Ben and Sam answer listener emails about whether a Yankees fan can learn to like Kevin Youkilis, whether the Diamondbacks got enough back for Trevor Bauer, why teams love left-handed starters, and more.
The Red Sox aren't the first team to fight with their manager, and they won't be the first to regret it, either.
OK, stop me if you've heard this before:
A controversial and attention-seeking manager of a major market team antagonizes a popular leader on a team that was expecting to contend for the pennant and faces a revolt in the clubhouse, resulting in team meetings, front office involvment, and bold pronouncements. And the whole drama plays out in the press.
The tater trots for August 5: two slow trots in one game, Miguel Cabrera's walkoff, and an inside-the-parker from Friday,
Another weekend of baseball in the books. With the Olympics going on, Fox elected not to broadcast any games on Saturday. For those of us who aren't fans of national blackouts, this was a very nice surprise. Hopefully we'll get more Saturdays like that in the future. Also, it may be shocking to realize that there are now less than two months left in the season. When did August happen again?
The Red Sox moved quickly to get Kevin Youkilis out of their lineup and out of their clubhouse this summer. With Youkilis hitting well once more, the decision looks like it might have been a mistake.
In July of 2004, the Red Sox traded Nomar Garciaparra, one of their longest-tenured and most popular players, to the Chicago Cubs. Garciaparra was still productive, but he’d just turned 30, and both his bat and his glove had slipped. Worse, he’d been wounded by Boston’s attempt to trade for Alex Rodriguez the previous winter and had reportedly become a distraction in the clubhouse. With Garciaparra a few months away from free agency, the Sox made the bold decision to ship him to Chicago for Orlando Cabrera, improving both their defense and their chemistry with a single swap.
We know how that trade turned out. The Red Sox won the World Series, and Garciaparra continued to decline, turning in a subpar season for the Cubs in ’05 and remaining only marginally effective until his retirement in 2010. According to a 2005 article in The Baltimore Sun, Garciaparra “was said to be stunned and depressed for the first week after his trade,” but “later came to appreciate the change of scenery, a fresh start, less pressure, different expectations.” The trade might have made him happier, but it didn’t help him recapture his youth. The Sox were smart to trade him when they did.
After changing his Sox, things are looking better for Kevin Youkilis.
The Wednesday Takeaway
Seeking an urgent upgrade at third base, White Sox general manager Kenny Williams rolled the dice on Kevin Youkilis, believing that all the former Red Sox infielder needed to get going again was a change of scenery. If the past two days are any indication, Williams was right.
After a 3-for-6 effort with a two-run homer off Roy Oswalt in Chicago’s 19-2 drubbing of the Rangers on Tuesday, Youkilis sent the U.S. Cellular Field crowd home happy with a walk-off single in the 10th inning of last night’s 5-4 victory. He has settled right in to the number-two spot of Robin Ventura’s lineup, and—in his first two games on the South Side—made an excellent first impression on his new fan base.
The Red Sox have too many good players, and, yes, this could turn into a problem.
How do you solve a midseason roster crunch? If there are two players for one position, there are a number of options. Trade one of the players, demote one, put one on the disabled list, or even sit one on the bench and play the hot hand. None of those solutions necessarily maximizes the team’s assets, but sometimes that is okay. If we are talking about two last-guy-out-of-the-pen types, then it isn’t of particular importance.
Sometimes the stakes are higher. When the Yankees traded for Alex Rodriguez, they found themselves with two Hall of Fame-caliber shortstops and only one shortstop position (Joe Maddon hadn’t been invented yet). Demoting, trading, and the rest of the above list were not options. Sometimes there are too many babies for the bathwater. Nobody wants dirty babies.
Thirteen reasons why the national pastime isn't always rated PG.
When I moved up from the 11-and-12 league to 13-and-14, there was a 14-year-old kid named Andrade who had grown himself a pretty good mustache. He caught, and whenever a pitch would get past him, he would yell “F***” as he turned to retrieve the pitch. The first time I heard this, I was shocked, and almost embarrassed. I’d used my share of swears, but never like this, in front of grown-ups. I had no idea that swearing was possible on a baseball field.
Of course, swearing is very possible on a baseball field. Perhaps going back to 1898, major-league baseball has been a place where profanity has thrived. On-field microphones rarely pick up the audio (except in Boston, I've found), but the cameras are careful to catch foul lips in high definition. “Well, if you can read lips,” the announcers sometimes will say. “Hey you can’t say that you’re outta here,” the umpires sometimes will say. Mostly, though, we just move on and don’t talk about it. Let’s talk about it. Why not? We might as well talk about it. What follows is a taxonomy of 13 major-league F-bombs. NSFW? I honestly don't know.
Looking for a replacement for your injured third baseman? Michael looks at plenty of hot-corner options this week, especially in Playing Pepper.
As Jason Collette and Paul Sporer covered in BP’s Towers of Power Fantasy Hour podcast this week, four front-line third-base qualifiers—Evan Longoria, Mat Gamel, Kevin Youkilis, and Pablo Sandoval—hit the DL this past week, leaving fantasy owners scrambling at an already-thin position. While many of the replacement players are marginal, sometimes a warm body is all you need to keep your fantasy squad afloat until more help arrives via an early-season callup. I’ll examine a few of those hot corner replacement options in this week’s column.