So that was quite the week, eh? The Red Sox didn't sign anyone. No one played any baseball games. There was a football game of notable unpleasantness. I got nothing, folks. It's the second week in February, and it's sunny and 50 in Boston. I'm not even sure where I live anymore.
This is a raw time of year for those in the writing-about-baseballing business. No games to report on. No free agents left, except for Roy Oswalt, who's still holed up in his volcano lair. Even so, I think we managed to put together a pretty solid week of Red Sox coverage and analysis here at Over the Monster.
To the recapping!As you may recall, the week started with hangovers both literal and psychological. The New England Patriots, the shoulder-padded, Elvis-helmeted guys who get us through a fall and winter of baseball-less Sundays, played the New York Giants in the Superbowl. It did not turn out well. We'll leave it at that. This led to a lot of soul-searching, and... No, scratch that. It led to a lot of drinking. And cursing. And really, really hating Eli Manning and his freakish ability to chuck a ball blindly into the stratosphere and somehow have a guy catch it, that miserable, chinless...ahem. I have digressed. Anyway, the Superbowl did produce one good outcome: Matt Kory's terrific column on the relative importance of the regular season in MLB and the NFL.
Oddly, being fans of the New England sports teams, we have experienced failure once or twice before. Notably, just last fall. Something about September, and a local baseball franchise going 7-20. In case you'd forgotten about any of that, Cee Angi put together a review of last year's darkest moments. Think how much fun it'll be looking back on that when the Red Sox are six games up in August and smashing opposing pitching staffs into a pasty substance. Character-building.
Right, right, the pitching staff, Still haven't fixed the pitching staff. Anything get done on that front? Well, the Sox have stockpiled more than a few potentially useful arms in the minors. Marc Normandin discussed Aaron Cook, one of those arms, and what the Sox might expect from him. Looking at the trade market, Ben Buchanan traveled (metaphorically, I think) to the banks of the Ohio to take a look at maybe-available Reds righty Homer Bailey. What about Roy Oswalt? Think he might sign with the Sox? Marc took a look at the veteran righty who makes Hamlet look like The Decider.
But hey, Boston did sign a pitcher! He's tall! And Australian! And... 17. Dude was born while I was in middle school. I'm going to take a brief break from writing to feel old. Anyway, the Sox signed a giant lefty with an awesome fastball who may someday come to the bigs and force Fenway to serve Foster's. So a mixed bag.
February's a great time for looking ahead, whether toward the new season or seasons to come. For the short term, Marc gave us all a peek at Baseball Prospectus's legendary PECOTA projections for the 2012 Red Sox. In longer-term scrying, we gave you a look at Level-20 Snark Master Keith Law's minor-league rankings. Unsurprisingly, the Sox are in the middle of the pack, but with some upside. Speaking of upside, Matt Sullivan took a look at high-minors prospects Jose Iglesias and Will Middlebrooks, and whether they can contribute to the major-league club, even if their bats aren't quite ready.
More of an offense-minded reader? Marc provided, with a look at just how good the Red Sox have been in two-strike counts. Like pure offense, none of that messy glovework? Then I imagine you're a David Ortiz fan. And luckily for you, Ortiz agreed to terms with the Sox, avoiding arbitration. Or not. Internet journalism is messy, man.
No baseball offseason would be complete without meta-criticism. Matt Kory charged right into the lion's den, telling Boston Red Sox fans that they should be optimistic going into spring. The response was... mixed. But he's right, and more importantly, he had the nerve to challenge his readers. Can't imagine a better approach to writing.
Challenging his readers is something that has always escaped Jon Heyman, he's much more the "appeal to base emotions and also I know Scott Boras" type. Since he decided to affect knowledge of anything Red Sox, we felt it only right to respond. I expended a few words on how he was wrong in baseball terms, and Ben drove it home with a masterful piece on the soccer aspect of the story, proving that baseball isn't the sport Heyman's worst at writing about.
So that was the week. Best part of this week? We're seven days closer to Opening Day. Happy Truck Day, everyone!