Red Sox Update 12/18

It’s been a while since the Red Sox season ended in utter embarrassment. So now it’s time to look to 2012 and how to build a roster that can make it a full season without imploding:

Manager

Bobby Valentine is the new manager of the Boston Red Sox after a two month search. It seemed that new General Manager Ben Cherington had favored Dale Sveum to take over as manager from Terry Francona, but management were not sold on Sveum and new Cubs General Manager Theo Epstein swooped and nabbed Sveum.

Many baseball analysts have been clamoring for Valentine to rein in the Sox clubhouse and I agree. Francona has always been and will always be a player’s manager, but the current roster of players do not have the personalities that mesh well with a player’s manager. Players like Josh Beckett and John Lackey, amongst many others, took advantage of the leeway Francona gave them. It’s time for a hard-nosed, disciplined manager to set some ground rules. The players are certainly embarrassed by the September collapse, but I want to make sure that the antics in the clubhouse will stop and Valentine will certainly do that. Continue reading “Red Sox Update 12/18”

Jonathan Broxton Signs with Royals

Just a short post today:

The Kansas City Royals made a strong signing today in agreeing to a deal worth $4 million guaranteed with Jonathan Broxton. Broxton spent much of last year injured, making just 14 appearances for the Los Angeles Dodgers. Before his injury, Broxton was a very good closer with a career ERA of 3.19. He’s just 27 years old still and agreed to become a setup man for the Royals.

As a Red Sox fan, this is the exact signing I was hoping they’d make. Broxton could compete with Bard for the closer’s role and if he had lost it, he would have become the setup man. Not just that, but he’s okay being a setup man – something many of the other elite closers on the market are not going to be.

But even beyond the Red Sox, Broxton has proven he can be a great pitcher. Whether he pitches that well after coming back from this injury is unknown, but his price tag isn’t outrageous and it is only for one year. How many teams around the league could use a strong setup man? Or even use a chance at having a strong setup man?

Broxton is anything, but a sure thing. But he has lots of potential and has already proven that he has the stuff. So congrats to the Royals on a strong pickup and to the Red Sox: why didn’t you try to sign him?

Where Are All The Playoff Races?

It’s August 3rd so let’s take a look at what to expect for MLB playoff races during the next two months .

In the AL East, the Red Sox lead the Yankees by just one game, but the Yankees are up seven games in the Wild Card race. Cool Standings gives the Sox a 97.3 percent chance of making the postseason while the Bronx Bombers have a 97.7 percent chance. Tampa Bay? They are 10 games back in the Wild Card and have just a 1.3 percent chance of playing baseball in October.

The AL Central boasts zero teams with a positive run-differential (yikes!). The race is tight though as Detroit leads Cleveland by three games. Of course, that’s a decent chunk and gives the Tigers much better odds to make the playoffs than the Indians have (61.3 percent vs. 24.4 percent). In the past two months though, Cleveland is 21-32. To put that in perspective, Kansas City was 22-32 in that time. Yes, the Indians just acquired Ubaldo Jiminez but there’s still a lot of questions around his velocity. Given the Indians performance the past two months, a 24.4 percent chance of making the playoffs seems generous.

In the West, there actually is a good race. Texas and Los Angeles are just a game apart. The teams have gone back and forth all year, but Texas upgraded its bullpen at the deadline while the Angels did nothing. Cool Standings gives Texas 62.7 percent odds at reaching the postseason while the Angels have just a 39.0 percent chance.

So in the American League, I only see the AL West as a real playoff race. Detroit is going to pull away and Boston and New York will battle for the AL East, with the loser earning a playoff berth via the Wild Card. That’s pretty weak overall. Continue reading “Where Are All The Playoff Races?”