01/08/2009 - 9:18am
It was an offseason so extravagant that it was ripe for parody.
12/29/2008 - 9:00am
It used to be an annual rite of passage to see great sports teams miss the playoffs. But then, computers were once 18-feet tall and the interweb was a pre-zygotic glimmer in Al Gore’s eye.
Amidst the steady playoff expansion in pro sports, it’s rare that outstanding teams spend the postseason on the sidelines. Since the NFL increased its playoff roster to 12 teams in 1990, there have been more undeserving teams playing football in January (cough, 2008 Cardinals, cough) than excellent teams left to lament the injustice of the football gods.
12/25/2008 - 3:18am
In retrospect, nothing about Mark Teixeira’s signing should have come as a surprise. The Yankees had a weakness in their lineup and at first base that could be addressed by the best position player in the free-agent market. That shortcoming created an opening for Teixeira to seek an eight-year, $180 million windfall.
The sum might seem absurd. Even so, it would be difficult to identify a deficiency that would have prevented Teixeira from becoming one of the top paid players in the game.
12/22/2008 - 11:18am
Mark Teixeira’s qualities as a baseball player are far-reaching, but his allure has always centered around the easiest skill to comprehend. The 28-year-old switch-hitter is, quite simply, capable of destroying a baseball.
It started when Teixeira was at Mount Saint Joseph High School in Baltimore. A stream ran behind the field where players would take batting practice. Behind the stream, roughly 450 feet from home plate, Teixeira would take aim at apartments that had no business being in harm’s way.
12/19/2008 - 10:01am
On one point, at least, the Red Sox are not bluffing.
The team may or may not still be in the running for Mark Teixeira. Though Sox owner John Henry emailed a statement that the Sox “are not going to be a factor” in the bidding for the first baseman, there was plenty of reason for skepticism about his statement.
12/18/2008 - 4:01am
Rafael Furcal concluded a messy foray into free agency yesterday by officially agreeing to re-sign with the Dodgers. The decision left plenty of distressed suitors. The Red Sox were not among them.
Boston never showed an interest in the top free-agent shortstop on the market this offseason. The club did not call Furcal’s agent, Paul Kinzer, even to kick the tires on the 31-year-old. The development was, in some ways, uncharacteristic for a Red Sox front office that tends to look into every possible means of improving.
12/11/2008 - 4:18am
LAS VEGAS--The smoke is clearing. The Red Sox were happy to kick the tires on a pool of extremely talented free-agent pitchers, discussing with varying degrees of interest CC Sabathia, A.J. Burnett and Derek Lowe.
But the team’s heart was never into the pitching market. Boston entered this offseason with the sort of starting depth that was the envy of most clubs. The years and dollars that would be necessary to acquire players in their post-prime seasons never seemed to make sense.
12/10/2008 - 10:18am
LAS VEGAS—As the Red Sox search for a catcher of the future, the requests in trade talks have become familiar. The team’s top prospects—particularly pitchers Clay Buchholz, Justin Masterson and Michael Bowden, as well as slugging first baseman Lars Anderson—are the constant subjects of trade requests.
12/09/2008 - 9:18am
LAS VEGAS—The Red Sox are all but certain to make some of the biggest splashes this offseason. Already, the team has shown a willingness to explore virtually every available avenue for improvement.
All the same, in the immediate future, no news is good news for the Red Sox.
12/06/2008 - 9:18am
On Thursday, Junichi Tazawa’s introduction as a Red Sox was major international news. A sizable contingent of media members gathered at Fenway Park to observe this unusual introduction of a heralded Japanese amateur who was making the leap to play Major League Baseball.
On Friday, the Indians announced in a press release that they had signed right-handed pitcher (and former Sox hurler) Tomo Ohka to a minor-league deal. There were no meet-the-press introductions. The news flickered across sports news tickers for a few moments before quickly disappearing.
12/04/2008 - 9:18am
There was never much mystery about what Dustin Pedroia wanted to do. The 2008 MVP did not make a secret of where his priorities stood as he considered whether or not a long-term deal was in his best interests.
At one point, in conversation with team officials, Pedroia contemplated the prospect of crushing a ball, but then watching with dismay as it settled into an outfielder’s glove on the warning track. He imagined feeling a pang of remorse not just about the out, but also at the potential loss of perhaps $50,000 in arbitration or free agency.
12/02/2008 - 9:18am
Major League Baseball’s winter meetings kick off next Monday in Las Vegas. By that time, Red Sox catcher Jason Varitek will have to decide whether or not to accept an offer that could be the best he will receive this winter.
The Sox underscored their interest in bringing back Varitek for at least another year by offering their longtime catcher salary arbitration last night. Varitek has until Sunday to decide whether to accept or reject that proposal.
11/25/2008 - 9:18am
Junichi Tazawa seemed unlikely to inspire half of New England to spend a day hitting the refresh button on their browsers while tracking the progress of his flight to Boston.
The amateur pitcher from Japan will not elicit the rock-star following that accompanied Daisuke Matsuzaka’s arrival two years ago. Even so, Tazawa offers a reminder of the significance of the Red Sox signing of the right-hander in 2006.
11/20/2008 - 9:18am
The Hot Stove has officially been ignited. Two weeks after the conclusion of the G.M. meetings, and a couple weeks prior to the winter meetings, the Red Sox started reconfiguring their roster for the 2009 season.
One month after they were eliminated in Game 7 of the ALCS by the Rays, Wednesday’s trade of outfielder Coco Crisp to the Royals in exchange for reliever Ramon Ramirez offered some sense of the direction that the offseason is starting to take. Here is a look at the different pieces of Boston’s offseason puzzle that were impacted by the deal:
11/19/2008 - 9:18am
Complacency would be understandable. Dustin Pedroia, in his second year with the Red Sox, followed a Rookie of the Year season by winning the Most Valuable Player award. Teammate Kevin Youkilis finished third in balloting for the award.
For two players who had spent their baseball lives defying skeptics, the moment is rather striking. In their amateur careers, scouts defined both members of the right side of the Red Sox infield by their shortcomings.
11/12/2008 - 9:18am
Amidst the discussion about how to handle the free-agent status of Red Sox catcher Jason Varitek, one suggestion has been notably absent. No one has argued for a transition from the longtime backstop to another catcher who is currently in the organization.
It would be easy to conclude that catching represents an organizational weakness, that the Sox—whose 2008 playoff run relied heavily on depth in the minors—feature a glaring hole in their minor-league system. Some evaluators outside the organization view the situation that way.
11/06/2008 - 9:18am
DANA POINT, Calif.—In one sense, this winter’s free-agent class of pitchers appears to represent a gold mine: a class headed by 2007 Cy Young winner CC Sabathia also features a postseason hero (Derek Lowe) and pitchers with legitimate swing-and-miss arsenals (Ben Sheets, A.J. Burnett, Ryan Dempster, Oliver Perez).
In another sense, the group can be viewed as fool’s gold, set to command wealth that is unlikely to ever spread back to the teams that pay to acquire them.
11/05/2008 - 9:18am
DANA POINT, Calif.—Will anyone blink?
Jason Varitek has never made a secret of his desire to remain a member of the Red Sox. The Red Sox, for their part, have never made a secret of their respect for the catcher’s impact on both the pitching staff and clubhouse.
Yet with Varitek now a free agent, he and the only club for whom he has ever played must now figure out if a shared hope can become a reality. In theory, both sides want to continue their relationship, but the details of a potential deal may prove thorny.
11/04/2008 - 9:18am
DANA POINT, Calif.—Rewind three years.
Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein had abruptly resigned on Halloween. One week later, in the absence of a new head of baseball operations, Boston arrived at the 2005 G.M. meetings in California with a four-man team of Craig Shipley, Ben Cherington, Jed Hoyer and Peter Woodfork in charge of the team’s decision making.
10/31/2008 - 9:18am
WEEI.com writers Rob Bradford and Alex Speier go toe-to-toe to sort out which local pro sports team is next in line to deliver a title in Boston. Join Rob and Alex in the Great Debate on Friday, October 31, at 3 p.m.
10/20/2008 - 9:18am
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla.—The 2008 Red Sox were undone in part by a strategy that nearly sabotaged their 2003 season. The Tampa Bay Rays are advancing to the World Series in part because they were able to lock down four wins in the American League Championship Series without a defined closer manning their ninth innings.
On Opening Day of 2003, the Sox began a faltering first foray into a closer-by-committee experiment at Tropicana Field. The team entered the bottom of the ninth inning of the season opener against the Devil Rays holding a healthy five-run lead.
10/17/2008 - 9:18am
The transformation of the Red Sox is complete. Five years to the day after they endured one of the wrenching defeats in team history, the Red Sox underscored that they are defined by a new narrative in a new era.
10/15/2008 - 9:18am
On one side, a third baseman discussed the season-ending surgery to treat a chronic condition that left him barely able to move. On the other, a third baseman and outfielder reveled in the distance they had traveled since returning to the field from potentially season-ending injuries.
The very different outlooks for Red Sox third baseman Mike Lowell and Rays third baseman Evan Longoria and left fielder Carl Crawford explain a great deal about why Tampa Bay now stands on the cusp of the World Series.
10/14/2008 - 9:18am
In their run of five playoff appearances in the last six years, the Red Sox have experienced enough roster turnover to achieve a fundamental change of identity. Just two members of the current lineup were part of the team’s playoff roster in 2003.
Despite the altered composition of the team, one element seemed a constant. Amidst the change, David Ortiz remained a force capable of dominating the playoffs.
10/12/2008 - 9:18am
Dustin Pedroia, Kevin Youkilis and Jason Bay have batted in the same inning six times this series. The Red Sox have scored in all six innings, amassing nine runs in that time. In the other 14 innings of the series, they have scored just once.
Particularly since David Ortiz is 0-for-6 with four walks and no runs batted in this series, the significance of that pattern is fairly plain. The team right now depends almost entirely on Dustin Pedroia, Kevin Youkilis and Jason Bay to start and sustain rallies.