The Sox bid to negotiate with Matsuzaka was $51.1 million. A large amount, nearly $10 million over the next highest bidder, the New York Yankees. A large amount, but certainly recoverable if we expand The Nation to Japan.
The Patriots signed 43 year old Heisman winner Vinny Testaverde the other day. The Pats had been going with 2 quarterbacks as opposed to the normal 3 with Troy Brown as an emergency 3rd option. This probably is not an indictment on the play of Tom Brady. The Patriots report no health problem with him or backup Matt Cassell. Vinny will be 3rd on the QB depth chart so Cassell will not be behind his 4th Heisman winning QB on a depth chart (the other 3 are Matt Leinart, Carson Palmer, and Doug Flutie).
The Patriots released their injury report for their upcoming game at Green Bay. S Rodney Harrison is out. Cornerback Asante Samuel and DB Eugene Wilson are questionable. Daniel Graham, Richard Seymour, Ty Warren, Stephen Neal, and Ellis Hobbs are questionable. For what seems to be the 50th game in a row, Brady was listed as probably with a shoulder injury.
At Gillette Stadium, the removal of grass has begun. It will be replaced by field turf by the game against Chicago on the 26th. The much maligned field in Foxborough was the focus of NFL reviews for several years, and became a hot topic in the Boston sports media after players were seen stumbling and slipping on what is essentially dirt/mud painted green.
Despite the departure of Anibel Sanchez, Hanley Ramirez, and Andy Marte last season, there is no need to worry too much about the Red Sox farm system or the products it will soon be giving to the big club in Boston. The Red Sox 2006 draft by many to be the best in baseball. The Sox farm system fared very well, with AA Portland winning the Eastern League Championship, and the Rookie level GCL Red Sox claiming the best record in the league as well as the championship.
In minor league news, the Red Sox will be moving their Advanced A development from Wilmington in the Carolina League to Lancaster in the California League. Lancaster, CA is about 70 miles north of LA so really bored Sox fans in Southern California can go watch some of the team's future prospects.
In 2007, the Red Sox will have a great deal of talent in AAA Pawtucket and AA Portland that will be close to breaking into the Majors, or will be by the time late-season call ups come by. Delcarmen, and Hansen obviously need a little bit of polishing before being considered truly dependable MLB relievers, but they definitely show the signs of talent needed to do the job. Dustin Pedroia could get a chance to play with the Sox in the infield, depending on what off-season moves we make.
Right now the prospect to watch is Jacob Ellsbury. He'll probably start 2007 in Portland. He was drafted in 2005 and plays center-field. In Advanced A Wilmington he hit .299 last year, and hit .308 in AA Portland when he was promoted. He's been compared to Johnny Damon with speed and defensive prowess. He doesn't have much power, but he gets on base. He had a .387 OBP with the Sea Dogs last year.
Speaking of Sox prospects. Anyone in Red Sox Nation that bitches about Hanley Ramirez should probably be slapped. When we traded him, along with Anibel Sanchez, to Florida for Mike Lowell and Josh Beckett, most fans were all for it. After one year, fans are now criticizing Theo and the Sox for a move that they praised. It doesn't work that way.
Furthermore, it's been one friggin' season!!! Yes, Hanley won NL Rookie of the Year, yes he had a good year, yes our short-stop was an offensive black hole, but it's been one year! He had a solid year and won a nice award. Will that continue? I don't know. But let's not react like we traded the next Babe Ruth here.