In case you missed it this weekend, the Globe’s Nick Cafardo continued his assault on intelligent sports journalism, with a piece proclaiming Boston’s current starting rotation as a dream rotation, and how foolish it would be to break it up and trade Clay Buchholz for Adrian Gonzalez.
The article comes on the heels of Cafardo’s recent piece in which he makes Jacoby Ellsbury sound like the second-coming of Willie Mays and Adrian Gonzalez the second-coming of Steve Balboni.
The Ellsbury article was bad enough, as I’ve already blogged about. But the Buchholz piece takes it to another level. Buchholz pitched well last year, and he has a ton of potential. And having him as your Number Five starter certainly gives you a deep rotation — not a dream rotation, but a deep rotation.
You see, Buchholz is a good, young pitcher. But although he has pitched well early in his career, he is still relatively unproven. Casey Fossum also pitched some good games early in his career. Paxton Crawford, anyone? I certainly think Buchholz is better than those two, but the logic behind not trading Buchholz for Gonzalez doesn’t make sense. It remind me of when some Celtics fans didn’t want to deal Al Jefferson for Kevin Garnett. Thankfully, the C’s made the deal, and how did that turn out?
Hindsight is 20-20, but baseball deals are made given what he know in the here and now. And, right now, we know Buchholz is very good, but still unproven. And we know that the sum total of what Adrian Gonzalez brings to a team is worth a lot more than what Buchholz brings to a team.
Sure, pitching is important, and shouldn’t be taken for granted. But, even without Buchholz, the Sox still have a deep and formidable rotation when compared with the rest of baseball. Their offense? Not nearly as intimidating.
I know the saying of how pitching wins championships. Pitching certainly does help. But remember those pitching-rich Atlanta Braves teams that won 14-straight division titles? How many World Series rings did they win?
Reports are the Padres are seeking both Jacoby Ellsbury and Clay Buchholz from the Red Sox for Adrian Gonzalez. The inclusion of both Ellsbury and Buchholz in a deal is sure to make many Sox fans cringe, but it’s a deal worth doing.
Often in baseball it does seem a team can get something for nothing, especially when one rich team can acquire a star player from a poor team for little more than cash. It is only money, after all. However, in the real world, to get something of real value, you have to give up something of real value. And that’s the situation the Sox are in chasing Adrian Gonzalez.
The past three season, Sox fans have enjoyed watching Ellsbury — from his amazing speed on the basepaths to his fearless, wall-crashing defense. He’s an excellent ballplayer, and may someday be a great leadoff hitter. But Ellsbury will never give a team as much as Adrian Gonzalez does. And, although it hurts to give him and Buchholz up, it’s worth it.
If the deal does happen, the question is what will Boston’s outfield look like? In all likelihood, newly-acquired Mike Cameron would move into centerfield. That would open up leftfield for a free-agent addition like Jason Bay or Matt Holliday, although at this time both look unlikely. Perhaps more likely would be the Sox sticking with Jeremy Hermidia in leftfield, possibly platooning him with another addition.
Hermidia is a very interesting player. He came up to the majors in Florida about four seasons ago with a ton of hype. Unfortunately, he has never lived up to that hype. The thing is, he’s still only 25. He’s still two years away from the magic age of 27 — the well-documented age at which many major league ballplayers breakout. Hermidia is much too young and talented to be written off — even though many people already have. Maybe he’ll never be that superstar. But it’s still just as likely that we may someday look back and say Theo got the steal of this offseason.
It pained me to watch how good Clay Buchholz was last night.
But only because I forgot to start him on my fantasy team.
Despite stumbling early on in Kansas City – when they might have closed the gap with the Yanks and actually made a run at the division – the Sox are looking great. With each start he makes, Buchholz confirms to the rest of the American League that he has indeed arrived.
While many great October teams have two ace starters . . . and then have to hope for a miracle . . . the Red Sox are entering the playoffs with a complete staff of four ace starting pitchers (provided Matsuzaka can keep it up) who can shut you down. They already have the game’s best bullpen and a very good lineup. They have to be the favorite heading into October.
A lot will be made of this weekend’s series with the Yanks. But, in reality, it is just appetizers before the main course. The division has in all reality been decided, and nobody is going to stress out their pitchers to try to win it when they are already in the playoffs. Can’t wait for October.
Is it me, or are the clouds beginning to break?
I don’t want to do this. After the way this rollercoaster season has gone, after all the streaks of joy followed by streaks of gut-wrenching disappointment, my brain warns not to get too invested in this team again. But my heart . . .
The fact is, however you want to slice it, as we stand here today things are starting to look mighty good for these Boston Red Sox. After most of us wrote off his 2009 season as a bust (and many wrote him off all-together), Daisuke Matsuzaka last night turned in the most dominant performance of his Red Sox career . . . and against the team Boston will face to start October. That was the Daisuke we had expected to come to Boston a few years ago (minus a 96-mph fastball, which looks like it will never come). And it’s a performance that comes at a time when Boston’s ace – Josh Beckett – looks like he’s starting to gets his legs under him again, and two other pitchers – Jon Lester and Clay Buchholz – are now pitching like aces. I know it’s just one start, but if the Daisuke we get the rest of the year is anything close to the one we saw last night, a rotation with that guy, Beckett, Lester and Buchholz will be untouchable.
These Sox have now won 6 in a row, and they’ve put 5 1/2 games between them and the Rangers now, all but wrapping up the Wild Card with last night’s win. Meanwhile, Papi is doing his best to make us all believe that he really is Papi again. And, with the addition of Wagner, the Sox now have superior arms to close out opponents for the last three innings of the game. In fact, as Tito makes out his playoff roster, his biggest challenge will be squeezing all that bullpen talent onto the team. Some will be left off, but it’s a nice problem to have.
The bottom line is, as we wake up this morning, the Boston Red Sox all of a sudden look like the best team in all of baseball again. And, being the middle of September, they got here just in time.