Thursday, May 29, 2003

The Tradewinds, They're A-blowin'

ESPN Radio is reporting that the Sox and Diamondbacks have agreed on a deal that would send Shea Hillenbrand to the Snakes for pitcher Byung-Hyun Kim. Man, am I torn. Hillenbrand drives me batshit with his lack of plate discipline, but he smokes the ball when he hits it, and he's probably the team's best defensive firstbaseman at the moment. I hate to extrapolate value from my selective memory, but he also seems to get big hits against good pitchers - like his game-winning bomb against Mariano Rivera last year, or his clutch single against, um, Mariano Rivera last night. On the other hand, he's 28 years old, has a mediocre OPS, and average power, and BYK is a stud.

The Bunger gives the Sox a ton of flexibility, as he can start and relieve, and he can slot in right now as the Sox #2 starter. That'll take pressure off Lowe, and when Pedro comes back will give the Sox a rotation with Pedro (the best right-handed pitcher in history), Kim (a side-arming strikeout artist), Lowe (tall, lanky sinkerballer), Wakefield (knuckleballer), and Fossum (hard-throwing lefthander with a good curve). That will present opposing teams with a massively diverse set of challenges on a day-to-day basis.

Ultimately, this means Bill Mueller plays third everyday, which improves the defense at third and keeps an OBP machine in the lineup. It also means that David Ortiz and Kevin Millar share first base duties, which weakens the defense, but probably improves the offense. So, in the end, pitching better, defense the same, offense better. Daddy likee.

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