Tagged: Roster

Because I have nothing better to do…

… technically, that’s not true. I simply have mastered the art of procrastination.

One thing I like to do each year is to browse through the team roster and check out the ugly mugshots. Seriously, if you thought your driver’s license 1×1 was bad, imagine having something worse posted for the world to see, and knowing that fans like myself do check it out. And having to live with it.

I still haven’t figured out if they update the pictures annually if the players are returning to the same team. I know they have a Picture Day every spring training. But having browsed through the mugshots last season as well, I would have sworn some of those photos remain the same. Either that, or the guys are simply very very good at repeating faces and hairstyles.

So, from this year’s roster, my having fun at their expense:
Aardsma: the scariest of dem all.
Beckett: in dire need of a full shave.
Buchholz: big boyish ears will never have fans taking him seriously if it weren’t for the no-no.
Casey: As if the “Nice guy” rep wasn’t enough… he had to make it apparent with the tilt.
Youk: *slap* Wake up, man!
Thur-who?
Lowrie: How much more new-kid-on-the-block can you possible make it?
Varitek: It’s a toss-up between “Don’t mess with this mo-fo!” and “O Captain, My Captain!”

Payroll

Guess what.. we’re not top two in costly payroll. Heck, we’re not even third… Fourth. That surprises. In all fairness, the totals between the three teams are within the range. My father anticipates another huge drop next year when Manny’s contract is up. The huge roster of young players, I suspect have something to do with it.

Top Ten:

N.Y. Yankees — $209,081,579
Detroit — 138,685,197
New York Mets — 138,293,378
Boston — 133,440,037
Chicago White Sox — 121,152,667
Los Angeles Angels — 119,216,333
Chicago Cubs — 118,595,833
Los Angeles Dodgers — 118,536,038
Seattle — 117,993,982
Atlanta — 102,424,018

Personally, I’m going to be paying more attention to these following teams. Now, talking about underdogs:

Washington — 54,961,000 
Tampa Bay — 43,820,598
Florida — 21,836,500

Wha-?

I completely lost my train of thought… and what I was going to say about the Nats and their stadium.

So, onward, back to the Sox.

Players are slowly getting healthy:

– Drew is back on the roster
– Beckett will pitch an intrasqad game tomorrow
– Timlin got his stitches out but it looks like he needs to heal gradually over rehab

Other things:

– Kielty. Balking on joining AAA. It does seem odd he is being thrown back there after his few but definitely major-league style appearances. Can I blame him for wanting to consider his options? No. It’s his career and he alone best decides which path works best for him. At the same time, there simply isn’t space on the roster, is there? I don’t know..

And, the Roster

Depending on which version you want… the official Red Sox website, if they had updated recently.

… or the Globe reporters’, which features pictures of a very familiar roster.

Observations:
– Lugo, as much as we cringe, is still shortstop.
– Cash replaces Mirabelli.
– Schilling very much an unknown, leaving Backhholz to take slot # 5, much to many fans’ joy although the kid is still struggling with control
– Lester takes slot # 3
– Wakefield is back and looking as sharp as ever
– Pedroia remains by far the shortest kid on the field
– Ellsbury makes the 25-man roster

A lot of familiar faces. In fact, almost completely identical. For a Red Sox fan to see a returning champion team… it’s a new feeling, something we have not experienced in living memory, and it brings goosebumps. To 2008, a brand new season with many high hopes.

Catching the Age Curveball

So he is let go, just like that. Everyone’s been debating about Ellsbury replacing Crisp, but the first young-vs-old started earlier last year over the home plate. I had no idea when I was watching the games with Mirabelli playing DH that it was probably his ultimate test. I suspected he would be gone next year, not this week.

It’s funny. Mirabelli we often see as the other half of Wakefield, for the last five years. Then let’s not forget the short stint when he was traded to the Padres which ended with the fanfare of the Massachuesetts State Police escorting him from the airport straight to Fenway to catch for Wakefield in a game against the Yankees.

His being able to catch the knuckleball was his distinct advantage and niche. One that he was bound to loose eventually when his own DL time forced the Sox to look else where and Cash started proving himself capable  with the same skill.

What an opportunity for Cash. If Wakefield makes the first game (I still keep my fingers crossed for him to get the honour), Cash just may be making the biggest entrance he has ever known.

So, au revoir, Mirabelli. You certainly had been some good years here and I hope you find satisfaction wherever you end up.

How Red Sox are you?

I’m clapping like a gleeful 4-year-old with the news of the clubhouse exercising the option for Wakefield. Yes, he is injured. Yes, he had not had a good postseason. Yes, he had not had a good end of the regular season. But 17 wins in a season? It counts for something. It counts for a lot. Then there is also the intangible.

I alluded often to the “Red Sox identity.” The postseason really emphasizes on how professional baseball is different from school teams. It’s business. I don’t say it in a demeaning way, just factually. But, given all that, once the player is on a team, he plays for the team. I didn’t see a single person on that team being half-hearted about the World Series win, even if he was bound for free agency. All this, after all, is a team sport.

But some players got deeper into the sense of team and seem to adopt the team as his home team. Those players identify themselves as a member of that specific team, regardless of pay, and regardless of team’s hardware or lack thereof. Of course, this sense of is limited to some common sense factors like decent treatment from the clubhouse, some level of loyalty to the coaching staff and nucleus team composition.

Some players I feel had developed a true sense of Red Sox identity:

  • Varitek (obviously, the captain)
  • Youkilis
  • Ortiz
  • and Wakefield (for whose return I truly celebrate)

Some, I hope, will develop as they go deeper into their budding careers, and some of whom are starting to show it, but are really too rookie to tell:

  • Papelbon
  • Pedroia
  • Ellsbury

Finally, some who want to, providing the club demonstrates some reciprocal treatment:

  • Lowell
  • Schilling, to some degree

And I’ll dare to say it: sometimes I feel Manny is Red Sox, other times I wonder if he plays more for himself. He certainly has helped define the Red Sox with his seemingly carefree and loose attitude. But who has his loyalty? We may technically hold the contract but what is his heart saying? I can’t tell.

Also, I have no idea where to place Crisp and Beckett. I hope Beckett joins the club in more ways than a contractual agreement. Being the ace certainly made him more appealing but how red does he bleed? How red is he capable of bleeding?

There’s always next year

Buchholz, thanks for one of the most amazing game I’ve ever seen pitched, back in August against Baltimore Os. Alas, we won’t be seeing you in the October season. It seems like such a cliché to say “there’s always next year” but, while you in your young rookie enthusiasm may not appreciate it now, you will once you are successful in making a long career of pitching. There’s much for you to look forward to; it’s worth not making the sacrifice of your health and your body.

A grateful fan.