Sunday, October 16, 2005

Wait till next year

Wait until next year. Something a Sox fan is used to hearing. Yes there was a year hiatus after the 04 "idiots" made history, but now it seems like the heartbreak has returned. Bill Simmons says that there is a five year grace period after winning a championship where you can't complain about your team. I'm not complaining, but it still hurts to see what happened to them against the White Sox. After having a few days to think it over, I've come to the conclusion that the reason we aren't still playing boils down to one thing; clutch or lack thereof. I never thought I'd say that after watching the greatest clutch hitter in a long time play his MVP worthy season. He didn't play too bad in the playoffs, batting .333 over the 3 games against Chicago. He wasn't his usual clutch self. After getting crushed in the first game of the series, the Sox lost by 1 in game 2 and by 2 in the finale. The Sox did just enough to hang in there, but not enough to win. Their pitching has been average at best for the entire year (except for Timlin and Papelbon). They needed to score a bunch of runs if they expected to win. Granted, I'm not Theo Epstein, and I'll never claim to be, but there was one decision I would have made differently over the last offseason. I think the key to the Sox's 05 letdown was the trading of Orlando Cabrera. He was mister clutch. He knew how to get the job done. Who did we get to replace him? Edgar Renteria and his 30 errors. I agreed with Epstein not resigning Pedro and D-Lowe. Pedro's arm is gone (you'll see what I'm talking about next year) and he wanted too much money and D-Lowe is a headcase. Credit has to go to the White Sox as well. They hit when they needed to and there pitching was amazing. I think that in the next few years, Mr Jenks will be the next Eric Gagne. You'll here that name for a while. So, looking ahead. We've got 4 free agents to decide on. Cap'n Caveman (Johnny Damon), Millar, Mueller, and Mike Timlin. Its times like these I am glad I'm not a General Manager. Damon is going to want superstar money after only one superstar year. Millar can't hit, field, or run, but evidently he is really funny. Mueller is a great hitter, but he has a bum knee, and he is also getting up there in years (and there is a guy named Youkulis who is a good bit cheaper). Timlin is a great setup man, not a great closer. He still has the ERA now, but he is also getting up there in age. My advice (which I'm sure Epstein is eagerly anticipating) is to go after Damon, Mueller, and Timlin. He also needs to get a new closer or maybe Chris Hansen can fill the role. I just don't know if Foulke will ever be back to his 04 form. Also, watch out for the new kid Papelbon. I got a feeling he'll be one of the great ones. He will likely be in the starting rotation next year. As always, wait until next year and GO SOX!

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