Clearwater, FL, USA; Boston Red Sox shortstop Jose Iglesias (76) throws the ball to first for an out in the fifth inning against the Philadelphia Phillies at Bright House Networks Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-US PRESSWIRE
It doesn't mean jack, but still it's comforting to see the Red Sox starters round into form. Monday we had Jon Lester make some portion of the regular Phillies lineup look like they'd just signed up for baseball camp. Yesterday it was Josh Beckett's turn. He didn't exactly blow the competition away, but his final line was quite respectable and really, it's spring training so what more can you ask for? (Don't answer that!)
'tis the season for previews and the Red Sox blogophere is no different. Over at Grantland, Bill Simmons took a break from following the NBA to take part in possibly the longest email exchange ever with Michael Schur. You may know Schur from his role as Mose from The Office (a show he wrote for), Parks and Recreation where he's currently the head writer, and the Sports Poscast with SI scribe extraordinaire Joe Posnanski. Schur is a big Red Sox fan and also wrote the must-read introduction to this year's Baseball Prospectus annual. Anyway, it's a preview of the Red Sox season so I thought I'd pass it along.
But it ain't the only one, as the fine folks at Yahoo's Big League stew have a preview of the AL East up. Although for some unholy reason it's in that same
I talk: blah blah blah
You talk: blabber dee blab
style that makes my eyes bleed. I like the content, but find the formatting very difficult to handle. I'm passing the articles on to you on the chance that you're not as affected by formatting shenanigans. Oh, and as for the content, both writers have the Red Sox finishing third behind New York and Tampa. So in addition to formatting, they're wrong.
Big news, after the jumpy-jump!
The big news in Red Sox camp was that after insinuating that the shortstop job was an open competition, Bobby V shipped the challenger, Jose Iglesias and his .200/.286/.280 spring training line, back to AAA from whence he came. If you listen to the Boston Globe Red Sox Podcast, you'd know that Globe reporter Nick Carfardo isn't a fan of the move. He thinks the Sox made a mistake going with Aviles, but I don't know how you can hand the starting shortstop job to a guy who hit so abysmally in AAA last year that his OPS could be confused for some people's slugging percentages, and then actually hit worse during spring training. He'd almost have to play an All Star shortstop and third base simultaneously to make it worth suffering his inept bat. I'm on record as saying I like Iglesias and I think he can be an acceptably sucky hitter at the major league level (as opposed to the unacceptably sucky he is now) but his time is clearly not now.
Somewhat surprisingly, Steven Goldman, now of Bleacher Report, agrees with Mr. Carfardo. On the other hand, WEEI.com's Alex Speier provides his thoughts on the matter which are different than Mr. Carfardo's and more in line with my own.
What ever you think of Mike Aviles, his overall production won't be much of a step down from what Iglesias can provide right now and it will likely be better. Over at Fan Graphs, Dave Cameron agrees with that statement and the Sox decision to go with Aviles and let Iglesias get his sea legs about him in AAA.
There's a new writer on the scene, folks, and he goes by the moniker Mac Normandine. Ol' Mac has some writing chops though, I'll give him that. Take his latest for Baseball Nation, for example. If you ever wanted to catch yourself up on the movement to understand catcher defense by the online statistical set, this is the article for you to read. Seriously, it's excellent stuff. You go read it. Now.
And speaking of pimping work that we OTMers have done elsewhere, at Baseball Prospectus yesterday I wrote about attending spring training in Clearwater and Fort Myers and failing to sleep in the process (sorry, this one's behind the pay wall). There's even a picture of me, so go for the jokes but stay for the sexiness.
- The Red Sox optioned Lars Anderson who had, in Bobby V's words, (paraphrasing) a good camp. Given the Sox situation at first base, it's likely that Anderson will see time in left field at AAA.
- As we come around the back stretch, the leaders in the great race to make the 2012 Red Sox rotation are Daniel Bard and Felix Doubront. At least according to The Providence Journal's Brian MacPherson, who should know because, it's like, his job or something.
- You closet Pirate fans will be happy to know that at the Platoon Advantage, Jason Wojciechowski has mapped out a plan to get your Pirates to 88 wins this year.
- The Red Sox Hall of wWar: it's pretty much exactly what you think it is.
Finally, through the magic of the internets, our own Cee Angi, writing at her site Baseball-Prose, turned a harmless semi-intoxicated twitter rant into a talking teddy bear and, well, you should probably just click here.