And Thank You for visiting Sonoma Dave's Giant Red Sox Blog! This blog is an archive of most of my posts on Fenway West. Effective immediately, I will be be including posts about the San Francisco Giants, MLB, and on occasion, stuff that has nothing to do with baseball at all.

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Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy New Year!

Best Wishes for a great 2010 to all our readers and also to everyone with The Boston American League Baseball Company, The Boston Red Sox, without whom Fenway West would not exist.

Saturday, December 26, 2009



Not posted at FenwayWest.com

Friday, December 25, 2009

Where are they now- Coco Crisp

The San Jose Mercury News is reporting that Coco Crisp has agreed to a 1 year contract with the Oakland A's for 2010 with a club option for 2011. Crisp had a rough year last year and was limited to 49 games before having surgery on both shoulders in June and July.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Even CBS says the Red Sox are the "Team of the Decade"

The once-every-nine-or-ten year discussion of "The Team of the Decade" is upon us again. Yankee fans will claim there bookend WS titles, most division titles, most AL Pennants, most wins, etc., justify their claim to this title. (Let's not forget most money spent on payroll.) Chicago White Sox fans will claim that their team should be that team as they had a longer drought than the Red Sox.

Danny Knobler, senior writer with CBSSports.com makes a strong case for the Red Sox being the "Team of the Decade." Depending upon the definition of 'decade' you prefer to adopt, the Yankees have not bookended this decade, but their WS titles have become so commonplace over the years, that these last two titles are just two more titles, nothing more. While Chicago did endure a longer WS drought than Boston, that team only won one WS in this time frame.

The Boston Red Sox, however, not only won two WS titles without having to resort to a debate of the definition of 'decade', their WS drought was only 2 years less than the White Sox. The Red Sox WS titles of 2004 and 2007 will be remembered in higher regard for the record breaking, nearly impossible comeback in the 2004 ALCS, and for sweeping both NL opponents for an 8-0 W-L WS record. And if you are of the opinion that the decade is not over yet, it appears that the Red Sox are winning WS titles once every three years these days.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Jacoby Ellsbury Steals Home

On April 26, 2009, in the bottom of the 5th inning against the New York Yankees, Jacoby Ellsbury stole home. Andy Pettitte was on the mound, Jorge Posada behind the dish, and left handed batter J.D. Drew was at the plate. Ellsbury had a huge lead, and as Pettitte wound up, Ellsbury took off and did it! Pettitte had a look on his face like he was a deer caught in the headlights.

MLB.com is highlighting the top plays of the 2009 campaign and this play is on the list. I wish I could embed it in this post, but you're just going to have to click on this link here, and enjoy Jon Miller calling the play! So appropriate that it was against the Yanks at Fenway!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Dan Shaughnessy is in love with Johnny Damon

Dan Shaughnessy, (aka CHB), takes Sox fans to task in his latest fish wrap for booing Johnny Damon whenever he makes an appearance at Fenway Park. He wonders if Yankee fans will boo him the next time he appears in the wind tunnel. I highly doubt that would happen. Damon can't reject their offer and sign with their arch-rivals, as he did to the Sox after the 2005 season. But nowhere in his column does he mention Damon's forked-tongue allegiance to the Sox midway through that season.

"There's no way I can go play for the Yankees, but I know they are going to come after me hard," Damon said. "It's definitely not the most important thing to go out there for the top dollar, which the Yankees are going to offer me. It's not what I need. I'd like to finish my career here."

From RedSox.com: Boston topped his choice of teams for which he would prefer to play. Damon said he's "very happy" to be a Red Sox.

And then as soon as Steinbrenner unzipped his wallet that October... Zoom!!! He was in pinstripes just like that. Yet Shaughnessy maintains that Sox fans should welcome him into the back into the fold, if not as a Yankee player (highly unlikely at this point), then certainly any time he returns in a uniform other than a Sox uni.

Dan, Dan, Dan, Dan, Dan...

What Damon did was kin to stiffing your bride at the altar. It was like moving into a house with your best friend and watching said best friend turn into some unholy, evil and unrecognizable beast the moment the lease was signed. It's like telling your girlfriend, "Oh honey, I won't come in your mouth. Oops." Johnny Damon turned into yet another Yankee money slut. Ian at Sox and Dawgs agrees.

Yes, he was a major factor in the historic 2004 Red Sox World Series championship team. Yes, he was endeared by most, if not all of Red Sox Nation. But has he ever explained those remarks from May of 2005? Has he ever apologized for his turncoat behavior?

I've said it before, players such as Damon, Ramirez, and now Bay who have or had become endeared to the nth degree by Red Sox fans would be worth much, much more post-career had they stayed with the Red Sox to the end of their careers, a very historic team in its own right, instead of jumping from one team to another in search of the instant almighty dollar.

Shaughnessy needs to watch "The War of the Roses." Some relationships are just impossible to repair.

FenwayWest.com 12.21.09

OK. You're Crazy.

Alex Sullivan posted an interesting entry today on the Bleacher Report blog titled, "Call Me Crazy... but The Red Sox Should Sign Jason Bay." OK, You're crazy. Still, he has some interesting scenarios. I'm not exactly saying I want Bay back, that is, until I know it was his beard Urbon and not himself that was creating all that negativity. I wanted him back just as much as anyone else up until recently. I really hope it was Urbon slingin' the BS and not Bay.

FenwayWest.com 12.21.09

Youk- 1st or 3rd?

With all the talk about first baseman Teixeira last year, and Gonzalez this year (among others), I had been wondering what does Kevin Youkilis have to say about switching back and forth between 1B and 3B. His ability to play both positions, and play them well gives Terry Francona a lot of options when filling out his line-up card before every game. I would imagine some divas players would piss and moan about being a ping-pong ball, but Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald caught up with Youk's agent Joe Bick, who had this to say about the situation:

“I really don’t have any career-related concerns about whatever happens, because I know Youk won’t let it affect him under any circumstances. Wherever they tell him to play, that’s what he’ll do without bitching about it, and he’ll be damn good there. As always, Kevin indicated his preference would be a full-time spot somewhere, but that he had no problem flip-flopping if that’s what the Sox needed him to do. He loves playing third the most so, naturally, that would be his first choice.”

Bick reveals that Youk has a preference for playing 3rd base, and with 2010 being Mike Lowell's last year in his current contract, it is quite possible that Youk will move back to 3rd base full time in 2011, if not sooner.The list of 2011first basemanfree agents does not have anyone under the age of 30 enteringthat season, so look for Theo to make a trade for a first baseman with heavy lumber somewhere down the line.

I always wondered what Youk thought of his situation, and nowwe know.

FenwayWest.com 12.20.09

Where are they now- Javier Lopez

Sidewinder lefty Javier Lopez was a 4th round pick by the Arizona Diamondbacks in 1998 and traded to the Colorado Rockies where he played from 2003 to 2005. He pitched for Boston (and Pawtucket) from 2006 to the 2009 season. (At one point in the 2006 season, there were two players with the name Javier Lopez, the other being the former Orioles catcher whom the Red Sox picked up after Jason Varitek was injured that season.)

Slow out of the gate in 2009, he allowed 4 hits and 1 run in his first appearance of the season,buthe was able to shave his ERA from 9.00 on April 8th down to 3.68 by the next to last day of the month, when his implosion began. In his next 4 appearances, he allowed 11 hits and 9 earned runs in only 4.1 innings of work, and was demoted to Pawtucket. His implosion continued that month allowing 6 hits and 6 runs in 5.2 innings pitched. His rollercoaster ride continued with much better results in June, before getting hammered again in early July. I was in attendance at McCoy Stadium on July 27th watching the PawSox and the Columbus Clippers with press pass dangling from the lanyard around my neck. Going into that game Lopez had put together 3 good games in a row, so I was hoping to get a chance to speak with him after the game. Unfortunately, he had a miserable day on the mound- 1 inning, 3 hits, 1 walk, 3 runs- garnering him a blown save and the loss for the day. Needless to say, I was hesitant to speak with him, but that was a moot point, as he was one of the first players to get out of the clubhouse that day. He eventually got into a nice groove for the remainder of his season, as his stats reveal that he did not allow a run to score in his last 9 games with the PawSox- 11 innings, 5 hits, 1 walk, and 0 runs. In October, he was granted free agency.

So where is Javier Lopez, the pitcher, these days? He has just signed a one year contract with the Pittsburgh Pirates. I usually was looking forward to him entering a game during his tenure with the Sox. Before faltering in 2009, he had a 5-1 W-L record, and 2.70 ERA in 158 appearances spanning his three previous seasons with the Sox. Hopefully Lopez will thrive with a new team in the National League.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Well, that book, Odd Man Out, *was* funny, however...

… it may not be 100% accurate. Author Matt McCarthy of “Odd Man Out” has been called out by several of the players, coaches, and manager appearing in the book saying that the book is nowhere near truthful. Several major periodicals and sports news outlets have published articles about the veracity of his book. After Sports Illustrated printed an excerpt from the book, Benjamin Hill and Alan Schwarz of the NY Times conducted extensive research by digging up old box scores and other relevant info as discussed in the book and concluded thatmuch of what McCarthy wrote was indeed less than accurate and truthful. Other major periodicals, including the Chicago Tribune, and the LA Times, as well as the LA Angels blog, FutureAngels.com have lined up behind the NY Times disputing much of what McCarthy wrote.
USA Today was one of the first major periodicals who interviewed him about the time the book was published. The Orange County Register checked in on him, too. Now that the book has been out for several months, McCarthy’s accounts of many incidents he wrote of during his tenure with the Provo (UT) Angels have been called into question. NECN.com sports interviewed him giving him opportunity to defend himself. In the following video, McCarthy speaks with Mike Nikitas of NECN, and declares himself “a proud member of Red Sox Nation,” after he defends himself and his book.
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The book was funny, no doubt, as I mentioned in my review of the book, but I was just beginning to read it a second time when I started hearing rumblings about the book. It took the fun right out of reading it again.
(If the video doesn't load, click here.)

Mikey's not gone just yet!

The Boston Globe via ESPN Boston is reporting that Texas is having issues with Lowell's thumb injury that he sustained towards the end of the 2009 season. Read the full story here.

UPDATE: The Dallas-Fort Worth Star-Telegram is also reporting todaythat the trade has not yet been finalized due to lingering questions about Mike Lowell's thumb injury and WEEI says the Rangers will have to visually inspect it this week:

According to sources familiar with the situation, the Texas Rangers will be examining Mike Lowell’s left thumb in-person at some point this week.

FenwayWest.com 12.13.09

San Diego Padres, Jed Hoyer, Adrian Gonzalez, & the Red Sox

New Hampshire native Jed Hoyer had been with the Red Sox since 2002. He served as co-general manager during Theo Epstein's 10 week hiatus in 2005. He recently accepted the position of General Manager with the Padres after Kevin Towers was fired after 15 years in the GM position with the Padres. Coincidentally, the Red Sox have offered employment to Towers, but it has not been determined which position he would fill.

Hoyer just plucked a San Diego native from the Red Sox front office. Jason McLeod was hired to be Hoyer's assistant GM after serving in the Red Sox scouting department for seven years. McLeod got his start in the Padres organization in 1994. He scouted several important players during his tenure with the Sox, including Dustin Pedroia, Cla Meredith, Jacoby Ellsbury, Craig Hansen, Clay Buchholz, Jed Lowrie, Daniel Bard, Michael Bowden, Justin Masterson, Nick Hagadone, Casey Kelly, Josh Reddick, and Ryan Westmoreland. This roster makes for quite an impressive resume. McLeod leaves huge hole in the Red Sox front office, which Epstein expects to fill from within.

Hoyer arrives in San Diego amid widespread talk of the San Diego Padres trading their slugging first baseman, Adrian Gonzalez. The Padres' new dynamic duo bring inimate knowledge of the Sox farm system, making them very confident about any trades involving Sox prospects. The Sox-Padres relationship has been strong as Theo Epstein and Larry Lucchino both were in the Padres front office before joining the Sox. Hoyer has stated that he would would have a “level of comfort” in any potential trade with the Red Sox, while also stating that the possibility of trading Gonzalez to the Sox is "just speculation." Comments on various blogs suspect that Hoyer and Epstein worked out a deal involving Gonzalez before Hoyer actually accepted the position with his new team. The Gaslamp Ball blog reports that Kevin Towers has stated that the Padres' payroll will remain at $40 million for some time, effectively forcing a Gonzalez trade. Gonzalez's contract runs out after his $5.5 million option year in 2011.

Darren Smith, the new voice of the San Diego Padres conducted an interview with Hoyer, which can be heard following this link to GB.

After the San Diego Padres raided Red Sox front office executives Jed Hoyer for GM and Jason McLeod as his assistant, some have speculated that they may even make a run for the Green Monster.
FenwayWest.com 12.07.09

Yankees have work to do

Not only are they worried about Scutaro, but they're also worried about the Sox landing Matt Holliday. The St. Louis Cardinals will most likely not try and resign him as Boras (grrrr.....) is shopping him at $23 million per year. Theo is holding his cards close to his vest on this one, as some are speculating that Holliday is the preferred left fielder over Jason Bay for the Sox.

From i-yankees.com:

For the Yankees, if the Sox were to land Holliday, in my opinion, I believe it would be a big blow. When you look at New York’s outfield, there isn’t exactly a “pillar” to build around. The Yankees don’t have that prominent outfielder in their farm system...

The Yankees have work to do if they think they're going to make it to the postseason in 2010. Their outfield is stable but not outstanding- Cabrera, Swisher, and Gardner as of right now. Boras will try for a Posada-like package of up to 4 years for Damon, but the Yanks will not offer a contract for that long to the 36 year old, weak armed outfielder. 38 year old Jorge Posada has played in exactly 162 games total in the past two years. His batting has dropped significantly since his career year in 2007, and the Yankees still have to drag him for 2 more years. As their roster stands right now, their catchers include Posada and Cervelli.

The starting pitching staff sports Sabathia and Burnett, but after those two there is much uncertainty. Will Pettite retire? Will Chamberlain turn into the ace that they expected? Will he bounce back and forth from starting rotation to bullpen and back? Pettitte and Chamberlain are proven starting pitchers, yet their numbers are not overpowering as Sabathia's were last year. Mo Rivera has been a top notch closer since 1997, but he just turned 40. One wonders how long he will continue performing at that level.

After splooging some umpteen bazillion dollars last year on Sabathia, Burnett, and Teixeira, and wanting to keep their payroll under $200 million for 2010, the Yankees will have trouble landing Halliday and/or Holliday, andthey will not want to give up Chamberlain and/or Hughes to get either of them.

While the Sox may still have some holes to plug (left field, bullpen), it looks like the Yankees have some gaping holes of their own to fill.

FenwayWest.com 12.06.09

Yankee fans come to their senses

The 'Respect Jeter's Gangster' blogshows that the Yankees are fearing the Red Sox:

Coming off their 27th World Championship, it looked like the New York Yankees would be favorites to win the AL East next season, however, the Red Sox have put a road block in the Yankees hopes by signing the game changer, Marco Scutaro. Scutaro had a monster year for Toronto batting in out-of-this-world .282 with 12 homeruns [sic] and 60 RBI's. With Scutaro joining the Red Sox, Pedroia no longer has to worry about moving to short. Scutaro is a known winner, having played for such powerhouse teams as the Mets, Athletics, and Blue Jays. Now that he's with Boston, the Red Sox have secured their position as contenders.

C.C. (stands for calorie counter) Sabathia will show up 30 pounds overweight after sharing his Yankee dollarsall winter with every donut shop, In & Out Burgers, and any all-you-can-eat deal within a 50 mile radius of Vallejo, CA. Burnett and Teixeira will suffer Matsui-like injuries, sidelining them for most of the season. The 4graybeards (Posada, Jeter, Pettitte, Rivera) are all over the hill. Rivera will blow more saves against the Red Sox. A-Rod will undoubtedly find a way to secure his place in the buffoon hall of fame while resuming his former choking performances (ruing about Kate Hudson,Madonna and her dancers, no doubt, especially her dancers), and since they are funding Sabathia's stomach refill campaign, they will fail to land Holliday or Halliday since they are not able to sell out the new stadium due to exorbitant ticket prices.

Author Fernando Alejandro goes on to say, "The only way we can counter this signing is if we get Garret Andersen to play left field." They will fail to land Anderson as well, and are forced to resign Johnny Damon. Lastly, ol' dumbass Hank will come out of hiding and will resume second guessing Cash-man (appropriate name for the GM of the less than thrifty Yankees.)

Alejandro, the Yankees, and their fans will claim the post was all tongue in cheek, but we know exactly what's in their heads. They mayclaim Scutaro's 2009 numbers were a fluke, but the 2009 Yankees will also prove to be a fluke.

Fear the Nation, 2010 and beyond.

FenwayWest.com 12.04.09

REVIEW: 'Odd Man Out', by Matt McCarthy

This book is probably the funniest baseball book I have ever read! I usually read in bed before I turn the lights out, and I swear that at least three times while reading this book I had to get up out of bed because I was laughing so hard!

Matt McCarthy played college baseball for Yale University, not exactly a hotbed of MLB prospects. He was a half decent pitcher on a sorry excuse for a college baseball team. That he was a southpaw was the reason he was finally picked in the twenty-sixth round of the 2002 draft. He was offered a contract with the Los Angeles Angels and was assigned to play for the Provo (UT ) Angels.

McCarthy wrote down everything that happened in his year with Provo, not unlike Jim Bouton in ‘Ball Four.’ The manager of that team was Tom Kotchman, Casey’s father. McCarthy writes about life in the minor leagues- not AAA, which would probably have felt like an upgrade from coach to first class, but single A rookie league ball. We’re talking 18 hour bus rides in desert heat with no air conditioning. His teammates that year include Bobby Jenks, Joe Saunders, and Erick Aybar and he has great stories about all of them. He writes of his friendship with Craig Breslow, who also went to Yale and was in the Red Sox system in 2006 and 2007. Besides all the debauchery you would expect from a bunch of early 20-somethings, he gives us a very interesting look at life in the low minor leagues, including the culture shock that young Latino men endure living in a world that seems light years away from their native countries.

The LA Angels have their ‘Rally Monkey’, but you’ll have to read the book to find out what the corresponding rally mascot is for Provo.


FenwayWest.com 11.28.09