Staying on our Dodger Blue theme…
I peiced this together from various sources, including Gordon Edes and ESPN Boston.
On August 25, 2012, the Dodgers and Red Sox completed a 9-player deal which sent past-present-and probably future All Stars Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford, Josh Beckett, and (indepensible utilityman) Nick Punto to Los Angeles for the (until then) forever underperforming James Loney and four minor leaguers.
Entering 2013, Gonzalez had $127 million remaining on his contract and Crawford had $102.5 million remaining. This was the first time in MLB history in which two players were involved in a trade with $100 million remaining on their contracts.
* Carl Crawford (via ESPNLA.com): “That was one of the toughest times in my life, ever, from when I was a little kid, 1 year old. It definitely was one of the best things that ever happened to me in my life to be traded over here. You make $20 million, but it’s not like they’re begging me to hit a home run every time I go up there, you know what I’m saying? It’s not like I need to go 5-for-5 every at-bat and, if I don’t, I’m considered the worst player on the planet.”
Jonny Gomes was a teammate of Carl Crawford with the Tampa Bay Rays, but the Red Sox outfielder said he can’t relate to where Crawford is coming from when he talks about about how “bad” he wants to beat his former team, the Red Sox. “To tell you the truth, every team and organization and manager and GM I’ve left, I’ve left on good terms,’’ Gomes said. “I talk to ’em all, talk to a lot of ’em in the offseason, reach out to ’em all. No hard feelings against any of ’em. I’m grateful for the opportunity they gave me. The last thing I want to do is ‘try harder’ against my [former] teams. I try hard every night.’’
* Josh Beckett (via WEEI.com): “It just got way too personal for me,” he said while rehabbing in the Dallas area. “It wasn’t just like, ‘Hey, you suck on the baseball field.’ It was now, ‘Hey, you’re a bad person.’ It was getting personal. It wasn’t even about baseball anymore. It was definitely time to make a change. I think everybody from the front office to the players recognized that, we’ve moved on and now here I am.”
The Red Sox are 84-80 since the deal (remember, part of that includes the Bobby Valentine regime), the Dodgers 91-70, with each in playoff position at the moment.
The financial impact
The Dodgers had a 2013 Opening Day payroll of $216.6M, the second-highest in MLB behind the Yankees ($228.8M). That was a significant increase from their 2012 Opening Day Payroll of $95.1M, which was 12th-highest in MLB.
The $121.5 million opening day payroll increase was easily the largest in baseball between the 2012 and 2013 seasons. Next on the list is the Toronto Blue Jays, who increased their payroll by $42 million.
There’s still quite a bit of money left over on the contracts of the players the Dodgers acquired. Gonzalez, Crawford and Beckett will be owed a combined $213 million after the 2013 season ends.
With those savings, the Red Sox were able to re-load in the offseason, spending more than $125M on impact free agents such as Shane Victorino, Mike Napoli, Ryan Dempster, David Ortiz, Jonny Gomes, Stephen Drew, David Ross and Koji Uehara.
Victorino has posted 4.4 WAR this season, better than any player the Red Sox sent to the Dodgers has performed this season.
The star: Adrian Gonzalez
Of the five major-leaguers involved in the trade, Gonzalez has been the most valuable for his team this year, with 3.3 Wins Above Replacement. Gonzalez’s value has come in the form of big hits. He has six game-tying or go-ahead hits in the seventh inning or later, the most of anyone on the team. Gonzalez rates fourth in the majors and second in the National League in Win Probability Added, a stat that sums the value of every plate appearance (and stolen base/caught stealing, based on how much it adds to that team’s chance of winning). The only players who rate higher than Gonzalez are Chris Davis, Miguel Cabrera and Paul Goldschmidt.
Though Gonzalez has provided value, his power numbers are still not to the level that they were from 2009 to 2011 (and, by his own admittance after his arrival in L.A., probably never will be the same following his shoulder surgery while a member of the Padres). Gonzalez had a .536 slugging percentage and .231 isolated power (extra-bases per at-bat) over those three seasons. The last two seasons, those numbers are .460 and .162.
* Adrian Gonzalez (via ESPNLA.com): “For the most part, we underperformed last year in Boston and we didn’t win. The year before, we won. We just didn’t make it to the postseason at the end. I had a good time. The only things I had there weren’t really a big deal.”
Both Crawford and Beckett have dealt with significant injuries that have been hindrances to their value. But another player has been a surprise contributor.Punto has been worth 1.9 Wins Above Replacement for the Dodgers this season. If that holds up, it would be the third-highest single-season total of his 13-year career, his highest since posting a 2.4 WAR in 2008.
Punto’s value stems from that he can play a pair of positions adequately. He’s contributed five Defensive Runs Saved at both shortstop and third base, two spots where he’s had to fill in due to injuries.
Punto may not be an imposing hitter, but he’s an annoying one for pitchers to face. His 4.29 pitches per plate appearance rank tied for fourth in the majors, among those with at least 250 plate appearances this season. In addition, in 13 games this month, Punto has a .475 on-base percentage (fifth in the NL among players with at least 30 plate appearances) and eight RBI.
* Nick Punto (via ESPNLA.com): “Pedroia is the heartbeat of that club, and when he’s not happy, it’s not a good thing. He was definitely not very happy.”
And the results have definitely shown for both teams.
The Red Sox are looking to become just the seventh team since the current divisional format began in 1995, and the first in the AL since the 2008 Tampa Bay Rays, to go from worst-to-first in their division. This would be the first time in franchise history that the Red Sox won their division/league the year after finishing in last place.
To think, the waning days of the Hot Stove are upon us. The Sox haven’t made any earth-shaking moves with but a single remarkable transaction to show this off-season. That, and who’d have thought both Prince Fielder and Roy Oswalt would still be on the market..?
Speaking of that single remarkable (or even better, marketable) transaction: Josh Reddick is in town for the annual Boston Baseball Writers’ Dinner, where he’s being honored as the Red Sox Rookie of the Year. (Yeah, really.) The Red Sox traded the former prospect, along with two minor leaguers, to the Oakland Athletics in December in exchange for closer Andrew Bailey and outfielder Ryan Sweeney. Reddick was surprised when he was told of the transaction. “Shock. I had a feeling I was going to get traded at the winter meetings, but once it didn’t happen, I was at ease with it and didn’t worry about it a whole lot.” Reddick spoke with A’s GM Billy Beane and manager Bob Melvin on the day of the trade and the outfielder was given the impression that he should prepare to start every day. “Obviously, that was good news to hear, especially when that was a question mark with the Sox. Once the shock kicked in, I realized, once I talked to Billy Beane and Bob Melvin, that it was going to be a good opportunity to play every day.”
In parts of three seasons with the Red Sox, Reddick combined for a .248 average with 10 homers and 37 RBIs in 143 games.
While questions remain in regards to the Red Sox’s starting rotation, general manager Ben Cherington said he is confident that both Josh Beckett and Clay Buchholz will be healthy and productive once spring training begins. “They’ve both had really good offseasons, Our new pitching coach [Bob McClure] has been in touch with both, as has the medical staff. It’s been a really good offseason for both and we don’t expect any issues with either of them going into camp. We know they’re both motivated to have a good year.”
Beckett, Buchholz and Jon Lester make up the top three of the rotation, but there are still questions on the back-end. Right-handers Daniel Bard and Alfredo Aceves will come to spring training as starters, along with Felix Doubront, Vincente Padilla, Aaron Cook and Carlos Silva. “We feel really good about the front of the rotation. We feel like we have a collection of guys that can win jobs and help us in spots,” said Cherington. “We feel confident both Bard and Aceves are capable of doing it, but that’s not to say they will definitely be in the rotation. But they’re both capable and will come to spring training as starters.” Cherington said there could be other options as well.. “We’ll keep our eyes open as we get closer to spring training, or even in spring training, if there are ways to strengthen the rotation.”
The Scarlett Hose have not had an arbitration hearing with a player since 2002, but it appears this could be the year under their new general manager. “We wouldn’t rule out a hearing,” Cherington said Thursday. “We had more cases this year than we’ve had in a while. We were able to settle five of those and we have four remaining and we’ll continue dialogue to see if there’s a settlement with any of those four.” The Red Sox have four players who are arbitration eligible, including David Ortiz, Alfredo Aceves, Daniel Bard and Andrew Bailey. Of course, Ortiz is the biggest name. The DH accepted arbitration last month and rejected the team’s two-year, $18 million offer. The sides exchanged offer sheets this week and are $4 million apart, with Ortiz asking for $16.5 million and the Sox offering $12.65 million.
While Cherington downplayed the need for adding another outfielder in the wake of Carl Crawford’s wrist surgery Tuesday, the Red Sox can be expected to continue their search for outfield help before the Feb. 19 opening of spring training. The Sox have Jacoby Ellsbury in center field and recently added the left-handed hitting Ryan Sweeney, who was an above average defender in Oakland and was expected to get first crack at the majority of playing time in right field. The team also has Darnell McDonald to play against left-handers; Ryan Kalish, who is recovering from surgery to repair a torn labrum in his left shoulder; and Mike Aviles, an infielder who has been playing outfield in the Puerto Rican winter league.
The best available free agent remaining on the market would appear to be Cody Ross, who was paid $6.3 million by the Giants last season. Of course, the Sox could also look for help via trade.
As many of us in The Nation know, even if you did listen to all that Theo hype as he accepted the move to Chicago, Dan Duquette was the man who (seemingly under the cone silence) built the foundation for the 2004 World Champion Red Sox. Sure, Theo took her to the prom and Tito Francona helped deliver two of her children but Dan Duquette was the first to get into her pants and knock her up.
In a span of two days… a millisecond on the Hot Stove clock, Dan interviewed, re-interviewed, was offered and accepted the offer from the Baltimore Orioles to take over as chief of Baseball Operations / General Manager (full details not yet announced). Now, I think Double D is a smart baseball guy, sure he’s not too keen with the media (doesn’t have to be) but does his job and backs it up. Maybe that’s why I don’t quite get it.
First, let’s take a brief look at his credentials.
The Montreal Expositions: In 1987 he became Montreal’s director of player development and drafted players such as Marquis Grissom, Cliff Floyd and Rondell White while also signing Vladimir Guerrero, Javier Vazquez and Orlando Cabrera to name a few. Duquette replaced Dave Dombrowski as Expos’ GM in September of 1991, going on to acquire elite pitchers Ken Hill, John Wetteland, Jeff Shaw and traded for Pedro Martínez from the Dodgers for second baseman Delino DeShields. Duquette also built the infamous ’94 Expos team which had the best record in baseball at the time of the 1994-95 Major League Baseball strike.
The Boston Red Stockings: Duquette became the GM of his hometown Red Sox and built a baseball operations department which was upgraded at every level during his tenure with favorites such as Nomar Garciaparra and Kevin Youkilis being drafted into the system. Other notable draftees included future MLB shortstops David Eckstein, Adam Everett and Hanley Ramirez as well as second baseman Freddy Sanchez. The Sox traded over 35 players in Duquette’s farm system to staff the team including LHP Jorge De la Rosa who was traded for Curt Schilling and the afore-mentioned Hanley Ramirez who was later traded to the Marlins for Josh Beckett. Duquette is also noted for several major acquisitions that would ultimately play a part in the Red Sox 2004 World Championship, including knuckleballer Tim Wakefield in 1995, Pedro Martínez acquired from Montreal in 1997 as well as the 1997 trade with Seattle for both pitcher Derek Lowe and All-Star catcher Jason Varitek, the free agent signings of Manny Ramírez in 2000 and Johnny Damon in December 2001…
… In 1996 Duquette signed Jaime Moyer to a free agent contract and then traded him to Seattle for outfielder Darren Bragg when manager Kevin Kennedy didn’t pitch him much and Moyer expressed he didn’t like playing in Boston. Moyer went on to win 139 games in just over 9 seasons with the Mariners and achieved over 250 wins in his career…
… Duquette is also famously known for his quote about Roger Clemens in which he said that “we had hoped to keep him in Boston during the twilight of his career” in 1996 after Clemens left as a free agent following a 39-40 record over his last four seasons pitching in Boston (Clemens remains under indictment for lying to Congress that he used performance enhancing drugs (PED’s) beginning in the period immediately following his departure from Boston to Toronto) …
… The free agency losses of Clemens and first baseman Mo Vaughn were major points of discontent amongst some Red Sox fans, while he also did not resign Jose Canseco or Mike Greenwell (all of which proved to be wise moves).
So, you take the good and take the bad and there you have Dan Duquette.
Now, Dan has been removed from MLB since he was relieved of his duties by the Red Sox in 2002 following the sale to John Henry & Co. from the JRY Trust… so one might wonder, why now? Was it all this ‘Theo’ talk which made the sports talk rounds and saw miles of footage on ESPN, MLB Network and so on? Is it envy to the fact that when the experts say “Theo inherited a great team…” that the same experts usually omit the ‘from Dan Duquette’ part? I only ask because it is a very well-known fact that the Baltimore Orioles are, in todays vernacular, a Hot Mess.
Peter Angelos has, on many occasions, been regarded as a baseball owner you don’t want to work for and backed up by the fact that supposedly one or two candidates just recently declined the team’s offer for the GM position. Since he took over the team and put ‘his stamp on it’ way back in 1993 the O’s have, for the most part, sucked. Aside from the consecutive playoff years of ’96 & ’97, the Orioles have done little more than show up and trade marketable talent to bigger market teams who can pay the younger rising stars. Sure they sign older, declining stars with a possible upside who might put a few a$$es in the seats, but have done little to surround them with talent.
However…. Double D is taking over a young and fairly potent Orioles team which has shown streaks of brilliance in the last two seasons. With Buck Showalter already in place he has a manager who has mentoring and seasoning the kids as needed and has them ready for a real push in 2012. Can he find the veteran peices to compliment them? Well, since the budget in O-Town doesn’t look to be expanding, Dan will have to use his documented prowess to trade (or in some cases steal) or sign a few of those possible Wakefields and Pedro’s.
Baseball in general, nevermind in front-office dynamics, has changed in his decade away. He’ll have a limited pocketbook and a meddling owner to deal with as he tries to turn one of baseball’s oldest teams around and feed a starved fan base who’s turned, ironically, to the former Montreal Expos franchise residing in Washington D.C. in the guise of the Nationals. I’d wish him luck, but he’s back in the AL East and that’s just too bad.
The clock is slowly ticking down to the start of September and the 2011 season is about to hit its stride. However, there is one helluva straightaway before we get to turn four.
Now granted, be it in NASCAR terms or whatever vehicular jargon you like, the Sox are in pit row. The pitching has since sputtered, the line-up is thumping over a blown tire and while the fuel has been fine, thinning the mix for the length of the race has been a problem. Luckily, at this point anyway, we’re not alone as our neighbors roughly 150 miles to the southwest have been in the same race.
Lackey has been anything but the ‘second ace’ we expected were getting when the ink dried on the contract. In fact, from one start to another, you’re not sure which version of the big hoss will show. Wakefield has been stuck, seemingly, in nuetral. However, in Wake’s defense, the Time Lord has pitched fairly well and kept opponents at bay as well Miller or the semi-Lackey but just hasn’t had the stability behind him. Lester is for a better word ‘back’ and Beckett is looking as if he’ll be completing a great ‘comeback’ year. Bedard, well, there is yet another question mark. Yeah, the ERA isn’t horrific but do we have time for a ‘work in progress’ we may only be renting anyway?
Youk, who’s been in and out of the line-up with various injuries (which to his credit he has attempted to play through) may have picked a ‘good’ time to go out on the DL. Big Papi was already riding the bench and should be back and well into getting his swing on by the time Youk returns. A-Gon has been hampered by a neck problem which has stolen his home run stroke and now Jacoby ‘The Machine’ Ellsbury is hitting a slight breakdown. Well, believe it or not, we should still be OK. Petey rode in the slow lane early and has picked up an MVP caliber season since while Crawford, extremely slow to adapt to his new surroundings, is again hitting his stride following the mid-season injury. Combine that with Marco, Reddick, Salty/Tek’ and the on and off mix n’ match pieces we’ve been plugging in… along with A-Gon’s ability to still hit for average if not power… we’re hanging in there.
But not by much.
Now comes the time of year where you need to take every series. Splitting a four game series won’t be enough. Now its three out of four or two of three. Sure, you can’t sweep every series, not should you expect to, but taking the series is without a doubt. So the question is… who do we need to line up in our sights and show no mercy..?
We open a four game set with the Rangers of Texas in Arlington who will obviously be no push-over and then return home for a month-ending home stand. First we see the Athletics, late of Philly and Kansas City (and possibly soon of Oakland), for a three game series and after an off day welcome the New York Highlanders for an all important AL East match-up (of course, we visit the Bronx Zoo in late September for the final weekend of the season, amidst a Baltimore sandwich series). We then open September with the final game of the Pinstripes series in the friendly confines and then welcome… guess who, the Texas Rangers for yet another volley of Defending AL Champs stew. The remainder of the month is as it should be, an AL East love-fest where we play what seems like 400 games against the Blue Jays and Rays (strangely, both teams having towns that begin with ‘T’ and names that end in ‘..’ays’) with the aforementioned Baltimore sandwich with Yankee filler.
Those same Pinstripes will be home for a series against the wandering A’s, a visit to the O’s and then have the aforementioned sleep-over at Fenway. There month however… isn’t as AL East lovey-dovey as ours. In fact, they have a West Coast road trip amidst the love-fest to visit Seattle and the Los Angeles Americans (as compared to the Los Angeles Nationals). The ‘Bombers also will play the final two weeks of the season with no day off as a one-game visit from the Twinkies will fill that date on the calendar.
So all we really need at this point is for the pitching woes to sure-up, the bullpen to get some new life and the hitting to get back on track while the opponents from the city so nice they named it twice to get some serious fatigue and jet lag, but with some of the seniors playing on their team, that might not be a problem.
With questions of ‘The Best’ or ‘Top 5’, ‘Top 10’ and so on I figured I’d take a moment to look over the hallowed halls of the Boston Red Sox Hall of Fame.
These are the basics…
The Boston Red Sox Hall of Fame was instituted in 1995 to recognize the careers of former Boston Red Sox baseball players. A 15-member selection committee of Red Sox broadcasters and executives, past and present media personnel, and representatives from The Sports Museum of New England and the BoSox Club are responsible for nominating candidates.
The criteria for selection into the Hall is as follows:
- Player to be eligible for nomination must have played a minimum of three years with the Boston Red Sox and must also have been out of uniform as an active player a minimum of three years.
- Non-uniformed honorees such as broadcasters and front office execs are inducted by a unanimous vote of the Boston Red Sox Hall of Fame selection committee. The memorable moment will be chosen by the committee as well.
- Former Boston Red Sox players and personnel in the National Baseball Hall of Fame (NBHOF) in Cooperstown, New York will be automatically enshrined in the Boston Red Sox Hall of Fame.
- 1995: Roger Clemens’ first 20-strikeout game in 1986
- 1995: Carlton Fisk’s game-winning home run in Game 6 of the 1975 World Series
- 2000: Dave Henderson’s game-winning home run in Game 5 of the 1986 American League Championship Series
- 2002: Earl Wilson’s no-hitter on June 26, 1962
- 2004: Bernie Carbo’s pinch-hit home run in Game 6 of the 1975 World Series
- 2006: Dave Roberts’ steal of second base in Game 4 of the 2004 American League Championship Series
- 2008: Ted Williams’ home run in his final Major League at-bat on September 28, 1960, versus the Baltimore Orioles at Fenway Park
- 2010: Tom Brunansky’s diving catch of Ozzie Guillén’s line drive in the ninth inning of the season ending game that preserved the Red Sox victory sending them to the 1990 playoffs
And all of this information, sadly, still doesn’t lend itself to the easy selection of ‘Top Something Red Sox of all-time’. So I guess we’ll have to do it the hard way and look at the facts, stat for stat, player by player… oh boy. Now, to weave through the enormous bulk of the statistics and the lesser players who exist in the higher end of all-time numbers through the merit of less time served, I’m planning on setting a minimum of 800 games played in a Red Sox uniform.
Batting Average: Home Runs:
2. Wade Boggs .338 C. Yastrzemski 452
3. Tris Speaker .337 Jim Rice 382
4. N. Garciaparra .323 Dwight Evans 379
5. Jimmie Foxx .320 David Ortiz* 310
6. Johnny Pesky .313 Manny Ramirez 274
7. Manny Ramirez .312 Mo Vaughn 230
8. Fred Lynn .308 Bobby Doerr 223
10. Mo Vaughn .304 Rico Petrocelli 210
Runs Batted In: Games:
C. Yastrzemski 1844 C. Yastrzemski 3308
Ted Williams 1839 Dwight Evans 2505
Jim Rice 1451 Ted Williams 2292
Dwight Evans 1346 Jim Rice 2089
Bobby Doerr 1247 Bobby Doerr 1865
Manny Ramirez 868 Wade Boggs 1625
Jimmie Foxx 788 Rico Petrocelli 1553
Rico Petrocelli 773 Jason Varitek* 1520
Mo Vaughn 752 Dom DiMaggio 1399
1. C. Yastrzemski 646 Harry Hooper 130
3. Dwight Evans 474 Buck Freeman 90
4. Wade Boggs 422 Bobby Doerr 89
5. Bobby Doerr 381 Larry Gardner 87
6. Jim Rice 373 Jim Rice 79
7. David Ortiz* 331 ‘Hobe’ Ferris 77
9. Jason Varitek* 305 Ted Williams 71
10. N. Garciaparra 279 Freddy Parent 63
Bases on Balls: Runs Scored:
Ted Williams 2019 C. Yastrzemski 1816
C. Yastrzemski 1845 Ted Williams 1798
Dwight Evans 1337 Dwight Evans 1435
Harry Hooper 826 Bobby Doerr 1094
Bobby Doerr 809 Wade Boggs 1067
Dom DiMaggio 750 Dom DiMaggio 1046
David Ortiz* 734 Harry Hooper 988
Jim Rice 670 David Ortiz* 812
Rico Petrocelli 661 Johnny Pesky 776
For the same reason of wading through the massive amount of statistics, I limited my selections of pitchers to a minimum 200 appearances in a Red Sox uniform.
Wins: Earned Run Average:
2. Cy Young 192 Cy Young 2.00
3. Tim Wakefield* 184 Dutch Leonard 2.13
4. Mel Parnell 123 Pedro Martinez 2.52
5. Luis Tiant 122 George Winter 2.91
6. Pedro Martinez 117 Tex Huson 2.94
7. Joe Wood 117 Roger Clemens 3.06
9. Joe Dobson 106 Lefty Grove 3.34
10. Lefty Grove 105 Luis Tiant 3.36
Strikeouts: Complete Games:
Roger Clemens 2590 Cy Young 275
Tim Wakefield* 1993 George Winter 141
Pedro Martinez 1683 Joe Wood 121
Cy Young 1341 Lefty Grove 119
Luis Tiant 1075 Mel Parnell 113
Joe Wood 986 Roger Clemens 100
B. Monbouquette 969 Tex Huson 99
Frank Sullivan 821 Dutch Leonard 96
Jim Lonborg 784 Joe Dobson 90
Innings Pitched: Shutouts:
1. Tim Wakefield* 2933.0 Roger Clemens 38
2. Roger Clemens 2776.0 Cy Young 38
3. Cy Young 2728.1 Joe Wood 28
5. Mel Parnell 1752.2 Dutch Leonard 25
6. Bob Stanley 1707.0 Mel Parnell 20
7. B. Monbouquette 1622.0 Tex Huson 19
8. George Winter 1599.2 Joe Dobson 17
9. Joe Dobson 1544.0 B. Monbouquette 16
10. Lefty Grove 1539.2 Lefty Grove 15
Saves have been included simply for historical significance. I’m listing the full top ten, but lowering the minimum to 100 appearances in a Red Sox uniform.
1. Jon Papelbon* 208
2. Bob Stanley 132
3. Dick Radatz 104
4. Ellis Kinder 91
5. Jeff Reardon 88
6. Derek Lowe* 85
7. Sparky Lyle 69
8. Tom Gordon 68
9. Lee Smith 58
10. Bill Campbell 51
Now a lot of names repeat themselves in these lists of all-time stats, while a few names were omitted for lack of appearances, such as Pete Runnels for a few hitting categories and pitchers Jon Lester and Josh Beckett for strikeouts as well as Babe Ruth for a number of pitching categories including ERA (4th with 2.19), complete games (8th with 105) and shutouts (11th with 17). I left out stats such as Extra Base Hits, Slugging and On-Base percentages as they were simply more of the same names in different order. You can view them yourself here: http://boston.redsox.mlb.com/bos/history/all_time_leaders.jsp
Okay, there are the stats for the most part (no, I’m not including fielding stats because a few of the categories are geared towards infielders, particularly first basemen and catchers), so lets take a look at award winners.
Most Valuable Player: This is the BBWAA MVP award created in 1931, and does not include the Chalmers Award (1911–1914) or the League Awards (1922–1929).
Dustin Pedroia* (2008), Mo Vaughn (1995), Roger Clemens (1986), Jim Rice (1978), Fred Lynn (1975), Yaz (1967), Jackie Jensen (1958), Ted Williams (1949 & 1946) and Jimmie Foxx (1938).
Rookie of the Year:
Dustin Pedroia (2007), Nomar Garciaparra (1997), Fred Lynn (1975), Carlton Fisk (1972), Don Schwall (1961) and Walt Dropo (1950).
Now lets take a look at a few more historical league leaders…
… We’ll cover hitting first…
|Home Run Champions|
|Triple Crown: Batting|
|Year||Player||Avg., HR, RBIs|
|1967||Carl Yastrzemski||.326, 44, 121|
|1947||Ted Williams||.343, 32, 114|
|1942||Ted Williams||.356, 36, 137|
… And now the Pitching…
|Triple Crown: Pitching|
|Year||Player||Wins, ERA, Ks|
|1999||Pedro Martinez||23, 2.07, 313|
|1901||Cy Young||33, 1.62, 158|
Now, for the sake of being fairly thorough and not wanting to completely leave the legendary defensive efforts in limbo, here are the list of Gold Glove Winners…
So, has any of this cemented anything? No… but it has provided a little bit more depth into the varied history of the players who have worn the Red, White and Blue of the Boston Americans across the many decades. Looking at a few of these league leading categories, it also sheds some light on periods where offense seemed to overshadow pitching and how both seemed to dwarf defense… but then again, the Yawkey regime was always known for the sizzle of the home run show over the actual steak of baseball.
Okay, for the next installment I’ll be looking at those who are inductees into the National Baseball Hall of Fame and probably a few players who should have been but weren’t. Hey, you can’t make an omelete without breaking some eggs and sure as hell can’t have any sort of ‘Best of…’ or ‘Top (insert number here)..’ list without a little controversy.
With the Pinstripe Captain reaching his 3000th hit in such ‘Grand’ fashion (as any New York scripted Yankee milestone would be), there has been a lot of talk, blogging and general conversing on where he ranks all-time for the game’s most historic team.
This tidbit is lifted from www.thepostgame.com :
Where Does Derek Jeter Rank On The List of Greatest Yankees Ever?
Now there are six.
The greatest New York Yankees have long been counted on one hand. Babe Ruth is the unquestioned No. 1, after which the order is debatable but not the names: alphabetically, Yogi Berra, Joe DiMaggio, Lou Gehrig and Mickey Mantle.
Add Derek Jeter to the mix.
Jeter became the first Yankee to accumulate 3,000 hits in pinstripes when he hit a solo home run off Tampa Bay lefty David Price in the third inning Saturday in the Bronx. Jeter, who just returned after spending three weeks on the disabled list with a calf injury, singled in the first inning for No. 2,999. In his next at-bat, Jeter ripped a full-count slider from Price into the leftfield seats. And despite the recent cyber-trend to disparage Jeter’s game and accomplishments, he deserves mention alongside the best to play for baseball’s most storied franchise.
Precisely where does he rank? From a poetic standpoint, No. 2 would be the perfect perch. Cue a tape of Bob Sheppard to make the announcement:
“The shortstop, number 2, Derek Jeter, number 2.”
But that’s a difficult case to make. To eclipse every Yankee except Ruth, Jeter would need to bounce back offensively through 2013. He’d need to change positions so his deficient range at shortstop recedes into memory. And the Yankees would need to win two more World Series with Jeter a driving force through those postseasons.
Today, though, Jeter has gained entry into the land of the elite. A Fab Five is now a Sparkling Six.
Here’s our list, in reverse order. Class, grace and a certain “Yankee-ness” count. So do stats. Only accomplishments with the Yankees are considered.
It all adds up to “greatness,” an admittedly imprecise blend of hard numbers and subjective notions.
Berra was part of a major league record 10 World Series champion teams, was named American League Most Valuable Player three times and played the most demanding position on the field. He also developed an iconic oracle-like persona with his fractured speech and hilarious yet astute observations. And at 86, he’s not only the lone living member of the Sparkling Six besides Jeter, he still wears pinstripes. Berra anchored the team during its late-1940s and 1950s heyday, succeeding Hall-of-Famer Bill Dickey at catcher and playing alongside DiMaggio and Mantle. He has the fourth-highest Wins Above Replacement of any catcher in history.
Jeter’s stature and leadership are unsurpassed. His production in the media hellfire of the Bronx has been phenomenally consistent. His five World Series titles and overall postseason excellence set him apart from other active players. In 2001, his flip of a relay throw to home plate and his walk-off home run in Game 4 of the World Series are among the most memorable moments in Yankees history. Of course he’s slipping at 37: Mantle, DiMaggio and Gehrig were retired at that age. Yes, he’s made more outs and hit into more double plays than any other Yankee and he’ll probably pass Mantle for most strikeouts. One milestone begets others for the player with the most plate appearances, official at-bats, hits and stolen bases. Each category speaks to longevity, durability, toughness and resilience.
Like DiMaggio, Mantle retired at age 36. Like Jeter, his defensive skills eroded with age and — in Mantle’s case — injury. But like Berra, Mantle played 18 Yankee seasons because he broke in at age 19. He and Willie Mays vied for the title of best player on the planet through the 1950s and much of the ’60s. The switch-hitting Mantle was AL MVP three times and he led the Yankees to 12 World Series, winning seven titles. He might have had more natural ability than any player ever, but he frittered away some of his talent partying. Who knows the numbers he could have amassed had he not been such a carouser? That question need never be asked of Jeter, who by remaining productive for two more seasons could swap places with Mantle.
The Yankee Clipper was the team’s most majestic player, and only Gehrig and Jeter approach his stateliness. DiMaggio’s greatest accomplishment is his record 56-game hitting streak. A close second is his nine World Series titles, behind only Berra in Yankee history. DiMaggio’s offensive numbers across the board are exceptional per season, but his career totals are lacking because he retired after 13 seasons, at least four fewer than the others on the list, primarily because he missed three years serving in World War II. At age 35 in 1950 DiMaggio had a stellar season that mirrored his career numbers. A year later his performance declined because of nagging injuries and he hung ’em up after helping the Yankees to one more World Series championship.
As he was in the Yankees lineup from 1925 to 1934, Gehrig is immediately behind Ruth on the list of Yankee Greats. When the measure is a blend of batting statistics, World Series titles, impact on baseball, impact on New York, larger-than-life persona and unforgettable nickname, The Iron Horse noses out the rest of the pack. Gehrig’s greatness was perhaps best displayed after Ruth left the Yankees. Gehrig led the team to three more World Series titles for a total of six, and he batted .361 with a staggering 1.208 OPS in the postseason. His career was tragically cut short at 36 after 17 seasons because of the rare disease that bears his name.
Besides singlehandedly introducing home run power as the game’s most lethal weapon and gate attraction, Ruth also made the Yankees the greatest team in baseball. Before his arrival in New York in 1920, the franchise had a losing record. In Ruth’s 15 seasons with the Yankees, and for the next 30 years beyond his departure, they had only one losing season. His career offensive Wins Above Replacement of 143 is easily the franchise best and he holds the trifecta of highest batting average (.349), on-base percentage (.484) and slugging percentage (.690). Ruth won fewer World Series titles with the Yankees (four) than any of the others on this list. But he delivered, hitting 15 homers in 117 at-bats. .
(That’s a Super Friends reference by the way…)
Well, that’s the first Duckboat Parade down… and one to go. Josh Beckett apparently had that mind this evening down in Tampa, allowing just one hit and collecting his first complete game since 2009. Even sweeter coming against an AL East foe, dropping the Rays some 41/2 back in what will be a stretch where 14 of their next 30 some odd games come against the Scarlett Hose and The Pinstripes. The season is a marathon and this could be the lead in to Heartbreak Hill where we can create some distance. To me however, the best part is seeing a finally healthy, mentally focused Beckett looking like the Beckett we traded for oh so long ago and not the Beckett we were fairly hesitant to extend just a few off-seasons ago.
Meanwhile Kevin Youkilis has been nice enough to remind everyone that you just can’t pitch around this Boston Americans line-up. Well, not anymore… the adjustment period is over. If you walk one, you still have to face another. And even when you walk the AL batting leader, you have to face a guy who is not exactly a slouch and is often forgotten for being in the top 5 of AL MVP voting for a few years… sure, you can walk him too.. but then you still have the ever rejuvenated Big Papi…. and should you go around him you have the fire-starting Crawford… of course this all contingent upon the fact you haven’t been initially torched by Ellsbury and Petey in the one two holes…
… Sh!t… we have a damned good line-up.
We’re getting hip deep into the season when the All-Star game is roughly a month away and the weather ain’t the only thing heating up (especially here in Vegas). The Red Sox were enjoying the longest winning streak in the Majors this season, having outscored opponents 83-36 during that span but hit the wall against the Floridians who have been a tough play for them to date.
But streaks are like that… streaky. When one ends, you might just start another.
So let’s open with the Bruins… or as the press will have us call ’em, the “Killer B’s”.
I think we can all admit it.. when Nathan Horton was sent into limbo with that fairly questionable hit on open ice in Game 3, none of us knew how the home town team would respond. Double edged sword, 50/50.. so on and so forth… but they did what was right and just as importantly, what was required when they took to the ice in the second period looking and acting like a team who not only deserved to be in the Stanley Cup Finals but could win it. Even more importantly, they carried it into Game 4. Minus the shenanigans, tomfoolery and for nearly 55 minutes, the theatrics, Game 4 for the Brown Bears was near perfect hockey. Not perfectly executed but perfectly played to a point where the teams shortcomings and failings were negated by team play and the play of Tim Thomas.
Now obviously the B’s need to carry this momentum into Vancouver for Game 5. But I can feel most confident in saying that if the Bruins can play two more games just as they played the last two… with dilligence, passion and imperfect perfection… the Duckboat parade will be on schedule.
Speaking of the last two games….
Really? No.. really? Joe Girardi needs to find something to b!tch about other than the play of his team so he singles out Big Papi for a bat flip (after having just been brushed back)… yes, really. Now obviously this was taken with a grain of salt by most except for David Ortiz who responded by saying “I’m a home run hitter, I flip my bat. I’m gonna’ hit another one tonight.” And on cue for Papi’s well scripted season to date… he did just that. No bat-flip, no drama… just the reality of another well hit home run from a home run hitter. Ortiz is continuing the rejuvenation of his career, or at least he’s just not sucking for the first quarter of the season in what is known as the ‘slow start’. David has credited A-Gon for his hot start and for making a personal impact that only Pedro has had on him previously. Some speculate if it’s a friendship, a kinship in lefties or just some tutelage that has led to it.. but what ever works. Big Papi has been impressive to start the season to say the least and is emerging as the Papi this team has needed since Manny decided to just be Manny.
So the rest of the evening wasn’t quite as pretty, that’s quite all right. The Timelord was on the mound and once again held everything together enough for his Companions to keep the momentum going defensively and offensively. The Pinstripes didn’t look old tonight but looking plain out-played is just as good. Now is definitely the time to strike and keep attacking the ‘Bombers as even the press corps are getting antsy with the expectation of many a move being made to bolster the NY bullpen, rotation and bench. San Diego is already falling out and they have some good young talent about to expire (Heath Bell among them). Let’s hope Jed Hoyer remembers who built his farm system in a single trade this offseason… that’s right his former employers and bestest’ buds back in Beantown. Of course, the Trolley-Dodgers and Metropolitans are singing what could be fire-sale songs of poverty….
Petey has returned to Boston for tests on his knee (injured in Baltimore earlier in the season) and could require surgery. definitely explains the number fall-off, but if surgery is required it could keep him on the DL a minimum of a month. Cross your Sox.. I mean fingers.
It’s pretty f*%$!n’ tough being a Boston fan this week..!
Meanwhile the Bruins, who played valiantly in Game 1 dropped it with less than two in the third. OK, I can live with that. But why in the name of Eddie Shore’s balls couldn’t Mike Murphy, the stand-in czar of discipline for the NHL, suspend that idiot Burrows for a very blatant for everyone in two North American nations to see bite on Patrice Bergeron? They say the NHL is a Man’s sport… yet at least two people (Murphy and Commissioner Bettman) lack genitals. For those of you under the baseball rock… Burrows scored two goalstonight in Gamr 2, including the OT game winner, in a game everyone in a public position to judge the sport (NHL Network, ESPN, NBC.. etc..) agreed he should have been watching at home during his one game suspension. Congrats, he earned his playoff bonus.
Now, onto the Sox.
Pap’ and ‘Tek getting tossed in the late innings? WoW! Rough one. Speaking of Varitek, does anyone remember the trade that bought him and Derek Lowe to Boston way back when? The trade Dan Duquette engineered from Seattle? For Heathcliff Slocumb… what did Peter Gammons call him, oh yeah… ‘Fasten Your Seatbelt Slocumb’. Perhaps Pap’ has now earned that unwanted and unlikely moniker. Ever wonder why the Brass have steered away from trading Bard and brought in Bobby Jenks? Could it be for that same fear in the back of the mind reason? I have to admit, I’ve lost faith in him. Beginning last season and carrying into this season, I get nervous every time I see him make his way out the pen. He’s lost a bit off his fastball and appears to just not want to adjust. The American League got over the ‘fishface’ intimidation and adjusted, but he hasn’t. Why? He’s got the talent and demeanor to be dominant… but scrapes by some of the time.
I remember the feathers he ruffled when he made the comments regarding the Bronx Bombers possibly signing him after Rivera retired… but would they really? At this point?
Beckett suffered through two plus years of oft-injured mediocrity and what may have been perceived as being too comfortable before this season (much like The Rocket back in the ’95-’96 seasons). He’s come around and is pitching like the Beckett we traded for. Is Papelbon too comfortable? Dice-K is gone (not just for the season but probably for good), Lackey is nearing a return as is Jenks and while the rest of the bullpen is in flux Pap’ needs to be the anchor. Period. Call the NESN offices and ask his majesty the Eck to give you some lessons on ‘Closing Composure’. You don’t have to be great everyday… but we can’t keep fastening our seatbelt every time we’re ‘Shipping Off to Boston’… even if the defense and Umpires seem to be working against you.
While the rest of the ‘East is West.. we need to get back in the saddle. Tonight was a hard-fought lesson in survival… let’s try to make it count. Salty is coming around, A-Gon is hitting what will be a massive Fenway stride, Papi is looking five years younger and Crawford is finding his stroke… everyone else will follow. We just need to try to get them all to follow on the same page at the same time… meanwhile, we’ll all just have a pint and chill out.
The 2010 Boston Red Sox probable line-up card as proposed by Boston.com…
1. Jacoby Ellsbury
2009 defensive stats: 150 starts (center), .994 FPCT, 2 errors.
Ellsbury played only center field last season, but he started 36 games in 2008 in left field and 15 in ’07. Francona said Ellsbury was initially disappointed about his switch, but he’ll be entering the season never having committed an error in left.
As the leadoff hitter, he improved his on-base percentage from .336 in ’08 to .355 last year. The Red Sox would like to see another such leap this year.
2. Dustin Pedroia
2009 defensive stats: 154 starts, .991 FPCT, 6 errors.
Pedroia said last year he hoped to play 162 games; he played 154 after playing 155 in his MVP season in ’08. In other words: Good luck convincing him to take a day off, Tito.
Offensively, Pedroia is as good as it gets as a No. 2 hitter, batting .296 with 15 homers and 72 RBIs last season in his follow-up to his AL MVP-winning campaign in 2008.
3. Victor Martinez
2009 defensive stats: 82 starts, .982 FPCT, 4 errors.
Martinez, who was sensational after coming over from the Indians at the trading deadline last July, will get the majority of the starts behind the plate, with captain Jason Varitek serving as the capable veteran backup.
Neither is a particularly adept defensive catcher — they combined to throw out 13 percent of basestealers last season — but both are respected by pitchers, and the switch-hitting Martinez’s offensive prowess will give the Sox far better production from the position over a full season than they had a year ago.
4. Kevin Youkils
2009 defensive stats: 77 starts, .998 FPCT, 1 error.
Youkilis, a Gold Glove winner in 2008, started most of his games at first base a season ago and was nearly flawless. With the defensively brilliant Adrian Beltre signed to play third base every day, Youkilis won’t have to shuffle between corner infield positions this season.
At the plate, he should remain one of the premier offensive players in the AL. Last year, he hit .305 with 27 homers, 94 RBIs, and a .961 OPS.
5. David Ortiz
2009 stats: 150 games, 541 at-bats, .238 average.
Ortiz will start the majority of games at DH, but it’s possible Mike Lowell, if he’s somehow not traded once he recovers from thumb surgery, will see starts against lefthanded starters.
The Red Sox, who have lost Jason Bay’s 36 homers and 119 RBIs, are counting on Ortiz to have fewer peaks and valleys than he did last season, when he hit .238 with 28 homers and 99 RBIs despite starting the season in a horrific slump.
6. J.D. Drew
2009 defensive stats: 124 starts, .992 FPCT, 2 errors.
Drew isn’t flashy, but he plays a very steady right field, has an accurate arm, and rarely makes a mistake.
Last season, he batted .279 with a .392 on-base percentage, a .914 OPS, and 24 home runs. While he not known as durable, he did play 137 games last season.
7. Adrian Beltre
2009 defensive stats: 110 starts, .959 FPCT, 14 errors.
Beltre, a tremendous, spectacular defensive player, takes over for the popular Mike Lowell, who lost most of his range last season as he recovered from hip surgery.
Beltre, 31, hit 25 or more home runs from 2006-08 with the Mariners, but fell to eight last year as he was hampered by injuries. The Sox believe his power will be enhanced by playing half of his games at Fenway rather than cavernous Safeco.
8. Mike Cameron
2009 defensive stats: 146 starts, .990 FPCT, 4 errors.
Cameron, a two-time Gold Glove winner with a knack for the spectacular and excellent range even at age 36, bumps Ellsbury to left field, meaning the Sox should have all the gaps covered.
He is a lifetime .250 hitter who batted — yep — .250 last season. But he has legitimate power — he has hit at least 19 homers in all but one season since 1998.
9. Marco Scutaro
2009 defensive stats: 143 starts, .984 FPCT, 10 errors.
All of Scutaro’s starts came at shorstop, but if need be he can play second base. Scutaro committed 10 errors at short, but that’s still 15 fewer than the number of errors combined from Red Sox shortstops in 2009.
Jon Lester: 32 starts, 15 wins, 203.1 IP
John Lackey 27 starts, 11 wins, 176.1 IP
Josh Beckett 32 starts, 17 wins, 212.1 IP
Clay Buchholz 16 starts, 7 wins, 92 IP
Daisuke Matsuzaka 12 starts, 4 wins, 59.1 IP
Both Buchholz and Matsuzaka had their ups and downs in 2009. Both pitchers might be top three starters on any other team, but it’s probable that Matsuzaka will be the fourth starter, and Buchholz the fifth. Both have a high upside, but both also have a lot to prove.