Gammons and Edes on the Red Sox' plans

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There aren’t many people who know the Red Sox front office better than Peter Gammons and Gordon Edes do, and this morning they provide their views as to what that front office is going to do this offseason. Their thinking:

  • They both think that Jason Bay will stay in Boston, mostly because the Mets don’t have the cash to beat a Boston offer and none of the other potential suitors — the Giants, Mariners, Angels or maybe the Cardinals — don’t really work for a number of reasons. I agree. Bay has a pretty comfortable job in Boston. Anywhere else he goes his defense will be a bigger issue than it is in Fenway. I think he stays.
  • Despite declining Alex Gonzalez’s option, he’ll stay around too, yielding to Jed Lowrie if Lowrie proves that he can stay healthy, and generally providing some insurance for a position that always seems to be unsure in Boston.  My view: not sure there are any better options out there. Omar Vizquel maybe? Either way, cover it with a glove and wait for Jose Iglesias to mature.
  • Forget the Adrian Gonzalez speculation. Jed Hoyer knows who the best Sox prospects are. The Sox don’t want to trade their best prospects. They just don’t match up. It’s way more likely that the Sox will convince the Blue Jays that their second tier prospects are really top shelf guys and pry away Roy Halladay.  My view: there’s too much risk with a Sox-Padres trade right now. Whoever loses the trade is going to be accused by talk radio and the local papers of giving a gift to their buddy, and no one likes that kind of garbage.
  • The Sox are going into 2010 banking on a rebound by David Ortiz, a healthy Mike Lowell, and having Victor Martinez around all season. My view: they are about 33% likely to realize an overall offensive improvement from that strategy.  Could be a tough year on offense for Boston.
  • They’re likely to once again explore the high-risk, high-reward scrap heap for some pitching depth, with Gammons and Edes both mentioning Ben Sheets and Rich Harden.  Actually, Edes calls this “low-risk, high reward.” That makes no sense to me. Maybe it’s “low money,” but anytime you commit a roster spot to a guy and exclude other possibilities, you create at least some risk.  If you use that roster spot on guys with injury histories like Sheets and Harden, you’re creating high risk.  One would think that the Smotlz-Penny experience of last season would have hipped Edes to this.

Right now the odds favor a stand-pat kind of offseason for Boston. Which, given the relative dearth of high-quality free agents and trade bait, is probably the most prudent move.  There’s no shame in playing for the Wild Card Red Sox fans.

Phillies walk off winners thanks to a poor decision by Marcell Ozuna

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The Phillies’ bullpen, which has not been good as of late, gift-wrapped Monday’s game for the Cardinals. Starter Nick Pivetta was brilliant, fanning 13 while allowing two runs in 7 1/3 innings. But things unraveled after he left the game. Victor Arano took over for Edubray Ramos to start the ninth inning with the Phillies leading 4-2, but he allowed a one-out single and a double. After striking out Harrison Bader, Arano appeared to strike out Yairo Munoz for the final out of the game, but the ball trickled through the legs of catcher Andrew Knapp, allowing a run to score and the tying run to move to third base. Lefty Adam Morgan came in to face pinch-hitter Kolten Wong. Wong tied the game up, sneaking a single into center field.

In the 10th inning, Jake Thompson gave up the go-ahead run on a leadoff home run to Tommy Pham. It seemed like it was just going to be another one of those losses that have become increasingly common for the Phillies lately. But the Phillies’ offense didn’t go down quietly, even though it hadn’t put a runner on second base since the start of the second inning when J.P. Crawford doubled. In the bottom half of the 10th, Hoskins blooped a single into shallow left-center to start the inning. Hoskins moved to second base on a ground out from Odubel Herrera. Matt Bowman intentionally walked Carlos Santana, then struck out Jesmuel Valentin. That brought up Aaron Altherr, who replaced Nick Williams after Williams took a baseball to the face off of the right field fence. Bowman fell behind 2-1, then threw a 90 MPH fastball that Altherr lined into left field. Rather than keep the ball in front of him, Marcell Ozuna decided to dive for the ball to make the final out, but he missed. The ball trickled past him, allowing the tying and the game-winning runs to score, giving the Phillies a come-from-behind win.

On the list of people happy to see Ozuna miss that ball are Altherr (of course), Arano, Morgan, and Thompson. But perhaps no one was happier than manager Gape Kapler. The win might help take the heat off of him somewhat after another poor performance from the bullpen. When a team struggles, everyone wants a scapegoat and Kapler is an easy target. He has been all year, undeservingly.

Phillies radio broadcaster and former major league reliever Larry Anderson said after the bullpen meltown, “Not everybody can pitch in the ninth inning. And I know Gabe Kapler thinks they can, but they can’t.” Aside from Ramos and Seranthony Dominguez (who was unavailable after throwing 52 pitches between Saturday and Sunday in Milwaukee), no one in that bullpen has been reliable. The closer, Hector Neris, just got optioned to Triple-A. You work with what you have, and right now, Kapler doesn’t have a whole lot. Thankfully for him, he wasn’t punished with another loss thanks to Ozuna.