Nick DiBattista

Hey guys, welcome to the blog. I'm Nick, 21-year old recent graduate from Quinnipiac University, and future CPA. Moneyball might just be my favorite book of all time, and being an accountant, numbers and analysis are favorite hobbies of mine, so expect me a ton of knowledge and number crunching in my posts, but also a fair amount of humor. I also happen to be a Celtics, Bruins, and Cowboys fan, but my one true passion in sports are my Red Sox, and I'll be a Royal Rooter forever! Follow me on Twitter, let's argue balls and strikes together! Follow me! @Dibs_BS

The title of this piece is going to make a lot of Red Sox fans upset.  As a passionate Sox fan myself, it isn’t exactly fun to write.  The subject is being debated everywhere but the conclusion is often wrong.  Much as we may not like it starting Jackie Bradley Jr. in Pawtucket would have been the right thing to do.

If he was sent down, it wasn’t going to be a permanent banishment to Pawtucket; he would have missed 9 games out of 162. He would miss a measly 5.5% of the 2013 season in exchange for his team control for 100% of the 2019 season.  Even as tight of division race as everyone is predicting the AL East to be this year, what’s the impact of one hitter out of nine in the lineup over a sample size of nine games?  That’s the question that, if quantifiable, answers the debate of what to do with Bradley.  As a GM, Ben Cherington should be making the best BASEBALL decisions, not the best political decisions for these Sox.  Stick around after the jump, and you’ll see just how little impact the Sox lose without Bradley for 9 games.


Jackie Bradley the Paw Sock, or Jackie Bradley the Red Sox? Which has a better ring to it?

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Are Beckett and Gonzalez on their way out of Boston?

In what has been a busy day for Red Sox fans, we’ve discovered that not one, but two very highly paid players on the Red Sox, a very cap stricken team the past year or two (Thank you Theo Epstein, for making sure your impact on this team would be felt for years), have been claimed on waivers by the Los Angeles Dodgers.  What does this mean?

It could mean a couple things—it could mean that the Dodgers actually WANT both Gonzalez and Beckett, and new ownership has shown a willingness to spend, adding Shane Victorino, Hanley Ramirez, and Joe Blanton in the past few weeks.  If that’s the case, they could be trying to set themselves up with a “we’ll send take Josh Beckett off your hands if you give us Adrian Gonzalez” type of deal, which Ben Cherington should promptly walk away from.  They could also be trying to acquire both of them via trade, although from the looks of their farm system, it wouldn’t be deep enough to make an offer similar to what the Sox gave for Gonzalez.  It’s hard to see the Red Sox give up on the former All-Star so quickly, unless Cherington is really determined to put his own mark on this team.

An interesting fact about the waiver claim system is that players can be basically “given away”, meaning a team gives up that player (and his contract) for nothing, just like Alex Rios was given to the Chicago White Sox a couple years ago.  This, to me,  is the most logical course of action for Josh Beckett, who really seems to need a fresh start, and the Red Sox, who need the financial relief and a fresh start of their own next year.

No matter the result, the next 48 hours should be very interesting, as trade chatter involving A-Gon, Beckett, and even Carl Crawford could persist.  We’ll be sure to monitor the situation closely and keep you as up to date as we can on this developing story.

Whatever was talked about in this picture clearly hasn’t been working so far for Beckett this season

The 2012 season has not lived up to anyone’s expectations, and in the eternal search for a scapegoat, it appears the first hat has fallen on pitching coach Bob McClure, who was relieved of his duties this afternoon.

The move comes at a time when the Red Sox stand 7.5 games out of the wild card and 4 games under .500 for the season, and their pitching staff is one of the main reasons why.  The team’s ERA stands at 4.30, good for 7th worst in the majors this season.  While the team has put 26 players on the disabled list this year, including starters John Lackey, Aaron Cook, Josh Beckett, Clay Buchholz, and now most recently Felix Doubront, as well as proposed closer Andrew Bailey, that shouldn’t be used as an excuse for their struggles.

Daniel Bard moved to the rotation this spring, pitching to an uninspiring 5.24 ERA that lead to his demotion to Triple-A and return to the bullpen.  Jon Lester, a rotation mainstay the past few years, currently has an ERA north of 5 as well, as does Beckett.  The other two members of the rotation for most of the season, Cook and Doubront, have ERAs of 4.58 and 4.70, respectively.

While ERA isn’t a perfect stat or indication of how a player’s performing, it’s safe to say that these sort of numbers are a far cry from the norm that we’d expect, especially from Lester of Beckett.  Combined, they have a 12-23 record, and that simply is a sign that something needed to change, and after a reasonably successful  year under Curt Young, the Red Sox will be moving on to their third pitching coach in the two seasons that have passed since fan favorite (and potential managerial candidate?) John Farrell took the Toronto Blue Jays managerial position.

The Sox seem to be getting a head start on what will likely become another tumultuous offseason for the team, as other coaching and player changes should be coming.

Randy Niemann, the assistant pitching coach, will act as the interim pitching coach for the rest of the season, as Boston tries to right the ship and salvage what’s left of this year.

Please don’t make me play another game with this elbow..

As was widely expected, Red Sox outfielder Carl Crawford, the Boston medical staff, and the famous Dr. James Andrews all concurred that Crawford’s elbow was not getting any better, and that he would need to undergo Tommy John surgery, typically known as a procedure for pitchers.  On August 5th, Bloodysox posted an article arguing that Crawford should be scheduling his surgery immediately.

While Crawford has been one of the Red Sox best hitters this month, that article was written at a time when the team was 53-55 and clinging desperately on to playoff hopes.  Since then, the Sox have gone 6-8 and continue to spiral further and further out of the wild card race, sitting a cool 7.5 games back of the Rays and Orioles, with the Athletics, Tigers, and Angels all ahead of them.

Shutting Crawford down now is the right thing to do.  He’s obviously in pain, and the Sox have been no better or worse with him out there—he hasn’t been a game-changer since his return, despite playing well.  Tommy John surgery for position players typically takes seven to nine months to heal, putting Crawford in the late March to late May range for his return.  Perhaps this rehabilitation process will be quick and by mid-April, we’ll finally be able to see a healthy, productive Crawford, a man who dreadfully wants to live up to the pressures of the giant contract he signed with the team.

We wish Crawford the best of luck in his surgery and a speedy recovery!







Should the Sox shut Crawford down now, or let him play through his injuries?

For the record, this article’s purpose actually has nothing to do with his performance, although it definitely didn’t help matters.  Carl Crawford likely needs Tommy John surgery, which would effectively end his season, and potentially cause him to miss the start of the season—if he was having the surgery done tomorrow.

Instead, he finds himself plugged into the lineup 4 out of every 5 games on a Red Sox team that just finds new ways to lose, such as last night’s heartbreaker, where closer Alfredo Aceves, working in his second inning of work, tossed a meatball to Joe Mauer that promptly found its way into the Monster seats, mere minutes after Pedro Ciriaco took his first major league curtain call following what was then a go-ahead home run.

Read on to see why I feel the time for surgery is now, not later for Crawford.

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In 2004, Derek Lowe and Theor Epstein shared a World Series title Together. 8 years later, Theo’s successor has a chance to bring Lowe back. Should he?

On August 1st, former Red Sox starter Derek Lowe was designated for assignment from the Cleveland Indians.  Along with Jason Varitek, Lowe was sent to the Red sox on July 31st 1997 for closer Heathcliff Slocumb, who went on to do uninspiring things as a part of the Mariners bullpen.

The deal paid off tenfold for the Sox, as Varitek became the team’s captain, caught 4 no-hitters, won 2 World Series, and recently had Jason Varitek Appreciation Day at Fenway.  Lowe’s path, however, took a few twists and turns on the way, and he now finds himself out of a Major League job.

If I’m Ben Cherington, I’ve already made the call to Cleveland General Manager Chris Antonetti to return Lowe to the Red Sox rotation, which currently sits in shambles.  Do you agree?
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Last September, the Red Sox (9 games) and Braves (8.5) historically collapsed and lost their wild card spot.  Since then, an additional wild card spot has been awarded to each league, and the competition has been fierce.  As of today , there are 15 teams within 9 games of the four wild card spots, and aside from the Yankees 6.5 game lead, no other division’s lead is more than 4.5 games.  With so many teams still within striking distance, not as many teams are selling.  With the additional obstacle of clearing waivers, less players are likely to be available.

Josh Beckett is still owed $34 million dollars over the next two seasons, but if the Red Sox can convince him to waive his no-trade rights, he could be traded before the offseason to a team (and the teams listed might surprise you) looking for a pitcher in the stretch run.  Read on to find out why he might get traded, and where he might end up.

Josh Beckett is still on the Red Sox, but for how much longer? Where might he end up?

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Every little league ballplayer hears those words, both on the field, and in the batter’s box– “Keep your eye on the ball”.  It’s a basic fundamental of baseball; you can’t hit, nor field a baseball if you are not watching it, because it may spin away from you, or it may spin at you and hit you someplace that you don’t want or expect to be hit in.  This weekend was the first time I had made time to sit down and enjoy the Sox in a while, and it appears to me that someone forgot to remind them of this cornerstone fundamental of the game.

Over the 81 outs recorded this weekend by Nationals pitching, 30 of them came by way of the K (in comparison, Washington’s batters recorded 34 outs themselves).  Now I understand that the phenom Stephen Strasburg was on the hill Friday night, so K’s were to be expected, given his career 11.48 K/9 ratio.  I also understand that the Nationals have one of the best 1-5 rotations in baseball, and they deserve as much credit for the sweep as the Sox lack of hitting does.  But when you give away 10 of the 27 innings worth of outs without any positive impact of the game, it’s a killer on your fan base.

Add another one for good measure!

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They said it would never happen again.  A year ago to the day, he underwent Tommy John surgery.  All the big baseball writers doubted he’d ever throw another pitch in a Red Sox uniform.  Having been a frustrated Sox fan (and a huge Wakefield advocate), this blissful bit of news excited me.  Yesterday afternoon, the Diceman Cometh—not Andrew Dice Clay, comedian and the oringal Diceman, but Daisuke Matsuzaka returned to the hill in Fenway Park, that very same mound that I had seen him work out of countless bases loaded jams (it seemed to be the only time he could ever throw a strike consistently), wearing that same Red Sox jersey Peter Gammons told me I wouldn’t have to see him in anymore.  But alas, Dice-K (or Dice-BB, as I refer to him within my inner circle of friends) didn’t look too bad against the Nationals after all.

He's baaaaaaaaaack..

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It’s finally here!  Fenway’s first game was 100 years ago today, and who better to play the 100th anniversary against than the vaunted Yankees? It’s youngsters Ivan Nova and Clay Buchholz squaring off on this historic day, which will be full of choked-up former players and managers in the pre-game celebration. Even Terry Francona has changed his mind and will be attending tonight!  Red Sox fans, he better receive a standing ovation for everything he’s done for the Sox, and for coming in spite of his ongoing feud with ownership.

Speaking of accomplishments, let’s take a moment to reflect on all of the Fenway Favorites that played and historic moments in this ballpark: Carlton Fisk waving the ball fair; the Pesky Pole; Manny being Manny; The Green Monster, with it’s manual scoreboard. The Red Seat.  Ted Williams’ illustrious career, followed right up by Carl Yastrzemski. Nomar Garciaparra; Pedro Martinez; Dave Roberts stealing second; David Ortiz’s walk-off after walk-off.  The 4 no-hitters Jason Varitek caught (Hideo Nomo, Derek Lowe, Clay Buchholz, and Jon Lester).  Jim Rice.  Wade Boggs, and for that matter, Roger Clemens and his 20-strikeout game (presumably before he was “allegedly” doing steroids).  So many memories, so much passion.  I, personally, will never forget the first time I heard “Sweet Caroline” belted in the middle of the 8th inning, a tradition only the Fenway Faithful carry out.  I’ll be a Royal Rooter until the day I die, and I hope to have many more years of celebrations in this historic ballpark.  Happy Birthday Fenway, and cheers to another century of history and success!


To conclude the celebratory post, here are some pictures taken by me, Nick DiBattista, from my visit to Fenway last weekend.  Enjoy!


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