Baseball Thinking

Monday, August 22, 2005

Offseason: A need for a first baseman.

Today is an off day for the Red Sox but not for the bloggers of Red Sox Nation. "There are no off days in baseball!". Well, the movie line was similar to that, except funnier. I would like to take this opportunity to look past the coming week & playoff races. I would like to address the first base situation for the Red Sox. I'd like to take a look at who's available, beside me, next year. For some reason, the Boston brass refuses to return my calls. There are several free agents that will become available, as well as the possibility of a trade. Let's take a look at who's out there. In no particular order, there is Kevin Millar, Paul Konerko, Dimitri Young, Tino Martinez, Scott Hatteberg, Erubiel Durazo, Travis Lee, Eduardo Perez, Julio Franco, Wes Helms & Doug Mientkiewicz. Millar will not fetch much in the market and should be offered a minor league deal, maybe even with the Sox. Personally, I feel he can make at least &16, 200. If you go to a comedy club and get pinched for two fins, well, that is what Millar is worth, at least, for 162 games. He can keep the team losey goosy with his sense of humor. Hopefully he will provide the ultimate punch line when he finds his stroke. Mientkiewicz (spell checker loves this name) has been here, done that. Besides, he just might take his ball and go home. Konerko has publicly stated that he enjoys the pressure free environment of playing for Chicago's 2nd favorite ball club. East coast ball is too stressful for him. Good for him. Young has been displaced at first by Chris Shelton and Carlos Pena. Besides, his best years are behind him and he can't lay off the Scooby snacks. Martinez might not play again in 2006, and if he does, he'll probably be spraying lemon pledge on the Yankee's bench. Julio Franco, that freak of nature. He will turn 48 before the end of the 2006 season. Your not sure if this guys' gonna be alive on a day to day basis. I believe his minor league teammate was Satchel Paige. ;-) Wes Helms? Who cares? Actually, who cares about the rest of them? If I was allowed one vote, I would suggest the local boy, Carlos Pena. He has been riding the shuttle between Detroit and *****. First, he can be acquired in a trade and come relatively cheap. He is steady at first, showing flashes of brilliance, but also bumbling the occasional routine play. He has HR power, especially when fed an off speed diet. He knows the strike zone pretty well and doesn't get cheated on swings. His beautiful left handed stroke is made for Fenway's right field. The problem pitch for him is a hard fastball, which he has trouble connecting. Well, so don't I! With the strong Boston lineup, he could in the 7 or 8 hole, where there is no pressure. He is not an All-Star, he is not a household name, but he is a true first baseman who provides an upgrade over every player Boston has auditioned there over the past few years (Ortiz, Millar, Petagine, Youk & Olerud). He has played ok when coming home to Fenway, and has hit some memorable HR's. If memory serves me, he has had multiple HR games against the Sox. He could be acquired for some picks or minor leaguers. Of course the minor leaguers would be players we have never heard of and hope to never hear from again, unlike Jeff Bagwell. This sounds like a great idea, or total lunacy. Perhaps the Sox brass might listen to me after all!
This day in baseball history: 1886 Louisville's Chicken Wolf hits a game-winning home run thanks to a stray dog tearing at Reds' Abner Powell's pant leg causing the center fielder to miss the ball. Damn dogs. 1939 At Comiskey Park, the Yankees win their first night game in franchise history as the Bronx Bombers defeat the White Sox, 14-5. 1965 Juan Marichal thinks Johnny Roseboro throws too close to his head returning the ball to Sandy Koufax and attacks Dodger catcher with his bat. The Los Angeles backstop suffers cuts on the head during the 14-minute brawl. 1989 On a 96 mph fastball, A's Rickey Henderson swing and misses to become Nolan Ryan's career 5000th strikeout. The 'Ryan Express' strikes out 13 and gives up only five hits, but loses the game to Oakland, 2-0. (courtesy Photo courtesy MLB.


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