pedro martinez
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News Archive for January 1-15, 2002
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January 15, 2002

A closer from afar
Gordon Edes, Boston Globe and AP

The Red Sox, who have had mixed results signing players from across the Pacific, have dipped into the Japanese amateur ranks again to sign a closer from the same university that produced Mariners star Kazuhiro Sasaki.

According to baseball sources in Japan, the Sox have come to terms with Ryo Kumagai, a submarining righthander who reminds some scouts of Korean closer Byung-Hyun Kim, who broke into the big leagues with the Arizona Diamonbacks three years ago at the age of 20.

Kumagai will be invited to big-league camp in spring training but projects to start the season in Double A Trenton. In four years as a reliever for Tohoku Fukushi University in Sendai, Kumagai had an earned run average of 0.91. Last season, he did not allow an earned run in 41 appearances, spanning 47 innings.

AG puts squeeze on Sox honcho
Scott Van Voorhis and Jack Sullivan, Boston Herald

John Harrington yesterday grappled with an irate Attorney General Tom Reilly, who wants to oust the Red Sox chief from the Yawkey Trust, sources said, even as a new flurry of sky-high bids threw the sale of the storied franchise into chaos. Sources said Harrington put the arm on winning Sox bidder John W. Henry and the team's limited partners to throw a reported $25 million more into the pot for the Yawkey Trust's majority interest in the team, as a way to appease Reilly. Henry has agreed to pay $660 million for the team - including $410 million for the Yawkey stake - and assume $40 million in team debt.

Bidders, AG, Sox in 9th-inning drama -- Two new offers; Reilly, team seek accord on trust
Meg Vaillancourt, Boston Globe

Cable television billionaire Charles F. Dolan, apparently attempting to block an agreement that could end Attorney General Thomas F. Reilly's review of the Boston Red Sox auction, submitted a new bid yesterday that topped his last offer by $50 million. Dolan announced his latest bid - a total of $790 million - after learning that the Red Sox were negotiating with Reilly to increase the amount the Yawkey Trust would receive from the sale of the franchise to Florida financier John Henry. ... As the Red Sox and Reilly continued their negotiations last night, New York lawyer Miles Prentice, who like Dolan is eager to derail the sale, raised his offer by $5 million to $795 million.

Bids for Red Sox Go Up Again
Murray Chass, New York Times

In the ongoing saga of the sale of the Boston Red Sox, two losing bidders played a game of "Can You Top This?" yesterday. While the Massachusetts attorney general tried to induce the winning bidder to increase the money it would pay the majority owner, Charles F. Dolan and Miles Prentice made new bids, which would pay significantly more money to the majority owner.

Red Sox Sale Turns Into Fenway Follies
Steve Zipay, Newsday

The sale of the Red Sox, which three weeks ago was believed to be set, is spinning out of control. Two new bids emerged yesterday, the first from Cablevision chairman Charles Dolan for $750 million, the second from New York City attorney Miles Prentice for $755 million.

Hidden cap play won't fool union
Jack O'Connell, Hartford Courant/The Sporting News

Negotiations began here last week with Commissioner Bud Selig making the owners' proposal to the Major League Baseball Players Association ... The best that can be said for the first session is that the term "salary cap," a red flag to the union, was not used. What the players association must determine is if there is a subliminal form of a salary cap in the proposal that weighs heavily on increased revenue sharing among the 30 (at least for now) major-league teams.

Transaction Oracle
Dan Szymborski, baseballprimer.com

Chicago Cubs -- Signed OF Darren Lewis to a 1-year, $500,000 contract.

Oracle Says: A perfect Don Baylor player, but at least Lewis is only overpaid by $300,000. I doubt that Baylor can overuse Lewis more than Jimy Williams did, so that's a good thing.

 

January 14, 2002

Sox snub Dolan: New bid rejected, Reilly weighs suit
Scott Van Voorhis, Boston Herald

Owners of the Boston Red Sox yesterday rejected a surprise $740 million offer for the team, snubbing efforts to re-open the bidding for the fabled franchise in a decision that could trigger a legal showdown with Attorney General Tom Reilly. After conferring by phone for several hours over three days, the Sox owners spurned calls to reopen the bidding for the team and dismissed cable TV tycoon Charles Dolan's stunning move to up the ante by $40 million.

Sox limited partners reaffirm support for Henry group
Mike Petraglia, redsox.com

Red Sox limited partners reaffirmed their unanimous support for the $700 million bid from John Henry and his prospective ownership group, Red Sox CEO and Yawkey Trust officer John Harrington announced Sunday night. [Statements from John Harrington and John Henry]

The Numbers (Part Four): Player Compensation
Doug Pappas, baseballprospectus.com

As the long-time owner of an unsuccessful small-market team, Commissioner Bud Selig has 30 years of practice arguing that "small markets can't compete." (The Brewers' mediocrity surely couldn't be management's fault.) Inevitably, Exhibit A in this argument is a table similar to the first two columns below, which show some teams spending two or three times as much as their rivals on player salaries. Salaries tell only part of the story. Two of the three most expensive teams in 2001 missed the playoffs. The A's, with the majors' second-best record, ranked #26 in payroll. More fundamentally, "small market" is often mistakenly used as a synonym for "low revenue."

Game is unraveling like a cheap ball, thanks to Selig
Gary Peterson, Contra Costa Times

Bud Selig was barely fit to be commissioner of baseball when he was Bud Selig. Now it has been revealed that he is Richard Nixon as well. And here it becomes almost unbearable if you're a fan of the game. The question isn't whether Selig should resign as commissioner. The question is when. The question is, What was wrong with yesterday?

The Week In Quotes
Derek Zumsteg, baseballprospectus.com

"I am fully aware of the rules."
--Bud Selig, commissioner of baseball, asked if there were rules that barred loans between owners

"No club or owner, stockholder, officer, director or employee (including manager or player) of a club shall, directly or indirectly, loan money to or become surety or guarantor for any club, officer, employee or umpire of its, his of her league, unless all facts of the transaction shall first have been fully disclosed to all other clubs in that league and also to the commissioner, and the transaction has been approved by them."
--Major League Rule 20 (c)

"I have no concerns about the integrity of Bud Selig. I think he's a man of first-rate principle and character."
--Peter Angelos, Orioles owner

"We have a lot of rules we don't necessarily enforce all the time. What is the big deal?"
--Jerry Reinsdorf, White Sox owner

"I think he's going to be a much better manager this year than he's been in the past simply because he's got more experience."
--David Glass, Royals owner, on Tony Muser

"There's not much that could top this. Only world peace and hopefully that will be accomplished soon."
--Johnny Damon, Red Sox outfielder, on signing with Boston

 

January 12, 2002

Things can only get better for Red Sox in 2002
Sean McAdam, espn.com

They're not sure, yet, who their new owners will be, so by extension, they still aren't sure if Dan Duquette will continue as general manager and Joe Kerrigan as manager.

Offseason acquisition John Burkett gives the Red Sox a finesse pitcher in the No. 2 spot to contrast overpowering ace Pedro Martinez.  ... For all the questions that remain, however, this much appears certain: Regardless of the ownership or management structure in place, the 2002 Red Sox will be improved on the field. Duquette saw to that with a series of acquisitions in December, which bolstered the team's rotation and added some speed and defense.

Red Sox minor-league report
John Sickels, espn.com

When Dan Duquette took over as the GM in 1994, he promised to rebuild a farm system devastated by years of neglect. The first few years of his regime were promising, with some interesting drafts and a better focus on foreign talent. But as the sun sets (probably) on his administration, the farm system is in pretty much the same condition in which he found it: lousy. ... The system is not completely empty, but if Duquette does get shown the door, whoever takes over has a rebuilding job on their hands.

Most Underrated Players
Bill Konigsberg, espn.com

2. Trot Nixon, Boston Red Sox

After two seasons in which he flashed potential, some people thought Nixon might be capable of big things. In 2001, he delivered big things (.280-27-88, great defense) yet somehow Nixon never got the national press. His .376 OBP shows him to have a patient eye, and his mix of surprising power and speed is reminiscent of a universally revered outfielder who plays for a northeast team:

                  SLG      OBP     OPS
Trot Nixon       .505     .376    .881
Bernie Williams  .522     .395    .917

Keep in mind that Williams didn't start to approach these numbers until his sixth season in the league. Nixon accomplished this in his fifth year.

Rule-breaking Selig should step down
Jay Mariotti, Chicago Sun-Times

By trade, Bud Selig is a car dealer. He is trained to sell lemons. ... the lamest of all baseball commissioners ... All along, Bud Lite has been inept, having run baseball into near-oblivion ... how can Selig ask baseball's rules violators to live by the letter of the law when he can't live by the letter of the law? ... White Sox chairman Jerry Reinsdorf. His message: As owners, we do what we want. "We have a lot of rules we don't necessarily enforce all the time. What's the big deal?" I am repulsed by the lords of baseball and their attitudes. Step down, Bud.

 

January 11, 2002

Boston Red Sox -- Hot Stove Heater
John Hassan, espn.com

Record: 82-79, .509 (15th overall)
Expected record: 83-78
Runs scored: 772, 7th in AL
Runs allowed: 745, 5th in AL
Run differential: +27 (11th overall)
Starters' ERA: 4.17, 3rd in AL
Bullpen ERA: 4.18, 7th in AL
3-year record: 261-224, .538 (11th overall)
5-year record: 431-378, .533 (8th overall)

2001 in review -- What went right?

Hideo Nomo was more than a decent free-agent signing. He threw a no-hitter and a one-hitter in April to jump-start the Sox and led the league in strikeouts. David Cone pitched well in his last hurrah. Manny Ramirez was his usual dominant self four months. Third baseman Shea Hillenbrand came out of nowhere to have a decent rookie year. Casey Fossum and Paxton Crawford each gave indications that they may be the rarest of things in baseball: decent homegrown Red Sox pitchers.

What went wrong?

How much time do you have? Nomar Garciaparra, Pedro Martinez and Jason Varitek were hurt most of the year. Their starters were next-to-last in the league in innings pitched. The manager and general manager couldn't agree on the time of day. Carl Everett, a human form of anthrax, destroyed what little chemistry the team had. Derek Lowe forgot how to close. By mid-September, it was hard to find a player who liked playing on that team, in that park, in that city. Ramirez, the $20 million man, faded under the pressure wrought by the dysfunctional atmosphere. The Sox appeared to quit when Joe Kerrigan replaced Jimy Williams as manager. You would have sold this team, too.

In retrospect, the critical decisions were:

1. Williams' refusal to use the roster assembled for him by GM Dan Duquette. After a few seasons of dealing well with Duquette's Rotisserie approach, Williams seemed to manage the team he wanted rather than the team he had. Pitchers were pulled too early, which burned out the bullpen. The team never ran much. And, most telling, Williams' constant juggling of the lineup and batting order was comical. Williams never stopped trying to win, but he didn't mind letting the world know two things: he disliked his roster and wanted to manage elsewhere.

2. There were too many veteran players (Dante Bichette, Mike Lansing, Troy O'Leary, John Valentin, Jose Offerman) who made too much money but contributed too little. The aforementioned players earned nearly $30 million in salary and hit 43 home runs combined. A team can't waste money at that level and compete with the Yankees, A's and Mariners.

Looking ahead to 2002 -- Three key questions

1. If Martinez, Garciaparra or Varitek do not all return to form, the Red Sox will probably endure another lost season. Especially Martinez. If the words "rotator cuff" are found in a team press release in February, the season will be over before it begins.

2. The Red Sox didn't run last year and couldn't stop anyone from running either. Sox pitchers did not use the slide step until after Williams was fired and opposing teams almost ran at will. Varitek kept things respectable, but Scott Hatteberg was helpless in this area (115 steals, just 12 caught stealing). Doug Mirabelli was a defensive upgrade over Hatteberg. On offense, the team had more speed than 46 stolen bases would indicate. Williams refused to send anybody and he was especially afraid to open up first base with Ramirez at bat. With Garciaparra, Offerman, Johnny Damon and possibly Pokey Reese, this team should easily surpass 90 stolen bases. Why get Damon and not let him run?

3. The Makeshift Rotation: 2002. Since Duquette arrived in Boston, the Red Sox have had little stability on the mound. He always made sure they had a closer, but he built a rotation each year like a chef at the fish market: What do you have today? He tried rehabs (Butch Henry, Bret Saberhagen, David Cone) but mostly he tried re-treads: Nomo, Frank Castillo, Rolando Arrojo, Pete Schourek, Jamie Moyer, Jeff Fassero, Steve Ontiveros, Ramon Martinez). Some worked out, most didn't. (Moyer's subsequent success in Seattle should be embarrassing to Duquette and don't even mention Roger Clemens.) This year Duquette is counting on Dustin Hermanson and John Burkett, with the added pressure that they are pitching behind a physically suspect Martinez.

Stats Corner

Trot Nixon may need a platoon partner. He hit just .210 with a .295 slugging percentage vs. left-handers. Red Sox starters were third in the AL in ERA, but next-to-last in innings pitched. Without Nomar Garciaparra, Red Sox shortstops drove in 45 runs and had a lowly .299 on-base percentage. Should Tim Wakefield start or relieve? In 2001, his ERA was 4.30 as a starter, 3.23 as a reliever; from 1998-2000, it was 5.16 starting, 4.42 relieving.

Can expect to play better

Martinez, Varitek and Garciaparra will contribute more than last year by simply taking the field on a regular basis. But in a true player development sense, Trot Nixon needs to keep improving (.210 BA vs lefties is a problem) as does Shea Hillenbrand. Offerman, if he's the second baseman, may step it up early if only to hasten his departure via trade. Damon should also play better now that his contract situation is settled and he can focus on baseball.

Can expect to play worse

Not a lot of candidates here as no one on the team had a career or breakout season.

Projected lineup
CF Johnny Damon
RF Trot Nixon
SS Nomar Garciaparra
LF Manny Ramirez
1B Tony Clark
C Jason Varitek
DH Brian Daubach
3B Shea Hillenbrand
2B Jose Offerman / Pokey Reese

Rotation
Pedro Martinez
John Burkett
Dustin Hermanson
Frank Castillo
Derek Lowe

Closer
Ugueth Urbina. Tim Wakefield and Lowe are available as well.

A closer look

The Red Sox were sold in December of 2001. Once the sale is approved, probably next week at the owners' meetings in Phoenix, GM Dan Duquette may be fired. His time is up in Boston but he wasn't a complete failure, though he sure had a tendency to make big mistakes (acrimonious departures of Mo Vaughn and Roger Clemens; utter miscalculation on what Clemens had left; Mike Lansing's 2001 salary of $7 million; not supporting Jimy Williams when Carl Everett's behavior went out of control; prematurely and needlessly picking up the fourth-year option on Everett's contract, making him that much harder to trade; wildly overpaying for the wonderful but one-dimensional Manny Ramirez; and most important, presiding over one of the worst farm systems in baseball. Which is a bit sad because if he had just gotten that last one right, all of the other stuff would have been much less crippling.)

Baseball comes down to player acquisition and the Red Sox under Duquette went about it the expensive and risky way, with nary a thought to chemistry. "Can these guys play?" is a good question; "Can they play together?" is a better one. Wil Cordero, Carl Everett, Rolando Arrojo, Jose Offerman, John Valentin and Mike Lansing and others were morale-busters in Boston. Duquette and Williams never figured how to use or to handle Tim Wakefield, a versatile and valuable pitcher who spends too much time wondering what his job is. The atmosphere is so disjointed that even a marginal guy like Lou Merloni feels he has the right to complain about playing time. Year in, year out, Duquette's Red Sox were a wild bunch, never a well-constructed, coherent team. Even leaders like Mike Stanley, Darren Lewis, David Cone and others made little impression on their malcontented teammates.

Pedro and Nomar are not natural, rah-rah leaders. Pitchers can't really lead anyway and it's not yet in Nomar's nature. Trot Nixon is emerging as a clubhouse presence and Tony Clark and Johnny Damon are considered solid citizens. And Everett is gone. So there is hope. Duquette made these moves too late but the new regime of Tom Werner and John Henry should take heed. It's a long season and how the guys get along matters.

Red Sox players under Duquette also seemed to complain a lot about how they were treated as individuals. There were many reports of nickel and diming the players on medical second opinions, injured players not traveling with the team and other small quirks that just don't seem to come up with the Yankees. Peter Gammons has often pointed out how bad a move it was to let Stanley know by a phone message that he was being released. It reveals a lack of respect, an antiquated boss versus employee attitude that no modern general manager can afford. The fan's gut reaction may be that these guys make so much money that they need to get over themselves. Well, that won't work. Signing today's ballplayers to big-money deals is merely the beginning of a relationship. With a human being that is, not a right fielder or a No. 3 starter. Duquette never understood this and no one in the team's recent history sent more people out into the baseball world with a bad feeling about the Red Sox than Duquette.

Werner, Henry and Larry Lucchino, the Red Sox's new team president, must do better than Duquette. But it won't be easy. A few local columnists made great hay when Ramirez's agent simply stated that his client was hoping to be more "comfortable" next year in the musty, cramped embarrassment that is the Red Sox clubhouse. Many Boston players over the years have complained that they have no privacy and no haven from the swarming media. Ramirez was just adding his voice to the choir and he was ripped for it. Of course, it doesn't matter if a few writers don't get it. The clubhouse is horrific. And the new management team better understand and respect that privacy and a state of the art clubhouse is a reasonable desire for a baseball player in Boston in 2002.

The new owners will have an easy time besting Duquette in player development. His record was so shoddy that he had to bail himself out every year with free agents. And the new owners will not be spending money the way the Yawkey Trust did. The team now carries considerable debt. The team will simply have to start taking player development and scouting more seriously. Fans should look for a complete overhaul of an organization that produced too many players like Izzy Alcantara and Brian Rose and not nearly enough like Trot Nixon and Nomar Garciaparra.

Still, Duquette had the right prospects when Pedro Martinez was available. He drafted Nomar. He signed Manny. He traded Heathcliff Slocumb for Derek Lowe and Jason Varitek in the best trade in team history. He just happened to do all this while the Yankees were creating a dynasty. Under Duquette, the Red Sox never made it past the ALCS and only got that far once.

The new owners will have the same charge as the old one: win the World Series. The Red Sox have been close before. That won't be enough in 2002.

 

Rehabilitation - Martinez has begun to pitch
Ultima Hora (January 4, 2002)

As all Dominicans have a tradition to request a wish for the New Year in the last minutes of every year, Pedro Martinez did not make an exception and requested a most special wish to remain healthy for the 2002 season. "I was reunited with my family to see the arrival of 2002 and prayed to God with all faith possible that he give me health for the next Major League season, and I requested the same for my whole family" said Martinez, who lost two months of the 2001 season because of injury to the pitcher.

Also, the three time Cy Young award winner relegated winning that award second to taking his team to the World Series. "I believe that if I am healthy all season, God will give me great gifts; with health comes all other things that we can enjoy, and then we will be able to go far beyond what many people think", he affirmed.

Martinez has maintained an intense rehabilitation program over the past two months, including a balanced program of weights and swimming, and recently began to pitch in the Campo Las Palmas, home of the Los Angeles Dodgers in the country, along with his brother Ramon and Juan Guzman.

The 30-year-old player last pitched on September 7 against the New York Yankees, and gave up four hits and three runs in three innings. Overall he had a record of 7-3, in 116.2 innings pitched with 163 strike outs and an ERA of 2.39.

[Translation courtesy of Anni @ Projo's Your Turn.]

Now leading off, Johnny Damon
Michael Silverman, Boston Herald

Johnny Damon has never played in a baseball town. Last night, he began to get a taste of what Boston is going to be like. ... "This town is excited about baseball and it seems like the excitement about baseball never dies,'' said the Red Sox' new center fielder. "I can see the excitement and this is exciting. I know there is a buzz about the Sox. Everyone's keeping their fingers crossed, hoping everyone's healthy.'' ...

[H]e is already well-adjusted to the fact that he will not have to face Pedro Martinez anymore. Damon said that he has actually been "OK'' against Martinez in the past ... and that Martinez has "always come up to me and told me that I've been tough.'' In fact, Damon has a .211 career batting average against Martinez, exactly four points higher than Martinez' career batting average against.

Nixon: A most valuable presence
Tony Massarotti, Boston Herald

Nixon lacked two things to be the team leader last season: Experience and establishment. Now he has them both. Unlike Garciaparra, Nixon is not the least bit reluctant to fully vent his frustrations publicly. Unlike Pedro Martinez, he prefers to be a king rather than a court jester. Unlike most players, Nixon seems to approach every game as if it were his last, which earns him respect from teammates and fans alike.

Nixon has few regrets -- Stand-up outfielder stands by comments
Bob Hohler, Boston Globe

He was a voice in the wilderness, the lone soul who dared to speak the ugly truth last year about a corps of quitters and malcontents who cheated the team that paid them and the fans who supported them.

Nixon Steps Up -- Candidate To Be Next Red Sox Captain
David Heuschkel, Hartford Courant

All the negativity that surrounded the 2001 Red Sox made it easy to forget the few positive aspects. Trot Nixon emerged from the turmoil with stripes and he earned them.

Nixon endorses offseason moves
Jeff Horrigan and Michael Silverman, Boston Herald

Red Sox outfielder Trot Nixon, who developed into the team's charismatic leader over the course of last season, is delighted by the change in personnel over the offseason. Newcomers Johnny Damon, John Burkett and Tony Clark all have reputations as mature, intelligent team players, which is a 180-degree turn from several of the departed.

"The Red Sox have done a great job this year,'' Nixon said last night before the annual Boston Baseball Writers' Dinner at the Sheraton Boston. "We've had a lot of turmoil the last couple of years but it doesn't look like we're going to have that kind of turmoil this year. Guys like Johnny Damon, Tony Clark, John Burkett and Dustin Hermanson are going to be great for our clubhouse.''

Sox have replaced whiners with winners
Art Martone, Providence Journal

Johnny Damon may have spent last season with the Oakland Athletics, but he paid a lot of attention to the Red Sox. "We [the A's] felt they were the team to beat in the wild-card race," Damon admitted. ... "This is a good team," said Damon. "If we stay healthy, we're going to be tough to beat."

It ain't over: Losing bidder throws Sox $40M bonus pitch
Jack Sullivan and Scott Van Voorhis, Boston Herald

New York billionaire Charles Dolan, in an attempt to get back in the game and blow up the intended Red Sox sale to a group of baseball insiders, yesterday upped his offer for the team by $40 million. Dolan is incensed over what he perceives as being used by team officials and lawyers while they maneuvered to deliver the Sox to a group led by Florida Marlins owner John W. Henry, sources said.

Dolan makes a late pitch for Sox -- Would top Henry with $740m bid
Meg Vaillancourt, Boston Globe

Cablevision Systems Corp. chairman Charles F. Dolan, in a last-ditch effort to prevent the sale of the Boston Red Sox to a rival group led by Florida financier John Henry, is offering to pay $40 million more than Henry to buy the franchise. In a move likely to reopen the already record-breaking auction for the team, the Red Sox indicated last night they would consider Dolan's $740 million offer.

AG calls it an error
Brian McGrory, Boston Globe

A little more than a week into his investigation of the Red Sox sale, Tom Reilly, the state's attorney general, believes now more than ever that the entire process was fixed. And that fix, he says, could cost Massachusetts charities tens of millions of dollars in cold, hard cash. ''One by one, they're coming in here,'' Reilly said on the telephone yesterday. ''They're telling us what happened and we're finding out the truth, and the truth is not going to help Major League Baseball or the Red Sox. This was a bag job.

Return to East Coast Lifts Vaughn's Spirits
Tyler Kepner, New York Times

Maurice was miserable. He was far from home, his summer-league team was losing, and the people around him did not seem to care. He called his parents in tears. "You've got to get me out of here," he said.

New York Yankees -- Hot Stove Heater
Rob Neyer, espn.com

2001 in review -- What went right? -- What went wrong? -- Critical decisions -- Looking ahead to 2002 -- Can expect to play better -- Can expect to play worse ...

After June 2, Roger Clemens beat just two teams that finished with a winning record. Yankee leadoff hitters scored just 87 runs (Baltimore was worst in AL with 85) and drove in 48 (Tampa Bay was worst with 47). Yankee starters other than Clemens, Mussina and Pettitte went 12-24 with a 5.96 ERA. ...

Nine positions in the lineup, and only four will be occupied in 2002 by the same players who occupied them in 2001. How odd is this? Here's a look at the other 11 Yankee teams that lost a World Series ...

 

January 10, 2002

Kerrigan preps for 2002
Mike Petraglia, redsox.com

Pedro Martinez is still expected to arrive as early as Feb. 7 to Spring Training in Fort Myers, Fla. ...

"I think we'll keep Damon and Trot at the top of the lineup, 1-2," Joe Kerrigan told reporters Wednesday. "Then Nomar and Manny [Ramirez]. Damon is pretty consistent against left-handers and Trot's numbers against left-handers have really improved." ... Red Sox fans can expect to see a lot of Damon in center and Nixon in right field ... Kerrigan said he sees Ramirez playing as many as 120 games in left and another 35 as the club's designated hitter.

Still the Man
Garry Brown, Springfield Union-News

Kerrigan said he plans to be at Boston's training camp in Fort Myers, Fla., by Feb. 4. "Pedro Martinez will be joining me soon after that, maybe around Feb. 7-8. He wants to get an early jump on camp. He's been throwing for three weeks."

Pedro throwing with no problems
Jimmy Golen, Associated Press

Boston Red Sox pitcher Pedro Martinez has been throwing without pain for three weeks and is expected to be ready for spring training, manager Joe Kerrigan said Wednesday.

Although Kerrigan ... has not spoken to Martinez since the end of the season, the Red Sox ace has been in touch with the team's trainer and strength coach. Kerrigan said Martinez has been throwing long toss for the past three weeks and will report to spring training a week early. By that time, Martinez should be ready to throw from a mound. ...

Shortstop Nomar Garciaparra and catcher Jason Varitek are also expected to be ready for the start of spring training. ... Kerrigan said he has been talking to former catcher Mike Stanley about joining the team as a bench coach.

Kerrigan: Martinez throws without pain
Associated Press

The La Hoy newspaper in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, reported that the Sox' ace, in a TV interview on Mango TV said, "I haven't felt any discomfort, and this is the best indication that I'm well." The Red Sox are expected to send a doctor to the Dominican Republic to examine Martinez in the near future. Martinez says he has been doing strength conditioning, special exercises in a swimming pool, and weightlifting to strengthen his shoulder, among other things. "I really know my body, and I'm certain that I'm recovered," he said.

Starting rotation takes shape
Michael Silverman, Boston Herald

Manager Joe Kerrigan sketched out the Red Sox' starting rotation yesterday ... Pedro Martinez, John Burkett, Dustin Hermanson, Derek Lowe and Frank Castillo. ...

Picking Castillo as the fifth starter means, at least for now, that lefties Darren Oliver and Casey Fossum will compete for bullpen jobs. Closer Ugueth Urbina, Rich Garces, Tim Wakefield and Rolando Arrojo already appear to have their jobs sewn up, so there will be three left-handers - Jeff Wallace as well - plus right-handers Willie Banks and Sun-Woo Kim vying for the other two spots.

AG weighs suing Harrington over Red Sox sale
Scott Van Voorhis, Boston Herald

Attorney General Tom Reilly could be poised to sue Red Sox chief John Harrington next week - just days before Major League Baseball owners are asked to approve the $700 million sale of the team to a group of MLB insiders.

Sources: Sox misled bidders: Charities get less money with sale steered, AG says
Jack Sullivan, Boston Herald

Lawyers for the Yawkey trust arranged the money "marriage'' between members of the Miles Prentice group, which submitted the highest offer for the Red Sox, but then may have misled the team's limited partners, the fans and Attorney General Tom Reilly about the bidders' financial strength, sources say. The action was just one of many examples of apparent deceptive practices by Sox officials, sources close to several bidders said, including denying to one bidder that a concessions contract had been extended while at the same time they were faxing another bidder notice of the done deal.

House Democrat Tells Selig to Resign
Dave Sheinin, Washington Post

While Commissioner Bud Selig was opening labor negotiations with player representatives – a key step toward avoiding a work stoppage – he was fending off a renewed attack from the House Judiciary Committee's ranking Democrat, who called for Selig's resignation. ... "In light of this disclosure and your apparent unwillingness to reveal other financial information that you assert supports your decision to eliminate two baseball teams," Rep. John Conyers (Mich.) wrote, "I regret that I must call on you to resign as commissioner of major league baseball."

 

January 9, 2002

Fenway renewal less likely
Scott Van Voorhis, Boston Herald

Boston Red Sox buyer John Henry may be turning away from rebuilding Fenway Park as he hunts for more local partners, sources say. While they may give it some study, Henry's group is playing down the rebuild plan that set it apart from rival Sox bidders, sources said. Instead, members of the group are making clear in pitches to some investors they are also seriously looking at building a new ballpark, one source said.

Batting around with Frank Castillo
Mike Petraglia, redsox.com

Frank Castillo finished with a 10-9 record in 2001, his first season with the Red Sox, to become one of only two Red Sox pitchers with double figures in wins last season. The Crave Creek, Ariz. native, who made his Major League debut in 1991 with the Chicago Cubs, joined Boston as a free agent in December 2000. The veteran right-hander sat down with redsox.com for this edition of Batting Around.

Sox angle for Astacio, Miceli
Michael Silverman, Boston Herald

The Red Sox continue to explore additions to their 2002 ballclub, but their ability to close on deals appears to be limited by both budgetary constraints and the pending sale of the team. Two free agent pitchers - right-handed starter Pedro Astacio and right-handed reliever Dan Miceli - are on the Red Sox' shopping list, but productive negotiations, particularly with Astacio, have yet to occur.

Team Owners Defend Selig
Murray Chass, New York Times

Major League Baseball owners marched strongly to the defense of Commissioner Bud Selig yesterday amid suggestions that he played a role in an improper 1995 loan that could create a conflict of interest in baseball's current plan to eliminate two teams. ... Jerry Reinsdorf of the Chicago White Sox initially said the loan may have violated the rule but added that many other clubs were very likely violating another financial rule at the time "and we didn't do anything." Minutes later Reinsdorf called back and said of 20 (c): "That's our rule. If we choose to enforce it or not enforce it, that's our business. It's not a federal statute."

Twins Should Outlast Bud Selig
George Vecsey, New York Times

All along, it smelled like a conflict of interest. And for a very good reason. It is a conflict of interest. ... The repaid loan from Pohlad to Selig may not turn out to be any kind of legal transgression, but it surely stinks. The other owners in Major League Baseball should be investigating the foul odor. ... Instead of contracting the Minnesota Twins, baseball should contract Bud Selig as commissioner.

AG aides grill Sox limited partner -- Tamposi details how charities would gain; denies pull of MLB
Meg Vaillancourt, Boston Globe

Aides to Massachusetts Attorney General Thomas F. Reilly queried one of the Red Sox limited partners for nearly two hours yesterday about last month's auction of the team, and they are expected to interview one of the losing bidders, New York lawyer Miles Prentice, today.

Have-nots hardly born yesterday
Paul White, usatoday.com

If you haven't caught on yet, competitive balance is baseball's byword for 2002. ... Well, if indeed the sky is falling, baseball has been operating under a pretty low ceiling for a long time — like just about forever. Competitive imbalance is as much a baseball tradition as the seventh-inning stretch and has been around longer. ...

The Chicago White Sox finished higher than fourth just three times from 1921-51. From 1934-60, the Washington Senators finished second twice when World War II depleted rosters. The A's — spanning Philadelphia, Kansas City and Oakland — topped out with two fourth places during the 1934-68 stretch. The Braves didn't finish above fourth from 1917-45. The Yankees finished out of the AL top three just twice between 1919 and 1964. The Cardinals were under .500 three times from 1921-53, the Dodgers twice from 1939-63.

Competitive imbalance is not a new phenomenon. In fact, things have been rather balanced in recent history.

The Retro-Frontier -- The Future of Baseball Statistics Is Coming To Us Out of the Past…
Don Malcolm, baseballprimer.com

Earlier this month there was a small mention of the new features at the Retrosheet web site. The organization founded by Dave Smith tantalized us with their incredible efforts over the past years to accumulate a detailed backstory of baseball in the form of play-by-play records for games in the deepest recesses of time. Now, with a major upgrade of their web site, they’ve given us a glimpse of the ultimate baseball encyclopedia.

The MVP Prediction System (Part 3)
Jonathan Bernstein, baseballprospectus.com

In this conclusion to the series, I'll look at reasons why National League MVP voters may be changing how they go about their business, examine the wrong predictions since 1994, and speculate about the future usefulness of the MVP predictor. [Part 1 and Part 2]

An Open Letter to Rob Neyer
Eugene Freedman, baseballprimer.com

Rob, I am a little dismayed by your statements about Don Fehr in today's column as well as last Friday's. Perhaps you are not aware of his duties and feel that because baseball union leaders receive more press than all but perhaps James P. Hoffa he has a higher duty to others than just his members.

 

January 8, 2002

Sox bidders deny hiring investigator
Meg Vaillancourt, Boston Globe

Two of the losing bidders for the Boston Red Sox denied yesterday that they had hired private investigators to search for information that could undermine Florida financier John Henry's pending $700 million purchase of the team.

Selig's Brewers received $3 million loan from Pohlad's firm
Associated Press

A company owned by Twins owner Carl Pohlad lent $3 million in 1995 to the Milwaukee Brewers, run at the time by Bud Selig, the man now trying to eliminate Minnesota's franchise. ... Major League Rule 20 (c) states: "No club or owner, stockholder, officer, director or employee (including manager or player) of a club shall, directly or indirectly, loan money to or become surety or guarantor for any club, officer, employee or umpire of its, his of her league, unless all facts of the transaction shall first have been fully disclosed to all other clubs in that league and also to the commissioner, and the transaction has been approved by them.''

 

January 7, 2002

Henry accuses losing bidders -- Says some trying to block Sox deal
Gordon Edes, Boston Globe

Prospective Red Sox owner John Henry, while expressing confidence that the team's sale for $700 million will be approved next week in Phoenix, yesterday charged that some of the losing bidders are attempting to block the Henry group from receiving the three-quarters vote from major league owners required for approval. ... ''I've even had opponents hire private investigators to interview ex-employees of my investment company. I've had ex-employees call me, saying, 'What's going on?' They're trying somehow to dig up some dirt. It's been quite a process.''

 

January 6, 2002

AG: Losing bidders never got fair shot at Sox
Scott Van Voorhis and Jack Sullivan, Boston Herald

Losing Red Sox bidders were duped and the Yawkey Trust was shortchanged by at least $22 million to ensure that Major League Baseball's favored group of insiders won the bidding for the team, Attorney General Tom Reilly said yesterday.

League officials and baseball Commissioner Bud Selig had no intention of accepting cable tycoon Charles Dolan or New York corporate lawyer Miles Prentice as the next Red Sox owner, Reilly said in a Herald interview. "When you see what happened, all of the other bidders were used," Reilly said. "It just violates principles of fundamental fairness and decency."

More wait wouldn't have burdened Sox
Will McDonough, Boston Globe

What, all of a sudden, was the rush? After more than a year of waiting, why couldn't the Red Sox wait a few more days, even a couple of weeks, to determine whether Miles Prentice's blowaway last-minute bid of $750 million was real?

The answer is that the people controlling the auction/sale of the team didn't want Prentice, or Chuck Dolan, or Joe O'Donnell and Steve Karp (the local Boston favorites) to take control. It had to be John Henry and Tom Werner, two personal favorites of baseball commissioner Bud Selig, who was calling the shots all the way, even though he denies it.

Fenway: Renewed Glory? -- No Place To Go But Upper Deck
Paul Doyle, Hartford Courant

Baseball has a way of evoking passion and poetry from even the most cerebral men. John Henry, billionaire financier, can become downright weepy when pontificating about his favorite sport. When Henry was introduced as Red Sox owner two weeks ago, he rhapsodized about his new home.

"When I think of Paris, I think of the Eiffel Tower," Henry said. "When I think of Boston, I think of Fenway." And the way Henry and his investors see it, why replace baseball's Eiffel Tower when you can rebuild it?

Taking it from the top  -- It seems certain new Sox owners will jettison Duquette
Gordon Edes, Boston Globe

While John Henry was in Boston this weekend and Larry Lucchino has plans to attend the Boston Baseball Writers' dinner at the Sheraton Boston Thursday, any public pronouncements on club business - most notably, the fate of general manager Dan Duquette - will await the approval of their bid by major league owners, which is on course to come in Phoenix during a two-day meeting that begins Jan. 15.

Still, it now appears certain Duquette will not remain for long in his capacity as GM, even as he attempts to complete the team's 2002 roster.

 

January 4, 2002

Varitek training as usual
Mike Petraglia, redsox.com

Red Sox catcher Jason Varitek said Thursday he is confident he will be ready for the opening of Spring Training in February. "The good news is that I've been able to do all the things I need to do to get ready," Varitek told WEEI-AM, the flagship radio station of the Red Sox.

Sportsguy Digest, Issue 14

What about this gawd-awful Red Sox sale, the biggest bag job of all-time? Or John Henry, who always looks like he's about to blow up someone's mailbox? Has there even been a sports franchise that had two de facto serial killer lookalikes (Henry and Duquette) in charge of a team at the same time? When is Buffalo Bill from Silence of the Lambs getting hired as manager? PUT THE LOTION IN THE BASKET, NOMAR!

Anyway, lots going on. Out of everything, I think the most underrated story has been Paul Pierce, who has exhibited legitimate greatness at times this season. But the Red Sox sale has been the most improbable. I was just blown away by this one. Harrington said he would only sell the team to A) the highest bidder, or B) a local bidder... AND HE DIDN'T DO EITHER!!!!!! What a little dink. ...

Anyone who wants to subscribe to this can send an e-mail to sportsguy-subscribe@topica.com. Follow instructions after you get a return e-mail.

Reilly expands Sox probe: AG urges Congress to act
Scott Van Voorhis, Boston Herald

Attorney General Tom Reilly yesterday called on Congress to take a hard look at an alleged behind-the-scenes Major League Baseball powerplay that steered the Red Sox into the hands of a group led by baseball insiders.

Sox partner says deal boosts charities -- Gives $9m more than Prentice bid
Meg Vaillancourt, Boston Globe

A limited partner in the Boston Red Sox has told Attorney General Thomas F. Reilly that Florida financier John Henry's winning bid for the team would yield $9 million more for the Yawkey Trust and its charitable foundation than the higher bid submitted by New York lawyer Miles Prentice.

Prentice not bothered by three strikes
Cosmo Macero Jr., Boston Herald

"I haven't given up,'' Miles Prentice said yesterday, breaking the silence he's maintained since the Red Sox passed on his $790 million bid for the team. "Absolutely, no.'' It's not over, this debacle of Bud Selig's and John Harrington's making. And it may not end until Congress has its say, and Harrington burns every bridge he's ever crossed. ... "This is the best franchise in sports. I think it's the best franchise in the world,'' Prentice said. "I think I'd be good for Boston.''

 

January 3, 2002

Attorney General Calls Sale of Red Sox Flawed
Murray Chass, New York Times

Major League Baseball in effect chose the winning bidder in the $660 million sale of the Boston Red Sox, Thomas Reilly, the Massachusetts attorney general, said yesterday, but he also said there was not much, if anything, he could do about it. "What is clear is that Major League Baseball, and particularly the commissioner's office, played a major role in deciding who the next owner of the Red Sox would be," Reilly said. "It's just another example of how they operate. It's a club. That's what it is. They get the benefit of the exemption from antitrust. When you see how they operate, it's not a pretty sight."

Probe may cause delay in Sox sale
Scott Van Voorhis, Boston Herald

Before Red Sox designated owners John Henry and Tom Werner can seal the deal for the Olde Towne Team, along comes Attorney General Tom Reilly. Launching an aggressive probe of the controversial Sox sale process, Reilly could play the role of party-crasher. By questioning baseball Commissioner Bud Selig and Major League Baseball officials on their alleged orchestration of the ascent of two veteran team owners to the throne of Red Sox Nation, Reilly could seriously delay - and possibly even derail - efforts by Henry and Werner to complete their acquisition of the Sox.

Baseball chiefs tilted Sox deal, Reilly says -- League officials deny interference
Meg Vaillancourt, Boston Globe

Massachusetts Attorney General Thomas F. Reilly questioned the fairness of the Boston Red Sox sale yesterday, saying that Major League Baseball played a decisive role in choosing the team's new owner. ''Major League Baseball was calling the shots here,'' Reilly said at a news conference after a four-hour meeting with Red Sox chief John Harrington and the team's lawyers. ''It's very clear that Major League Baseball played a major role in deciding who could and who could not own the Boston Red Sox.''

Red Sox Sale Draws Criticism -- Attorney General Has No Recourse
Paul Doyle, Hartford Courant

After meeting with John Harrington for four hours Wednesday, Massachusetts Attorney General Thomas Reilly offered an assessment of the Red Sox sale that surprised no one. Major League Baseball, Reilly said, played a significant role in the process that landed the franchise in the laps of John Henry, Tom Werner and Larry Lucchino.

In the days after Henry landed the team for $700 million, word surfaced that New York lawyer Miles Prentice made a $790 million bid that was rejected. It was believed that commissioner Bud Selig favored Henry's group and Harrington knew Prentice would not be approved by MLB.

It's Bud Man: AG: Selig called shots in Sox sale
Scott Van Voorhis, Boston Herald

Attorney General Thomas F. Reilly yesterday blasted Major League Baseball's role in the embattled Red Sox sale, claiming that baseball Commissioner Bud Selig and MLB were "calling the shots'' and steered the fabled franchise to a group of out-of-state baseball insiders. Briefing reporters after a four-hour meeting with Red Sox brass, Reilly suggested that the outcome of the 15th-month sale process may have been all but preordained. Reilly said he wants Selig and other MLB officials to meet with him to explain their role in the record-breaking sale. Reilly's comments yesterday drew a sharp rebuttal from MLB.

AG could have big say in Sox deal: Court action possible if Harrington balks
Steve Marantz, Boston Herald

Attorney General Tom Reilly's power to influence the sale of the Red Sox is greater than in most cases involving public charities, according to a legal expert. Normally the Attorney General's office gets involved in questionable public charity transactions after the fact. But Reilly has swooped in on the Red Sox deal before it is complete, said Brian Bixby, an expert on charity law with Burns & Levinson. "The AG has the extra option of seeking to stop the sale from occurring in the first place, instead of just bringing an action against somebody for doing something wrong,'' said Bixby.

 

January 2, 2002

AG says Major League Baseball called the shots in Red Sox sale
John Mcelhenny, Associated Press

The state attorney general said Major League Baseball and Commissioner Bud Selig ''played a major role'' in deciding who would be the next owner of the Boston Red Sox, calling into question the fairness of the sale process.

Attorney General Thomas Reilly is investigating the sale of the team after the Red Sox rejected the highest bid in favor of a $700 million offer by Florida Marlins owner John Henry, who is close to Selig. Lawyer Miles Prentice offered $790 million for the team. ''Major League Baseball was calling the shots here,'' Reilly said after a four-hour meeting with Red Sox chief executive officer John Harrington and team attorneys.

You don't know him: Steve Lomasney -- New England native ready to catch on with Red Sox
Mike Petraglia, redsox.com

After seven years in the Boston Red Sox system, catcher Steve Lomasney hopes 2002 is the season he sticks in the Majors.

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