I had the oppertunity to talk with Over the Monster’s Ben Buchanan about the Red Sox offseason over the weekend. Here were my questions and his answers.
Q: What do you think is the area the Red Sox need to improve most on in the offseason?
Ben: There are a lot of holes opening up for the Red Sox this offseason with Adrian Beltre and Victor Martinez headed to free agency. But as for what really needs “improvement”, the easy answer is the bullpen. I don’t need to cite many statistics–everyone will agree that what we saw out of that group was horrendous last year. They were so bad, in fact, that I’d argue they hurt a number of the starters (especially John Lackey) as Terry Francona desperately tried to eek every last out from their arms. On the bright side, there seem to be plenty of options in free agency and possibly elsewhere to help out the relief corps.
Q: Which Red Sox minor leaguer can you see having a break out year?
Ben: For the purposes of this question, I’m going to assume guys like Ryan Lavarnway have already broken out and that rookies don’t count. The easy pick, who might be hard to count himself, is Drake Britton. Big lefty, great stuff, and all the way back from Tommy John surgery. For a couple of longshots, I’ll go with Xander Bogaerts and Henry Ramos. Both had solid seasons in the low levels, so it’ll be interesting to see how they handle promotions.
Q: What are your thoughts on John Farrell?
Ben: I’m not going to go out there and condemn John Farrell for being the source of all our pitching problems, but the fact of the matter is that, all the great reviews aside, pitchers don’t often get better after they show up in Boston. About the only one I can think of is Jon Lester. Beckett, Papelbon, Delcarmen, and Ramon Ramirez all have gotten appreciably worse. Most others have too small sample sizes or just haven’t changed much at all. And Clay only got better after heading down to Pawtucket. I’m not saying that whoever shows up will turn this staff into the best in the game, but I just don’t see that we’ll be missing out on anything more than keeping the status quo at best.
Q: How do you think Casey Kelly will rebound?
Ben: I’m not gonna lie: Kelly has me a little nervous. But that’s the reactionary part of me I should ignore. The fact of the matter is that Kelly looks pretty dominant at times, he has good peripherals, and he doesn’t exactly strike me as a headcase (at least based on his Twitter and interviews. Great sources, I know). All it’s gonna take is a little luck and some improved consistency, and he’ll be back to showing us why he’s been on the top of most people’s lists for the farm system.
Q: Which contract will Boston regret most; John Lackey or Josh Beckett?
Ben: Neither deal is beyond the point of no return, but if I had to guess I’d go with Lackey. He got better as the year went on, but the problem is that, at his age, the deal wasn’t particularly good to begin with, and really needed some productive early years to make up for what will most likely be a disappointing finish. Beckett, on the other hand, wasn’t even on his new deal in 2010. He’s younger, too, and is fully capable of coming off of any given year and being “good Beckett” for a season. I figure we’ll get two years of that, one year of average Beckett, and if we’re unlucky, one year of bad Beckett. But I just think he’s far more likely to hit that ceiling again than John Lackey.
Thanks to Ben for answering our questions and good luck as the new manager of Over the Monster!
Here is this week’s league leaders in Total Bases :
1. Vernon Welss- Toronto- 47
2. Nelson Cruz-Texas- 41
2. Matt Kemp-Los Angeles- 41
4. Jose Gullien-Kansas City- 40
5. Albert Pujols-St.Louis- 39
5. Dustin Pedroia- Boston- 39
7. Alex Gonzalez-Toronto-38
7. Chase Utley-Philadelphia-38
9. Casey McGee-Milwakee-36
10. Jorge Cantu-Florida- 35
It’s Opening Day!
Q: it APPEARS a beckett extension is imminent. what do you suppose the chances are theo screws up the v-mart extension? i mean they pretty much have to sign him now that mauer is off the table don’t they?
A: I really don’t like the Beckett deal to be honest. He’s hurt too much, and you just know he’ll break down. I would have let him pitch in a contract year. As for Victor, I’m starting to get worried they don’t sign him. I would have spent the money on a proven hitter, not a good pitcher that has durability problems. I would think they have to sign him at this point, but I just don’t know with Theo. They do have some good catching prospects, Luis Exposito and Mark Wagner.
Hey Total Bases fans, help me gorw my new blog by starting a community. I am trying to become the SBNation lacrosse blog, but I need a community at Blogger.com first. Click here to help my blog grow! Thank you!
This will be a busy weekend in Boston
sports. Tomorrow is the Final Four, with West Virgina playing
Duke and Butler taking on Michigan State. I take West Virgina
to win it all. The Bruins play the Toronto Maple Leafs
tomorrow night in a must-win(again). The Blazers play the
Orlando Titans in another big game. Of course on Easter
Sunday you have the Total Bases mailbag to look foward to.
Then the Celtics take on the Cavaliers, and of course, the
most wonderful day of the year, Opening Day. At 8:00, the Red
Sox take on the Evil Empire on Sunday Night baseball. I hope
to have an open thread during the game here at Total Bases.
The last Open Thread I had here was game five of the
Yankees-Angels series, in Total Bases early days (October).
My plan is to have an open thread every game except the games
I go too. Pawsox Opening Day open thread will be here
Thursday as well.
The Celtics lost to the San Antonio Spurs, 94-73 . Paul Pierce appeared to hurt his right shoulder, but stayed in the game. Kendrick Perkins missed his second straight game with a left knee injury. Rasheed Wallace was in the starting lineup.
The Red Sox beat the Twins, 11-5. Clay Buchholz pitched 4.2 innings, giving up four runs in the first two innings, one a two run homer from Joe Mauer. Buchholz also striked out seven batters. David Ortiz and Tug Hullet both his three run bombs. Victor Martinez went 4-5 and Dustin Pedroia went 3-4 with three runs. Scott Atchison, Jonathan Papelbon, Ramon Rameriz, and Hideki Okajima also pitched.
The Flyers beat the Devils, 5-1. They now move ahead of the Bruins by two points, and trail Montreal by two points. The Devils loss keeps them in fourth place.
The Penguins beat the Leafs, 5-4 in a SO. The Maple Leafs now trail the Panthers and Hurricanes by only two points. The Penguins stay in second place.
Duke beat Baylor, 79-71. Duke completes the Final Four, along with Michagin State who beat Tennessee. Butler and West Virgina are also in the final four. Prediction: Mounteneers win it all.
News and Notes: The Penguins will host the 2011 Winter Classic. Who else? They will probally play the Capitals, seeing those are the only NHL teams that are relavant. The Pens already played in the Classic, give somebody else a chance. Have Washington host it at Camden Yards and play a team like Toronto, or Ottawa. Or maybe have Toronto host it. Maybe a team like Minnesota at Target field.
The Mailbag is today! Get your questions in by 5:00 pm!
Congrats to the BC Eageles, going to the Frozen Four!
Today the Bruins play the Buffalo Sabres in a critical game. The Red Sox play the Rays at 7:00 pm. I will be in Port Charlote tomorrow to see Casey Kelly and the Red Sox.
Sorry I have not wrote in a while, it’s been a busy week. I’ll catch you up with everything.
Red Sox: I was at Red Sox games on Monday, Wednesday, and Today. Monday they played the Tampa Bay Rays. Boof Bonser pitched, and got pretty roughed up. The minor leaguers came back, and Ray Chang hit a three run homer. I got an autograph from Terry Francona. Wednesday the Red Sox played the Pirates, and the Red Sox won. I got a ball from Jorge Jimmenez, my second of the spring, the other being from Victor Martinez. Today I saw John Lackey pitch vs the Orioles. He looked pretty sharp. I got an autograph from Dave Trembly.
Mike Lowell fowled a ball off his knee and left the game Friday. I expect this gives the Red Sox an excuse to put him on the DL. If that’s the case, expect Josh Reddick to make the roster.
Bruins: The Bruins won Tuesday night in Atlanta, a huge win. They laid an egg Thursday vs Tampa Bay, and won 5-0 vs Calgary today. Bergeron, Chara, Seidenberg, krejci and Recchi scored today. The Bruins hold a 4 point cushion for the playoffs and move to seventh place with the Flyers losing. The Thrashers play Carolina tonight.
Marc Savard spoke with the media today for the first time since being injured from a hit by Matt Cooke. He said that Cooke has tried to talk to him, but he does not want to talk to Cooke. I am hearing that Savard could return with a deep playoff run by the Bruins.
Vladimir Sobotka returned to game action today while Andrew Ference, just signed to a three year contract (for whatever reason) sat out with yet another injury.
Celtics: The Celtics lost to the Utah Jazz on Monday, while beating the Nuggets Wednesday and the Knigs last night to clinch the Atlantic divison. The Hawks lost to the 76ers, so the Celtics rank ahead of them by one game.
Kendrick Perkins missed last night’s game with a knee injury, and is expected to miss tomorrows vs San Antonio.
Blazers: The Boston Blazers play the last place Philadelphia Wings tonight. If Toronto loses to the Titans tonight, the Blazers with a win could move into second place all alone.
The Mailbag will be Monday. I am in Ft.Myers tomorrow. I will be in Port Charlotte Tuesday, and Sarasota again Wednesday to end my Red Sox spring schedule. I will be in Clearwater Thursday to see the Phillies and the Pirates.
Tomorrow the Boston Bruins play the Pittsburgh Penguins in one of their most inticapated games of the season. The Bruins are currently in eighth place in the East after their win vs the Hurricanes last night. The New York Rangers lost, so the Bruins remain three points ahead of the team they will play Sunday. The Penguins are in second place in the East and lead their divison. This is the first time the teams have met since Matt Cooke cheapshot Marc Savard and ended his season.
Stats: Leading goal scorer: Marco Sturm (21)
Points: Patrice Bergeron (above)(Credit: SI.com)
Assists: Zdeno Chara
Goalie: Tuukka Rask
Most games played: Blake Wheeler, Mark Recchi (above) (Credit, Bruinscrew.Word press)
Penguins: Evgeni Malkin (knee, questionable)
Bruins: Patrice Bergeron (Knee, questionable)
Andrew Ference (Groin, out)
Marc Savard (If you don’t know the situation by know, you live under a rock)
* Malikn and Crosby will have some excuse to sit out the game. Probally Cooke as well.
* Big win last night. Good to see a 60 minute effort by the whole team. Goals by five different players is always a good thing. It was Bergeron, Ryder, Recchi, Krejci, (who all have double figures in goals) and Boychuk. It was only Carolina, but other thn Montreal they have been the hottest team in hockey.
* X-rays on Bergeron’s knee where negative after taking a Mark Stuart slapshot to the leg. Bergeron is questionable for Thursday. Claude Jullian says the prognosis is a bad bruise.
* If Matt Cooke does not come out of the game peeing his pants, I will be very disapointed. Remeber the Dallas game last year? Seems like a different team now.
* Daniel Paille better start scoring. If he scoes 16 goals, the Bruins get an additional third round pick. If he doesn’t, they lose thier fifth rounder. Come on Paille!
* Tyler Seaguin. Remember tht name. Come on Toronto, keep losing!!
You can predict the goal scorers on the BBS Message Boards at the Bruins Predictions Page threads. You can discuss and chat about the game here. Check out the Video Vault at BBS for Bruins videos.