It is great, that the Red Sox finally resigned Jason Varitek. However, what is even better, is now that we can stop reading and writing about this Red Sox – Varitek contract saga.
Finally, now we can focus on spring training and the upcoming 2009 Season.
Last night, the Boston branch of the Baseball Writers Association of America held their annual awards dinner last night. At the dinner, Dustin Pedroia picked up his AL MVP Award:
Also, at the awards dinner, Rocco Baldelli picked up the Tony Conigliaro award, along with his BRAND NEW Red Sox jersey.
The Red Sox signed Baldelli, formerly of the AL Champion Tampa Bay Rays, to a 1-year contract. He will see the majority of his work as the 4th outfielder. He could see considerable time in either CF or RF depending on Jacoby Ellsbury’s progress and J.D. Drew’s injury status.
Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon (AL Manager of the Year) and Tampa Bay reliever Dan Wheeler (New England [born] Player of the Year) were also honored. Reportedly, the Red Sox tried to sign those two at the dinner, but were rebuffed.
It was also confirmed that the Red Sox have indeed offered a 1-year contract to former Atlanta Brave Cy Young Award winner John Smoltz. Reportedly, the base contract is for around $5 million with incentives based on time on the active roster that could double the value. John Smoltz is coming off an injury, but hopefully there is still some juice left in the arm.
I was actually hoping that Smoltz and Tom Glavine would both retire. No. Not because I do not think they can not or should not pitch in the major anymore. It is because along with Greg Maddux, who just announced his retirement last month, it would be quite a sight to see an induction ceremony of Maddux, Glavine, and Smoltz 5 years from now in Cooperstown.
How many times do 3 pitchers of this caliber actually pitch for 1 team for a LONG time? Very rarely. How many times have 3 pitchers of this caliber that were teammates been inducted in the Baseball Hall of Fame together? NEVER! That would be quite historic.
I’ve been a Braves fan (they’re my NL team although not as much now), ever since our family first got cable as teen. I actually hated the Braves at first, because their games (and they were terrible), would always interrupt my 2 hours of NWA / WCW wrestling on Saturday nights. However, after watching them play, I grew attached and then enjoyed my wrestling / baseball double feature on Saturdays.
Anyway, now that I returned from detour down memory lane, it will be very strange to see Smoltz in a Red Sox uniform after spending his entire Major League career in a Brave uniform. Hopefully, he will ended up healthy and could be a surprising big contributor down the stretch. Looks like he will also fill the mantle left void by Curt Schilling, as the elder pitching statesmen for this team.
Finally, it looks like Mark Kotsay may return to the team. While normally an outfielder for most of his career, I envision that Kotsay will fill the Sean Casey role on the 2009 club. Mostly, he’ll be the back-up for Youkilis and Lowell (at 1b only, Youk will move over to 3b when Lowell needs a rest), but could see time in the OF depending on the health of Drew and Baldelli. I like Kotsay, he has always be a solid player, but wonder if he will be happy in this role.
Since the Sox recently signed Brad Penny and Josh Bard, it’s nice to see the Hot Stove getting a tad bit warmer.
It’s that time of year. The time to look into the future and see what lies ahead. So, let me put on my swami headgear, take out some sort of crystal thing, and this magic little 8 ball thing:
Okay, now we are ready for our 2009 Predictions:
- The New England Patriots will not win the Super Bowl. (Okay, now that I got my obligatory bad joke out of the way, we can continue.)
- The Pittsburgh Steelers will win the Super Bowl.
- The Boston Celtics will win the NBA Championship….again!!
- The Boston Bruins will lose in the 1st round of the NHL Playoffs. (I really hope that is not true, but I only go by history.)
- Some race horse will win the Kentucky Derby and then the Preakness. Then for weeks we will hear about how great this horse is and it will be hyped up as the first winner of the Triple Crown since Affirmed in 1978. Then in the Belmont, the horse will finish in 8th place or something stupid. This seems like an annual ritual.
- Tiger Woods will win the first golf tournament he plays when he returns from his knee injury.
Now, let’s get to the baseball stuff:
- Jason Varitek will sign a 2-year contract with the Red Sox.
- The Dominican Republic will win the World Baseball Classic.
- Manny Ramirez signs with the San Francisco Giants. The city of LA has never done a complete 180 on anything faster.
- David Price will become the 1st pitcher to win the Rookie of the Year and the Cy Young in the same season.
- A.J. Burnett will make 18 starts this season, however, J.D. Drew will spend more days on the DL than Burnett.
- C.C. Sabathia will be the AL All-Star Game starter while the NL will send Pedro Martinez to the hill.
- After throwing a complete game in the 10 inning All-Star Game, leading the AL to a 3-2 victory, Sabathia’s shoulder falls apart lifting the All-Star Game trophy MVP.
- Ryan Howard, Mark Reynolds, and Adam Dunn combine for only 400 strike outs between them.
- Curt Schilling signs with the Tampa Rays in mid-May, and goes 8-0 down the stretch to help the Rays surpass the Yanks for the AL Wild Card.
- The Dodgers win the AL West over the Giants after Manny sits out the final month with a “calf strain”, code for “I’m not happy with only getting a 2-year, $50 million contract.”
- The Red Sox win their 3rd World Series Championship of the Century. (Hey, this wouldn’t be a Red Sox blog without this prediction, am I right?)
Now, that those are finally finished, I must say I enjoyed watching the MLB Network and their broadcast of Don Larsen’s perfect game. I am looking forward to more of their stuff. However, I do hope they cut back on showing Viagra ads when I am watching the channel with my son. He is 4, and doesn’t really notice that stuff yet, but……Please MLB, keep those for after bed time. I know they pay the bills for you, but just do it. Okay? Great!