Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Hey There, Good Looking

We interrupt this winter-long slumber to gape at the Sox' recent headline-grabbing effort.

For a team without a GM, the Sox sure pulled off a dandy deal yesterday, grabbing 25 year-old stud righthander Josh Beckett from the Marlins for stud prospects Hanley Ramirez and Anibal Sanchez, and a lower-level arm. The Sox also got 3b Mike Lowell in the deal. Manny Ramirez and Bill Mueller, that bell tolls for thee.

My first reaction when I heard about the deal borders on heresy, but here goes: I see Beckett as Pedro Lite. For the second time in 8 years, the Sox have swung a deal for a young, potentially dominant power arm entering the prime of his career. I have no illusions that Josh Beckett will ever be Pedro Martinez, but he doesn't have to be. He just has to be Josh Beckett plus 40-50 more innings every year, and he doesn't have the Messiah pressure that was placed upon Pedro from Day 1 in Boston. Beckett's proven he has the makeup to withstand big game heat, pitching gems in the NLCS and World Series in 2002 - neutering the Yankees in the latter on short rest, no less. All he has to prove now is that he can eat a few more innings during the regular season, and with Curt Schilling as mentor for at least 1 year, I'd place odds on his ability to do just that.

While it places me squarely in the minority, I'm a little bit excited about Mike Lowell, too. The erstwhile slugger put the p.u. in putrid last season, but his dead-pull stroke in combo with Fenway's inviting left-field environs may be just the ticket to his redemption. Couple that with his reputation for hard work, and the Sox may be able to catch lightning in a bottle next year. And if not, we'll have someone to replace Kevin Millar as the object of the Nation's scorn.

Finally, a bit of good news in an off-season of discontent. And for what it's worth, I'm still waiting for Theo to walk back in that door, and I will until they drag some stiff up to a podium to announce his hiring. Please Lord let it not be Jim Bowden.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005


That sound you hear is the figurative jaw of Red Sox Nation dropping at yesterday's news that Theo Epstein has walked away from the Sox' GM position. There's a wellspring of speculation surrounding the issue, but no really good facts, so I'll refrain from commenting on the circumstances. I won't refrain from commenting on how much this sucks.

The Sox are left in quite a lurch a week before the league's winter meetings. Heir apparent (in retrospect, because nobody thought Theo needed an heir for say, 30 years, or so) Josh Byrnes is the new GM in Arizona, and smart money has the entire Sox front office in a land grab to join him now that Theo's out. Senior management must now rebuild a front office, develop an offseason plan, and execute said plan. Starting essentially from scratch. Why do I feel like I'll be looking at the Butch Hobson Era, redux?

Theo was one of us - a really smart, really driven, really lucky one of us, but one of us nonetheless. He had the job that every red-blooded male in, from, or of New England wanted once we realized we weren't going to make the Sox starting lineup. He's 31 years old and the undisputed King of Boston. And he walked away. Damn. Just, damn.