My anger at Bud Selig Monday precluded me from getting to speak in detail about the Red Sox horrific weekend (you know it’s a bad weekend when the #2 highlight is “Sunday night’s game was rained out”), which was only compounded by Ben Cherinton’s panic move in which the Sox sent out Michael Bowden in exchange for Marlon Byrd. Marlon Byrd! The very same Marlon Byrd that was at the time he was acquired batting .070 (3-43) this season. The same Marlon Byrd who closed out 2011 on a 40-181 (.221) “tear”.
In one small concession, I will say that Bowden has not fully lived up to the billing of being a first round draft pick in 2005, but then again, it’s not as if the Sox have exactly given him ample opportunity to prove that he is capable of getting the job done at the major league level. They also have been inconsistent in their decision-making process with how they would utilize him, whether as a starter or a bullpen guy, and it’s also possible his inconsistency came from riding the Boston-Pawtucket shuttle like it was his job.
In 2011, he was able to notch 20 innings for the Sox, a career high, and posted a 4.05 ERA. Certainly nothing to write about, but at the very least, he was a serviceable big league pitcher when given the opportunity. His minor league numbers suggest that he has been ready for a full-time opportunity with the Sox for the last couple of seasons, but unfortunately for him, that opportunity never came.
In 103 (46 starts) career appearances for Pawtucket (AAA), Bowden was 13-16 with a 3.465 ERA and a 1.17 WHIP over 324 2/3 innings pitched. If this deal had been made in a different season, one in which the Red Sox weren’t so desperate for guys who can get outs on a consistent basis, it might be more justifiable, although if Marlon Byrd was going to bring his 2012 self to the deal, it still wouldn’t be. Plus, the Sox are still on the hook to send another player (a minor leaguer of no consequence, hopefully) to the Cubs. Granted, the Cubs had to send a literal truckload of money to the Sox, but the fact that they were so willing to, and the fact that Theo Epstein (former Sox GM) and Jed Hoyer (former Sox assistant-GM and Padres GM) were so eager to reacquire Bowden lends further credence to the thought that this deal is going to be one that the Sox regret.
The other galling part of the deal is that the Red Sox outfield has performed admirably, especially in the face of losing Carl Crawford (his injury appears to be much worse than initially thought) and Jacoby Ellsbury. Ryan Sweeney leads the league in doubles (9) to go along with his .392 batting average (MLB-leading .462 against right-handed pitchers heading in to last night’s action.) Through Monday’s games, Cody Ross had more home runs (5) than Marlon Byrd had hits (4) this season. Darnell McDonald has not done much offensively this season, but he has proven himself to be a decent 4th OF when called upon. Assuming that Ellsbury is able to return within a few weeks as has been stated, he could have held down the fort.
If the Sox had need for another OF option, I would have rather they gave Linsanity part deux a chance to catch on in Boston. Che-Hsuan Lin, whose baseball-reference.com page bears a striking resemblance to “Moonlight” Graham’s, could easily provide the Sox with a slick-fielding OF. His one downside is that he can’t really hit (.193 at Pawtucket this season), but neither can Marlon Byrd. At least if Lin was given the opportunity to help, the Sox could have held on to Bowden.
Time will tell, but I believe that this is a deal that will come back to haunt the Sox.
Last week, I mentioned that I wasn’t really sure what to think about the Yankees, because of who they had played. After watching them wreck Fenway Park’s 100th anniversary special, and follow that up by spotting the Sox a 9-0 lead on Saturday before roaring back for a 15-9 victory, I may have to admit that my thoughts on their demise may have been incorrect. Derek Jeter has clearly found the fountain of youth, as he is hitting .416 with 4 home runs, after batting ‘only’ .297 with 6 home runs in 2011. As long as he continues to perform at that high level, the Yankees will remain a force in the A.L. East.
The Baltimore Orioles continue to find themselves in first place, much to the surprise of everyone. While the rest of the division (save Boston) has caught up to them in the standings, it can’t be overlooked that as of April 25th, they are a first place team. The one big negative to pop up for the Orioles is that Japanese import Tsuyoshi Wada has ligament damage in his left (throwing) elbow. For now, it is not such a big deal for the Orioles, but if they find themselves in contention as this season moves along, it could be a concern as to whether or not their rotation can continue to produce.
Questions? Comments? Criticisms?