Welcome to the weekend recap at Over the Monster! As you've probably noticed, content's been flying all over the place here lately, and we'd hate to think you missed any of it while off having "jobs" and "social lives." So from here on out, there'll be a post waiting for you here every Saturday morning, with all the summaries and links you could ever want. Think of it as Reader's Digest, with fewer cooking tips and more shouting about Bobby Valentine.
Why am I the one doing this? Honestly, I'm as confused as you. A few days ago, Marc asked me via Twitter if I'd be interested in putting together these recaps and doing some other content during the weekends. After a couple minutes of staring at my phone in confusion, I got my brain together enough to accept the offer. I don't have much in the way of blogging cred, but I've been watching/shouting about the Red Sox ever since I was big enough to wear a tiny Wade Boggs jersey. The rest I'm planning to figure out as I go, and I'd love your feedback as I start to contribute here. Mostly, I'm just happy to be here, hope I can help the ballclub.
On to the recap:
The Red Sox traded Marco Scutaro to the Rockies for Clay Mortensen over the weekend, prompting a sane and rational discussion on the direction of the 2012 Red Sox, with almost no panic or garment-rending. It also left the shortstop position in the hands of some combination of Mike Aviles and Nick Punto, a platoon which Marc Normandin analyzed in depth. Whatever the trade's merits (or lack thereof), it reinforced that we're rooting for laundry, a theme expanded upon in Matthew Kory's post on the replaceability of all players. And if you're curious about Boston's long-term plans at shortstop, Marc provided some perspective on minor-league glove wizard Jose Iglesias, comparing him to former Mets SS Rey Ordonez, a man familiar to new Sox manager Bobby Valentine.
With a few million dollars in payroll freed up by the Scutaro trade, attention began to focus on the available pool of starting pitchers. Early in the week, the big name was Roy Oswalt. Marc discussed rumors that Oswalt had turned down Detroit and was leaning toward Boston on Monday, but by Wednesday, Ben Buchanan was reporting that Oswalt might instead prefer to stick closer to home. Even if Oswalt does want to pitch for the Sox, would he be the best fit for the rotation? Marc raised the question of whether White Sox hurler Gavin Floyd might be preferable, given the Sox' needs.
Meanwhile, former Dodger/Devil Ray/Ray/Tiger/Diamondback/White Sock/Cardinal Edwin Jackson is looking for another jersey to add to his collection. Marc wondered if the well-traveled righty might be Boston's best bet. The market for Jackson's services is a bit unclear, but Baltimore apparently has expressed interest in signing him to a four-year deal. With that offer apparently out there, would it make sense for Jackson to agree to one year in Boston? Marc posed that very question on Friday.
So while we all racked our brains trying to figure out the pitching staff, what did the Sox do? They took Cody Ross from "ongoing dialogue" to "newest Red Sox outfielder" in about five hours. What did this do, aside from improving the Red Sox' beard credentials? For one thing, it led to a surplus on the 40-man roster. Marc speculated on whether this could lead to a multi-player trade, but eventually the Sox announced that Scott Atchison would be the one taking the hit in order to get Ross on the roster. If Atchison clears waivers, he'd be worth keeping around, especially since Dan Wheeler, who'd also been valuable in low-lev relief, agreed to a minor-league deal with Cleveland.
The Sox also went in for some smaller housekeeping and contract moves. Ben reported on the Sox reaching a deal with their new closer, Andrew Bailey, once again avoiding arbitration. Last night, the Sox made a couple of minor moves, signing former Mets starter John Maine and minor-league lifer Max St. Pierre to minor-league deals. Neither is likely to make much impact on the major-league roster. All this, of course, is dictated by the most important number of all: the Red Sox' payroll heading into 2012. With a big tip of the cap to WEEI's always excellent Alex Speier, we discussed that on Thursday. Long story short: they'll probably go over the luxury tax threshold. But not by much.
For those who want a little more analysis with their baseballing, the sort that would make Murray Chass weep on his non-blog, Matt Sullivan provided. In Over the Monster's ongoing discussion of the best individual tools on the Red Sox (non-cribbage, since Pedey), Matt tackled two this week. On Monday, a four-way battle to decide which Sox pitcher brings the best heat. And on Thursday, the more subtle question of hitting things with a stick; which Boston hitter delivers the best pure contact?
If there's one thing that Jose Canseco taught us, it's that anyone can make it in Major League Baseball. All it takes is a head full of rocks, a bloodstream full of rhinoceros hormones, and a crazy dream. Matt Kory gave us a look at Jose's latest attempt at a comeback, with only slight comedic exaggeration.
In the interest of provoking discussion here amongst the OTM community, our authors decided to poke a few bears. Marc, in response to Detroit's surprise signing of Prince Fielder to a (gulp) 9-year, $214 million contract, asked you whether you'd rather have that contract than Carl Crawford's 7-year, $142 million deal. Think it's crazy to get a bunch of Sox fans to defend Carl Crawford? You ain't seen nothing yet. Matt Kory went right after it, writing "In Defense of John Lackey." As I discussed with him on Twitter yesterday, this will be followed by "Dice-K: More Reliable Than You Think," and "J.D. Drew: Clutchiest Hitter, or Clutchiest Hitter Ever?"
I'll close out the recap on a slightly sad note: with Marc's reflection on the retirement of longtime Yankee catcher Jorge Posada. To the Yankees, he was one of the pillars of a dynastic team. To us, he was that angry guy who kept yelling at Pedro and hitting doubles at exactly the wrong times. Either way, one hell of a career.
So that was the week here. Pretty eventful for late January, all things considered. Once again, thrilled to be on board, and looking forward to some great discussions as we count down to the day when the sun comes out, pitchers start long-tossing, and guys in red socks start playing the greatest game there is.