Yahoo! Sports' Jeff Passan joined Dennis & Callahan to talk about the Red Sox' offseason, the Angels' signing of Josh Hamilton and other baseball offseason news.
The Red Sox have acquired Mike Napoli, Shane Victorino and Ryan Dempster this offseason (assuming the Napoli and Dempster deals are made official), and Passan gives the team mixed grades for the moves.
"Napoli I get. Napoli makes sense," he said. "I'd prefer to pay a guy $13 million a year if he was going to catch more. But I think that he had a down year last year. And I'm not saying he's more like 2011 Napoli than 2012, but I think he's a comfortable in-between, and he's got a swing that was built for that ballpark, and he's got a personality that fits there. I didn't mind Napoli very much.
"Victorino was absurd. Shane Victorino might be a good fourth outfielder these days. Look, he can catch the ball a little bit, but they're paying him center field money to play a corner outfield spot with Jacoby Ellsbury there now and Jackie Bradley coming. Center field money for a guy who hits like a center fielder, like a mediocre center fielder that they're playing in a corner outfield, that one made absolutely no sense to me.
"Dempster's fine. There's a reason that nobody would give him three years, though. He had Tommy John surgery back in 2003. Elbows tend not to last very long -- somewhere usually between seven and 10 years or so. We're getting to the 10th year of his elbow holding at this point. I know that the medicals on him turned out all right, but there was still quite a bit of concerns from other teams about his arm holding up. Especially with all the sliders he throws. You'll see, he throws about one-third of his pitches are sliders, and those can be very, very harmful on the arm. I think that was the big question mark about Dempster and the reason that nobody gave him a third year. You just hope for the Red Sox' sake he lasts two."
All three new Red Sox are known as solid clubhouse guys, but Passan questions the team's strategy in that regard.
"That's the thing that I don't understand about this plan. Just because you bring nice people together doesn't mean that they're going to get along. … It doesn't always work that way," he said. "Sports chemistry is a very organic thing. It is something that happens, it is something that comes together. And when you try to force chemistry through people's reputations, I think that's a very dangerous way and a backward way to build a ball club -- and a very surprising way, for a general manager and a team that has been steeped in analytics, in numbers driving so much of what they do, to go out and do this, a lot of which is based on having a better, friendlier, more-palatable-to-the-fans clubhouse, that's the part of the Red Sox' offseason I just don't get."
Looking at the 2013 season, Passan said the Sox appear to be in for another challenging campaign.
"I still think their rotation is mediocre," he said. "I think they'll hit. They will hit. I think they're sort of like an off-brand Angels roster right now. They're built like the Angels, but they're not as good as them.
"To me, this is a year where I'm going to look down at Pawtucket as much as anything. I want to see how Jackie Bradley looks. I want to see eventually how Matt Barnes and Allen Webster look. I want to see how Xander Bogaerts looks. Because that's the linchpin of this team right now. Those guys should all be there come 2014. If that's the case, then I think 2014 and beyond is going to be very exciting for them. They're not going to be down in the doldrums for a long time. They're not -- they're the Boston Red Sox. But I don't see this year being a ton better than last year."
With Hamilton leaving Texas for Los Angeles, Passan noted that the American League West rivalry between the Rangers and Angels has become the game's most intense, surpassing the one in the AL East.
"This is a better rivalry than the Yankees and Red Sox. I firmly believe that," Passan said. "The Yankees and Red Sox right now are dead. The Yankees and Red Sox right now are stale. There's nothing to that rivalry. The Red Sox are rebuilding in a weird way, and the Yankees can't get a contract for more than one year except for a 39-year-old outfielder [Ichiro Suzuki]. Is that really where they're supposed to be going at this point?
"It's a weird situation in the AL East right now, where the three teams that seem positioned best for the future are the Orioles, Rays and Blue Jays. How the hell did that happen?"
Dr. Tony Schena joined the show to give insight into what lies ahead for Rob Gronkowski. He said a tough road is in front of the Patriots tight end.
We discuss the improbable win over the Browns and the loss of Rob Gronkowski with Patriots Head Coach Bill Belichick on Patriots Monday.
Ninkovich sits in with Mut and Merloni to look back at yesterday’s comeback win against the Browns. Rob also explains the range of emotions the team experienced after Rob Gronkowski suffered a potentially season ending injury.
Eagle checks in to give Grande and Max a perspective on the Brooklyn Nets after they acquired Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett via trade earlier this summer. He breaks down what he thinks the future holds for the Nets after completing this blockbuster deal.
Sean Grande and Cedric Maxwell take some time and look back at the history between the Celtics and the Lakers, specifically the legendary rivalry between Magic and Bird. Legendary broadcaster, Ian Eagle, checks in to give the Brooklyn perspective as KG and Paul Pierce settle into their new home. Sean and Max also reveal the behind the scenes details surrounding Max’s famous “I got the ball” moment.
In the first hour of this edition of the Celtics Summer Cooler, Grande and Max analyze the trade that sent Fab Melo out of Boston. Also in this hour, Max sets the story straight about his history with Larry Bird.
Cherington sits in with Mut and Lou to talk about the Red Sox heading into 2014. Ben breaks down the signing of Edward Mujica and what’s on the table at this year’s meetings.
Rob Bradford joined the show and talked about the activity on day one of the Winter Meetings in Orlando. Rob told the guys the Sox are in a good spot and plan on waiting out the Stephen Drew market.
Rob Bradford and Alex Speier talk with Jon Lester about contract negotiations, losing a teammate like Jacoby Ellsbury, the World Series run, and looking ahead to 2014.
Shawn Thornton joined the show and discussed the teams long layoff leading into their game tomorrow night in Montreal. He told the guys that he anticipates fighting being a part of hockey for years to come.
Lucic joins Danny Picard to talk some hockey after the team’s overtime win against the Carolina Hurricanes. Danny asks Lucic about David Krejci’s game winner yesterday and hockey outsiders that are trying to change the game.
Shawn Thornton joined the show fresh off his big night at MSG and talked about his recent goal scoring prowess. Shawn said that no matter who his line mates are he is always going to be a fourth liner.
The top stories of the day as recounted by Kirk Minihane. Today the guys talked about Kanye West's moronic comments comparing himself to a cop.
Millar sits in with the guys on location in Orlando at MLB's Winter Meetings. He covers all the bases with Mut and Lou on all the Red Sox free agent possibilities and potential trades.
Former Red Sox catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia chats with Mut and Merloni about his decision to join the Miami Marlins after hitting free agency this winter. Jarrod also talks about his relationship with the Red Sox during his time in Boston.
Kurkjian joins Mut and Merloni at the Winter Meetings to talk about the Red Sox plans on the market. Tim believes the Red Sox are not satisfied with their situation in center and are looking to add a veteran outfielder to the mix.
We discuss the comers and goers for the Red Sox and the rest of MLB with former GM Steve Phillips, now of MLB Radio on Sirius XM.
Ho, hum. We're live at the Winter Meetings in Orlando, and it seems like everything of merit was done last week. We still discuss the Sox roster moves and potential for 2014.
We tackle four topics at 4PM, today centered around sporting disasters.
Ryder talks with WEEI.com's Chris Price about the Patriots upcoming game with the Cleveland Browns, and Stevan Ridley's status on the team.
Alex joins the show and gives his thoughts on the Jacoby Ellsbury deal, and what prospects the Red Sox have to fill the hole left in the lineup, or trade pieces to get a player who can fill the void.
John talks to Rob and gets his thoughts on the Yankees signing Jacoby Ellsbury, the Red Sox signing AJ Pierzynski, and Jarrod Saltalamacchia signing with Miami.
The top stories of the day as recounted by Kirk Minihane. He discussed the new love between Evelyn Lozada and former Red Sox player Carl Crawford.More from this show