Thursday, January 24, 2008

Free Agent Deadlines, Busts And Clay

The Red Sox made Brad Wilkerson an offer for a one year, $2 million deal with incentives. They'll likely have their yes or no answer by tomorrow as the deadline on their deal runs out today. I'm not a fan of Wilkerson, but he's one of the better options left for a bench player. If they can get him for only $2 million, I suppose it would be a success. He was seeking a 3-year deal worth $7 million a year.

Keith Foulke has auditioned for most teams. But he couldn't get his velocity over 84. Ouch. It's possible that he won't get an offer from any team. I think it's safe to say that he's not on the Red Sox radar anymore, if he ever was.

Roto Authority has a short article on Buchholz. The author projects Buchholz to have a 3.86 ERA and a WHIP of 1.32 next year. He says he wouldn't be surprised to see an ERA anywhere between 3.50 and 4.50 from the pitcher next year. Even the pessimistic number would be spectacular for a sixth starter.

A lot of people give Epstein credit for drafting and helping to develop what is currently rated as the second best farm system in baseball. But what he's done is truly amazing. Not only has he built a top-notch farm system, but he's managed to retain most of his prospects, and be ulta-cautious with them while still managing to win a second championship in four years. How many other teams would have shut down Papelbon and Buchholz in the heart of pennant races? Would they also have given Lester 17 starts to recuperate at the beginning of last year, while Julian Tavarez was a regular starter in the rotation?

Drafting players is only the beginning. Ensuring their healthy development involves so much more.


Sam said...

Official Clay Buchholz" blog

sam said...

Young Josh Beckett pitches to Kosuke Fukudome - in 1997

Josh Beckett pitched to Kosuke Fukudome in 1997Even though the Cubs play the American League East this season, for some reason the Chicago Cubs don’t play the Boston Red Sox. Or the New York Yankees. Do you think MLB wants the Cubs to make the playoffs again this season, or what?

So that means we’ll have to wait until the 2008 All Star Game (maybe) or the 2008 World Series (even bigger maybe) to see Kosuke Fukudome (the Chicago Cubs’ prize acquisition in free agency) take some swings against someone like the Red Sox’ Josh Beckett, who won 20 Games last season and was the AL Cy Young Runner Up. Right?

Grand Forks International TournamentWrong. Over ten years ago, a Texas High School flamethrower named Josh Beckett pitched for the semi-pro Reno Astros (then in Houston) in the 1997 Grand Forks International Tournament. Beckett was on loan from another Texas team for the tourney.

In the tournament, Reno played a Japanese National Team and Kosuke Fukudome was a member of that squad. Let’s watch Josh Beckett pitch to Kosuke Fukudome

Fukudome walked all three times he faced Beckett. But the youngster only allowed one run in the game, which the Astros won 9-1.

If you noticed Fukudome glare at Beckett during the at-bat, that’s because current Atlanta Braves’ backup catcher Corky Miller was Beckett’s batterymate for the game - and he had Beckett twice throw inside on Fukudome, which Fukudome didn’t like very much. I talked with Reno Astros‘ owner/manager Matt Konopisos about the game. I was told that Fukudome was the big name on Team Japan (he was the top draft pick of the Chunichi Dragons the following year) and came across as a little bit arrogant - hence the inside pitches.
Konopisos also told me that Josh Beckett has seen the video you just saw, and Beckett still feels he got squeezed by the ump on some of those pitches. Beckett was a junior in High School and showed up to meet the team while wearing his HS letterman jacket, which had “phenom” written across the back - which had some of the veterans question their manager’s sanity about letting him pitch. But he was the real deal.[/b]

It was the first game of the Tournament and no one typically wanted to play the Japanese team, who had won the previous tourney. In the Astros’ first appearance in the Grand Forks’ tournament they beat Japan 9-1. Beckett did not pitch again in the tournament and when the Astros met the Japanese team again in the Championship game … the Astros lost a late lead and fell 2-1.

Let’s watch Beckett pitch a few more innings …[/quote]

Royal Rooters said...

Thanks for the links Sam.