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Scattered thoughts from a busy week

Posted by Tony Massarotti, Globe Staff  December 11, 2009 10:08 AM

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Sights, sounds and observations while pondering holiday gifts for Jane, Judy, Elroy and Astro:

  • Mike Lowell cannot be happy about this. Conventional wisdom has it that Lowell turned down more money to remain with the Red Sox following the 2007 season, and the Sox have spent a significant amount of time exploring deals for Lowell over each of the last two offseasons. This winter, unlike last, his fate is all but sealed.

    If and when Lowell is dealt, let the record show that the Sox took on his contract in 2005 to acquire Josh Beckett, then agreed to take on most of his contract to facilitate his departure to Texas. All of that can't help but make you wonder if the Sox ever really wanted Lowell at all, especially when they were allegedly outbid following the 2007 season when he returned on a three-year, $37 million deal.

    After all, Theo Epstein was on sabbatical when the Sox made the Hanley Ramirez-and-prospects for Beckett/Lowell deal four years ago.

  • Bill Belichick lost Adalius Thomas a long time ago - or maybe Thomas lost Belichick. Whatever the case, the truth probably rests somewhere in between. Thomas hasn't lived up to his potential in New England and the Patriots clearly overestimated his talent and makeup, which means there is plenty of blame to go around.

    If Thomas is still with the Pats at the start of next season, it will make the immaculate conception look like a card trick.

  • During the 15 games that Marc Savard missed, the Bruins scored exactly 30 goals during regulation and overtime, an average of two goals per game. Since Savard has returned from a foot injury, the Bruins have scored 26 goals in eight games, an average of 3.3 per contest, while going 6-1-1.

  • With regard to Tiger Woods, once cannot help but get the feeling that we are all witnessing the complete deconstruction of an American icon. What a scandal. Then again, closer inspection reveals that most everyone from Arnold Palmer to Muhammad Ali to Joe DiMaggio had colossal flaws, even if we did not entirely learn about them until well after the fact.

  • Totally get the Adrian Beltre idea with regard to defense, but he seems to go against much of what the Red Sox believe in offensively. Beltre is a free swinger and among the many athletes linked to Dominican trainer Angel Presinal, who has been banned from major league clubhouses. With the exception of 2004, when he batted .334 and hit 48 home runs while posting a 1.017 OPS, Beltre has never batted higher than .276, hit more than 26 homers or posted an OPS greater than .802 in the last nine seasons.

    Nonetheless, you should remember that third base is hardly one of the deepest positions in baseball.

  • Have the agents' claims of collusion started yet? The non-tender free agents are due to hit the market tomorrow, which means the supply will outweigh the demand in a matter of hours. Teams clearly are getting smarter, which means it may be time to change the rules.

    Keep your eye on any corner infielders who are non-tendered, a group that could include Garrett Atkins. If the Sox are indeed bridging to the future, wouldn't it make more sense to sign someone like Atkins to a shorter deal than to commit unnecessarily to a player like Beltre?

  • Speaking of Beltre, we have decided that the best way to assess the true age of all Caribbean players is to add a 10 percent import tax. For example: Beltre is currently listed as 30. Factoring in the additional 10 percent, he is probably closer to 33.

  • In retrospect, that first-round pick sacrificed in the Spygate affair is looking bigger by the day, no?

  • Enough with the Randy Moss bashing. He has been true to form during his time in New England, stretching the field and prompting questions as to his completeness as a player. That is entirely consistent with his pre-Patriots career. The Patriots of old would have asked Moss to adapt rather than shaping themselves around him, which is precisely what has happened here.

    Remember the old days, when the Pats threw to the receiver who was open? Where has that philosophy gone? When did the Pats stop taking what the defense was giving them and when did they stop throwing to the tight end?

  • Assuming the Lowell deal goes through, the 2010 Sox will pay a combined $18 million to Lowell and Julio Lugo, each of whom will be playing elsewhere. And yet, ownership emphatically put its foot down last winter when it had the chance to close the deal on Mark Teixeira. Does that make any sense at all?

  • During the Celtics' nine-game winning streak, Kevin Garnett is averaging 18.4 points and shooting 65 percent from the field. In 2007-08, when the Celtics won the championship, Garnett averaged 18.8 points and shot 53.9 percent.

  • Anyone else starting to get the feeling that the Red Sox would truly rather have Matt Holliday than Jason Bay? This is why Scott Boras is not pushing the Holliday talks until Bay gets signed. Boras knows that with the Red Sox involved in the bidding, the price for Holliday will only go up.

    Just wondering: what if Bay signs elsewhere and the Yankees outbid the Red Sox for Holliday?

  • Be careful when you refer to Max Ramirez as a "catcher"? According to a well respected major league evaluator, Ramirez has some offensive ability and could be a good fit for Fenway Park, but he can't catch and can't throw. Ramirez might have a future at first base, but he is not the Red Sox' long-term answer behind the plate.

    For that matter, neither is Victor Martinez.

  • Time for honesty: totally forgot Casey Kotchman was on this team until someone pointed it out the other day.

  • The Red Sox view Boof Bonser in as being somewhat similar to Justin Masterson, who gave them the flexibility of oscillating between the bullpen and starting rotation. As a reliever, Bonser will pitch earlier in the game than Masterson did. Like Masterson, he also had some difficulty with lefthanded batters.

  • No fool, that Bill Belichick. He picked the right week to put his foot down. Carolina ranks 31st in the NFL in passer rating, ahead of only the Cleveland Browns. The Panthers simply cannot throw, which means they cannot exploit the New England secondary.


  • Still can?t help but wonder how differently we might view things today if the Patriots had won that game in February 2008.

  • 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".

    Talk to Mazz