New Red Sox general manager Ben Cherrington has made his first big move today in acquiring Oakland Athletics closer Andrew Bailey and outfielder Ryan Sweeney for outfielder Josh Reddick and prospects Miles Head and Raul Alcantara. The Sox needed a closer. Now they have one. I’ve been hoping the Sox would go after Bailey for a while and am very excited with this deal.
Admittedly, I don’t know too much about Head and Alcantara. Both seem to be top-level prospects, though neither is near major league ready. Head hit 22 home runs and drove in 82 runs for Class-A Greenville and Salem last year. Alcantara started the year with the Gulf Coast League Red Sox, posting a 0.75 ERA and 0.60 WHIP in 48 innings. He was promoted to Lowell where he struggled in his 17 1/3 innings there, giving up 25 hits and 12 earned runs, but still striking out 14. The upper-level of the Sox farm system was depleted by the trade for Adrian Gonzalez last year and the Sox organization has been looking to rebuild it since. This trade certainly doesn’t help that, but neither Head nor Alcantara will be ready for the majors (if they continue improving) for a few years and the Red Sox have greater depth in lower-level prospects.
Josh Reddick is a solid outfielder who started extremely hot for Boston last Summer, but faded badly down the stretch. While many analysts love Reddick’s swing, I’ve always had my doubts and have seen him as great trade bait. He has terrible plate discipline and I’ve always expected him to be a step faster. Nevertheless, he’s young and has potential but I’m still extremely happy with this trade. Continue reading “Red Sox Acquire Andrew Bailey”
The Boston Red Sox are off to one of their worst starts in years at 3-6. Coming in to today, that record was 2-6 and they were at risk of being swept by the Oakland Athletics. Last night, Daisuke Matsuzaka gave up five runs in his one inning of work before leaving the game with arm fatigue (he’s now on the DL), forcing the bullpen to enter the game very early. On top of that, the game went twelve innings so the Boston bullpen had to pitch 11 innings. Oh, and they lost.
Now, more than ever, the Red Sox needed a strong, deep start from Tim Wakefield. They got more than they could possibly imagine.
Wake pitched a complete game, four-hitter giving up two earned runs, but he also took a no-hitter into the 8th inning. The Sox led the game 2-0 most of the way, before opening up the score in the top of the 8th and eventually winning 8-2. So desperately in need of a win, anything to boost the team’s confidence, that Wake’s performance could be a turning point in the year.
Reporters, coaches, and players all reiterate that a poor start to the season doesn’t mean the team will struggle all season. Yes, it is only seven games, but those seven games are what set your team up, present it with confidence to win or the doubt causing teams to lose. Continue reading “Wakefield Steps Up”
Last, but not least, the AL West:
1. Los Angeles Angels
2. Oakland Atheltics
3. Texas Rangers
4. Seattle Mariners
Best Hitter: Vladimir Guerrero
Best Pitcher: Joe Saunders
The Angels lost some key members of their 2008 team, but still have a strong starting staff and experienced lineup that gives them a great shot to repeat as AL West champions. With Torri Hunter, Vladimir Guerrero. and Chone Figgins, the Angels’ lineup will not have a problem scoring runs. Add in Bobby Abreu and Juan Rivera and this batting order puts fear into opposing pitchers. The rotation may be a little more shaky with Joe Saunders leading the staff, but Dustin Moseley and Shane Loux are question marks in the 2-3 spots. The health of John lackey is also a concern for the Angels as he will start the year on the DL. The loss of K-Rod in the offseason will hurt Los Angeles as well, but picking up Brian Fuentes leaves the Angels with a more-than competent closer to hold leads and bring the Angels back to the playoffs.
Oakland’s acquisition of Matt Holliday in the offseason gives the A’s a strong offense, but a rotation of unknown pitchers leaves the Athletics with a lot of question marks. Holliday, Mark Ellis, and Jack Crust lead the offense, and even though it is not as powerful as the Angel’s offense, Oakland will still score plenty of runs. The rotation is the concern as prospects Trevor Cahil and Brett Anderson will get thrown into the fire right away and how they react to being in the majors will likely make-or-break the A’s season. If they excel, look for Oakland to compete for the division title, but if they struggle, the Athletics are going to be looking at the bottom of the division. Continue reading “2009 American League West Preview”