Apologies for my absence, loyal readers. I've been stuck in innumerate airports, cars, subways, and buses. Its been a Planes, Trains and Automobiles kinda week for yours truly. I write this from Logan Airport in Boston while the Red Sox are in the midst of their fourth rain delay. I can top that as I'm in the midst of my sixth flight delay. NESN showed second base which was almost entirely covered in mud. Why they continue to play in such conditions baffles my mind. In the context of the season each game is important, but at a certain point, likely somewhere around the fourth rain delay of the day, don't you kinda think screw it? [Note: They did, in fact, say screw it, calling the game shortly afterwards.]
The 90's had awesome fashion, no security at airports, and great hitting shortstops could be purchased for a pittance at the local convenience store. Things have changed since then. Few people outside the Pacific Northwest wear flannel (fight the power, my people!), good luck finding an airport security line shorter than the opening day line up outside Fenway, and shortstops that hit for power have gone the way of the doodoo bird*. This makes the precious few shortstops who can hit homers very valuable. Which brings us to our first topic: Hanley Ramirez.
*Its like a dodo bird, but funnier.
As you know, Ramirez plays for the skinflint Marlins who are so far behind the Phillies in the NL East division they might be in front of them. Ramirez's salary goes from $11 million to $15 million next season and for the two following. If you think Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria wants to pay that money, well, he doesn't. As such, Joe Pawlikowski of Fan Graphs rightfully wonders if it might be time for the Marlins to trade Hanley Ramriez. There are a number of issues involved in a deal for Ramirez, which Pawlikowski details. One of which is Ramirez's awful offensive season to date. The Marlins aren't going to pick up any salary in a deal so any trading partner is gong to have to assume a lot of risk. To that end, Vince Caramela of The Hardball Times looks to see if Ramirez can recover his season. Maybe there are some teams willing to take on that salary and risk at a high cost of in prospects, but I doubt it. This seems more like a discussion for the off season when things will be clearer rather than one for the trading deadline. Just realize my writing that sentence ensures Ramirez will be traded soon, possibly yesterday.
Hardball Talk's Craig Calcaterra has been doing a bang-up job following the ridiculous Frank McCourt saga. His latest on the topic is more required reading. McCourt's tenure is a sad ransacking of a once proud franchise by what seems to be an overgrown child who was mistakenly let into the fine china shop, handed a baseball bat, blind folded and told to practice. I don't have much to add besides noting Red Sox fans should realize how lucky they are to have John Henry when Frank McCourt, legitimately one of the worst owners in the past few decades, could have run the Red Sox into the ground instead of the Dodgers. We could all be staring another Dan Shaughnessy curse/hex/voodoo book in the face.
If you're the podcasty sort hopefully you are listening to the Beyond the Boxscore Podcast. The latest edition is out. It's no OTM podcast, but then we can't be holding others to our impossibly high standards, now can we?
Folks are lining up on either sides of possibly the most polarizing issue to face us as a people in this new century. Get your pitchforks, stock the bunker with TP and deionized water: Should Adrian Gonzalez play the outfield during interleague play? Peter Gammons doesn't think so, the fine and virtual people at Sons of Sam Horn are split on the issue, Alex Speier reports that the Sox are undecided and I say, why the hell not? Put him at shortstop! In a clown suit!
On the face of it both Jacoby Ellsbury and Brett Gardner are similar players. Steve Lombardi at the Baseball Reference blog puts the two outfielders careers next to each other for easy comparison. Take a look and see who you think has had the better career to date.
Finally, Chip Buck at Fire Brand of the AL has an interesting note from Peter Gammons' weekly radio appearance on WEEI. Apparently, and really less than shockingly when you think about it for a half second, Jed Lowrie is somewhat skeptical of the Red Sox medical staff. What is more, they haven't been able to figure out what is wrong with his shoulder. This will all end well, I'm sure of it.