Year End Red Sox Round-Up

Not too much news to report on in Red Sox land (I refuse to acknowledge the concept of Red Sox Nation…go on, check, I’ve never said it).

Outstanding issues:

– back-up catcher – Prediction: Doug “Queer Eye” Mirabelli
– another bench guy – probably a 1b/3b type with some pop ideally.
– bullpen – With 6 “starters” and 4 relievers under contract, the Red Sox will probably add another bullpen arm. If Tavarez gets traded, they’ll need 2.
– Will he or won’t he? Is Johan coming to Boston? Not sure. If he does come, it’ll probably necessitate adding additional players as it’ll cost a starter and everyday player to be sure.

This has been a crazy December. There was tons of news on Johan Santana, but very little else. Now that the Santana news has slowed down, the local papers have had little to no news on the Red Sox.

There is one issue worth mentioning. Jim Rice is in his 2nd to last year of eligibility. He was my favorite player growing up and of course I think he is Hall of Fame worthly (bias admitted).

While this is nothing more than a collection of names who think Rice is HOF worthy, it is nice to see. Sign this petition if you agree with Rice’s HOF candidacy.

Rice was a power hitter and hit for average (if that matters to anyone). He reminds me a bit of Don Mattingly in that he had some great years, but maybe not enough of them. Rice had more good years than Mattingly, but I think Mattingly had more great years than Rice if that makes any sense. Mattingly had a great 1984 – 1987. Rice had a great 1977 – 1979. Neither player walked that much but instead relied on their ability to get on base via the hit. For me, it was the fact that Rice was able to continue hitting into his 30’s that makes him HOF worthy. He was one of the best hitters from 1977 – 1986. Mattingly was one of the best hitters from 1984 – 1989. Sorry for the rambling paragraph here, but I was just jotting down thoughts about both Mattingly and Rice and didn’t care as much for sentence construction.

You can make an argument for both, but I think Rice does deserve a spot. This is probably his best opportunity as there are no marque names on this year’s list and the steroid issue has really made voters re-think things. Dan Shaughnessy of the Boston Globe is finally giving Rice a vote. If Shaughnessy can change his mind, perhaps others can too. Good luck Jim and Happy New Year everyone.

A Peek Behind The Curtain?

Joel Sherman breaks some new ground on the endless Santana rumors when he suggests in today’s Post that it is Hal Steinbrenner and not Hank who is preventing the Yankees from completing the deal.

We haven’t heard much at all about Hal, but we should remember that both Hank and Hal were supposed to take over for their father. The way Sherman has it, Hal is the guy in charge of the budget and he doesn’t want to splurge on Santana at this point.

That’s fine with me and if you look at the Yankees this offseason, they have tried to avoid throwing a lot of money around. When you add up the deals they have announced, (Pettitte, Posada, Rivera, A-Rod, Molina, Hawkins) they have added $7 million to the payroll from last season. Now, they will have to pay a lot more to Wang and Cano in arbitration, but it is also probably safe to assume that Clemens won’t get a huge deal next May. That means that overall, spending should be down again in 2008. Subtract the $81 million coming off the books after 2008 and the Yankees are definitely heading in a different direction from the spending sprees of the past.

The Rocket Speaks

Roger Clemens has posted a video response to the Mitchell Report. (video should pop up when you navigate to the page)

Watch if for yourself, does it change your opinion of things?

You Are a Hall of Fame Voter

In light of the Mitchell report, the BALCO findings and the other various performance inhancing drug (PED) news, I thought it would be an interesting idea to play Hall of Famer voter for a day. Let’s operate under the following guidelines:

– You must make a vote today knowing what you now know.
– You must vote yes or no. A “maybe” or “withholding until more info is available” is not an option.

Let’s also add to this exercize with some statistics:

Roger Clemens:

Career, age 21 – 44:
354 – 184, 3.12 ERA, 1.17 WHIP, 4916.7 IP, 4185 H, 1580 BB, 4672 K’s, 8.55K/9.

1984 – 1997 age 21 – 34 (we’ll call this the pre-steroids career based on the Mitchell Report):
213 – 118, 2.97 ERA, 1.15 WHIP, 3040.0 IP, 2563 H, 924 BB, 2882 K’s, 8.53K/9.

1998 – 2007 age 35 – 44 (we’ll call this post-steroids):
141 – 66, 3.38 ERA, 1.21 WHIP, 1876.7 IP, 1622 H, 656 BB, 1790 K’s, 8.58K/9.

Barry Bonds:

Career age 21 – 42:
.298/.444/.607/1.051, 2935 H, 2227 R, 762 HR, 1996 RBI, 2558 BB, 1539 K, 514 SB

1986 – 1999 age 21 – 34 (we’ll call this the pre-streroids career for Bonds based on BALCO and Game of Shadows):
.288/.413/.559/.972, 2010 H, 1455 R, 445 HR, 1299 RBI, 1430 BB, 1112 K, 460 SB

2000 – 2007 age 35 – 42 (post-steroids career):
.322/.520/.724/.1.244, 925 H, 772 R, 317 HR, 697 RBI, 1128 BB, 427 K, 54 SB

I won’t comment on the numbers above. But I will ask the following: If we are to believe the news, is it fair to say these guys are deserving of the HOF regardless of any possible PED because their numbers were already HOF calibre prior to PED use? Or does the use of PEDs negate any prior accomplishments? Please vote below:

Shut Up!

It’s bad enough hearing all the excuses flying around, but now Curt Schilling has joined the party, suggesting that Roger Clemens give back his awards won since 1997.

Yes, the same Curt Schilling who was called before Congress in 2005 to testify about the drug problem in baseball because of comments he had made and when he had the chance, told Congress he had “grossly overstated it” (the problem)

Schilling also stated at those hearings in regards to the drug testing in baseball, “If there are loopholes….we will close them.” (2-1/2 years later, that still hasn’t happened)

If Frank Thomas, the ONLY active player who helped the Mitchell investigation would like to offer any suggestions, I am all ears. Otherwise, all the active players who didn’t and Curt who didn’t follow up on his promises, should zip it. Is Clemens guilty? It certainly seems like it, but how many other guilty players are out there who didn’t get named? How can we ever sort out what record should be expunged if we don’t know the full extent of the juicing? Richard Nixon was impeached, but he is still listed as the President from 1969-1974. Historians of baseball will have to cast a wide net over the last 20 years and the next few until the testing is real and it will forever be known as the steroids era. Judge the numbers with caution, that’s the reality of all of this.

George Costanza Promoted

The Assistant to the Traveling Secretary of the New York Yankees, George Costanza, was promoted to Traveling Secretary today. The job was made available when former Traveling Secretary David Szen was convicted of filing a false tax return and failing to report $50,000 in tips from players and coaches and was subsequently fired by the club.

Costanza takes over immediately. His first act as Traveling Secretary was to eliminate 5-Star hotel accomodations in favor of the Motel 6 chain.

A Word On Clemens

The Rocket certainly sounds righteous in his statement, defending himself and chastising the court of public opinion- “I am disappointed that my 25 years in public life have apparently not earned me the benefit of the doubt….”

It all sounds good but it doesn’t erase the fact that Clemens had a chance to talk to Mitchell and didn’t. On page 175 of the report, Mitchell documents how he asked Clemens to talk to him about the allegations against him and Clemens refused his invitation.

Now, that alone doesn’t make Clemens guilty, but instead of issuing statements, how about Roger stands up himself and tells us he is innocent? How about he explains how his name ended up in that report and why he didn’t chose to do anything about it until now? Until then, I don’t want to read anymore statements.

MLB Stinks

It’s official, the Yankees will end the 2008 season at Fenway Park and not at Yankee Stadium. Baseball couldn’t figure out a way to have the Yankees at home for the final games of the regular season when it is the last year of Yankee Stadium?

BOOOOOOO….

I Give Him Some Credit

This is a true apology and not the junk Jason Giambi said.

It really bothers me that he did it in the first place, but I respect Andy for standing up and telling the truth. I hope others will follow his example, but I don’t expect them to. And, yes it bothers me that he starts it off with “If what I did was an error in judgement….” Of course it was!

The Other Side of Steroids

Reader note: The following is based around an email exchange between former Red Sox catcher Joe Oliver and Boston Herald writer Jeff Horrigan. In other words, this is Horrigan’s story.

Boston Herald writer Jeff Horrigan posted this on the Boston Herald’s Clubhouse Insider. For those not interested in reading it yourselves, it is an email exchange between Horrigan and former Red Sox catcher Joe Oliver.

If we are to believe Oliver, he never used steroids. His reaction to the Mitchell report is interesting. He poses the following:

– What if he, and/or other non-steroid users were to file charges against MLB for not doing anything about steroid use in baseball?

Oliver also expresses his anger and frustration for working his arse off and barely hanging on to MLB life all the while competing with others that cheated. Just what rights does Oliver have? Just how much does he expect from MLB? Certainly he has a right to be mad. I would be. A level playing field is the ideal afterall, but how do we police the level playing field?

While I certainly feel for Oliver and his frustration and for all others that tried to play the game the right way, I think Oliver has to look at his own union as well. Maybe he understands this and Horrigan didn’t disclose that part of the exchange, but regardless, MLBPA is just as much responsible in my mind.

This thing is a mess.

Some links and notes of interest:

I missed one player on the list who was in the Red Sox organization, but never had an appearance above A+ ball: Mike Spinelli.

Jose Canseco says Alex Rodriguez should be on the Mitchell report. It is probably ones first thought to dismiss anything Canseco says, but after his book came out, he entered a bizarro kind of existance. He is still a baffoon, but what he said would happen, did happen. So to ignore his claims entirely would be foolish, but still, it’s Canseco we are talking about.

Roger Clemens and David Justice are the 2 biggest names thus far to deny the claims made by the Mitchell report. As I suggested yesterday, Mitchell’s report had a fair amount of documentation, but also had witness testimony. That testimony is only worth what you think it is worth. Are those spilling the beans to be trusted?

ESPN asked a sampling of Hall of Fame voting writers for their opinions on whether or not they intend to vote for Roger Clemens for the HOF. I am stunned by some of the replies. Or better yet, the lack of clarity in the face of the evidence against Clemens and Barry Bonds.

Providence Journal writer Steve Krasner (who has a vote) said this:

“Yes, I would vote for him on the first ballot. If, as Brian McNamee says, he started using steroids in 1998, he already had 213 wins, four Cy Youngs and a 3.00 ERA at the time. Without the steroids he wouldn’t have won 350 games, but I do think he would have been a double-digit winner for many seasons, boosting his win total close to 300, and he was a dominant pitcher, unlike some other pitchers who might have racked up a lot of wins.”

What I wish we could hear/read from Krasner is if he intends to vote for Bonds. Using his logic (which I don’t agree with), Bonds too would have been a lock for HOF at the time he started using steroids. I fully expect to find some documention that Krasner is on the record as saying he will vote for Bonds for the HOF. If not, he is either a moron or perhaps worse (you know what I mean).

ESPN’s Peter Gammons had a table in one of his recent posts which showed Bonds’ stats prior to his steroid use prior to the 1999 season. Here they are:

Games: 1898
At-Bats: 6621
Home Runs: 411
At-bats per HR: 14.9
OPS: 966
Stats Gammons didn’t include for same time period:

Runs: 1364
RBI: 1216
SB: 445
MVP’s: 3