Thursday, July 30, 2009
Relaxation Is Good For The Brain
In the wake of Anderson-Gate, I find myself looking at the most recent series of Sox moves with a more...rational approach. You know - trying to find the real reasoning behind moves and not grade everything based on my all-sex no-cuddling relationship with Brian Anderson. Let's see if we can analyze a little, shall we?
In the grand scheme of things, to the Sox, Anderson was either the starting CF or a fourth outfielder/pinch runner depending on who you ask. Ozzie has a "need for speed", so part of Anderson's downfall was his inability to steal bases in tough spots (like running on Miguel Olivo four times in three games - bad idea). When you need speed off the bench, you go with D-Wise - that one's logical.
So OK - you've got this fourth OF, and you're looking to make a move to bring in a lefty bat with some pop. Again, this makes sense - other that Thome and occasionally AJ, none of the lefties on the Sox can hit for power (Getz, Podsednik) or hit at all (Wise). Since you need that power off the bench, but also need a defensive replacement for Podsednik/Konerko (and anywhere else is a bonus), you're looking to get a lefty defensive 1B/OF with power potential. Also, because Sox management hates waiting for talent to develop and always thinks they can squeeze "another good year" out of a washed up vet to WIN NOW, you're looking at picking up an older player who probably has a bit of an injury history so that he comes on the cheap.
Or, in other words, Darrin Erstad. Everyone remembers how well that worked out.
Essentially, Kenny got one super-lucky pickup when he snagged Jermaine Dye for the 2005 season and let it go to his head. I've got news for you - a lot of seemingly washed up older players with injury histories don't turn back the clock. In fact, when you're 30+, it's really hard to be that "scrappy guy with the speed" that everyone remembers after a few surgeries and 10+ years in the majors. I wonder if Kenny called Rickey Henderson's agent before the HoF induction just to test the waters.
So now we have Mark Kotsay - AKA Darrin Erstad II. In order to make room for Kotsay on the roster, Ozzie needs to DFA someone. Your options are pretty limited. You either send down Fields (who has options and is quite obviously keeping Anderson's doghouse warm), send down Jayson Nix (who has played as Chris Getz lite - not something to be proud of), or send Bartolo Colon to the DL in advance and let Richard start.
Unsurprisingly, Fields was sent down, and after Jesus appeared to him in a soggy dream, Fields also decided that he wanted to be traded. Can you blame him? I understand the "Anderson was given every chance" argument, but Fields is obviously not a 3rd baseman. He's not even a left fielder. This is a 1B/DH who needs to work on his bat a little bit but has the potential to be a solid hitter (think Herbert Perry back in the day). Instead, Fields is still victimized by belt-high fastballs. If Fields isn't traded by the end of the week for a bunch of no-name pitchers, I will be stunned.
So here we are post-Anderson-Gate. We now have five outfielders instead of four, and two fast-but-can't-hit lefties sitting on the bench instead of one. If both Wise and Kotsay are starting, you know something is wrong (or that Ozzie decided to rest Konerko and Pods on the same day). I don't know where Ozzie got the idea to trade youth for rental depth, but here we are.
As it stands, I'm 90% sure this deal was a colossal fuckup. Kotsay doesn't have the health to play the way he used to, and will likely be used at 1B as a defensive improvement over Josh Fields. I expect his bat to do...pretty much what Erstad's did. There wasn't much of a reason to trade Anderson for that level of depth when you have other players relegated to die in AAA - Wassermann, Garcia, Lillibridge and Ward all come to mind. While Anderson may be psychotically streaky in his hitting, at least he could play CF at the major league level.
I will be tracking the Pawtucket Red Sox to see if the Cult of Brian Anderson works its magic over there. If so, I highly suggest betting on the Red Sox to win the World Series.