Red Sox Notes: Varitek, Pitching, Trainers, Melancon

It was on this day in 1971 that the Red Sox signed Carl Yastrzemski to a three-year, $500K deal that was (at the time) the richest player contract in baseball history.  Fast-forward 40 years and the annual minimum salary for a Major League player in 2011 was $414K.

Here are some items about the modern-day Sox…

  • The 64-player roster released by the Red Sox yesterday is "most likely" not going to change as their Spring Training camp begins, a source tells's Rob Bradford.  This means that it is unlikely that the Sox will add free agents like Roy Oswalt or Jason Varitek to the mix.
  • Varitek has "not made any decisions yet" about playing in 2012, Varitek's agent Scott Boras tells Scott Lauber of the Boston Herald (Twitter link).  In case you missed it, another longtime BoSox veteran will announce his retirement today, as Tim Wakefield is hanging up the glove after 19 Major League seasons.
  • The club's pitching woes have been caused by the lack of homegrown arms delivering over the last two seasons, says's Alex Speier.
  • Following last season's collapse and all of the subsequent front office changes, the Red Sox are entering their most uncertain Spring Training in years, writes Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe
  • Also from Abraham, he looks at ten pressing questions facing the Red Sox heading into the 2012 campaign.
  • As part of a larger piece about team's offseason turnover, John Tomase of the Boston Herald notes that the Red Sox parted ways with their team doctor and strength coach from last season and also demoted trainer Mike Reinold.  "Tired of watching their multimillion dollar investments break down, the organization cleaned house on the medical and training side of things, with the hope that new blood will reach players who in many cases resisted pleas to improve their conditioning," Tomase writes.
  • Mark Melancon deserves an open shot at the closer's job, argues ESPN Boston's Gordon Edes.  Melancon is currently expected to serve as a set-up man for another new acquisition, Andrew Bailey.

33 Responses to Red Sox Notes: Varitek, Pitching, Trainers, Melancon Leave a Reply

  1. hawkny1 3 years ago

    Lets see….. in 2011, the Red sox had these question marks as they 
                     began spring training:
                     1.  Who is gonna catch?  Untried Jarrod Saltalmacchia?
                     2.  Are Ellsbury’s ribs healed and is gonna be able to play?
                     3.  Has Pedroia’s foot healed or is his career over?
                     4.  Has Beckett’s back healed or is he finished too?
                     5.  Has Gonzo’s shoulder healed?  Had we only known….
                     6.  Will Aceves come back from a bad back and be able to pitch?
                     7.  Who is gonna play shortstop?  Jed Lowrie?  Scutaro?
                     8.  Is Ortiz over the hill?
                     9.  Is Bobby Jenks healthy?
                    10. Has Jonathan Papelbon lost his fastball?

    Fully 40% of the anticipated regular season roster has huge question marks hovering over the players listed above.  Yet, excluding a 2-10 start and 7-28 finish, the Sox won 71% of the 115 games they played (81-34) in 2011.  

    How could 2012 be any worse than last year’s team in spring training?

    • notsureifsrs 3 years ago

      you’re taking some creative liberties there. last year’s team was anointed WS favorites before the year began. players were asked about 100 wins in spring training interviews. things were not bleak

      the real lesson here is that there is always melodrama in boston and it should almost never be taken seriously

      • Leonard Washington 3 years ago

        We were still being called WS Champions on ESPN and stuff, but Ells,  Paps, Beckett, Pedroia, and Ortiz to a lesser extent were all legit concerns going into that season.

        • notsureifsrs 3 years ago

          as long as when you say they were “legit concerns” you do not mean to suggest the season was in any legit jeopardy, that’s agreeable. they were a playoff-caliber team, all concerns included, just like they are this year. “favorites” and “underdogs” storylines are in most cases just ways for sports writers to dress up pretty uncontroversial facts

          unfortunately, due to the nature of their profession they are incapable of just shutting up and letting us enjoy the return of great baseball

          • Leonard Washington 3 years ago

            I think at that time not knowing any other things that were to go wrong you could still say Becketts health held a lot in the balance. Dice-K and Lackey had pitched mediocre at best the season prior so having a strong three was a huge deal. 

          • notsureifsrs 3 years ago

            beckett was recovered, lackey had just put up 4 WAR, and matsuzaka was the fifth starter

            the fact that every uncertainty can be worked up into a major concern doesn’t mean it ought to be. every team has uncertainties. few are fortunate enough to be in boston’s position each spring

      • MaineSox 3 years ago

        Kind of agree with Leonard on this one.  People definitely weren’t talking about all the question marks the Sox had last year, but those are all legitimate things that were lingering over the team and things that were at least mentioned at one point or another (although I don’t think anyone ever actually questioned if it was the end of Pedroia’s career…).

        People were too caught up in the acquisitions that the Sox made to talk about the question marks, but they were there, and if those same questions were there now you can be sure that they would be talked about endlessly.

        • notsureifsrs 3 years ago

          the real lesson here is that there is always melodrama in boston and it should almost never be taken seriously

          • MaineSox 3 years ago

            Yes, that I completely agree with.  And I don’t think that last years questions should have been talked about like this year’s are; I think this years questions should be treated more like last year’s were.

          • Leonard Washington 3 years ago

            I don’t know seems like last years questions concern much more important parts of the team then this year (Ells, Ortiz, Beckett, Pedroia). Ross/Sweeny platooning seems like it can be a very effective RF situation, and Aviles has enough average in his bat to be an effective member of the cog. So I don’t see those as huge question marks. So im full on ready to consider are offense at least as good with the potential for better things (effective CC, healthy Youk, improved AG). Also last year the rotation questions were for 3 out of the 5 starters (Dice, Beckett, Lackey). This year is 2 out of the 5 and it goes deeper than that still. Seeing as anybody like Padilla, Tazawa, Doubront, and Miller could likely do better than Lackey for half a season (Dice-K at the break) their is only one serious question for the starters. Will Bard be an effective member of the rotation or the pen, either way he will be very good in one of them. And if he is not in the rotation you can count Aceves as the four starter, and he could be quite good over a full season, he showed good stuff last year. It almost makes me want to just give it to Aceves and have a very strong pen, but Bards potential is great so I guess its worth it to see. Lastly we got trade deadline flexibility this year and Ben has said it over and over so I would bet if a legit ace becomes available he becomes a Red Sox ace come deadline time. 

          • Mikey Roederer 3 years ago

            I stopped reading after you mentioned you were waiting to see an improved much better can one man really be?

          • MaineSox 3 years ago

            He has acknowledged that his shoulder (which he had surgery on before last season) was sapping his power last year, and especially messing with his swing later in the season as his shoulder was fatiguing, so it is feasible that he really does hit better next year.

            His batting average probably wont be as high, but he will likely hit for more power and there is a chance he walks more too (last year was his lowest BB% in more than 4 years, but it’s hard to say what caused it, so it’s not certain to “bounce back”).

          • Leonard Washington 3 years ago

            Its scary to think but Adrian could do a bit better. He has more power than what he showed.

          • MaineSox 3 years ago

            Well, Ortiz was practically written off, so people weren’t really worried about what he would do last year, they were just waiting for his contract to end; Ellsbury was thought to be important because he needed to be able to get on base in front of the real offensive players, he wasn’t seen as important in the way he is after last year; and Beckett and Pedroia were both said to be fully healthy so, while it wasn’t certain, people were relatively confident that they would be healthy to start the season.

            This year they don’t even know who is going to play at 3 of 8 positions on opening day, or who is going to fill 2 of 5 spots in the rotation, so it’s a matter of not having spots locked down rather than the questions about effectiveness from those positions, so I don’t think last year was any worse than this year.

            Also, I really don’t think there is any way Aceves should be counted on in the starting rotation for any stretch of time.  He was getting away with robbery every time he went out there last year; the only thing that can reasonably explain how much he outperformed his peripherals is sorcery.

    •  What? You can’t say “besides this time and this time they were great.” That makes no sense whatsoever. Yea, they had a lousy start and a lousy finish but to say that it doesn’t count as much as when they played great is preposterous. You can turn that around and say “except for the middle of the season when they played to a 81-34 record, they were 9-38.”

      The only reason this is called “worse” than 2011 is because (unlike last season) they didn’t really make any moves to better the team. Not to mention that every other prominent AL team made major moves to get better. I would argue that NY, TB, Anaheim, Detroit and Texas are all better than the Sox and they will need a miracle to squeak out a wild card.

  2. Leonard Washington 3 years ago

    Teams gonna be fine. As far as homegrown talent woes goes it was kind of difficult to go any other route. We lost Masterson which still stings, but needed Victor at the time.

  3. Dan Mazzaro 3 years ago

    I thought Daniel Bard would be their closer..are they moving him to the rotation?

    • notsureifsrs 3 years ago

      he’s playing shortstop

    • MaineSox 3 years ago

       That’s the plan, yes.

    • Houston_Astros 3 years ago

      They have no clue what they’re doing.  They will be a mess in five years.

      • Bonesaw McGraw 3 years ago

        Make it 3.  I like your name.

      • MaineSox 3 years ago

        Based on what exactly?  The only questionable move they have made this offseason was the Scutaro trade.  They gave up nothing important to them and acquired Melancon and Bailey to solidify the back of their bullpen, they signed players for below what people expected them to get for RF and SS, and they signed a bunch of fall back plans for the rotation for nearly nothing.  Other than those relatively small moves they’ve done almost nothing this offseason, so I don’t know that we can really draw any conclusions about how they will do in the future (good or bad).

  4. Houston_Astros 3 years ago

    Melancon closing in the AL East. LOL.  K.
    Red Sox offseason moves.  LOL. K.

  5. rockfordone 3 years ago

    Very nice team – about 20 other teams would like to have their problems

  6. YodaMyNameIs 3 years ago

    Strong the force is in BoSox drama.  Look past your east coast bias and free your mind will be.

  7. johnsilver 3 years ago

    Salary trivia in Boston.. There was some good ones.. Ted Williams got up to 100k as his highest and Yaz was like a son to Tom Yawkey. He went straight to him when he wanted something.

    Famous other quotes on salaries from baseball are Ruth from ’22:

    “I had a better year than the president” when he got 52k, the most for a ball player ever to that point.

  8. Houston_Astros 3 years ago

    You have no point.  I’m not running the Astros organization.

  9. Houston_Astros 3 years ago

    You don’t understand how good Bard is as a relief pitcher.  If he isn’t a quality 2-3 pitcher, then they probably should have let him close games rather than trading for Bailey.  If the Red Sox win a world series – which is very possible – Theo deserves the credit.

  10. johnsilver 3 years ago

    Anybody can win the WS, or even get to it.

    Point was proven once again last season when St. Louis and texas faced off. Who would have thought those 2 teams would have gotten nearly as far as they did in the PO, much less to the WS??

    When the PO started, have a feeling everyone was expecting a Philly-NYY game and TV execs were salivating at the ratings bonanza, instead the networks got a snoozer as for the general public was concerned.

  11. MaineSox 3 years ago

    The best relievers in the game (we’re talking Mariano type good here) are about as valuable as a 4.00 ERA starter, so he doesn’t have to be as good as you are implying to be more valuable than he would have been as a reliever.

  12. Houston_Astros 3 years ago

    Well, Bard is good enough to be among the top five closers in the game, and in the AL east, a number five starter with. 4.00 ERA is a dream. still, you have to put the move in context. The Sox weren’t happy with Bard, so they got Bailey at the expense of an everyday right field. What sense does that make? Minimize Bard’s value as a closer, and then maximize the value of Bailey and Melancon (yes, we won the Melancon deal).

    Now you don’t have a shortstop, and the outfield is a little worse. What did you gain? You turned a solid closer into a wildcard starter, acquired an extremely healthy closer, and a wildcard setup man.

    Cool. Good luck in Boston. Your front office has no direction or rational theory behind the moves they make.

  13. Infield Fly 3 years ago

    You know, I do get the point you’re making about Bard and all. I also get that the Sawks are in a bit of disarray right now, as you pointed out — but — as a ‘Stros fan do you really want to be making fun of an organization that has managed to win two championships in the past decade? (because even if you didn’t mean it that way, that is the way it’s coming across).


  14. MaineSox 3 years ago

    Bard would be a very good closer, but you have to realize we are talking about Mariano Rivera type good, so a closer the caliber of Bard would be worth something more like a 4.50 or higher ERA, so he doesn’t have to be a great pitcher to be more valuable out of the rotation.  Plus, Bard has been told that he is either in the starting rotation or he is the closer, so if he doesn’t make it as a starter they have done nothing to his value as a closer.

    Also, they got Bailey at the expense of a borderline everyday outfielder – most likely a 4th outfielder on a contending team – and one who is likely not nearly as good as Kalish, who will be healthy at some point this season.  And I agree that Houston did very well in the Melacon deal, but it was one that made perfect sense for Boston at the time; Lowrie is a below average defensive SS who has good offensive potential but hasn’t been able to stay healthy, and they had 3 other SS options at the time, and Weiland is good enough to be a back of the rotation starter on a team like Houston, but in Boston he would have been relegated to middle relief.  So again, it was a very good deal for Houston, but it made too much sense for Boston not to do it.  You’re also completely overlooking a healthy Jenks at the back of the ‘pen too; he was a very effective pitcher in his time in Chicago, so now that he is healthy I fully expect him to play a big role in the back of the ‘pen as well.

    I agree that the SS situation doesn’t make sense, but the outfield isn’t worse than last year – they got 0.7 WAR out of right field last year and 2.0 WAR out of LF – even if Crawford misses an entire month (he’s not supposed to) he doesn’t need to rebound much to be worth more than 2 wins, and Ross is much better than 0.7 wins.

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