Wrote a bit about the Red Sox's various pleasant surprises this season -- Daniel Nava, Mike Carp, that Iglesias fella -- over here in a half-season superlatives (that's bests and worsts for you thesaurus dodgers) gallery. Another I should have mentioned, at least in terms of how I perceived the signing: Shane Victorino. He's still an outstanding defensive outfielder, and he probably has the Red Sox's best right field arm since Dwight Evans. (Singles-hittin' Mark Whiten wasn't here long enough to qualify.)
Surprised Yasiel Puig didn't win the fan vote. Whether you buy the This Time It Counts contrived nonsense or perceive the All-Star Game as a fun exhibition, he qualifies on both counts as someone who you'd want -- and want to see -- on the NL team.
Puig isn't the only Dodger putting up ridiculous numbers in a small sample. Through 39 games and 142 plate appearances, Hanley Ramirez has a .386/.444/.693 slash line with eight homers and 25 RBIs.
I've said it before the bandwagon was overbooked, and I'm going to keep saying it again and again until it inevitably happens: Xander Bogaerts gets to the big leagues before Will Middlebrooks returns. He's Hanley with a less speed and the polar-opposite attitude.
Is it possible that Beloved Fan-Favorite John Lackey contract ends up being a decent one for the Red Sox? He's been in his Anaheim Angels form lately (his 2.78 ERA this season is fifth-best in the AL). And because the Red Sox had at least an inkling that his elbow wasn't right, there was language inserted in his contract when he signed that gave the club an option for $500,000 for 2015 if he missed significant time with an elbow injury.
Have a tremendous amount of respect for how Davis has handled the questions about PED use. It must be incredibly frustrating to be fulfilling your potential and have to answer question after question about how it's being achieved simply because of the sins of his baseball forefathers. But he understands why he's being asked and handles it all gracefully. I hope he hits 74.
Doesn't the Jackie Bradley Jr. service time debate feel like it took place about five years ago? Talk about much ado about nothing.
Anyone still wish they'd signed Josh Hamilton? Anyone?
I know he has more than his share of obvious flaws -- the strikeouts and inconsistent defense -- but there's enough to like about Jarrod Saltalamacchia at age 28 that I hope the Red Sox find a way to keep him around beyond this year. He's getting better, and he works at it.
Here's hoping for a full recovery for David Ross.
I don't think we have any accurate indication of what Jose Iglesias will ultimately be as a hitter. But this much we know: He's improved, he's more confident, and he's lucky, and if he hits .260 -- not even .260 -- he's worthy of a spot in the lineup for his glove alone. And it sure looks like he can hit .260.
Still would trade him in a deal for Cliff Lee, though. What, you thought I was going full mea culpa?
About Touching All The Bases
Irreverence and insight from Chad Finn, a Globe/Boston.com sports writer and media columnist. A winner of several national and regional writing awards, he is the founder and sole contributor to the TATB blog, which launched in December 2004. Yes, he realizes how lucky he is.