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Today's Q&A with Mazz

Posted by David Lefort, Boston.com Staff  September 19, 2008 01:29 PM

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2008ws: can you see a scenario where Lowrie, Cora, Kotsay, AND Lugo all make the playoff roster?

Tony Massarotti: Absolutely. Cora, Kotsay and Lowrie will be on. Lugo is doubtful, but you never know.

LSCII: What's your guess on how effective Lowell will be in the playoffs?

Tony Massarotti: Excellent question. We should know more today, but he didn't look good Wednesday. Wouldn't surprise me if he sits out much of the weekend on turf. But the Red Sox need him and Drew to fill out the lineup.

Tomase_s_Truth: Tone, who's kidding whom here. The Angels scare the crap out of me. But peeking ahead to this offseason: Will the Sox be a player for any of the big-time FA pitchers? If so, who will they target?

Tony Massarotti: My best guess is that the Sox will look to make their biggest moves by trade as they have good young pitching in the system along with Beckett, Matsuzaka, etc. Don't be surprised if Buchholz shows up in trade talks.

blinky: Tony, Papelbon hasn't looked great in his last couple of outings against the Rays or Blue Jays, his off-speed has been very pedestrian, any thoughts ?

Tony Massarotti: I feel the same way. He looks like he's overthrowing a little, which has cost him some command. This could come back very quickly, but he needs his split to be effective, as we all know.

chrismac: What advice would you give to recent journalism graduates? Where do you see this business going?

Tony Massarotti: Go Web, young man! Go Web!

Sox_fan_in_NY: Thanks Tony, do you see any help at the catcher position for next year - maybe a trade? Any other serious rumors out there about the offseason?

Tony Massarotti: Looks to me like the Sox could use a lefthanded-hitting catcher as Varitek can still hit from the right side. Where to find one? Excellent question. But yes, they will explore. Maybe Gerald Laird? Think Cleveland would move Kelly Shoppach? (I know both are righthanded, but beggars can't be choosers.)

LSCII: What do you expect out of Beckett in the playoffs? Will he be his typical lights-out self, or more Jeckyll and Hyde like this whole season?

Tony Massarotti: I'd take my chances with Beckett in a big game any place, any time and against anyone.

jay_douglas: What do you call a manager who played Manny after he quit on his team several times? A manager that will do anything to win.

Tony Massarotti: Or a manager who will do what's best for his team.

Scott_from_San_Fran: Tony, I've been a broken drum, but what do you think the Red Sox actual best playoff lineup might look like? Do Drew and Lowell play?

Tony Massarotti: To me, the best lineup is this:

1. Jacoby Ellsbury, CF
2. Dustin Pedroia, 2B
3. David Ortiz, DH
4. Kevin Youkilis, 1B
5. Jason Bay, LF
6. Mike Lowell, 3B
7. J.D. Drew, RF
8. Jason Varitek, C
9. Jed Lowrie, SS

PhilthyTV: Hey Tony! "Good and You" Phil from Ch. 8 here, where will Curt Schilling wind up? Somewhere in Boston media, I would assume. He can't keep his mouth shut, even if he is right about Manny.

Tony Massarotti: Phil: Sounds like he may retire - unless he's willing to play for no guaranteed money. And I agree: After a while, the comments get old - especially from a guy who's not with the team.

superfan100: Hey mazz, Looking at the Sox it appears we might be one quality arm or big bat shy of going all the way. with that in mind who do you see the sox going after big in the offseason. Also, any updates on Salty?

Tony Massarotti: Hard to think the Rangers will give up Saltalamacchia. How about Matt Holliday? I think he's a better run producer than Bay. Maybe Bay and Buchholz for Holliday?

jimdaytona: In light of the injury to Lowell do you think the Sox should look at Teixeira assuming the Angels do not sign him. The Yanks would be after him also so let keep him out of NY.

Tony Massarotti: Absolutely. The Sox love Teixeira and Youkilis obviously can play third. Unfortunately, Teixeira is also going to cost BIG dollars. As for Lowell, he said there are no long-term concerns with his hips, but I'm still a little worried.

Bob_from_Crowley: How many players are playing their last games for the Sox? I count Varitek, Cora, Timlin, Schilling (not playing) and possibly Wakefield (and Cash).

Tony Massarotti: They have quite a number of free agents, though Wakefield and Varitek could be back. Still, they should have between $40 million-$60 million to spend this winter.

Larry: If the Red Sox go 3-and-out in the ALDS, won't fans still consider this a victory given the injuries we've had this year and that the Yankees didn't make the playoffs?

Tony Massarotti: Heck no. Standards have changed here now - it's all about winning titles. Deeming this year a success because of someone else's failure (the Yankees) is a loser's mentality.

rob: tony - Will Tito go all out to get the home field in the next two weeks or spend more effort lining up the rotation for the playoffs?

Tony Massarotti: Lining up the rotation!

nycpatsfan: Will the Sox exercise their recurring option on Wake for next season?

Tony Massarotti: Yes!

Stampguy: It seems that the Celtics starters are not so young (in NBA years) any more. How best can the Celtics help themselves now?

Tony Massarotti: They still have time. Rondo is still developing as are their picks from each of the last two drafts. When contracts of Garnett, Allen and Pierce expire, they'll have max contracts to offer on free-agent market. Looks to me like they're in pretty good shape.

Falafel: Tony, Is there any reason not to sit Mike Lowell for the rest of the season and let him get as healthy as can possibly be for the postseason? It?s not like alternating Lowrie and Youk at third, Lowrie and Cora at SS, and Youk/Kotsay/Casey at first would ruin us. Your thoughts?

Tony Massarotti: Tough balance here because he needs to play, too. But it wouldn't surprise me if he sat out the weekend - especially on turf.

JD: Tired of Dennis and Callahan ripping on JD Drew. In your opinion, is he truly unable to play or is he more "conservative" than others?

Tony Massarotti: His history suggests a little of both, but back injuries are a pain. This sounds legit. They need to get an answer on him very soon.

Granny_Ramirez: Why do you think they might trade Buchholz, rather than someone else - attitude/makeup? Or demand/perceived value vs. actual value?

Tony Massarotti: I think he still has value and I think they can win without him. They also have Bowden coming, etc.

Mile_High_Sox_Fan: Hello Tony. I'm not looking past the playoffs. I believe these Sox have a chance, but I am curious about how to improve the team in the offseason. A bullpen arm is a given, but what about a bat? I look around the diamond and see only Tek's spot as one available for improvement. All other spots have players entrenched in their position. That scares me...because that's how the Yankees got old and mediocre. Your thoughts?

Tony Massarotti: Just because you have good players at some spots doesn't mean you should stop looking to get BETTER ones. Again, I like Matt Holliday and Jason Bay is cheap, which makes him tradable. If the Rockies could get Bay and Buchholz for Holliday, I bet they'd do it. (Obviously, I LOVE Holliday.)

scott_from_san_fran: Any chance of Francona moving Ortiz to cleanup? Makes sense on paper to have Youk and Pedroia above him, with Bay behind him.

Tony Massarotti: Asked him this before and it seems unlikely. If he swings like he did Wednesday, it won't matter.

lobbsta: Tony: If Jason Varitek is such a better hitter righthanded this year (I believe that he's batting about 80 points higher and has 5 home runs), why doesn't he stop switch-hitting?

Tony Massarotti: I've asked this, too. The answer: When is the last time he faced a righthanded pitcher batting righthanded? Good point there. Tough to change in midseason.

Granny_Ramirez: You appear to type much faster than Mr. Edes did. (I won't say that you think faster - just type faster.)

Tony Massarotti: Who's Mr. Edes?

jme: Is it possible that Lowell, with a more movable contract than Lugo, might be odd man out over the winter?

Tony Massarotti: Possible, yes. But if he's not healthy, that affects his value.

Highstick: Score prediction for Pats / Miami?

Tony Massarotti: 24-6.

jkstraw: Mazz- How is your research different for the blog-o-sphere than it is for the newspaper?

Tony Massarotti: Ah - a technical question! Given that I don't have daily newspaper deadline pressure (yet), I have more time and more space to get into detail, which I love ... so far. :)

nycpatsfan: Tony, this Sox team just doesn't seem to have "it." I predict they get knocked out in the ALDS against the Angels. You?

Tony Massarotti: I change my mind daily. A few days ago, I thought they were a team to be feared. Remember that they played Wednesday's game without Bay, Lowell, Drew and Varitek.

Grisha: Mazz - What do you anticipate to see from Cassel/Belichick this Sunday - increased downfield throws or more of the rinky-dink screens and throws to the flat we saw last week?

Tony Massarotti: I think they will run the ball down Miami's throat and, when the Dolphins cheat, go deep. It will help keep Moss happy, too, and Miami is a team they can abuse.

Zapp: How much of a burden will Dice-K be on the team if he consistently can't get deep into games against any postseason team other than the White Sox?

Tony Massarotti: If Beckett and Lester are giving the innings they can give, it won't matter.

big_daddy: Tony.Tim Wakefield is always a horrible post season performer . . . why not give Colon another start and if he looks even better than he did last time out against Toronto, and the eight-inning gem against the Yanks' AAA club, he's my #4, and if not it's Byrd, who has been good in postseason. Thoughts?

Tony Massarotti: Not a big fan of Colon. I'd take my chances with Wake.

Mile_High_Sox_Fan: No! No! No! Tony...as a Colorado resident, I have to say trading Bay and Buchholz for Holiday is a horrible idea. First, the Rockies would ask for more. Second, the move gives you no salary flexibility. Third, the production gap between Bay and Holiday isn't nearly as great as you think. Holiday's road splits put him exactly at Bay's production level. Why would you do this trade?

Tony Massarotti: I know what Holliday's splits are. I also know that he would be playing half his games at Fenway.

eric_l: Has Manny leaving really impacted the other hitters opportunities?

Tony Massarotti: Tough to say that specifically, but it has clearly impacted the offense, at least against good pitching. Look at what he's done for the Dodgers!

Brady_s_Knee: '04 was a team of destiny. '07 had the swagger of the best team in baseball. This team reminds me a bit of '05 when they were in transition and beset by injuries. Is your sense the same being close to the team?

Tony Massarotti: I put this team somewhere between `05 and `07. These Sox are a veteran team that knows how to win - they also have a healthy Beckett and Lester. Matt Clement pitched Game 1 in 2005.

JD: Has instant replay been used yet to reverse a play? What are your thoughts on its implementation?

Tony Massarotti: Yes, in Tampa for an A-Rod homer. I love it. Why not?

bud: What is the attraction with Theo, I mean great job in the farm system but i just think with the money he's had to spend on free agents I think most general mgrs. would have done better, am i wrong ?

Tony Massarotti: Every GM makes mistakes. The surplus of young talent now gives them UNBELIEVABLE flexibility to trade and sign players of all kinds, with all teams.

nycpatsfan: Is it fair to criticize Bay for not rejoining the team for the last game in TB after his wife gave birth the day before? It was the biggest game of the regular season.

Tony Massarotti: If my wife had the baby, I would have left, too.

GreatFurry1: Tony - my opinion - with a estimated $225M - $230M payroll and not making the playoffs, only 10 or so games over .500, the 2008 Yankees rank as the biggest disappointment or baseball management example in history?

Tony Massarotti: Maybe. The Mets of the early `90s were quite a bust, too. And what about the 2008 Tigers!!!!

Booyah: Tony - I know all the logic about using 3 starters in the ALDS. But by the same logic of resting starters at the end of the regular season, imagine a scenario where the sox are up 2 games to 1 in the ALDS. Wouldn't it make sense to start Byrd/Wake, try to win game 4 (and rest Beckett for games 1/4/7 of the ALCS), with the reassurance that you could pitch Beckett in game 5 instead if it comes to that?

Tony Massarotti: Only said to use three starters if they got the `A' schedule, which provides an extra day of rest. Nobody would be pitching short. You could then use Lester for Game 1 and come back with Beckett for Game 2 or Game 3, so each would still pitch twice in a seven-game set.

nycpatsfan: Is you online deal with the Globe a result of some covenant not to compete clause you had in your contract with the Herald? And if so, when that clause expires, will you be writing for the print version of the Globe?

Tony Massarotti: Interesting theory, but no. Read my initial column/post. It pretty much explains the logic.

T_J_: Having watched the two recent showdowns with the Rays, I'm a little worried about this teams chances to "win when it counts." Do you see any obvious reason why they struggle in that situation?

Tony Massarotti: The bullpen.

Brady_s_Knee: I see LaMont Jordan being a 1,000 yard rusher for the Pats by season's end, you?

Tony Massarotti: I'm not sure they'll have any 1,000-yard rushers. They have five pretty good backs and Belichick will use them all - especially with Brady out.

keene5mlb: What is Julio Lugo's future with this team? There's no way he will ever start here again

Tony Massarotti: If they can trade him, they will. But I'm not sure they can.

illis_burts: Maz, just read the Yanks hope to have a rotation of Sabathia, Burnett, Wang, Chamberlain, and Hughes. Any chance of the Sox going after CC?

Tony Massarotti: Possible, but doubtful. Sabathia is a big man who has had some knee problems and could have great difficulty later in their career. Sox have done a good job of producing pitching. I think it's more like they will go after a hitter.

jt: Who's fatter...Sheppard or Ordway? (BE HONEST)

Tony Massarotti: Per inch of height, Glenn.

shawn: Tony, there's so much emotion around the Manny move this season. But when the dust settles, how do you think Manny will be remembered in Boston, long-term?

Tony Massarotti: As a Hall of Fame slugger who helped deliver two World Series - and as a spaceshot.

Falafel: Tony, who do you see in the World Series . . . and who wins?

Tony Massarotti: Cubs vs. Angels with Cubs winning. But I'd love to see Sox-Dodgers.

wild_card: Sorry, have to respond to big daddy: Wake has not always been a "horrible" postseason performer. Didn't he beat the Yankees twice in the 2003 ALCS? As for the Boone homer, that was Grady's second-worst decision, not his fault.

Tony Massarotti: True: Wake would have been the MVP of the 2003 ALCS.

Louie: Why did you leave the Herald?

Tony Massarotti: Didn't leave the Herald. I came to the Globe.

Brooks: What would you say to those who insist the Sox are only among the best because they have the salary to do so? Isn't it time to give some credit to the wonderful farm system?

Tony Massarotti: Who has said that? It's a combination of both.

lilikoi: Are the Sox concerned about Jon Lester's large increase in innings this year? Do you think his next two starts will be abbreviated because of this?

Tony Massarotti: I think they will be careful with him, yes. But only to give him an extra breather before the playoffs. He looks really strong to me.

nycpatsfan: Not suggesting Bay shouldn't have left for the birth of his baby, but the kid was born 24 hours before Wednesday's game; couldn't he have made it back to Tampa for that game?

Tony Massarotti: Get real. With the off day, etc., he was far better off just joining the team in Toronto, which is what he's doing.

jkstraw: How would an NL team do in Boston along side the Sox?

Tony Massarotti: Theory has been posed before. Probably better than any team does in Florida, I would say.

jkstraw: You went to the Joanna Weiss school of typing didn't you?

Tony Massarotti: Who's she?

D_Wayne_Johnson: Tony, after the way Manny shot his way out of town here what makes he and his agent so confident that the huge $$$ deal is gonna be out there? I would think teams would remember his act on his way outta town here and take that into account before offering him $20 million per season.

Tony Massarotti: I have similar feelings, but teams have been know to do dumber things: See: Park, Chan Ho ... among others.

CHEEKO: why is scoring runs been such a problem lately (other than mon.)

Tony Massarotti: Because the lineup isn't as good. Speed guys are inconsistent and the Sox have less power without Manny.

keene5mlb: It seems as though Lars Anderson is not too far away from being major league ready. Where do you see him fitting in in the near future?

Tony Massarotti: If Sox take approach they have with pitchers and Ellsbury, maybe they'll start integrating him in the middle of next year?

jkstraw: Is Gerry Callahan the most obnoxious sports figure in Boston...or is he a puppy dog?

Tony Massarotti: I like Gerry a lot and have great respect for his talent. The guy can write.

eric_l: Who needs to produce the most for the sox to be successful in the playoffs!

Tony Massarotti: Okajima!!!

jkstraw: Weiss: TV blogger for Boston.com

Tony Massarotti: Oh. Should have known that. Does she type fast? Or poorly?

GreatFurry1: Both the Patriots and Red Sox have been commented on as "model" franchises for other teams to emulate; are we just lucky or is the intensity and involvement of the Boston fan base a factor in their evolution to that state?

Tony Massarotti: We've always had passionate fans here. We just have owners that now match that passion.

jjmed33: Leave Timlin off the roster?

Tony Massarotti: Possibly. Depends on whether they carry 10 or 11 pitchers. Of him, Lugo and a third catcher, only one probably stays.

Brady_s_Knee: Now that they are short of both a SS and a "Ramirez," can/would the Sox make a play to get Hanley back?

Tony Massarotti: Marlins locked him up. If you were them, would YOU trade him?

fred: Any reason why Francona is so committed to Kotsay, I would like to see more Ellsbury and Crisp who have both been much better recently, and maybe more of Casey

Tony Massarotti: The other night, Bay and Drew were both out, which is why Crisp and Kotsay were both in. Personally, I think Kotsay is a better player.

dp1962: did you every notice - kevin cash and keith foulke - separated at birth.

Tony Massarotti: Agreed.

Highstick: I know there was already one Bruins question...but can't help it - WHEN WHEN WHEN will the Jacobs family give them some love, straighten out management and get a good team on the ice???

Tony Massarotti: When they start to get embarrassed by the success of the other local teams?

Falafel: Mazz, be honest, are you at least smirking at the way the Yankee season has gone up in flames? As a Bostonian living in New York, I sure am.

Tony Massarotti: Honestly don't root against the Yankees, though I saw this coming. I picked them no higher than third.

GreatFurry1: Is 2009 the breakthrough year for Jim Rice in the HOF?

Tony Massarotti: Yes, I think so. I hope so.

keene5mlb: Besides Holiday who's the most reasonable slugger for the sox to acquire via trade? maybe Prince Fielder?

Tony Massarotti: Define ''reasonable.''

Louie: Is Dice K over the hurdle, will he be tough in the playoffs

Tony Massarotti: What hurdle? He looks strong to me. He just throws way too many pitches - always has.

jjmed33: Postseason -- Paul Byrd or Tim Wakefield? You have to give the nod to Wake after last year, right?

Tony Massarotti: For lots of reasons, I like Wake. (See today's post.)

LSCII: Is Lucchino looking to jump out of his role with the Sox now that Theo is about to resign with the team?

Tony Massarotti: I don't imagine so. Seems like Larry has a pretty good gig here, too. I think they've both played a key role in franchise success. Don't you?

LSCII: Who are your picks for AL MVP and AL Cy?

Tony Massarotti: Pedroia and Cliff Lee.

scruff: You truly think Lugo might be on the roster?

Tony Massarotti: A longshot, but there's always a small chance.

nycpatsfan: Regarding Dice K, is his control THAT bad or his he scared that if he throws strikes, he'll get hit? And if he pitched with such little control in Japan, why did the Sox go after him?

Tony Massarotti: His control is NOT that bad. He just pitches away from contact. In Japan, I suspect this problem did not show up because the lineups are not nearly as good.

fred: Lester or Beckett in Gm 1 of the DS?

Tony Massarotti: Beckett, Beckett, Beckett.

JJ: Why do your fantasy baseball teams usually stink?

Tony Massarotti: I know too much. :)

jjmed33: Where will Manny end up? Mets?

Tony Massarotti: Tough call. How about Manny in Philly with Ryan Howard and Chase Utley to replace Burrell?

keene5mlb: The sox seem to have an abundance of top notch outfield prospects: kalish, reddick, place, lin, and westmoreland. Obviously there's not room on the roster for all of them. With trade value high, why not trade some for a big bat or top of the rotation arm?

Tony Massarotti: You're assuming that all of these players are going to pan out, aren't you?

eric_l: How would you rate Pedro's career with the Mets?

Tony Massarotti: Honestly, a HUGE bust. Sox made the right call there. The only good pitcher signed out of that entire free-agent class was Derek Lowe, who has been pitching quite well with the Dodgers of late.

Thanks for joining us. Hope to do this again soon.

On that note, let's leave you with this thought: Why not bring back Lowe next year to fill out the rotation?

- Tony

Tony's Top 5

Favorite blog entries

The final chapter on Teixeira and How Red Sox pitchers work the strike zone Jan. 7, 2009 and July 17, 2009. Some actual reporting – an obsession with Mark Teixeira and the art of pitching.
For 2011 Red Sox, there was plenty of blame to go around Oct. 1, 2011. The disgraceful collapse of the Red Sox stoked the fire in all of us.
Behind Garnett and James, Celtics and Heat are digging in June 4, 2012. Improbably, the Celtics pushed the Heat to the limit.
Thrill is back for Patriots Jan. 30, 2012. Another Super Bowl has even Bill Belichick musing.
You’ve got to believe June 15, 2011. On the morning of Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals, we all had reason to believe.
Updated: Mar 1, 07:24 AM

About Mazz

Tony Massarotti is a Globe sportswriter and has been writing about sports in Boston for the last 19 years. A lifelong Bostonian, Massarotti graduated from Waltham High School and Tufts University. He was voted the Massachusetts Sportswriter of the Year by his peers in 2000 and 2008 and has been a finalist for the award on several other occasions. This blog won a 2008 EPpy award for "Best Sports Blog".

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