The most publicized and sought after free agent pitcher this year is Daisuke Matsuzaka. Teams have already sent their bids to Major League Baseball, which will forward the top bid to the Seibu Lions for the rights to negotiate with Matsuzaka and agent Scott Boras. The Lions can then agree to decline or accept the bid. The winning bid will be announced on Tuesday, and that team will have 30 days with which to negotiate a contract with the Japanese pitcher. If no deal is made, he will return to the Seibu Lions next season.
The teams most interested are said to be the Cubs, Yankees, Red Sox, Rangers, and Mets. All of these teams want/need pitching, and all have deep pockets. There are some reports that the Angels also submitted a bid.
The two conflicting reports traversing the internet are that the Rangers placed the top bid, and that the Red Sox placed the top bid. According to the rumor mills around the world wide web, the Sox bid is said to be in the $45 million neighborhood.
This sounds ludicrously high, but it would be a fair price to pay considering that money could very well be coming back in additional revenues from the Japanese market. Also, if we can't come to a deal with Matsuzaka, the fee will be returned to the Sox. No muss, no fuss.
KEITH FOULKES OFF
The Red Sox and former closer Keith Foulke, who recorded the final out of the 2004 World Series, have officially parted ways. The Red Sox, for some reason, offered to renew Foulke's $3.75 million option, but Foulke opted out. According to Foulke's agent, the pitcher wants to spend more time closer to home, which is in Arizona.
For all the BS that when on between Foulke and a lot of the fans here in Red Sox Nation, we cannot forget that he was one of the biggest reasons why we were able to win the World Series in 2004.
In the '04 playoffs, he had 3 saves, and a win. He allowed 1 earned run in 14 innings pitched. He threw in all 4 World Series games.
But it was time to move on. In the past two years he's been plagued by injuries and difficulty to recover from them. We needed a better option out of the bullpen.
Foulke is the 41st member of the 2004 Red Sox to leave the team. Two of them returned (Kapler and Mirabelli). Nevertheless, the historic World Series winning Red Sox team has been completely disbursed across the baseball world. Only 11 members of that team are still with the Sox, with the futures of Trot Nixon, Gabe Kapler, Doug Mirabelli, and Manny Ramirez up in the air.
JD DREW A POSSIBLE REPLACEMENT FOR CT NIXON
With JD Drew opting out of his final three years with the Dodgers, he's become a very viable option to play right field for the Red Sox next season. The soon to be 31 year old lefty hit .283 for LA last year, along with 20 homers and 100 RBI. His OBP was .393, but he did strike out 106 times.
He could be a solid hitter for us next season with emphasis on could. Drew is a guy who was very highly touted when he first came up with St. Louis, but he never exploded into the superstar many believed he would be. All in all, he has been very solid over his career, but he's struggled with consistency. His average fluctuates from as low as .252 in 2002 to as high as .323 in 2001. He hit 31 homers in 2004, but he is usually in the high teens, low twenties in homeruns. His post-season stats are also less than remarkable.
He's a slightly above average hitter who seems to have never hit his potential. In other words, he's Trot Nixon. This means he could be a good replacement for Trot, but it'd be nice if the Sox tried to upgrade this position considering the lack of total offense we had in 2006. Also, he's not going to be cheap. He turned down an option that guaranteed him $33 million over 3 years. What do you think he'll be asking for in free agency?
We spent $7.5 million on Trot last year and the now consistently injury ridden Nixon didn't give us much production when he was playing. Of course "he was a Dirt Dog," "he was tough," "he had that football mentality," and all that other meaningless, moronic crap that some sports fans seem to like more than contributing to victory. JD Drew could also be tough, and a "gamer," but he'll be an expensive one. Essentially, we'd be increasing the amount of money we spend on right field, which we were already overpaying for, for someone to probably give us similar production. That just doesn't make sense, especially considering how much we lacked in offensive production last year.
Both Manny Ramirez and David Ortiz won Silver Slugger Awards. It is Manny's 9th Silver Slugger Award, and David Ortiz's 3rd. The Silver Slugger goes to the best hitter at each position.
The Red Sox have released the full 2007 Spring Training Schedule. It can be seen Here.
The Sox will play 34 total games, 32 in the Grapefruit League, 1 against Boston College, and 1 against Northeastern. They will have 17 home games (including March 12th against the Yankees), 15 games played elsewhere in Florida, and 2 games played at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia to end Spring Training. Thankfully, there will be no players missing time with the team due to International duty.
The Red Sox also released a tentative schedule for the 2007 regular season. It can be seen here. The Sox start the season off in Kansas City on April 2, have their home opener on April 10th against Seattle, have their first divisional game at Toronto on April 17th, and play the Yankees for the first time on April 20th in Fenway. For interleague play, the Sox will visit Arizona, Atlanta, and San Diego. They'll host San Francisco and Colorado.
Sunday, November 12, 2006
What a Godawful shitty game played by the New England Patriots. It used to be that after we lost a game, we'd kill the next team on the schedule. Instead, this team looked demoralized, and beaten before they even took the field.
When you put up over 300 yards of offense, you think that your team would score more than 1 touchdown and 14 points. But the Patriots offense was start and sputter all day long.
It started on the first drive. The Pats drove into Jets territory, but failed to get 1st downs and were forced to punt.
After a 3 and out, the Pats had control of the field position battle. Hochstein was called for holding then the Pats failed to convert on 3rd and 13. After the punt, the Jets drove into our territory and took control of the field position.
We then drove all the way down to the 4, thanks in large part to a 50 yard run from Dillon, his longest since 2002. We could even get a first down without getting a touchdown. Maroney was then stuffed for a loss of 1, and Brady was sacked for a loss of 8. The Pats were forced to settle for 3.
Before last week's game against Indy, we had been a really proficient red zone team. We had one of the best scoring and touchdown percentages in the NFL. Lately, we've been folding in the red zone and that is a sure fire way to lose football games.
On the first play of the jets ensuing drive, Artrell Hawkins picked the ball off. Things seemed to be going very well for the Pats. Up 3-0 with the ball back at their 44, we had a chance to start running away with the game. Brady hit Caldwell for 10. Then he hit Gabriel for 22 which got the ball to the Jets 24, then Gabriel fumbled. This was the same type of crap we saw last week. We'd get a huge opportunity on a turnover or a defensive stop, then give the ball right back.
The Jets capitalized on their opportunity with a long, well-orchestrated drive that reminded me of the 2001 Patriots. 16 plays, over 9 minutes of possession, and it ended in a touchdown. After the Pennington interception, the Jets had a good chance to go up at least 6-0 or maybe even 10-0. Instead, they turned over the ball, allowed a long drive and fell behind 7-3.
The Patriots benefited immensely on their next drive from an unnecessary roughness penalty that negated a Brady interception that was really a very poorly thrown ball. They moved the ball all the way down to the Jets 11, but fell a yard short of getting a 1st down and were forced to kick a field goal from the 3 yard line. Nice to get points before the half ends, but if you get the ball to the 11, you have to punch it into the end zone. Still, we were only down 1 point.
In the 2nd half, the Pats allowed yet another massive kickoff return, this one a 62 yarder that gave the jets the ball at our 38. The Jets weren't able to do much, but were able to pooch punt the ball and down it at our 4.
We were able to get the ball out of our own red zone and punt to the jets 25, which is a good result for a drive that starts on your own 4. The jets had another methodical, short passing, short running drive and were able to kick a field goal to go up 10-6.
The Pats had a 26 yard pass play on the ensuing drive negated by a formation penalty on Caldwell. They were able to get the ball to the Jets 32, but after an incomplete and back-to-back sacks, they were forced to punt, and it went into the end zone.
We can't afford to allow sacks. We usually don't allow too many. But in this game, we allowed 4 and that's just inexcusable. We went from close to field goal range to a difficult punt in two plays.
We forced the Jets to punt and got the ball back on the 20. Dillon ran for 13, then for 2. On 2nd and 8, Brady threw a shitty pass that was picked off by the Jets. We're not used to seeing this from Brady, but he's thrown some really dumb passes this season. He almost seems to be trying to force completions, which just isn't good whatsoever. This was a monstrous pick, too. We gave the Jets an opportunity to go up by a touchdown with a field goal, to go up by 2 scores with a touchdown with minimal time left in the 4th quarter.
The Jets, of course, scored a touchdown. There was now 4:45 left and the Patriots needed a miraculous two scores.
Thanks to a 36 yard kickoff return from Maroney, the Pats had good field position. He hit Gaffney for 33 yards, then Brown for 15, then Caldwell for 15 and a touchdown. 4 plays, 61 yards, 0:31 off the clock. Nearly a perfect drive.
We were forced to try for 2 and we got it as Brady hit Caldwell.
The Pats defense needed to come up with some sort of stand. There was 4:03 on the clock and we still needed a field goal to tie. But the defense didn't come up with a stop soon enough. We had to burn through timeouts and got the ball in poor field position with only 1:08 on the clock.
For some reason, we didn't spike the ball until there was only 0:10 on the clock. We moved the ball down the field nicely and quickly, but we didn't stop the frigging clock. We got down to the Jet 46 with only 0:10 on the clock. We basically could only run one play. It HAD to be about 17 yards or so, and it HAD to be near the sidelines, and it HAD to take less than 0:09. We allowed a sack and the game was over.
We only had 26 rushing attempts and were forced to throw the run out. We got down inside the Jets 10 yard line twice but only got field goals. Brady had a moronic interception that changed the game immensely. Gabriel had a huge fumble that took a lot of our momentum away. The defense struggled to force 3 and outs, and struggled to pressure Pennington. We looked extremely vulnerable to the short dump passes. We hardly ever forced the Jets into 3rd and long situations. We allowed a lot of 1st and 2nd down yardage. Those short pass plays really add up.
Meanwhile, on offense, we racked up 377 yards of total offense, but only got 1 touchdown. That's indicative of consistency problems, which we had a great deal of. 4 sacks and 2 turnovers don't help much either, and not being in charge of the field position battle also was a problem for us. It seemed like we were always facing 3rd and longs. We were forced to attempt 4th down conversions thrice. We converted all three, but good offenses don't face those situations.
First back-to-back loss since 2002, first loss to the Jets since 2002. All three of our losses have come in Gillette Stadium, which used to be a fortress for us. Last time we had more than three home losses was 2000.
We need to do a lot of work. We need to adjust the offensive game plan, big time.