Saturday, December 11, 2004

By the Same Logic...

"Theo, can you explain the process that led to the Wells signing?"

"I'd be happy to. As we look ahead to defending our World Series championship in 2005, we felt we needed to do four things. We needed to get fatter. We needed to get lazier. We needed to get older and, finally, we needed to corner the market on those players who were previously pinstriped."

"Fatter, lazier, older, and previously pinstriped?"

"That's right. We're calling it the F.L.O.P.P. protocol."

"So who else are you pursuing, given those priorities?"

"We're talking with the Yankees about a deal for Luis Sojo. He would fill our hole at short, and greatly increase the number of chins we bring to the infield every day."


Look, the David Wells signing isn't Matt Young crazy. It is, nevertheless, counter-intuitive at best. Admittedly, the numbers Boomer posted last year look fairly decent. Consider, though, that A) Petco Park was one of the most pitcher-friendly stadiums in baseball last year and B) beneath that 3.73 ERA lurks a K/9 inning ratio of 4.65. Bear in mind that Derek Lowe, the poster child for "contact is as contact does," posted a K/ 9 inning ratio of 5.17. So the raw numbers are cause for concern. Throw in the fact that Wells is 41 and has a history of letting himself go physically, and you've got a strange decision on Epstein's part.

Those defending the trade are saying that Wells will fit in with the "happy bunch of idiots" thing the Sox have going on in the clubhouse. I see two things wrong with this. First, Wells isn't a happy idiot; he's a surly obstreperous idiot. Secondly, and more importantly, the whole idiot thing has been blown out of all proportion. No, I don't see tenure at MIT in Manny's future. Nevertheless, the 2004 Red Sox, particularly their pitchers, prepared as well mentally as any team in the game. Holding the Cardinals to three runs over the last three games of the World Series speaks volumes about having the scouting to develop a good game plan and having the intelligence to implement it. How well do you think it will go over when Varitek tries to talk hitters with Wells, and Boomer blows him off for an Ultimate Fighting Championship at Denny's?

Obviously, Theo deserves the benefit of the doubt, and it's likely he knows something a mere keyboard jockey does not. From where I sit, though, this looks like a bad deal on multiple levels.


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