Thursday, May 17, 2007

Theo: Right About Damon

Theo Epstein's legacy will revolve around breaking the curse in 2004. But overall, the guy's had his shares of ups and downs. Big Papi and Curt Schilling were excellent moves, but Matt Clement and Edgar Renteria were disasters. For every Hideki Okajima, there's a Scott Sauerbeck. And then there are guys like Hanley Ramirez, prospects who got away. (Although Anibal Sanchez has got the sophomore jinx going on now.)

Theo took some flack for letting both Pedro and Johnny Damon go. They were huge contributors, big parts of the '04 season, and two of the biggest names in Boston. But right now, Theo's looking pretty smart.

Pedro had a good '05, helped by the switch to the NL. But the guy always had health issues, which were not gonna improve with age. Who knows how he'll do after returning from surgery?

And Damon has been playing through pain since his vicious collision with Damian Jackson in '03. I'm sure that was a factor in Theo letting the guy go.

Damon certainly deserves credit for gutting it out, much like Don Mattingly in the early 90's. But this year, the guy has constantly been day-to-day. His numbers so far are decent, (.256, 2, 13, 7 SB) but how knows how long he can keep going out there? And even if he's out there, is it worth having a Johnny Damon at 70%? Is a 70% Johnny Damon worth $13 million a year? At 33, Damon's health is probably not getting any better.

I'm sure Yankee fans will say that Coco Crisp (.232, 0, 10, 7 SB) has worse numbers. But that's missing the point. That doesn't mean the Sox should've kept Damon. Maybe he should've tried getting someone better.

But even if you want to rip Crisp, the guy was playing hurt last year. Also, he's making $9 million less than Damon. Much different expectations for a guy making $3.8 million.

Most importantly, aside from last year, Crisp has no history of injury and is only 27.

You've gotta give Epstein credit for this one. Right now, the Sox don't miss Damon.

- This afternoon: Red Sox win, Yankees lose. Another good day, as the White Sox (or as Fred Hickman would say, the Pale Hose) welcomed Matt DeSalvo to the big leagues. And after a good inning against Andy Cisco, it was back to normal for the Yankee bats. Schilling goes for the Sox in the nightcap tonight.


mouse said...

Saying Hanley Ramirez "got away" isn't really accurate, though. He was traded for a pretty darn good young pitcher and a 3B who has produced very well for the Red Sox. You gotta give up quality to get quality.

But I agree about Damon and Pedro. I thought letting them walk was the right choice at each time, and right now at least, I feel vindicated. Theo's not infallable (no GM is), but I'd still take him over Cashman any day of the week.

Anonymous said...

Sox win again in the nightcap and Yanks fall 9.5 back. Good times.

Manny Ortiz said...

mouse: good point. Beckett has done very well this year, and Lowell has had a Brosius-like renaissance (with better D) in Boston. Lowell is one of those guys who does his job quietly, and never gets enough credit. And he's an ex-Yankee.