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Peter Gammons Red Sox chat transcript

Wed., January 4, 2006
Chris_2:Q: This Alex Cora for Kaz Matsui rumor sounds bogus to me. Is there any truth and/or logic to this rumor?
PeterGammons:The Mets would love to do it but the Red Sox love Alex Cora, the manager agrees with Paul Lo Duca that he is the smartest player in the game. Matsui is a huge question mark. The Mets throw everything out there, so I'm sure they tried.
FutureSoxOutfielder:Q: Do you believe Schilling will be healthy next year??
PeterGammons:I do. I'm not sure he can come back and have the power arm he had two years ago but he can pitch well enough to win consistently. One thing about Curt, he really knows how to use Fenway Park. The key to right-handed pitchers at Fenway is to get right-handed hitters to hit to the deepest part of ballpark. Beckett should also be good at Fenway, Papelbon too.
BoSox89:Q: Is there any more talk about the Sox getting Torii Hunter?
PeterGammons:No. He's untradable because he's the only Twins player who has hit 20 HRs the last couple of years. Both their good young hitters Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau are left handed. They need his power.
Fenway08:Q: Peter, grew up a Sox fan in the 60's and fell in love with Yaz. During the 70-80's no better Sox player than Rice. As a HOF member, what do you think Rice's chance of entering this year?
PeterGammons:I think at least 50-50. I talked at length with some of the voters at the Winter meetings. Their feeling was Rice's great years were so great, six top five finishes in 12 years. Voters like Stark, Verducci, tend to take their ballot more seriously than some people. A good chance for Rice. A lot of things voters believe: how many times are his numbers in bold face in Baseball Encyclopedia? That's really a good qualifier for a player's great ability.
millsy:Q: What are the chances of Clemens coming back to Boston?
PeterGammons:Not good. Larry Lucchino has been in contact with the Hendricks brothers as recently as yesterday. Rangers owner Tom Hicks was also at the Rose Bowl seeing his alma mater. Texas has been working very hard on bringing him to the Rangers. I wouldn't bet against it.
Yazpopsup:Q: Peter, with the signing of Preston Wilson in Houston, will that make Willy Tavares available in a trade to the Sox? Tons of speed, young, great fielder and hit almost 300 in his rookie year. (Is Houston West Coast enough for David Wells?
PeterGammons:Wilson's knees are so bad at this point, I doubt he could play center field in Houston. They got him as corner who could play center. I don't think will trade Tavares. They have 7 players getting $90 million on the payroll without Clemens. Trading a $300,000 center-fielder makes no sense. I'm not sure the Sox will trade Wells. No way taking they're taking Woody Williams from San Diego. And with Dodgers trading Duaner Sanchez to the Mets for Jae Seo, I'm not sure there's place for Wells with LA. The Red Sox are thinking "Why get rid of a guy who's 16-1 at Fenway since 1998?"
Rip:Q: Do you think Andy Marte is ready to be a full-time major leaguer in 2006?
PeterGammons:I think he will be ready by mid-season. The Braves development people believe he needs about three more months in Triple-A. But both Braves' assistant GM Dayton Moore and Roy Clark believe he's going to be a star and we all know right-handed corner power is very hard to find in baseball right now.
afh:Q: Does Manny realize that as a baseball superstar anywhere he goes he will not get any privacy. So why is it that he wants to get out of Boston? Why can't he just grin and bear it, after all based on record he has performed well in Boston.
PeterGammons:I do not think Manny thinks out certain situations very carefully. There appear to be personal issues involved in his desire to leave Boston. But I still believe that unless the Red Sox get Miguel Tejada, they will not trade him. There's no reason that Manny couldn't move out to where Pedro Martinez used to live by the Arnold Arboretum and get all the privacy he needs. I don't think he's going to retire. He'll be playing for the Dominican Republic in the World Baseball Classic. His reporting date for the Red Sox would be within the last 10 days of March.
Dave:Q: Considering the glut of second basemen and dearth of shortstops on the Sox roster, is there any chance the Sox move Pedroia back to his natural position (short)?
PeterGammons:It has been discussed and right now the last case scenario could be starting the season with Cora and Pedroia at shortstop. I don't think that will happen and I do believe Tony Graffanino will get traded by the end of of spring training. But it is a thought, Pedroia is a slight upgrade on range and arm than David Eckstein.
zzz:Q: Peter, are people too quick to want to get rid of Clement? He pitched well most of the year. Is he really that big of a head case?
PeterGammons:Yes I think they're very quick to get rid of him. He was an all-star and after getting hit by the line drive the game seemed to speed up for him. He sometimes pitched out of control. If he's fourth behind Schilling, Beckett, Wells, or Papelbon, he could one of the best middle of the rotation starters in the league. His stuff is so good, opposing teams don't want to face him. That's worth something.
Mike_from_Portland:Q: Peter: Knowing how difficult it is to repeat, what do you think of the White Sox post-series model of aggressively moving to resign key leaders (Konerko) and locking up young arbitration eligibles (Garland/Pierzynski), and trading spare parts?
PeterGammons:I thought the White Sox did a great job moving forward. One thing that was interesting talking to both ownership and FO during offseason. They realize a lot of things went right for them to win. They went out and made changes. Getting Jim Thome was a great move. Also, the Javier Vazquez move was good one as well since DB were also talking to Indians about Vazquez. Signing Garland gives opportunity to trade him or Contreras when a team gets desperate for pitching. Kenny Williams proving to be one of the best GMs in the game. He understands that the game is entirely based on pitching.
miggpo:Q: How are the Red Sox addressing there need for utility players?
PeterGammons:Their biggest need right now is a right-handed hitting outfielder. I doubt they could get anyone as good as Jay Payton but eventually someone will fall through cracks in spring training. The idea of signing J.T. Snow is the idea that Youkilis is going to be a productive everyday first baseman, offensively and defensively, and they don't want a conflict with someone as far as starting is concerned.
Klutz:Q: Please settle an argument: I say it was Theo's plan all along to cut his losses and deal Renteria, others say Renteria was dealt only after Theo was gone. Which is correct?
PeterGammons:Theo was very much for that trade. He worried that what we saw last year might be what he is in the future as opposed to the all-star that he was in St. Louis. Whether it was injuries, or Boston, there was concern on a lot of levels in the organization and I believe Theo would have made that deal and thought about it in Sept. and October. I agree with Lucchino that says most of the plans for the offseason were laid out in October, while Theo is still there. I think that one thing that has always impressed me about Theo is the ability to admit that he's wrong and cut his losses.
BAMDAD:Q: Have the Red Sox front office screwed things up from both a PR standpoint and a player standpoint, i.e., current players, losing good players, and not getting people to come here?
PeterGammons:I'm not sure there's a lot that they could have done differently. I think most of the concern is over losing Damon. And while they didn't see Damon getting a $52 million offer from the Yankees or Boras accepting anything under five years. I don' t think they would have gone beyond $46 million for four years. In talking to GMs around the game, Jed Hoyer, who does most of trade discussions, has come out with a lot more admiration from other GMs in baseball. He's smart, he's respectful, and the other GMs seem to genuinely like him.
Yazman8:Q: Dear Mr. Gammons...The All Time Greatest -- Do you think that the Red Sox bullpen is complete and how much are the Sox counting on Jermaine Van Buren who played for my hometown Hattiesburg High Tigers in Hattiesburg, MS?
PeterGammons:I don't know how much they're counting on him, but no harm taking a shot. I think they'd still like to add one or two left-handed relievers and if they were to trade Wells to the Dodgers, they would want a power reliever back. It's still all going to come down to Keith Foulke because if he can close as he did two years ago, then they have a chance to be very strong in the 6, 7, and 8th innings with Timlin, Mota, and Seanez.
red:Q: Hey Peter, Do the Sox really have a deal in place for Lugo sending Marte to the Rays? Seems an awful lot to give up for Lugo, Marte and cash sent to Atlanta. 
PeterGammons:I agree that it's a lot to give up if one considers that Marte's ceiling is much higher, he's much cheaper, and Lugo is a one year deal. One thing I've heard that if Marte went to Tampa the Red Sox also might get Joey Gathright and use Gathright in a deal with Seattle for Jeremy Reed.
bub:Q: Do you believe that Theo will be back in Boston?
PeterGammons:I believe it. But I don't know it. It wouldn't stun me if he waited and did some consulting work but I certainly get the impression that John Henry, Tom Werner, Larry Lucchino, and all the front office want him back. I would think by now, everyone concerned has a pretty good idea of what role he would fill. I do find it interesting the Patriots are trying to win their fourth Super Bowl in five years and the best GM in football, Scott Pioli, has his contract up at the end of the season.
portland_s_dirtdog:Q: Will the Sox get rid of Marte because of the season he is having in the Dominican winter league?
PeterGammons:No. Teams don't put much stock in that. They do no want to trade him. But in the end. If they can't fill two positions any other way, it may make sense to think of trading him as "alright, this is what we got for Renteria, how do we solve our other problems?"
smcjp:Q: How much have the Red Sox improved the pitching staff this offseason? Will Lester break into the starting staff?
PeterGammons:I think they've improved it by getting Beckett, Mota, and Seanez. I think Papelbon will be a very important contributor, but in the end, the 300 most important innings may once again be Schilling and Foulke and as we all know they couldn't pitch 300 innings last year, nor could they pitch effectively.
soxfan10:Q: Where are the Red Sox and Orioles at in their trade talks involving Manny and Miguel Tejada?
PeterGammons:I get the impression that they're stalled. Clearly the Jeromy Burnitz fiasco and most everyone assumes that he failed the physical, complicates the deal because it makes it more difficult for the Orioles to trade an outfielder. It's my understanding that the money issue is a problem. Manny's agent Greg Genkse told me yesterday that the option was not going to be a problem. But the Orioles indicated something different to me. I still think there's a fair chance it happens because the Red Sox want it to happen and David Ortiz is clearly fueling the Tejada fire.
GammonsisKing:Q: What is your prediction? Who will be starting at SS, 1B, and CF for the Red Sox on opening day?
PeterGammons:This will be a heck of a guess because I'm sure I'm going to be wrong. At 12:45 p.m. on Jan. 4, I would guess Tejada at SS, Reed in CF, and Youkilis at 1B. But the only one I'm confident of is Youkilis.
eddiethek:Q: Mark Loretta has played shortstop for the Brewers in 2000 with only two errors in 90 games at that position. Why can't the Red Sox use him at short and Tony Graffanino at second base?
PeterGammons:Loretta would only be a stopgap at short. Injuries have slowed him down. He's an intelligent player but the quickness is no longer there to play short.
BJ:Q: Which Sea Dog should we be watching in Portland this year as the next great prospect?
PeterGammons:If Brandon Moss doesn't go back there, I would think Jacoby Ellsbury and Jed Lowry will be the two players to watch. Even though Ellsbury has some growing up to do, he could get to the big leagues in a hurry, and so could Lowry. What will be interesting is to see if they keep Lowry at shortstop. He played second base at Stanford and Team USA. Craig Shipley likes they way he played shortstop, and kept him there at Lowell and he played really well..
bigpapipower:Q: Are the Red Sox in your mind behind the Yankees and Blue Jays in the East. If yes, what are chances this could change by opening day?
PeterGammons:I think Toronto right now is the strongest contender in the AL East. Unless the Yankees all get old and their pitching disintegrates, they should be able to win 100 games. Toronto has the best pitcher in the division in Roy Halladay. And they should score a lot more runs than they did last year. My issue is a question of their middle infield defense and the depth of their pitching. What the Red Sox do between now and August 1 will answer a lot of questions.
GARP:Q: How is Trot Nixon valued by other teams, scouts, etc. It seems as though he has lost a step and not the player we hoped he would be a few years back.
PeterGammons:I think your evaluation is probably right. The injuries the last two years have slowed him down and he's never been given the opportunity to show he can hit left-handed pitching. He will be one of the most interesting players to see this spring. I have a feeling he's going to come in to Ft. Myers in tremendous shape and have his best season in three years.
Barry:Q: Peter, Should the Manny-Tejada trade actually happen. Can we expect to see Tejada's production numbers increase because of the Boston line-up, and conversely, Manny's numbers decline because of the Baltimore lineup?
PeterGammons:Tejada's numbers will increase because of the lineup around him. But I think Manny is born to play in Baltimore. He's a right centerfield hitter. His greatest power has been minimized by fenway park. I can easily see him hitting 50 homers in Camden Yards. In my mind, as great a player as Tejada is, if the Orioles can get Ramirez and Clement, I personally think they would be crazy to turn it down.
PeterGammons:Thanks folks, gotta run into a meeting, but hope you get a chance to come to the Hot Stove, Cool Music roundtable discussion on Saturday with Theo and J.P. Ricciardi and/or the concert on Sunday. PG.
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