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Fun With Nick Carfardo's Mailbag

[Writer's Note: I was supposed to write Daily Links today. Instead I wrote 2,300 words on Nick Carfardo's mailbag. Oops.]

You have to hand it to Nick Carfardo. He's been right a couple times recently. He was all over that whole "they should hire Bobby Valentine" thing before Terry Francona had even been shown the business side of Larry Lucchino's pimp hand. He was also right about something else. I forget. Maybe broccoli.

And yet the times he's written things that make me want to pull the hair out of someone else's head (why would I pull my own hair out? Silly!) dwarfs the number two.

Look, I'm sure Nick Carfardo is a perfectly wonderful person. I, however, am not. I kick dandelions, for example. Sometimes not only don't I open the door for old ladies, but I stand on the other side and hold it closed all the while laughing the laugh of someone who knows, deep in his heart, that old ladies aren't very strong.

My point: Nick Carfardo writes silly things sometimes. Exhibit 1 is his semi-weekly weekly mailbag wherein he collects questions from various sources (talk radio, his daughter's 3rd grade class, the old and infirm) and answers them. This is unique in that it presents not one, but two sources of comedy. Up until now I've been content to let Chip Buck over at Fire Brand of the AL have all the fun. Time to step on his toes.

Bring on the crazy. (after the jump)

Do you feel there will be any residual issues between Josh Beckett, the new management, and the press once pitchers and catchers report to spring training?
Mike, Troy, NY

It would be hard, Mike of Troy, NY, for there to be any residual issues between Josh Beckett and the new management as the word residual refers to something that has gone and the Red Sox new management just arrived. Ha ha! Semantics!

Hopefully, Josh Beckett will be mature about it, be accountable and pitch with a chip on his shoulder. I think he will.

For the record, mature and accountable means answering questions from the press until you pass out. Just so we're all clear on that. How about this: he'll be as accountable as the press is, or in other words, not at all even a teeny tiny little bit.

My concern is with Daniel Bard starting? We saw what happened with Joba Chamberlain in New York -- why risk losing our strong presence at the end of our weak bullpen?
Michael, New York, NY

My concern is with question marks ending sentences? Joba would be a great comp if the morons who ran the Yankees back then were in charge of Bard now. If the Red Sox do put Bard in the rotation, then a week later put him back in the bullpen, then back in the rotation, then back in the pen, then move him up to french fries, then back to busing tables, then he's back down the mailroom, then back to the bullpen, then yes, the plan will fail. Otherwise, there's a decent possibility of success. Nick?

Well, for one thing it's not etched in stone. It's going to be an experiment in spring training.

Completely true. Now I'm scared.

Secondly, when a pitcher comes to management and expresses that desire, you have to listen because to me it means he's not focused on wanting to be the closer.

Reporter: Daniel, would you consider starting if the team wanted you to?
Bard: Uh, sure.
Lucchino, Cherington, and Henry: [popping up from behind a couch] UNFOCUSED!!

And if you don't want to be a closer, and would rather start, then you don't have the mental makeup to want to do it.

All the articles I write here at OTM aren't paid. But I do hope to be paid one day. I told Marc Normandin so and he told me that because I hope to advance here at OTM that I don't have the mental makeup to want to be doing this job. I said, 'Huh? Was that English?' He said, "You're fired." I pooped in his mailbox.

Being a closer requires a tough mentality. If you're not into it that way, you're not going to be successful.

Reporter: Daniel, would you consider starting?
Bard: Uh, sure.

Reporter: Daniel, would you consider starting?
Bard: [punches him in scrotum]

Where is it written that pitching the ninth inning is tough, but pitching the eighth is for sissies? Sure, being a closer requires a tough mentality, but so does being a reliever, being a catcher, being a first baseman, and so on. It probably requires some serious mental toughness just to exist in the major leagues. Come to think of it, it's probably a lot like writing a weekly mailbag column. Or making fun of that mailbag column in my underwear from my parent's basement covered in pudding.

1. Does Michael Bowden have a future with Boston?
2. Is there a better bargain anywhere in MLB than paying John Lackey over 15 million dollars not to pitch?
3. Is it true Terry Francona was such an unimaginative game manager that he wouldn't even allow a bundt cake into his home?
Fred, Hope, R.I.

1. Well, he could put in for that opening at the sanitation department.
2. Yes!
3. Fred from Hope, RI, is opening Mondays at the LOL Shack up on Route 13 in between the Citgo and the McDonalds.

1. He may. Perhaps starts out in Dan Wheeler's role of mop-up, multiple innings. Bowden has a chance to win a job in spring training as a reliever.
2. I think it's good for Lackey and the team that he's not around this season. He needs the year to regroup physically, mentally and emotionally.

Yup, sure is a good thing he blew out his elbow! Thank Buddha! Now that his arm exploded he'll get some of that much needed me-time.

3. Francona was a good manager who won two titles. Not many managers in the history of the game will ever be able to say that.


It has been said that the Sox don't need an ace for a fourth or fifth starter. Do you think Bartolo Colon might fit the bill?
Len, Wallingford, Conn.

There aren't many things Bartolo Colon will fit..uh, um...because he's, uh, he's fat. FRED, HOPE, RI!! I NEED HELP!!

Colon could fit the bill, but after their first experience with him, the Sox will likely stay away.

Lest he eat them.

[checks list] Two 'Colon is fat' jokes... check. OK, next!

How do you explain the difference in execution and on the field product in Tampa Bay and Oakland? The Rays were competing in a more competitive division and have put a very productive team on the field, while Oakland has not.
Barbara, Lowell, Mass.

Great point. I think Tampa Bay had built up a head of steam with so many top picks when they were the doormats of the league. As I said in the Sunday Baseball Notes, I think Oakland has tried to prove a point with Major League Baseball that we can't compete, therefore we're trading away way our prime players. That's the tack they've taken. TB also complains about not having money, but their talent is so good, they can't help but win.

Through a complex chemical process, I've distilled the above down to its essence:

Why are the Rays better than the A's?
Barbara, Lowell, Mass.


Have the Red Sox and Cubs worked out compensation for Theo going to the Cubs?
Bill, Carver, Mass.

...because I assume you wouldn't bother reporting on it if had happened.

Nothing yet. We're waiting. Get the feeling it may be later this winter.

Get. Over. The. Compensation. Thing. People! You know what's coming back from Chicago? A dogeared copy of Funny Stories I Overheard While Vomiting by Kate Moss. A never been touched copy of Hilarious Misspellings From Local Newspapers That People Sent To Me So I Don't Have To Actually Do My Job Which I'm Not Very Good At Anyway by Jay Leno. Nothing. We're getting nothing. If we're lucky we'll get a delicious throat lozenge to be named later. Rob Neyer will be excited. No one else will care.

[question and answer omitted; made too much sense]

Couldn't the Red Sox (or any other team) lower the amount of prospects included in a deal for Matt Garza by offering to take Alfonso Soriano as well?
Jim, Conway SC

The Red Sox could also insert an entire DVD collection of Full House, DVD by DVD, into the rectum of a live goat. That doesn't mean it's a good idea though. (Doesn't mean it's a bad idea either, Full House fans!)

Probably so. Not sure he's attractive to a lot of teams.

Yeah, he might maybe not coulda kinda maybe not really be all that desirable since he has a .768 OPS over the last three years, sucks at defense, will be 36 years old, and is owed the GDP of Botswana for each of the next three years.

[blah blah blah] threshold calculations [blah blah blah] 60-day disabled list? It looks like [blah blah blah] threshold.
Gabriel, Naples, Fla.

[blah blah blah]

Will Carl Crawford overcome his Red Sox rookie jitters and play up to his capabilities?
Bill, Bonita Springs, Fla.

Also, what are the winning lottery numbers next Friday?

Everyone thinks his skills are still top-notch and he should rebound. We'll see. I think he needs to be the No. 2 hitter, where he feels more comfortable. I think he's a creature of habit and moving around the order wasn't good for him.

Carl Crawford was so comfortable in the number two spot last season that he hit .186/.205/.256 there. That's an OPS of .461. Those are called "numbers" and they available free of charge at your local internet! Also, you really think the guy's OPS dropped 157 points because he was uncomfortable with his spot in the batting order? I mean, you really actually think that?

What do you think the odds are that the Sox actually already have their future right-fielder in-house and are quietly looking for a righthand-hitting center fielder? Jacoby Ellsbury now has the kind of output you want from a corner outfielder, which is what I think his absence in 2010 was all about -- strengthening. This, I believe, is what the Mike Cameron experiment was all about -- not Ellsbury's defense, but allowing him to focus on his offense.
Ray, Woodbridge, Va.

The rest of my plan involves moving Kevin Youkilis to shortstop, Jason Varitek will close, Dustin Pedroia will be the sous chef, Bobby Valentine will announce games on TV, and the Red Sox signing Prince Fielder and putting him in center field. OK, you got me, I was kidding about the 'Valentine back to TV' part.

That would surprise me. Ellsbury was the best-rated defensive center fielder (according to UZR) and a Gold Glove winner. Don't think he'll be moving unless he leaves as a free-agent.

It would, I believe, surprise me as well, mostly because it is, I believe, very not smart.

[fair and decent question]
Geoff, New York, Nev.

[unsolicited opinion]
[self promotion]

My question is about right field - why don't the Sox take a flyer on the Cuban player, Orlando Cespedes?
Guy, Belleville, Mich.

OK, we're calling dropping $50+ million on a player "taking a flyer" now, are we?

They're looking into both Cespedes and Jorge Soler, and in fact could be a sleeper on one or both.

Now that Theo and Tito are gone, who not re-sign Manny Ramirez for cheap and let him sit out his 50 game suspension with the Red Sox? That way he will come back in clean, with a clean slate with Bobby Valentine, and if Carl Crawford doesn't turn it around by the All-Star break, then trade him and re insert Manny back into left field.
Gordon, Margate, Fla

The excellent and missed site Fire Joe Morgan used to give the above call and response treatment to chats their namesake would hold on ESPN every week. It was a great source of material for the site and a great source of laughs for the readers. This went on and FJM got bigger and more well known and eventually FJM readers began to send questions into Morgan's chats in attempt to bait Morgan into saying something ridiculous (note: this always worked). It happened so frequently that FJM dubbed the practice "JoeBaiting" which I realize, now that I just typed it, is funny for a number of reasons.

I feel like Gordon from Margate, Florida's question might just be a bit of a JoeBait. I mean, re-sign Manny Ramirez, then when he comes off his 50 game suspension, trade Carl Crawford IF Crawford hasn't turned it around by then. That is a masterstroke. Think about it. That suggestion upsets both the talk radio types who dislike Ramirez for his PED use and the way he departed Boston, AND it upsets more analytical fans who know trading Crawford, especially if he starts off poorly, would be impossible. That's well done and very hard to top. But I'll try. How about this:

Why don't the Red Sox sign Prince Fielder, move him to DH, move David Ortiz to first, and move Adrian Gonzalez to right field? That solves all three positions and it's also totally unrealistic, dangerous, and completely nuts!

Nah, Gordon's is much better. Any thoughts on this, Nick, preferably with a good horse reference thrown in?

Don't have too many thoughts on this topic, other than to say "No chance." The horse is out of the barn, as they say.

I think he means, "The horse is out of the barn and on the internet sending in questions to my mailbag which I will respond to next week because horses ask penetrating baseball questions."