Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Dustin Pedroia and Red Sox Agree to Extension

Seven years, $100 million. An average of $14.3 million per year. That's not a bad rate for an All-Star second baseman that wins Gold Gloves and is a team leader. The deal is somewhat long. And it doesn't start until the 2015 season. Pedroia will make $10 million next year. So he'll be under contract until 2021. He turns 30 this August, so he'll turn 38 in the last year of this contract.

I'm happy Pedroia will remain with the Red Sox. He's a likable player. He has a career OBP of .371. He plays his position well. He has some power. He's a good example to younger players. He's a smart baserunner.

I've heard some compare Pedroia to Patrice Bergeron, and I don't disagree with the comparison. However, defensive play is much more important in hockey than it is in baseball.

I don't mind the salary. It's not ridiculous. The years kind of bug me. If he starts to deteriorate around 36-years old, he could be a defensive AND offensive liability, accounting for $14 million in salary. Perhaps risking this was necessary in order to sign him before he becomes a free agent. Although, what was the rush?

Pedroia was signed for 2014, and had an $11 million team option for 2015. Why the urgency to get this deal done now?

I can't help but suspect the PR aspects of locking down Pedroia played a part in this. I know we all have lovey-dovey feelings about the Red Sox right now, but it's still the same Front Office that gave us Carl Crawford and sold us bricks. I'm still suspicious. This preemptive strike signing might be a means to soften the blow when Ellsbury sets off for greener pastures. "Ellsbury's gone, but Pedoria's here 'til 2021," Red Sox fans will repeat to comfort themselves.

And with the end of David Ortiz's career on the horizon, Pedroia will assume the role of Face of the Franchise. Maybe the Sox will also sew a "C" on Pedroia's jersey, then sell another set of Pedroia t-shirts at the Souvenir Store.

There are so many non-baseball reasons to sign this baseball player.

Perhaps I'm allowing my cynical imagination to run wild. But those diabolical bastards on Yawkey Way spent years trying to win the hearts and minds of fans by making moves like this. From now on, whatever they do, I'll be wary of them. ESPECIALLY if they do something we all like. And we all like the idea of Dustin Pedroia at second base for the remainder of his career.

So because I generally like the move, that's why I'm suspicious of it.

This is the madness that can develop when living under the regime of Il Lucchino.

Team USA Hockey Invites 48 Players to Camp

Tim Thomas was not one of the 6 goalies invited to Team USA's camp. Jonathan Quick, Jimmy Howard, Ryan Miller, Cory Schneider, Craig Anderson, and 20-year old Josh Gibson were the netminders invited. Gibson was the MVP of the 2013 World Juniors, leading the US to a gold medal.

No Bruins were invited. Which isn't much of a surprise since Torey Krug was the only American on their roster last year. Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand, and Milan Lucic were invited to Canada's camp. Claude Julien will be an assistant coach for Team Canada.

Two players from Massachusetts will participate in the US's camp: the aforementioned Cory Schneider from Marblehead, and Keith Yandle from Boston.

Other New England natives involved will be Jonathan Quick from Milford, CT (he also went to UMass), defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk from Greenwich, CT (also went to BU, also has the best last name ever), and forward Max Pacioretty from New Canaan, CT. That's right, the Montreal Canadiens are more American than the Boston Bruins. The Habs have two invitees to the camp.

As you'd expect, there are some great players on the team. The question is will they be great enough to match the likes of Canada and Russia. With Quick and/or Miller in net, anything is possible. Then there's some talented forwards like Phil Kessel, Patrick Kane, Dustin Brown, and Bobby Ryan that will be relied on for the scoring.

Unfortunately, the US's talent isn't as deep as Canada's (Bergeron, Crosby, Toews, Sharp, Green, Subban, Weber, Letang, Nash, St. Louis, Stamkos, Staal, Staal, and Staal) nor is it as strong at the top as Russia's (Malkin, Datsyuk, and Ovechkin).

So goaltending will have to be the difference for the US to win. Relatively speaking, Canada's goaltending isn't that good. They invited Corey Crawford, Roberto Luongo, Braden Holtby, Carey Price, and Mike Smith. Russia, on the other hand, has Vezina winner Sergei Bobrovsky.

Then there's Sweden, who will have Henrik Lundqvist. And Finland will probably start Tuukka Rask or Antti Niemi.

So Canada has the most talented skaters, but some questionable goaltenders. Russia has a goalie, and some studs, then a lot of guys you've never heard of. USA has goaltending, and some solid players, but not the firepower that Canada has. And Finland gets to choose between a Vezina finalist (Niemi) and a Conn Smythe contender (Rask).

Plus there's Sweden, Slovakia, and the Czech Republic.

This should be a good tournament.

Full Team USA invitees

Can Jon Lester Respond to Matt Moore?

What Matt Moore did last night was demonstrate to Red Sox fans what an Ace can do for a team. It's something we haven't seen the likes of here since Josh Beckett's 2007 season.

The Rays didn't get an extra-base hit, yet they won. They didn't need to use their bullpen at all. Because of one pitcher having a great night and continuing his great season.

No Red Sox batter saw more than 15 total pitches from Moore. Only Mike Napoli saw that many. Seven Red Sox batters saw 12 or fewer pitches in their at-bats. Moore only needed 10 pitches to retire Jacoby Ellsbury 4 times.

Hopefully this was just the Red Sox running into a hot pitcher. Moore had won 5 straight starts coming into last night's game, and had an ERA of 1.91 in that stretch. So beating him was going to be tough.

Yesterday, I wrote a post about the Red Sox winning because of their character. Even character can't beat great pitching. The character part comes into play tonight as the Sox need to rebound from their night of silent bats. They're facing Roberto Hernandez who is 5-10 with a 4.90 ERA on the season. He's lost 4 of his last 6 starts.

Jon Lester, who has yet to prove he has the same levels of character as his teammates, is on the mound for the Sox.

This is the day after the Sox were shut down. They're facing a mediocre pitcher. They're tied with Tampa Bay in the loss column. They need something from Lester. Lester can help even up this important 4-game series, or he can give the Rays 1st place.

The team needs a good outing, Lester. Do you have the character to deliver?

Photo Credit:
AP Photo/Charles Krupa