Monday, January 30, 2012

Stupid Sexy Talent

The likelihood of Ben Cherington splurging on a multi-year deal for Cardinals free-agent starter Edwin Jackson is next to nothing, what with the money tree at Fenway finally ceasing to sprout leaves this winter. Yet the idea of a one-year deal for the Boras client remains intriguing, although probably not feasible at this point, as Peter Gammons tweeted earlier that "Jackson claims 3-4 multi-year offers," with the Sox not likely to be one of those doing the offering.

Hypothetically, would a multi-year deal be worth it? My gut tells me no. Why would Boston splurge on a starter who they would clearly have to overpay to bring in, simply to replace John Lackey's innings and bloated contract? I'm having nightmares of Jackson eating his way to an 8-14 record for the third straight season while gravity pulls his growing waistline closer and closer to the infield dirt.

A closer look at the projections backs this up (well, maybe not the weight thing, but numbers-wise.) Bill James predicts an 11-12 record, and an ERA north of 4.00 with just over 200 innings thrown for the 28-year old this upcoming season. Good numbers for a guy who would slot in as the fourth starter, but not the sort that should have gobs of cash thrown at them. Haven't there been enough recent examples for teams to learn this?

Luckily, with the Dice-K and Lackey disasters staring them in the face, the Sox brass seems to be making the smart play here. But it remains to be seen if the market will force Jackson into a 1-year deal, possibly putting Boston back in the running. Again, this looking impossible now with Ken Rosenthal and Gammons stating Jackson has received several multi-year offers.

Prediction? Someone will give him a 3 or 4 year deal. He's only 28, shows signs that he is finally "getting it," and still rocks that no-hit stuff he's had since the Dodgers drafted him in the sixth-round back in '01. As we have seen time and time again, that sort of talent will always seduce someone.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Jose Iglesias: Here's Hoping

Shortstop. It's been a bit of a sore spot since 2004. You remember, the moment Theo made the trade, shipping Nomar to the Cubs and acquiring postseason stalwart Orlando Cabrera, jump-starting the team in the process and propelling them to the title.

Take a moment...bask in it. There you go.

The turnstile has been a-spinnin' from that point on.

So to ask the fanbase to endure a wildly unexciting amalgamation of Mike Aviles and Nick Punto--or, Mick Apuntoviles as I like to call them--for a season is not exactly out of the ordinary. As unconventional as a shortstop platoon is, they can probably keep the position afloat until something better comes along.

Punto, a lumpy approximation of a middle infielder, is flashy with the glove--a notion which probably marks the first time the words flashy and Punto have found themselves in the same vicinity of one another. The former Cardinal split time at third, the outfield, yet saw just eight games as short last season. In any case, Bobby Valentine will probably see above average defense out of Lumps...err, Punto.

Aviles is an average utility man at best, slightly below palatable with both the glove and bat. Not much  more to say than that. These two will not be seen posing with pornstars and lighting up the talk radio airwaves in 2012. The best case scenario for these two is that they go completely unnoticed--which would mean they're doing their jobs without screwing up too badly.

But. There is hope on the horizon. Fresh, doe-eyed hope, and it comes in the form of 22-year old prospect Jose Iglesias. So much hope that describes him as "a future perrenial gold-glove shortstop." The kid is a whiz at short. He's got the ability to step on the field opening day.

The future with the latest Mr. Prospect is well, lumpier than many think. As a public service, I'm cautioning everyone to hold off on their excitement about Iglesias before it even really begins, which it probably will sometime in 2012.

Specifically, he needs to make some serious adjustments at the plate.

For a quick and dirty comparison, Dustin Pedroia posted an OPS of .810 during his final full season in the minors ('06), while Iglesias put up a paltry .554 last year with Pawtucket. Yeesh.  That would put him right around .100 points below Punto's career average of .652 in 11 seasons.  Nobody expects Iglesias to step in and remind people of the plucky second baseman, but those numbers won't put him much higher than a defensive replacement on a major league roster. 

Iglesias likely make an appearance in spring training, season himself in Pawtucket, and be recalled when Valentine and everyone else gets fed up with Mr. Lumps and his sidekick. 

But while  this beacon of hope will probably be on the minds of many fans this summer as the public begins screaming for shortstop options following the surprising exit of Marco Scutaro, don't look for Iglesias to become a major league star--this season or any time after that.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Yoenis Cespedes: The Showcase

Cuban Defector. High jump master. Core strength enthusiast. Mother lover. Baseball wizard. Soon to be major-league outfielder.

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Yoenis Cespedes' workout video:

If you didn't make it to the end, you clearly weren't interested in witnessing an unsettling shot of a pig spit-roasting, as well as a rather fattish man dancing awkwardly with a pair of females.

Because in a video that references Star Wars, employs the services of Jay-Z along with theme music akin to Kenny G's dream soundtrack, but manages to reveal next to nothing about the actual baseball player, one simply must include horrible salsa dancing.

After being officially declared a free-agent this week by MLB, "El Talento" is currently making the rounds, working out for the usual suspects--the Yankees, Red Sox, etc.

But my question is this: how can this sideshow sign with anyone but the ultimate circus that is the Miami Marlins? Ozzie Guillen, Carlos Zambrano, the new stadium, brand spanking new unis, and El Talento.

This brings to mind a certain phrase involving icing being applied to baked goods.

Yep. It's exactly like that.

I'm back

I took a hiatus to finish up my degree in English, surf internet porn, and incessantly watch Dr. Steve Brule instructional videos. Of course during my time of "hard work" and "introspection," the organization ends up having the most news-worthy and interesting stretch since October 2007. 

So it goes.