Thursday, December 9, 2010

HITTING And Defense

  • The Red Sox strike...

...and they do it with the power and precision of Force Lightning from the hand of Emperor Palpatine.

Or from me.

The Red Sox made another offense-bolstering maneuver by reportedly signing Carl Crawford to a 7-year contract worth $142 million----ESPN Story. Days after acquiring Adrian Gonzalez from the Padres, the Red Sox have now added Crawford---two of the biggest offensive forces on the market and both still in their 20s.

What a difference a year makes.

Much like the way they responded in a strong and decisive fashion when, after the 2003 meltdown due to a poor bullpen and bad bullpen management, they signed established closer Keith Foulke; like they spent, spent, spent the bad taste from their mouths of missing the playoffs in 2006, the Red Sox have done an about face after trying a stat zombie tenet of going with cheap, short-term defense-oriented players rather than spend heavily on stars.

Last year, it was the signings of John Lackey; Mike Cameron; Adrian Beltre; and Marco Scutaro. The results were iffy as Lackey pitched poorly; Cameron got hurt; Beltre was fantastic; and Scutaro did what Scutaro does.

Admittedly, it wasn't the "pitching and defense" strategy that cost the Red Sox in 2010 as I expected it would; it was injuries. They showed remarkable courage, fortitude and, as usual, a strong minor league system to win 89 games when no one would've blinked if they'd fallen to .500.

That said, the club clearly knew they had to upgrade the offense; that keeping Beltre after another of his massive free agent years would've been too expensive and risky; that Gonzalez was available via trade and Crawford via free agency; and that they could placate the fan base and create a devastating offense with power, speed and defense.

Crawford has the aforementioned speed and defense, but he also has some power/on base ability; he's only 29 and should be able to produce for the life of the 7-year deal. Crawford's splits indicate that he uses the whole field when hitting and will batter the Green Monster.

The notion that the Red Sox are too left-handed is nonsense. Both acquisitions hit lefties well enough and with Kevin Youkilis and Dustin Pedroia in the lineup along with a healthy Mike Cameron, they'll be fine. (That's if Cameron's there; of the two outfielders left standing between Jacoby Ellsbury and Cameron, I'd think it would be Ellsbury who goes, maybe in a deal for Josh Willingham----a dangerous righty bat----and Cameron who stays.)

I've been on the record as saying that the Red Sox needed another pitcher and that there were ancillary benefits for them to at least make a minimal run at Cliff Lee----which they did----but with Crawford and their current pitching staff, this is a playoff team right now.

And they're better than the Yankees.

Speaking of the offer they made Lee, it's being seen as a winking, "hey Yankees, we're still here" type of tweak; they can't expect to get Lee with a longer term deal if the money is significantly lower than what's already out there. It's a "show-me" collateral attack.

Rather than do this though, maybe the Red Sox would've been better off making a legit offer to try and get Lee instead of jumping in for the sake of it. If they didn't want to go 7 years, a higher cash offer for 5 years was a more worthwhile shot and actually had a chance of working. If they did this to throw a bomb that had no possibility of connecting, it was something of a waste of time.

Another Lee tidbit: I don't want to hear about it anymore.

When he signs, he signs. Apart from that? I don't care. I don't care about his agent sitting and trying to have a peaceful dinner as if that means something one way or the other; I don't want to know that the executives of clubs are angry that the agent left the winter meetings early; I don't need reactions from every team regarding the escalating offers and whether or not someone is going to fly completely over the edge with 8 years, 9 years, 20 years----whatever.

I don't care. When he signs somewhere and is about to have the cliche-riddled press conference, I'll pay scant attention. Before then? Find something interesting to talk about, like Miguel Cairo!!

I was on with SportsFan Buzz yesterday talking about the Red Sox; Cliff Lee; Carl Crawford; Jayson Werth; the Yankees; the McCourts; Zack Greinke; and the ESPN broadcasters.

I was awesomely outrageous as usual.

Get the link directly here----The SportsFan Buzz: December 8, 2010----or on I-Tunes; you can go to Sal's Twitter feed and site as well.


She-Fan said...

So happy that Carl Crawford is staying in the AL East. #sarcasm

Jeff said...

Look out, Yankees, dem Red Sox means bid-ness! Guess the Rays, O's and Jays can forget about next year, NOW.

Ya wanna talk big moves? How 'bout those Royals! They snatched up your man-crush, Prince!

Anonymous said...

"And they're better than the Yankees."

We'll see about that.....