Thursday, January 28, 2010


No, these are not new texting abbreviations (Oh Really Loser, Ain't That Luscious , Laugh Asshole Laugh).  Those are the Celtics opponents tonight (in progress, where although we are winning, my best friend Paul Pierce is looking horribly slow and out of position), tomorrow, and Sunday (and with good measure, even though they suck, Washington on Monday).

For any team 4 games in 5 days is tough.  For any team playing three consecutive games against 3 of the best 6 teams in basketball is especially tough.  And for an older team with 2 of our best players (Pierce and KG) clearly not 100%, holy shit.  If we go 2-2 in this stretch I'll be piss my pants ecstatic.  I'm predicting 1-3 though.

By the way, Glen Davis/Big Baby/Stupid-Chad-Johnson-copy-nickname-that-isn't-f'ing-real-Spanish is terrible.

Oh and double by the way, Sheed got another tech, although this one was for saying and one after a shot.  I've been hard on him this year, but give a brother a break!

Oh and triple by the way, Scal is back (vomit).  And bald (hide the children).  He looks kinda like my cousin now when he shaves his head.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

No, no, no

Please hurry back KG.  Even the limping, slow moving, credit card ups, old man KG has to be better than this recent monstrosity of Sheed/Scal/Baby at PF.  I can't think of a worse threesome.  Maybe Snooki, JWoww, and Sammi.  Because of the STDs.  But that's about it.

A Papelboner or a Bard-on?

It has been fairly common around these freezing, miserable parts to assume that closer Jonathan Papelbon is just playing out the string with the Sox. The Sox, forward thinkers that they are, seem to be in the school of thought that "closers" are a myth and "saves" are one of if not the most worthless statistic in baseball.

For the most part that is true, and for the most part that is how the organization probably thinks. The closer position itself is overrated and miscast, mostly because of the turd sandwich that is a save. Saves are terrible. They cause managers to not use their bullpen properly. They allow completely mediocre players to earn salaries out of whack from their true talent and contributions. Did you know that with a 3 run, 9th inning lead, all pitchers, good and bad, on average "save" the game 99% of the time? Did you know that a pitcher, who pitched the final 3 innings and entered the game with a 14-3 lead, earned a save in this game? Did you know that Mike Williams "earned" 25 saves and an All Star birth with a 6.27 ERA?

I think you see where I'm going with this. Saves are WORTHLESS!!! But the "closer" is not. Rather, if you think of a "closer" as a "relief ace", then these masters of the end game start to gain value. If you strip the title of "closer" and the statistic "save" away from this equation it allows you to evaluate game situations a lot more clearly. Consider the following two situations:

Situation A: Bottom of the ninth, no out, no one on base, your team is up 7-4 and the 6-7-8 hitters are due up.

Situation B: Top of the seventh, no out, men on second and third, tie game and the 3-4-5 hitters are due up.

Which situation would you prefer your "closer" (who most of the time actually is a team's best reliever) to come into? I assume the answer is obvious, but if it's not or if you are Lou Piniella, the answer is Situation B. This situation has far more impact on the outcome of the game than Situation A. Anyone, save for late 2008 Eric Gagne, can handle Situation A. Few can handle Situation B.

Which brings me to the point of this ramble. Jonathan Papelbon can handle Situation B. While it felt like he made all of our buttholes pucker a little more than usual this year, he was actually one of the best three relievers in the game along with Mo and Joe Nathan, as he has been for each of the last three years.

He is definitely flawed. He is probably an entire suit short of a full deck of cards. He is outspoken to a fault. And he has a maddening love affair with his fastball, which is a really good pitch that's hard and fairly accurate, but he also has a knee buckling splitter just collecting dust in his double wide trailer. He is also very expensive.

Which is why it's become common place for fans to just assume that when Pap (isn't it sad that such a colorful and dominant player's two go to knicknames are Pap and Papelboner? what about something like Wild Boar or the Exploder?) hits free agency for the first time, the Sox will say thanks for the memories but we are trading our Papelboner for a (Daniel) Bard-on.

Well faithful Sexy Boston Sports readers, you can mark January 2o, 2010 (two days before my birthday, hint, hint) as the day I officially plead to Theo to keep the Exploder around after 2011. The Exploder is a great reliever, and great relievers, used properly, have a lot of value.

Could Bard, assuming he continues on his current path, step in and be a good closer if Pap leaves? Of course he could. He could even match some of the seasons that Pap has had. But why not keep both? Why not have a really good set up man and a great relief ace? So what if it takes a 4 year, $60M contract to keep Pap in Boston? While he may not be worth exactly $15M a year, the Sox not only have the money to afford that, but they also are in the position where every extra win (or marginal win) is worth more to them than the majority of the league (one of these days I will write a long, probably boring, post about marginal wins).

Look, what Oakland has done with finding a new elite closer seemingly every year is great, but they don't have the budget or the need to win as many games as the Sox have. And teams all over the league (except the Astros, Tigers, and Mets) are starting to become wise to the fact that you do not want to waste a whole lot of money on a guy just because he collects a lot of saves. As such, the Sox would not get proper value if they were to trade Papelbon before he hits the open market.

Papelbon is not quite a once in a lifetime reliever like Mariano Riviera, but he is consistently one of the top 3-5 relief aces in the league. And that is worth something. That is worth a lot. So please Theo, consider loosening the purse strings just a bit to keep the Exploder in the Fens for a few extra years. You won't be sorry.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Big Red and the Big Red Machine

For one week this offseason, the Sox have been quiet, making more noise in their inactivity (more on that in a moment). But since the end of last week, we actually have two major news stories in the queue in the beautiful world of baseball.

First bit of "breaking" news: Mark McGwire took steroids!!! Jose Canseco is right yet again!!!

"What are your views on the whole steroid era X Mark?"

I'm glad you asked, me.

I want you all to stop and think for a moment. Think honestly. You can keep your answers to yourself, and if you lie, you are only lying to yourself, which quite frankly is just f'ing stupid to do.

If you had a chance to get a ridiculously high paying and fun job you've worked your whole life to get/keep that job in the event you suffered a potentially career ending injury or illness/vault yourself into the top echelon of all-time performers in that job while at the same time making even more money, what would you do to achieve all of this?

Would you take something the government viewed as illegal, but your company only once mentioned as being frowned upon? What if there were no known repercussions for taking this substance, physically or professionally? What if there was no policing of this matter? What if everyone else at your job was doing it and therefore threatening your very standing in the company, possibly even costing you your job?

You'd do it. I know I would.

These players were faced with the very choice explained above and a very large number of them chose to take steroids. It would be great to say we all wouldn't. But we are human. We have several simple motivations that can outweigh our morals, one of which is keeping a job we have worked our whole lives to get. It may be a sad truth, but it's the truth.

So now that another major player is confirmed from the era, let's just forget about it all. Let's evaluate the players from the 90's and 2000's the way we evaluate everyone else. There are great stats out there that neutralize a player to his era including a simple one called OPS+. The only victims in this era are the players who chose not to use and lost their jobs, and for that they all deserve an apology from McGwire, Palmeiro, Clemens, Bonds, Canseco and anyone else who pushed that era into what it became. We are not victims. We saw some great baseball. We had baseball saved by two very large men who hit balls a very long way, and for that we should all be very grateful. Sometimes the end justifies the means. Long live baseball.

Second bit of breaking news: The Red Sox and Yankees don't sign Chapman (but the Reds do)!!!

For those of you who don't know me, I used to work for the Cincinnati Reds, so this bit of news hit close to home to me.

There are 3 pieces to take away from this:
  1. Good for the Reds. After making such a craptastic move last year by trading some good young pieces for Scott Rolen and his big contract, they needed to make a good, high reward splash. If Aroldis lives up to his potential the Reds could be looking at a pretty nifty rotation in a year or so. A front three of Latin Sensations Chapman, chubby chaser Johnny Cueto, and Eddy Volquez could really put the Reds into contention in the NL especially with my buddies Jay Bruce and Joey Votto in the middle of the lineup.
  2. I wonder if Chapman is really that good. You'd have to think if he were, the Yankees or the Sox would have outbid everyone else simply because they can. There have been a lot of mixed reviews from scouts out there. Big velocity. Nasty Randy-like slider. Shitty change-up. Erratic command. 101 MPH!!! Sits 92-94. Ceiling of a true ACE!!! Maybe best suited for a back of the bullpen role. Until we actually see the kid in the bigs, it is probably going to be hard to know what we have here. Just from what I've read I'm leaning towards him being an elite lefty closer. Still a really solid move for the Reds, especially with the ridiculously high ceiling, but I think the ceiling is going to be hard to reach.
  3. I would like to share with you my thoughts on the international draft and the U.S./Canada/Puerto Rico draft, but former Toronto executive and current ESPN writer Keith Law (Insiders only) put it as well as I could ever say it:
    Returning to Chapman, this deal puts yet another lie to the claim pushed by MLB, among others, that making the draft a worldwide one (rather than one that includes only players from the U.S., Canada and Puerto Rico) is about maintaining competitive balance. The Reds, playing in one of MLB's smallest metropolitan areas, signed Chapman. The A's, playing in perhaps the majors' worst active stadium, finished second, according to Buster Olney. Another big-ticket Cuban defector, Noel Arguelles, signed last month with Kansas City. Max Kepler-Rozycki, the best amateur player to come out of the emerging baseball markets of Europe, signed with Minnesota during the summer. The idea that small-market teams can't afford top amateur talent is and always has been wrong, because the dollar figures involved for these amateur players are low relative to the size of even a low-revenue team's annual baseball operations budget.
    Bottom line: It makes sense for a low-revenue team to risk a relatively smaller amount on a high-upside amateur player instead of spending a substantially larger amount on a veteran free agent without that upside....
    Chapman's deal also highlights how unfair the draft is to amateur players in general and how the current system screws American-born players.
    Do you really think Stephen Strasburg is worth half as much as Chapman on the open market? Why would MLB, a U.S.-based sports league, continue to employ a system that actively punishes U.S.-born (or Canadian-born or Puerto Rican-born) players for their nation of origin? And, given the outcry from the economically ignorant about Strasburg's supposedly exorbitant demands, why aren't we hearing the same about the greedy Chapman? I'm not advocating a new American jingoism, but I would like to see a system that treats all players equally and fairly, allowing them to garner signing bonuses in line with their actual market values regardless of where they were born or what some arbitrary MLB slotting system says they're worth.
I have a lot more to say on the whole draft system MLB has in place as well as the international draft they want to put in place, and the drafts of every other major sports league, but this column has run on waaaaaaaaaay too long especially without any actual Sexy Boston Sports news.

So sorry for the length, the steroids rant, and any heavy analysis. Hopefully I haven't lost all 5 of my readers (2 of which are the X Dad and X Mom).

Stay tuned for some Celtics stuff later this week (but no Pats posts, God they suck).

Sunday, January 10, 2010

More Beltre: Do I have a new man crush? I think I may

Still need proof that Beltre was a great signing?

Reading Rob Neyer's Sweet Spot Blog this week and I came across this little video of Adrian Beltre's defensive highlight real (h/t to

Sweet sassy molassy.

Look at the ground he covers. Look how far he plays off the bag. Look at his arm angle and action. Look how he hums that pea.

The X Dad had a big man crush on Alex Gonzalez when he played shortstop for the Sox, saying he has never seen anyone play shortstop like this before. Well, I'm no betting man but I think he may be redirecting his Valentine's Day cards to Adrian in no time.

The benefits that he is gonna provide to this defense are unfathomable. He plays off the line but makes every play to his right. He swallows up screaming liners. He's going to cover up for VMart and Tek's defensive deficiencies on any bunt to the third base side. He fields ground balls that are routine plays for the shortstop, which is going to free Scutaro up to play more up the middle. And how about the effect he is going to have on head case Clay Buccholz when he puts a man on base, allowing him to think he can actually throw strikes and pitch to contact.

This man was placed on this Earth to play defense and steal my heart. I feel like a school boy again.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

The Monster

This is how I have chosen to dub our new defense this year. Bitch about the downgrade in offense all you want (even though we were third in runs scored last year and have upgraded the catcher and shortstop positions and have only taken a hit in left), but bow in fear/honor of the Monster.

The Monster will swallow you up whole. It will make you confront your past. It will put you before God herself lest ye be worthy (I don't know what I just said, I don't do theology).

This offseason the Red Sox have completely remade themselves. Bringing in three defensive wizards in Scutaro (if he's healthy), Cameron, and Beltre will make opposing offenses, yes even the f'n Yankees, quiver and perhaps elicit fecal discharge.

The team now boasts 7 above average defenders and potentially 6 gold glovers with JD being the worst of the bunch. Holy. Shit. And with the decision (finally) today that Ellsbury will be manning left, I just don't see how you can get a hit in on this team. We have a shortstop at 3rd, a 3rd baseman at 1st and a CF in LF.

And best of all? Say it with me... SHORT...TERM...COMMITMENTS!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Out of our three new offensive additions, none is signed beyond 2 years. And next year the old guard come off the books in Ortiz, Tek, and Lowell. Freeing up about 27 million in cash.

Hmmm...who would look good sporting a new $27M contract and the Sunday Red Jerseys????