It's funny when everyone has the same thought at one time. "Hey," everyone thinks all at once, "Now that Papelbon joined the Phillies, he'll have to Ship On Down to Philadelphia! Hilarious! I'm totally using that!" This was the thought that ESPN Boston's Gordon Edes, and the bloggers at Fenway West, the American Spectator Blog and Yard Barker all had simultaneously. Oh, and so did the fine folks at WEEI.com, BoSox Injection, Boston.com, and Comcast Sportsnet Philly. And those are only some of the ones I found with a quick Google search. I fall victim to easy headlines sometimes myself (though I try not to), but if it's the first thought that enters your head, there's a fairly good shot it's the first thought in someone else's too.
This past weekend will be remembered for the Phillies poaching of Jonathan Papelbon. Paps departure to the 2-1-5 is both sad and not surprising. There was little chance he would return to the Red Sox without testing what the market had to offer and, as it turns out, the market had a whole lot to offer. MLB Trade Rumors has a rundown of mainstream commentary on the deal which ran the gamut from, "Really?" to "Are you [redacted] serious?" to "I don't love you, you jerk!" And now that I look at it, that last one was actually my grandmother. I wonder why she would say she doesn't love Jonath... oh.
Most of the above criticism could be predicted. The statistical community hated it, while the reactionary columnists liked it. Keith Law of ESPN hated the deal, while Jon Paul Morosi of Fox Sports liked it. Ho hum. One article I didn't see coming though is Jack Moore's piece at Fan Graphs. Mr. Moore, while not stating he liked the contract, made a case for Papelbon as the best reliever on the market which justified it when compared to what they had offered Ryan Madson. Whether that's worth what Papelbon got or not remains to be seen, but if the Phillies were going to (wildly over) pay that much, you'd hope they at least acquired the best player.
Losing Papelbon isn't the biggest problem with the pitching staff. No, that problem would be in the starting rotation. The Globe's Nick Carfardo and Peter Abraham recently looked at different avenues the Red Sox could explore in order to cobble together a starting staff.
Over at Hardball Talk, Matthew Poullot, in light of the recent hirings of managers with no experience, wonders if the Red Sox should consider Jason Varitek for their manager position. That idea has been going around a bit. Even here at OTM in our Armchair GM series two of our writers (not me) recommended the Red Sox hire Varitek as a coach. Of course, as Mr. Poullot notes, Varitek isn't necessarily finished playing yet, which complicates matters. Also, there's the little problem of experience, or more fairly, knowing how to do the job. Just because a player has been around coaching doesn't mean he knows how to do it. Tek has the potential to be a manager, and he might become one some day, but considering what is at stake (the Red Sox season, ~$170 million, Ben Cherington's career, etc.) is he really going to be better than other candidates that the Sox know can do the job?
Finally, if you thought the 2011 Red Sox with their alcohol in the clubhouse, video games, drinking goats blood, selling human babies, and not using coasters were bad, you should've seen the 2004 version. So says former GM Theo Epstein during a
naked snake wrestling competition candid discussion in Vermont over the weekend. He was flanked by former enemy and current bosom buddy Brian Cashman who stated his most recent contract with the Yankees would be something he and his therapist would be discussing. Oh, that Cashman. Always the cut up.