Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Even After Damon's Defection, Sox May Still Be Better

In my opinion, rumors of the Red Sox demise are premature. After the Damon signing, papers both in Boston and New York talked about what a wide gap there was between Boston and New York. In fact, on a ESPN.com poll, more people picked Toronto to win the East than Boston.

There's been a lot of upheaval in Boston, but come on people, they're still a very good team. Schilling should finally be healthy, and he and Beckett are the guys you want 1-2 in the rotation. Wakefield can still throw the knuckler, and Arroyo is a solid #4-5 starter. And people forget that Clement had an excellent first half last year. If he can keep it going all year next year, the Sox will have some pitching staff.

And Mota is a big addition to the bullpen. Plus, Timlin has shown no signs of slowing down, and if Foulke is healthy, there's no reason he can't return to his '04 form.

The big x-factor is the offense, of course. But Lowell should improve in a hitter's park, Loretta is one of the most underrated players in the game, and Youkilis at first would be a Nick Johnson clone. The question is what they get for Manny. If they get crap like Cliff Floyd and Kaz Matsui, then Boston's in trouble. I'd love to see them trade him for Tejada, and if both players get very unhappy, that just might happen. Whatever it is,Boston has to get another big bat if they trade Manny. And David Ortiz can still beat the Yanks no matter what. Even with Myers or Villone on the hill.

-- Are the Yankees a better team with Damon? No question. But the big question mark will be their starting pitching.

The emergence of Wang, Small, and Chacon, along with RJ's good second half, did a good job of making people forget how bad the starting pitching was for much of the year. Even though Johnson had a good second half, he stunk in the playoffs and isn't getting any younger. Mussina is getting less healthy and more inconsistent as he continues to age. You have no idea what Pavano will give you. Ditto for Jaret Wright. Small looks like a one-year wonder. Wang might get hit with the sophomore jinx. And maybe AL batters will finally figure out how to hit Shawn Chacon.

Those big intra-division games in September will come down to the pitching. And if the Junkees don't have the arms to beat Boston and Toronto, it just might be a Yankee-free October.

-- Thanks to all for voting in the poll. It's very telling how, even in a week where Johnny Damon switched sides in sports' biggest rivalry, A-Schmuck still won out.

Should be a new poll up soon. Check back over the next day or two.

6 comments:

Yossele said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Yossele said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Yossele said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Yossele said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Yossele said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Yossele said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.