for January 2003
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January 31, 2003
Ortiz witness to fan assault
Tony Massarotti, Boston Herald
In the wake of wire reports emanating from the Dominican Republic yesterday, the Red Sox were among those looking into a bizarre event recently in which players allegedly assaulted a spectator who ran onto the field during a winter league game. Though no members of the Red Sox organization were believed to be involved in the incident, new Sox first baseman David Ortiz was subpoenaed to testify at a civil trial over the matter.
January 30, 2003
option on Epstein's mind -- GM will likely talk to Martinez soon
Ian Browne, mlb.com
At least four times since last May, Red Sox ace Pedro Martinez has expressed displeasure to various media outlets that his club option for 2004 has yet to be picked up. ... However, according to Red Sox GM Theo Epstein, the three-time Cy Young Award winner has yet to express his feelings to the team. ... "He's going to know exactly where we stand and how we feel, and it's nice to know exactly where he stands and how he feels. We've had a productive player-club relationship [with Martinez] and I see that lasting well into the future."
denies collusion: Union charge way off base
Tony Massarotti, Boston Herald
Despite indications that the Major League Baseball Players Association is laying the foundation for charges of collusion this winter, Red Sox owner John Henry and president Larry Lucchino yesterday stressed that big league clubs have done nothing wrong. "I think there are a lot of factors that have contributed to this market we're dealing with, but I don't think collusion is one of them,'' Lucchino said yesterday at Fenway Park. "There has been a shift in the market, which a lot of people have predicted.''
Fenway changes in the works
Art Martone, providence Journal
On the heels of changes made in 2002, which included the construction of field-level seats near the dugouts and the transformation of Yawkey Way into a game-day concourse, the Red Sox ownership group yesterday announced a comprehensive set of plans to further alter the face of the 91-year-old ballpark.
January 29, 2003
Sox might try to sign ace to new deal during year
The Boston Red Sox may make an exception to their policy of no in-season contract negotiations for Pedro Martinez. Martinez is signed through the 2003 season with a club option for 2004 but has said he would become a free agent after that if the team doesn't exercise the option before spring training starting next month. "We have a policy of trying to avoid negotiations during the season,'' Red Sox president Larry Lucchino said Wednesday, "but if you're talking about our exceptional players, they call for exceptional treatment.''
January 24, 2003
On November 22, ESPN's Jayson Stark wrote: "Randy Johnson now has finished 1-2 in the Cy Young voting seven times (five firsts, two seconds). That ties the Unit with Roger Clemens (six firsts, one second) in that esteemed category. Nobody is at six, but the group at five consists of three guys you've probably heard of -- Greg Maddux (four firsts, one second), Tom Seaver (three firsts, two seconds) and Jim Palmer (three firsts, two seconds)." ... Recently, Stark corrected himself and added Pedro Martinez to that list: first in 1997, 1999 and 2000, and second in 1998 and 2002.
January 21, 2003
All-Star solution must go
Michael Gee, Boston Herald
Here's why Bud Selig's crack-brained notion to make the All-Star Game count shouldn't and won't come to pass. Fast forward to the 2004 Midsummer Classic. ... The last man in the American League bullpen is Pedro Martinez of the AL East-leading Red Sox, who pitched a complete-game shutout 48 hours earlier. AL manager Joe Torre reluctantly waves Pedro into the game. Seven innings later Torre's team has a 3-2, 18-inning triumph. Martinez has a torn rotator cuff and the Sox are headed for a 14-game late-July losing streak. "What could I do?'' Torre asks reporters after the game. "Our league needs that home-field advantage in the World Series.''
new 'big guy' is ... big
Carol Slezak, Chicago Sun-Times
The White Sox' new ace, Bartolo Colon, flew into town from the Dominican Republic on Monday to meet the press. Because Colon is a hefty guy, it was inevitable that he would be asked about his "conditioning'' and "training methods.'' Those, of course, are polite ways of asking, "Are you too fat?'' ... "I don't know what I weigh right now,'' Colon said through translator Adriana Merigliano. "But I feel a lot lighter than last year when I came into spring training. I came into spring training last year at 259.'' ... Colon was asked if he had a favorite Chicago restaurant. Without bothering to repeat the question to Colon, and without hesitation, the translator answered. "Cheesecake Factory,'' she said. And everyone laughed, including Colon.
January 19, 2003
Tony Massaroti, Boston Herald
[O]ne of the most interesting decisions Little may make involves Nomar Garciaparra and Manny Ramirez, who batted a respective third and fourth last season. The manager is tinkering with the idea of flip-flopping the players and batting Ramirez third, moving Garciaparra back to a cleanup position where he has excelled during his Sox career. ... Ramirez gets on base more often than Garciaparra [and Nomar] may also be inspired to steal more bases without Ramirez hitting behind him.
Gordon Edes, Boston Globe
How have Pedro Martinez and Derek Lowe fared against the elite players in the American League? Using the 2002 AL All-Star team as a barometer, very well. Against the 19 All-Star hitters he has faced, including teammates Johnny Damon and Manny Ramirez, Martinez has 134 strikeouts in 410 at-bats, an average of one whiff every 3.06 at-bats, while limiting the Stars to a .210 batting average. Those numbers closely parallel his career numbers: Martinez has 2,220 K's in 6,863 at-bats, an average of one every 3.09 at-bats, while holding hitters to a .205 average.
Lowe, meanwhile, has given up just four home runs in 262 career at-bats by the All-Stars, only one to a non-Yankee, Miguel Tejada of Oakland, the league MVP. Jason Giambi of the Yankees has two, and Jorge Posada has one. Lowe has allowed just one home run in 65.5 at-bats by All-Stars; overall, he has allowed 48 home runs in 2,642 at-bats, or one every 55.04 at-bats.
January 18, 2003
Pedro issues ultimatum to Sox
Pedro Martinez loves Boston. But he also loves winning. And if the Red Sox are about to dismantle their team -- which he thinks is a possibility, especially since they didn't trade for Bartolo Colon or re-sign Ugueth Urbina -- he'd like to go somewhere else. "I love the city and I want to sign with the Red Sox," Martinez told a newspaper in the Dominican Republic yesterday. "But if Boston is going to dismantle the team, I'd go to any other team, except the Los Angeles Dodgers." ...
The Sox plan to go with a bullpen by committee this season ... [but] Martinez isn't enthusiastic about the change in philosophy. "We need a closer," he stated. "When a team doesn't have one, nobody knows when he'll close. And that is a problem." ...
Martinez has one year left on his contract, with the Sox holding an option for 2004. He announced before the end of last season that if the team didn't pick up the option before the beginning of 2003 spring training, he would become a free agent either after the '03 season if the Sox didn't exercise the option, or after the '04 season if they did. Spring training begins in less than a month, and Boston has yet to pick up the option.
January 17, 2003
Don't worry about Martinez
Jeff Horrigan, Boston Herald
After running into Pedro Martinez in a Santo Domingo sushi bar earlier this week, Jose Rijo said there was no need to suspect anything fishy about the Red Sox ace's sudden decision to remain in the Dominican Republic rather than fly north to accept his awards at last night's Boston Baseball Writers' dinner. ... "I've never seen him so excited,'' Rijo said. "He told me that he's been throwing every day and to watch him because he's going to do really, really good this year. I can't remember him ever being like this.''
hot stove burns Bud
Mike Lupica, New York Daily News
Larry Lucchino of the Red Sox described the Yankees as the "evil empire," and of course George Steinbrenner threw a tantrum. ... So he comes back and calls Lucchino "the chameleon of all time" ... says Lucchino "changes colors depending on where he's standing" ... At this point, Commissioner Bud Selig calls them both, first Lucchino and then Steinbrenner, and tells them the following: Knock it off. The phone calls from Selig are no secret in either the Red Sox offices or the Yankee offices, or around baseball. But there you are. Last week, Selig told them both that he didn't want his owners "banging away at each other, so no more."
treated for skin cancer
As he was scheduled to be honored with Pedro Martinez as a co-winner of the Red Sox MVP and Pitcher of the Year honors for last season, Derek Lowe last night was home in Fort Myers, Fla., recovering from a medical procedure for skin cancer. Lowe ... had a cancerous growth removed two weeks ago from his nose by a specialist in Florida, according to the Sox. His condition was serious enough that the procedure left a significant scar and prompted doctors to advise Lowe against traveling to last night's event. But his prognosis was good, the Sox said, and he is expected to be healthy enough to fully participate when spring training begins next month.
recovering from skin cancer -- Doctors consider skin-cancer removal a
Ian Browne, mlb.com
It turns out [Derek Lowe] is recovering from a procedure two weeks ago in which he had skin cancer removed from his nose. The good news is that Lowe is expected to make a full recovery. "The doctors feel pretty confident they got it all," said Red Sox spokesperson Kevin Shea. Lowe reportedly had nearly 60 stitches following the surgery. ... Apparently, the cancer was caused by the hot Florida sun.
January 16, 2003
cut Red Sox out of Colon deal
Bob Hohler, Boston Globe
Call it what you will, Red Sox fans: a crushing defeat, a squandered opportunity, or the natural byproduct of prudent management. In New York, they viewed the three-way deal that sent Bartolo Colon yesterday from the Montreal Expos to the Chicago White Sox as a joyous coincidence. ... ''We did it based solely on the White Sox,'' Cashman said. ''We did not make the decision to do a deal like this to try to prevent Boston from getting better.'' Sure, and the Cross Bronx Expressway is paved with gumdrops. ...
January 15, 2003
pull a fast one
Jim Baker, espn.com insider
Kudos for Bill Madden and Adam Rubin of the New York Daily News and Tony Massarotti of the Boston Herald for sniffing out the three-way trade between the Yankees, White Sox and Expos. All three got to the story before the trade happened and speculated that it was a Yankee plot to deny the Red Sox the services of Bartolo Colon. ... As Boston was very much in the hunt for Colon, this move will do much to intensify the acrimony between New York and Boston, two franchises that have already worked themselves into a frenzied state this offseason with accusations of evil imperialism and counter-charges of gutlessness. ... What is more, the Yankees can afford to deal from strength by ... essentially giving the Expos a starter in return for them not trading Colon to a team they do not wish to have him. ...
powers that be: Hiring of Epstein gives clear view of new Red Sox
ownership at work
Howard Bryant, Boston Herald
"When Billy Beane turned them down,'' Dave Stewart recently observed of the Boston Red Sox' search for a general manager, "that job belonged to Theo Epstein, no one else. I know this, because I know Larry.'' ... He came to this unshakable conclusion about the selection process that began with Lucchino's lust to hire Beane and ended Nov. 25 with Epstein becoming, at age 28, the youngest general manager in the history of Major League Baseball, because the particulars are so familiar to Stewart. ... (First of three parts)
January 14, 2003
questions on the Red Sox
By Ian Browne, mlb.com
• Will Bartolo Colon or Javier Vazquez be
wearing a Red Sox uniform by the time Spring Training begins?
• Can Jeremy Giambi be a productive everyday player?
• Who's on first?
• Was last season an aberration for Derek Lowe?
• Can the closer-by-committee approach work?
• Will the Red Sox get a true No. 5 hitter to replace Cliff Floyd?
• How will John Burkett and Casey Fossum respond to their rigorous winter workout programs?
• If Hillenbrand remains with the team, can he adjust to Boston's new philosophy of disciplined hitting?
• Will Trot Nixon rediscover his 2001 form?
January 13, 2003
Note: The Baseball Crank from the Providence Journal also has a blog.
The Knife: The Penny Trade
Will Carroll, Baseball Prospectus
[Bartolo] Colon is a regular at the top of the PAP lists here at BP and has long been regarded as overused. Last year in Montreal, Colon pitched well, but seemed to hit a wall in mid-August. That this wall appeared after a pair of outings that by almost any measure was abusive (130 pitches twice in three starts; 40 pitches after losing effective velocity) should be no surprise to anyone. Colon remained a decent starter for the rest of the season, but his decline in strikeout rate is certainly worrisome. While publicly stating that Colon merely "lost focus" once the Expos were out of the pennant chase, some within the organization suggested that Colon was dealing with tendonitis in the later stages of the season. Colon has never been one to miss meals and his conditioning has been a major concern his entire career, which when combined with his likelihood of an injury makes this writer wonder how well he could handle an extensive rehabilitation program.
January 12, 2003
Sox, a new story may be written in pen
Gordon Edes, Boston Globe
Bill James may be back in Lawrence, Kan., enjoying his other great passion in life, Kansas Jayhawks basketball. But make no mistake, his impact on the Red Sox as a senior adviser already has been dramatic, most notably in the way new general manager Theo Epstein has gone about reconstructing the team's bullpen for the 2003 season.
Epstein's determination to eschew a conventional closer in favor of a balanced and deep bullpen in which manager Grady Little's use of his best reliever may come in the seventh inning of a tie game instead of the ninth inning, the usual province of a closer, mirrors James's philosophy. ... ''Modern relievers are used to pitching the ninth inning with a three-run lead,'' James writes. ''While I don't mean to dismiss the intangible costs of blowing a three-run lead, an average team would win 97 percent of those games if they brought in Bryan Rekar in that situation. ... It is simply not logical to make a special effort to get your best pitcher in the game when you have a three-run lead with one inning to play."
January 10, 2003
seeing Colon slip away: Pitcher could be headed to Marlins
Tony Massarotti, Boston Herald
While leaving the door ajar for a future agreement, a "pessimistic'' Theo Epstein yesterday expressed little hope that the Red Sox will succeed in the never-ending trade talks to acquire Montreal Expos right-hander Bartolo Colon. ... Epstein indicated he is comfortable entering spring training with a group featuring Pedro Martinez, Derek Lowe, Tim Wakefield, Fossum and John Burkett.
January 8, 2003
Derek Zumsteg, Baseball Prospectus
Of the many, many dumb things in the United States tax code, there's a provision that allows teams to write off the salaries of players when they acquire the team on a limited schedule as depreciation. It's an easy, fun way for them to show massive losses while they make tons and tons of delicious cash money. The write-off lasts five years, and then you sell the team for its increased value and find something else to do, like buy an arena football team, or make a nuisance of yourself in another sport.
January 7, 2003
presses on for Colon -- Red Sox reach terms with 3B Mueller
Bob Hohler, Boston Globe
Waging an all-out effort to fashion one of baseball's most fearsome starting rotations, the Red Sox last night were working multiple angles to craft a three-way deal that would unite Montreal ace Bartolo Colon in Boston with his Dominican countryman and former Expo stopper Pedro Martinez. ... With Lansdowne Street blocked off, preliminary work is under way for construction of seating atop the Green Monster at Fenway Park. The team's request for a permit to build 312 seats on a deck above the storied Wall is pending with the city, which is expected to issue a ruling this month. Until then, the Sox said, they have been cleared to begin an early phase of the project. ...
January 6, 2003
keeping it businesslike for now
Gordon Edes, Boston Globe
[A]fter their abortive trip to the Dominican Republic to see Pedro Martinez, only to discover later that Martinez was in Boston, Lucchino said he has not spoken with the Sox ace. He has had conversations with Fernando Cuza, Martinez's agent, but Lucchino said those discussions were about other players. He reiterated a willingness to talk with Martinez, who is lobbying for the club to exercise the $17.5 million option it holds on him for the 2004 season before the start of this season, or else he will become a free agent when the contract expires. Contractually, the Sox have a five-day window at the beginning of November in which they must decide whether they will exercise the clause ...
January 3, 2003
Sox fared well
Brita Meng Outzen, mlb.com
The Mexican Pacific League season finished Monday, and several Red Sox players ranked in the top 10 of several offensive categories. First baseman/designated hitter Julio Zuleta, who signed a minor-league contract with an invitation to Spring Training, led the league with a .664 slugging percentage in 66 games. He finished second in the league with 23 home runs and 61 RBIs and ranked ninth in the league with a .319 average. ...
Outfielder Benny Agbayani led the league with a .458 on-base percentage and finished with the third-best slugging percentage (.573) and average (.322). Anton French, who played for Double-A Trenton in 2002, had the most stolen bases (30) and scored 44 runs in 64 games, fourth in the league. ... left-handed reliever Javier Lopez ... is 1-0 with a 1.80 ERA in 20 innings. He has struck out 15 while walking only five for Santurce.
January 2, 2003
Around with Bill James
Ian Browne, mlb.com
For the last two decades, statistician and author Bill James has enlightened baseball nuts with his ability to not only dissect statistics but create them. Recently, the Red Sox decided that they would put his unique theories to use, and hired him as senior baseball operations advisor. James shared a portion of his endless and interesting knowledge in an interview with MLB.com. ...
MLB.com: You're obviously qualified to work for any Major League team. Is it more special that it's the Red Sox, a team with such rich history and a fanatical following?
James: More special, and also scarier. ...
starters, Yankees have the best rotation
Keith Scherer, espn.com
5. Boston Red Sox -- Pedro Martinez, Derek Lowe, Tim Wakefield, John Burkett, Casey Fossum
This is the high risk, high reward rotation. Lowe's workload jumped 240 percent last year, so an injury in '03 wouldn't be a surprise. His strikeout rate was was down nearly three punchouts from the previous year. Martinez can still go through opposing lineups like Michael Jackson goes through PR flacks, but he has to be used judiciously -- has to be used discriminately. He's still the game's best pitcher, but he can't go 250 innings anymore, and he's visited the disabled list four times since 1999.
At the rate he's improving, Wakefield could be Pedro-like in 2003, but an approximation of his 2001 is more likely. Fossum might be the second-best pitcher on this staff by summer. Burkett is harmless filler. If Lowe was a sure bet to repeat his 2002 performance, the rotation would rank higher. The Sox's success depends dangerously -- a precarious level of dependence -- on the continued health of Lowe and Martinez, and Wakefield's ability to maintain control of his knuckler. And until these variables prove out, we have to hedge.
January 1, 2003
Red Sox Year in Preview
Ian Browne, mlb.com
As the calendar shifts to 2003, the Boston Red Sox are busy building not only a roster, but a philosophy. When Theo Epstein was named the youngest GM in baseball history on Nov. 25, he immediately laid down his mission statement. "We're going to turn the Red Sox into a scouting and player development machine," Epstein said. "We have a chance to win in 2003, and win it all. If we build the scouting and player development machine, we'll have an opportunity to say that every year." ... Epstein has let it be known that the Red Sox are going to be relentless in trying to create a lineup and an organization filled with hitters who get on base and work pitchers...
Sox name Ron Jackson hitting coach
Brita Meng Outzen, mlb.com
The Red Sox named former White Sox and Brewers hitting coach Ron Jackson their Major League hitting coach Tuesday. ... Under Jackson in 1999, Milwaukee improved its batting average (.273) by 13 points and its on-base percentage (.353) by 23 points. ... "[Jackson] is in 100% agreement with our philosophy," Red Sox manager Grady Little said on Tuesday. "We want to improve our on-base percentage and walk total, which will in turn improve our run total."
should embrace Evil Empire motif
Jim Baker, espn.com
Rather than bristle at the name "Evil Empire," I think the Yankees should embrace it with gusto. Owner George Steinbrenner makes no apologies about his policies of winning at any cost, so why not play that angle to the hilt and embrace the concept?
Nothing screams "evil" in today's culture quite like the Darth Vader theme music from the various Star Wars soundtracks ... The Yankees should make that their theme music and take the field to its strains. I also see no great leap forward for Steinbrenner if he were to start appearing in public in a long, black cape. ...
This is a pretty funny quote from Randy Levine, Yankees president. He says, "The typical whining that's going on, all of that needs to stop. The days of trying to hide your own problems by blaming the Yankees are over. We're playing by the rules. We pay tens of millions of dollars in revenue sharing. If those teams choose not to spend it on players but use it for whatever means they decide to, that's their problem."
Mr. Levine misses the point. Whining about the Yankees is part of baseball tradition dating back 80 years. Without the ability to whine about them, what would those of us outside their sphere do for amusement? They exist to torment us, do they not? That is why they are cornering the market on all those pitchers, so that others may not have them so that there will be misery in the lands outside their own.
Is this evil? Sure — in the benign pro sports kind of evil way. And the Yankees should show more joy in being so.
Pythagorean Standings for 2002
Team ExW-L W-L +/- Boston 101- 61 93- 69 -8 NY Yankees 100- 61 103- 58 +3 Toronto 80- 82 78- 84 -2 Baltimore 69- 93 67- 95 -2 Tampa Bay 56-105 55-106 -1
Minnesota 87- 74 94- 67 +7 Chicago Sox 87- 75 81- 81 -6 Cleveland 71- 91 74- 88 +3 Kansas City 66- 96 62-100 -4 Detroit 49-112 55-106 +6
Anaheim 103- 59 99- 63 -4 Oakland 97- 65 103- 59 +6 Seattle 93- 69 93- 69 0 Texas 77- 85 72- 90 -5
Atlanta 98- 62 101- 59 +3 Montreal 83- 79 83- 79 0 NY Mets 79- 82 75- 86 -4 Philadelphia 79- 82 80- 81 +1 Florida 74- 88 79- 83 +5
St. Louis 97- 65 97- 65 0 Houston 87- 75 84- 78 -3 Chicago Cubs 75- 87 67- 95 -8 Cincinnati 74- 88 78- 84 +4 Pittsburgh 70- 91 72- 89 +2 Milwaukee 60-102 56-106 -4
San Francisco 99- 62 95- 66 -4 Arizona 97- 65 98- 64 +1 Los Angeles 89- 73 92- 70 +3 Colorado 69- 93 73- 89 +4 San Diego 64- 98 66- 96 +2
The above standings reflect how the division races would look based on Bill James's Pythagorean theorem of baseball, in which expected wins and losses are projected using the following formula: Runs scored [squared] / (Runs scored [squared] + runs allowed [squared]). This formula was designed to relate a team's runs scored and runs allowed to its won-lost record. The +\- column shows the difference in wins a team has compared to their expected win total.
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