White Hat Sports Headlines

Friday, August 1, 2008

Sitting on the dock of the Bay

To start the week, the ring tone on my phone had been Dirty Girl by Bobby Light AKA Rob Dyrdek. It had been for a few months and always got a kick out the reaction that it got. Then I had an idea to get a new ring tone. I downloaded it on Wednesday and went to my buddy Zach's house to watch the Sox-Angels game. Then I started hearing it play every 20 minutes for the next 20 hours, until the trade deadline.

The day of the trade deadline is always a special day for baseball junkies like me and my friends. My text messages went from manageable to out of control completely. I was deleting them by the inbox yesterday they were coming so fast and furious from friends. The thing I noticed was that trade rumors came in text form the entire day, but once the deadline came and the deal went down, it became a day of phone calls. I was one the phones again, just like last year when we got Gagne, talking about whether we gave up too much to get rid of Manny. Read the last part of that sentence again, did the Red Sox give up too much to get rid of Manny? Usually you think about things like did they give up too much to get the superstar? My buddy Marty was the first to call he always is in these scenario's because he's the most prepared too. He was ready to head to the bar to celebrate or drown his sorrow in the deal that never happened. As I was on the phone with him, the word came down that the Sox had thrown Craig Hansen and Brandon Moss into the deal. Now first you must understand that Marty and I are the two biggest fans of Craig Hansen in New England. We've both thought that this kid was going to turn the corner at any time and become an elite set up man for years to come. Giving up Moss was okay because we didn't have space for him in the outfield. But Hansen? I thought the main objective a week ago was to get another reliever to try and bolster the bullpen? I guess everything stopped when Manny went AWOL and getting rid of him became the only objective.
One GM said today that the big deals that happened during this landmark day squashed a lot of other smaller efforts, which could lead to more waiver trades than what is usually seen in August. Trading away Hansen though does two things and neither of them are remotely positive.
1. It weakens the bullpen.
Whether or not Hansen was about to become the 8th inning set up man for the post season this year is unlikely but now instead of bolstering your bullpen you're handicapping it by taking one of the members out of it. That piece has to be replaced though, and I'm not sure where it's going to come from. Masterson has pitched better than people think out of the pen so far, but Delcarmen has even his most ardent supporters grabbing an inhaler every time he enters the game right now. The worst part is I don't see anything in triple-A right now that is ready to step up this month and become a bullpen arm down the stretch. Bowden just got brought up two weeks ago to triple-a and most believe that his future is as a starting pitcher and Daniel Bard is still a few years away. Bard's name was actually thrown around in trade talks for Atlanta's Will Ohman.
2. It takes away the direction of the bullpen.
The pen has had a feel in it since last season and that is that the team wants to build it up with power arms from within the organization and from the draft. They were starting to hand the reigns from Mike Timlin to Manny Delcarmen and so on and so fourth building a bullpen of young arms to set up their young closer Jonathan Papelbon. Now Hansen is gone to Pittsburgh which could be good for him, he might even become the closer there if Matt Capps continues to have problems staying healthy.
Moss as well might have a better opportunity to play a lot more in Pittsburgh obviously.

So as I drove home from Bangor today from seeing my buddies and watching trading deadline coverage, my cell phone has finally cooled off. But when it finally rings and Otis Redding's "Sitting on the Dock of the Bay". It dawns on me, maybe I knew that Jason Bay was coming to Boston, maybe I didn't. maybe he's going to become an all-star and average 30 homers a year for the next 5 years in Boston. All I know is that the Sox have a chance and at this point in the year, that's all you can hope for.

Sterling Pingree

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