico Burress. Something I did not know existed before doing some research for this article is dickipedia.com. It is a Wikipedia type page devoted entirely to who the public thinks are “dicks”. Tom Brady has a page, Alex Rodriguez has a page, Derek Jeter does not. Jeter also doesn’t model his hair off of a 16-year-old Canadian punk.
Result: Jeter Wins

So in the end, Jeter is the winner, 4-1-1. The on the field was very close with Jeter winning one, Brady winning one, and a push. However Jeter really pulled away in the off the field aspects, proving himself the overall better man. If any topics were missed, let the debate begin.

Bookmark and Share

Check out http://chrisross91.wordpress.com.

51 Comments

Filed under Baseball, NFL, Player Comparisons