Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Cousin Jason's Winter Spectacular

Happy 2014 to RSM Nation! It's been a long time since Cousin Jason has posted and in fact, 2013 was a weak year for most of us at RSM, with the exception of the always steady Deacon. Hopefully, the euphoria of the latest Sox World Championship will light a fire under the rest of us and our site will once again be a vibrant location for Sox fans both in the Pine Tree State and worldwide. Let's make that our late January New Year's resolution! In this Winter Spectacular I'll touch on a couple of Red Sox notes but mostly am just going to throw out some random tidbits and thoughts since the Sox took down the Cardinals, and Global Warming came to a screeching halt thanks to the Polar Vortex. Damn it's cold out!

Let me begin with the news this evening that the Sox have signed Grady Sizemore to a 1 year deal worth $750,000 with incentives that could bring the deal to $6 million. The Sox also DFA'd Bryan Villarreal to make room on the 40 man roster. Tim Britton of the ProJo explains the deal here.Before my own thoughts on this signing, many interesting tweets about this deal tonight. First from RSM resident buffoon via the Boston Globe, Nick Cafardo, "Grady Sizemore was jacoby Ellsbury before jacoby Ellsbury." Nice use of proper capitalization, Nick! RSM favorite the ProJo's Brian MacPherson chimed in with the fact that Sizemore is one of a few Montreal Expos draft picks still playing (Cliff Lee, Brandon Phillips, and Ian Desmond also). BrianMacP also retweeted from Jeff Sullivan, a blogger from Portland, OR, who noted that Sizemore's WAR for ages 22-25 was 27 or the same as Evan Longoria, 1 more than David Wright and Andruw Jones, and 1 less than Barry Bonds. The Red Sox themselves tweeted that in a conference call Sizemore said he was just "...looking for an opportunity to play...looking to fit in any way I can." I like this deal for several reasons but mostly for the low risk, high reward aspect. Sure, Sizemore is no longer the 22-25 year old mentioned above, however if he can stay healthy, granted a big if, he certainly adds depth and value to the Sox arsenal. If he can't stay healthy or proves in Spring Training he cannot help this team the Sox can simply release him no harm done. Certainly beats the $175 million the Yankees dropped on the latest Japanese phenom. Since I mentioned above that Sizemore was an Expos draft pick, let me share this tidbit that I found over the summer. There is a grass roots group working to bring baseball back to Montreal, they even commissioned a $400,000 feasibility study that determined a new stadium would be needed (Well, duh!). Anyone that ever ventured to the Great White North to take in a game at Le Stade Olympique could have told you that. What a cavernous, anesthetic venue Olympic Stadium was, although going to games after the 1994 strike meant that there was always plenty of cheap seats. Cousin Jason made the trek twice, once to see the Expos face the Rockies with madman Ugueth Urbina starting and once to see the Expos and the Braves, where one of my accomplices who was born in Billerica, MA got an autograph from Tom Glavine's mother! That might need a post of its own. Anywho, baseball in Montreal in my opinion would be a plus. As a side note, apparently after serving 6 of 14 years in a Venezuelan prison for attack men with a machete, Ol' Double UU made an appearance in the Venezuelan Winter League.

The Baseball Hall of Fame vote was recently cast with Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine, and Frank Thomas all getting in on their first try. Poor Craig Biggio, just missed getting in, while the PED crowd dwindled with Rafael Palmeiro not garnering enough support, 500HR/3,000 Hits be damned! Jack Morris, can say hello to the Veterans' Committee as well. Next years ballot features even more worthy candidates with Randy Johnson, John Smoltz, Gary Sheffield, and Red Sox fan favorite Pedro Martinez all becoming eligible. The most interesting things for me in all of this was not who got in or the plight of the PED crowd, but rather the names at the bottom of the ballot that actually received votes. Namely, JT Snow (2), Armando Benitez (1), and Jacque Jones (1). What? I get not voting for Bonds, Clemens, or Sosa on principle, but not voting for them and then voting for Benitez, Jones, or Snow!? Meanwhile, Mike Timlin, Todd Jones, Richie Sexson, Ray Durham, Paul Lo Duca, and the Mayor, Sean Casey all get shutout? Timlin and Jones were definitely better than Benitez. And one could argue the 4 hitters mentioned were all better than Jones and Snow. Let predict now that Johnson, Martinez, Smoltz, and Biggio all get in next year. A great online read currently in the same context as the Hall of Fame, is Joe Posnanski's Baseball 100 Blog. Where he is counting down his 100 greatest baseball players ever, regardless of whether or not they played in the bigs, so Negro Leaguers (Turkey Stearnes) and Japanese stars (Sadaharu Oh) are fair game. Well worth your time to read this piece!

I'll leave you with this thought, although for Patriots fans it may be too soon, how would Tom Brady be perceived if he did not play for the Pats? I had a discussion with a co-worker yesterday about this weekends NFL games. He mentioned even though his Patriots lost how he cannot hate Peyton Manning. Think about it, I know it may sting now, but the Patriots have typically gotten the best of Manning, he is probably the greatest QB in NFL history, he is cerebral, is playing with a surgically repaired neck, and seems to be a down to earth, likable guy. If he wore a Patriots uniform, there would be thousands of little children and household pets in New England named Peyton. So what if Tom Brady and Peyton Manning switched roles? How much would Patriots fans loathe Brady? I am thinking off the charts hate. Brady is a southern California guy, married to a supermodel (who is no Kate Upton, thank you very much), who endorses womanly footwear, and seems to be a pretty boy. If he wears any colors other than the Patriots, Foxboro is spewing venom at him. Granted, Brady is an outstanding QB in his own right and I am a Lions fan (Two Words can explain this being a native Mainer and they are Rod Rust). Once the wound heals Pats fans, think about it and argue my points.

Until Cousin Jason reappears, sweet dreams of the World Series trophy and Go Sox! Remember only 17 days until the truck leaves for Spring Training and 24 days until pitchers and catchers!

1 comment:

  1. Great to hear from Cousin Jason, an interesting read as always. And the most spectacular part of Jason's " Winter Spectacular" is as he mentions at the end, pitchers and catchers are only three weeks away!

    A couple of comments on some of Jason's topics. First, I too love the Grady Sizemore signing. I love the fact that it came out of the blue which is nearly impossible in today's 24/7 news, social media world. I also love the low risk quality to it. If Sizemore cannot regain 75% or so of his old ( or is that young) form, pay him his $750,000 and move on. I am slightly more than cautiously optimistic Grady can contribute to the 2014 Red Sox, and beyond. To me the ideal would be working him in slowly as a fourth outfielder, and eventually he is the regular left fielder. Left fielder, you say?!? Yes, I am still on the Jackie Bradley, Jr. bandwagon and I believe the Sox are, too. But what the Sox brass does not want to do is HAND the CF job to Jackie. I see Sizemore as the perception of a competitor for the center field job to push Bradley to his best effort. And if ( two big IF's) Bradley has a horrible spring and Grady becomes the Sizemore of circa 2008, you still have a capable CF.

    I have heard rumblings of a baseball revival in Montreal, mostly through the tweets of Jonah Keri who has a Expos-themed book being released soon. In addition, there are other rumors the most likely team to look into Montreal are the AL East Tampa Bay Rays. Certainly fits the division geographically, way better than Florida. Could the Red Sox and Rays recreate the Bruins-Habs rivalry??

    As far as the Hall of Fame voting, the large traffic jam created by the BBWAA voting in no one in 2013 has not been rectified at all, only made worse, because all three of this year's inductees were first timers, meaning no one on last year's ballot is in yet.Only Jack Morris is off the list from the 2013 ballot, due to his failing to get in during his 5 years of eligibility. And as Cousin Jason pointed out four likely HOFers join the fun next year and it would be easy to see Pedro, Randy Johnson ( both mortal locks), John Smoltz being the only three next year as well. ( Sheffield is worthy, but here come the PED issues again.) Craig Biggio is the only likely candidate from the past year or three to get in next year. And my opinion ( and I admit I am a big Hall guy, I could probably come up another 25-30 names that I think so be in) there a dozen or more current ballot names that should be in. It is a mess.

    One more off topic note, a couple of months ago the RSM Top 20 Red Sox prospects were posted and we promise that very soon ( pre pitchers and catchers reporting) to bring out the list of prospects 21-40.

    C'mon spring!