Friday, August 04, 2006

Looks Like Theo Is Alive After All....

I thought John Henry and Larry might have put the boy genius on punishment after not getting done at the trade deadline. But it looks as if he might have found an able replacement to Varitek.....

BALTIMORE (AP) Javy Lopez was traded from the Baltimore Orioles to Boston on Friday, a deal that gives the former All-Star another chance to play and provides the Red Sox a replacement for injured catcher Jason Varitek.
The Orioles sent Lopez and cash to the Red Sox for a player to be named.
Varitek had arthroscopic surgery on his left knee Thursday and was expected to immediately begin rehabilitation. The Red Sox have not indicated when their captain might return.
The Red Sox lead the wild-care race and are competing with New York for the AL East title. Baltimore is out of contention, and didn't have much need for Lopez because Ramon Hernandez is their starting catcher and Jay Gibbons serves as the designated hitter.
``Javy is ecstatic about the opportunity to be a catcher again. That's been the most frustrating thing for him about being in Baltimore,'' said Lopez's agent, Chuck Berry.
Lopez hoped to be dealt before the non-waiver trade deadline Monday. He then passed through waivers before being traded to Boston.
``This is perfect for him: He gets to play with a team battling for first place and at Fenway Park, which has all that history,'' Berry said. ``It should be a great ballpark for him to hit in, too.''
At 35, Lopez is in the final season of a $22.5 million, three-year contract he signed as a free agent with the Orioles in December 2003. He got that deal after hitting .328 with 43 home runs and 109 RBIs for Atlanta, his third All-Star season for the Braves.
Lopez is hitting .265 with eight home runs and 31 RBIs in 279 at-bats. He has caught in only 21 of the Orioles' 109 games as a backup to Ramon Hernandez.
``I've got no position on this team. I don't see why they really need me,'' Lopez said this week. ``I'm not meant to play once a week. ... I cannot be happy in this situation. They probably have their plan, and I don't think they're going to keep me like this until the end of the season. They're probably going to do something sooner or later.''
It happened Friday.
``We've been looking all year long for a place where Javy could catch,'' Berry said. ``To its credit, Baltimore worked with us on that.''
The Orioles signed free agent catcher Chris Widger to replace Lopez on the roster. Widger began the season with the Chicago White Sox and batted .184 with one home run and seven RBIs in 27 games before being released Tuesday.
He has played parts of 10 seasons in the majors, batting .239 with 55 homers and 220 RBIs in 604 games.

On the surface, this looks like a great move for the infidels. You get a former all-star to hold the fort while your current all-star backstop recovers from knee surgery. But there's a reason why Javy doesn't catch anymore. As a catcher, he's better served as a DH.

Tek is having a down year offensively and he's always been overrated defensively (how do you win a Gold Glove when you can't catch a Knuckleballer?) But he's always been great at handling a pitching staff. He knows the hitters in the AL as well as anyone. In spite of this, the Sox staff has still struggled. Lopez has only caught sparingly in this league. In the NL, Cox overlooked his deficiencies as a backstop because of his bat. You could overlook his game-calling and defense because he was hitting 30 jacks and driving in 90 plus every year. I doubt he'll put up enough runs to compensate for his problems behind the plate.

One of the pleasant surprises with the Yankees over the last couple of years is Posada's coming of age as a complete catcher. I still cringe when he tries to block the plate. But he's calling games much better and he's throwing out runners at an increased rate. Combine that with his bat which is still potent and you have one of the three or four best catchers in the game. Jorge's play is a big part why the Yankees have remained in the race.

But forget Javy. If Theo's behind this move...then colored me concerned....From ESPN's Buster Olney today...

With Andruw Jones only days away from gaining trade veto power, the All-Star center fielder was claimed on waivers by an unnamed team, leaving the Braves until 1 p.m. ET Saturday to decide whether to take their last opportunity to deal Jones unfettered.

That Jones was placed on waivers is unremarkable; he was one of hundreds of players, including many stars, who were placed on waivers earlier this week. What makes Jones' situation interesting is that on Aug. 15, he will gain 10-and-5 rights -- 10 years in the big leagues, five with the same team -- to block any proposed trade.

Multiple teams placed claims on Jones, according to major-league sources. But on Thursday afternoon, one team was awarded a claim on Jones. Now the Braves have two choices -- either work out a trade with the team who placed the claim by Saturday or pull Jones back from waivers. If they pull him back, they cannot trade him again for the rest of this season.

Jones' value in the trade market is relatively high right now, because he is a highly productive player locked up for only one more year -- at $13.5 million -- at a time when players like Alfonso Soriano and Carlos Lee might command $70 million packages on the free-agent market.

The Boston Red Sox tried to deal for Jones leading up to the trade deadline, with some intent to try to flip him to the Houston Astros for Roy Oswalt. Some scouts also think that the Los Angeles Angels, who've been looking for a bat, might have high interest in Jones.

Atlanta GM John Schuerholz, reached on his cell phone, said Friday afternoon that he would not comment on the team's internal business.

I've expressed my love for all things Andruw in the past. So much so that I proposed that the Yankees go after him in the off-season and say buh-bye to Sheffield. But acquiring Bobby Abreu has pretty much eliminated that possibility and there's a chance we would retain Sheff and platoon him and Giambi at first base and DH.

But if the Halos or the Sox are in cahoots on this, it's not a good thing for the Empire. Even without Colon, Anaheim has a deep pitching staff and their offense while hardly scary is one slugger away from being a force in the playoff race. With Garret Anderson's decline, the Halos have desperately needed a slugger to protect Vlad Guerrero in the lineup. Jones gives them that plus a gold glove caliber centerfielder, making a good defensive team even better. It's pretty obvious that we don't match up well with Anaheim. Jones makes a potential matchup even more difficult.

The idea of Epstein flipping Jones into Oswalt is not something that makes me sleep well either. Oswalt would give the Sox potent 1-2-3 along with Schilling and Beckett. Navigating through the AL East is a tad more difficult than the peutrid NL Central...but that's a trio you wouldn't want to face in a short series.

All this means is that the Yankees have to handle their business and continue to win series. They're something like 10-1-1 in their last 12 series. A nice winning streak would be nice. But if the Yankees continue to win series, they win the AL East. Simple as that.

Well, hardly simple...but nothing in baseball ever is...


Blogger George said...

I don't think that Javy is going to be a difference maker down the stretch. He has only caught 2 games this year and really hasn't hit much lately (below the Mendoza line since the break). I am with you on the concern about Jones. Strangely enough I didn't hear anything at all today even though it was supposed to be that something would be known by about 1 pm EST. I was happy to see the White Sox win and put the infidels at a half-game back in the wild card standings.

7:03 PM  
Blogger FenwayParked said...

To: George
Re: Javy Lopez
CC: Darth

IF the Yankees found themselves in a similiar catching situation and got Javy Lopez he'd be welcomed like some kind of savior. I could just see the back covers of the News & Post.

3:01 AM  
Blogger Darth Marc said...

No I wouldn't. I value what a good catcher does defensively too much to ever say that. Unlike most Sox fans, I watch something other than my game every once in a while....

3:13 AM  

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