Various Red Sox notes...
Mentions Papelbon as a potential 20-game winner.
Boston can beat teams up, and if Curt Schilling's performance at Yankee Stadium on Saturday is any indication of what he can do the rest of the way, they can have a solid four starters with Wakefield, David Wells and Matt Clement. But they have that bullpen issue, as in a 5.39 ERA.
"Our bullpen in October can be better than our bullpen in September," says one Boston official. "If we can have [Jonathan] Papelbon and Bronson Arroyo in front of Mike Timlin, even if Keith Foulke doesn't come back, we can be OK."
But it is possible to imagine a couple of 6-4 eighth-inning leads that end up with many broken hearts.
Agent Scott Boras sat with Red Sox owner John Henry and GM Theo Epstein in Anaheim recently. "John made it clear to me that Johnny [Damon] is their priority the way Jason [Varitek] was their priority last year," says Boras. "Like Varitek, they will have every opportunity to sign Johnny."
Right now, it appears the club will offer Damon a similar deal to the four years and $40 million they gave to their superstar catcher this past offseason. Damon has now scored 100 or more runs in eight straight seasons.
As it now stands, look for the Red Sox to try to re-sign both Bill Mueller and John Olerud, and use Kevin Youkilis at both first and third base.
And Cuban refugee Michel Abreu, the 26-year-old, 6-foot-4, 225-pound right-handed slugger that they signed this week for $425,000, outbidding the Marlins and Yankees? The plan is to have him play in the Mexican League, come to spring training and see where he stands, although he may start next season at Double-A Portland. Abreu's numbers his final season in the Cuban professional league (.356, 23 HR, 207 TB, 82 RBI, 78 G) were superior to those of Angels signee Kendry Morales.
"One thing we lack in our organization right now is corner power," says one Sox official. "This seems to be a legitimate gamble." Look for Boston to be very active this winter in Japan, where there are a number of pitchers who may come to the United States.
I would like to learn more about Abreu - I did not hear about this at all. Granted I've been too busy enjoying the college lifestyle, but I have heard NARY A WHISPER about this. And I demand to know more about Abreu, especially if he has superior statistics to Morales. Sure, he's 26, but these are some really, really nice numbers and I wouldn't be surprised to see him in the majors if Mueller goes down next year (if we retain him - and if we do not, I'll castrate Theo but that's another thread.)