BOSTON’S SHOCK, TRADE DEADLINE

August 1, 2009

Perhaps it was a big surprise for the Red Sox management team that there were two of their big name players who tested positive for PED’s in 2003- but maybe it wasn’t. After all, George Mitchell who ran the testing is a member of the Red Sox board of directors. This MIGHT HAVE BEEN A REASON WHY
BOSTON SENT MANNY TO LA FOR JUST ABOUT NOTHING. Bill Shaughnessy voiced the consternation of the Red Sox nation, in The Boston Globe,
by writing: “David Ortiz lied to you. It seems safe to say that his entire Red Sox career is a lie.                                  
And those life-changing Red Sox championships of 2004 and 2007? Are they forever tainted?
You bet.
A New York Times report yesterday disclosed that the names of Ortiz and Manny Ramírez appear on a list of players who tested positive for
performance-enhancing drugs in 2003. A few hours after the news broke, Ortiz hit a game-winning home run in an 8-5 victory over the Oakland A’s at Fenway Park. Then he confirmed that the news report is accurate, and said he was going to look into the matter and have more to say later. Red Sox Nation is stunned and saddened. Boston fans have taken great pleasure in harpooning the Yankees and their fans since the Sox’ historic comeback against the Bronx Bombers in the 2004 American League Championship Series. It was tons of fun to ridicule 21st century Yankee steroid cheats Roger Clemens, Gary Sheffield, Andy Pettitte, and Jason Giambi. When Alex Rodriguez was outed last winter, it was a national holiday for Red Sox hubris.
Now this.
What can Sox fans say in the wake of this news? It reminds me of a scene in “The Sting’’ when con man Henry Gondorff (Paul Newman) gets himself into a
high-stakes poker game with a raft of rich guys, including big-time gangster Doyle Lonnegan. Demonstrating masterful sleight of hand, Gondorff makes off with the pot. After the carnage, a frustrated Lonnegan tells his associate, “What was I supposed to do? Call him for cheating better than me in front of the others?’’
That’s pretty much the best argument for Sox fans now.
Our cheaters were better than your cheaters.
Nothing else flies. For the longest time the Sox flew under the radar of the steroid cloud. Big names fell, but the BoSox remained clean. The infamous Mitchell Report, compiled by former Maine senator George Mitchell, who happens to be Red Sox team “Director’’ (fifth from the top on the team masthead), barely acknowledged the existence of the Boston ball club as an MLB franchise. When Ramírez was caught cheating this spring, it was easy for Sox fans to contend that Manny didn’t start juicing until he went to the Dodgers. Now this. Big Papi, everybody’s favorite, is on the list of those who tested positive for PEDs in 2003 – which just happens to be the year that his career magically turned around.Ortiz was an average player when the Sox picked him up before the 2003 season.
He’d been a big strikeout guy with the Twins. He could hit an occasional homer, but had a big hole in his swing. He started the 2003 season on the bench, playing behind Jeremy Giambi. Overnight he became a baseball Rambo. He was the Dominican Babe Ruth. He was the greatest clutch hitter in Sox history. He got all the big hits in 2004. In 2006, he hit 54 home runs, bouncing Jimmie Foxx from the Sox record book.He wrote a book. He opened a restaurant. He kissed babies. He was the heart of the team. He was a gentleman and a gamer. We all loved him.
He was also outspoken about steroids.
This is what Ortiz said in Fort Myers, Fla., last Feb. 16: “I know that if I test positive for using any kind of substance, I know that I’m going to disrespect my family, the game, the fans, and everybody, and I don’t want to be facing that situation. So what would I do? I won’t use it . . . you test everybody three, four times a year and that’s about it. You do what you got to do. Yeah, whatever they say. Ban them for a whole year.’’It got headlines. Ortiz says one-year ban for players who test positive. It played well to the masses.And now David Ortiz looks like one of the television evangelists who gets caught in a seedy motel with a
hooker.
How could he have been so stupid? Or bold? He must have known. Players who tested positive in 2003 must have been told by the players association.
Certainly, the PA should have destroyed the results, just like Nixon should have burned the tapes, but there was never any assurance the names would not leak.
And there are still 100 guys who should be nervous about tomorrow and the next day. Hopefully, none of them have made comments like Ortiz made in Florida.
The timing and the numbers are particularly damning for Big Papi. He was ordinary before 2003. Then he cheated. Then he was great. Now there is testing and he is less than ordinary. You don’t need Jose Canseco to connect the dots.
As for Manny, what is left to say? When he got caught this year, Sox fans wanted to believe he started cheating after he left Boston. Now his entire career is flushed down the toilet. Along with Ortiz.
It’s horrible.
No more innocence.
No more fairy tales.
The 2004 Red Sox really were Idiots. Just like the Yankees and everybody else.
Our cheaters were better than their cheaters.
Yahoo.”

 

 

 

Staying in Boston, with The Globe’s Bob Ryan. He talked about the craziness of the MLB trade deadline: “I’m glad that’s over.
Sorry, but I’m not big in this trading deadline business. Don’t like it one bit. I liked the old June 15 trading deadline, and even that was limited, because there was no interleague trading. And forget about all that bloated 40-man September roster stuff, too. If I were Czar of Baseball you’d come out of spring training with your team, and that would be your team, other than what you’d produce from your farm system. That would stop this nonsense in which the rich get richer, which is generally what happens in these matters.
But this July 31 deadline is here to stay. In fact, many general managers want it even later. Hey, let’s just let people load up on Oct. 1, why don’t we? Or maybe between Games 3 and 4 of the World Series.
OK, I’m through venting.
Now then, let’s apologize to all those trees who valiantly gave their lives so we scribes could speculate about where Roy Halladay would next be receiving his mail. Roy Halladay isn’t going anywhere. He will make his next start Tuesday against the Yankees. Toronto general manager J.P. Ricciardi never said he had to trade his standout righthander. He said that Halladay was available for the right deal. Obviously, no one made J.P. The Offer He Couldn’t Refuse.
The Red Sox got Victor Martinez, and the cost was surprisingly minimal, too. They were able to add a quality bat to the lineup without giving up Clay Buchholz, Daniel Bard, or Michael Bowden. There’s a lot to like about Justin Masterson, and both Bryan Price and Nick Hagadone are intriguing prospects, but you’ve got to give something to get something, and according to all the talent evaluators, the Red Sox have a lot of valuable somethings in their system.
Manager Terry Francona now has the problem of juggling Jason Varitek, Mike Lowell, Kevin Youkilis, David Ortiz, and Martinez, all of whom cannot be in the lineup on the same day unless Major League Baseball OKs the use of a second DH. It’s going to be interesting to see how he handles this. Might he sit Papi against lefties, or some lefties, now that he has the switch-hitting Martinez at his disposal? And, if so, how will that go over? But I’m sure Francona regards this as a welcome complication.
The Yankees need a fifth starter, but they couldn’t find one – yet. The Bombers did add utilityman Jerry Hairston Jr., but this is not likely to affect the balance of power in the AL East. The Rays, meanwhile, did nothing. So Theo Epstein wins this divisional GM competition in a walk.
So who, aside from the Red Sox, did help themselves?
Start with the Phillies. They were linked with Halladay from the beginning, but I’m guessing the Toronto must-haves were rookie lefty J.A. Happ and top righty prospect Kyle Drabek, and the Phils wouldn’t budge. Undaunted, Philly GM Ruben Amaro Jr. dealt four players to Cleveland for reigning Cy Young winner Cliff Lee and outfielder Ben Francisco. This is a rich-get-richer deal if ever there was one, and it means that anything they get from Pedro Martinez is a free-for-nothing bonus. The Phillies have the best offense in the NL, and now are ready to take on the Dodgers, or anybody else. They are creeping into the territory of a World Series lock.
Next up would be the White Sox, who convinced 2007 NL Cy Young winner Jake Peavy to waive his no-trade clause with the Padres. He goes from a
hopeless situation to a pennant race because the AL Central is winnable. People would have seriously questioned his motivation had he kept stonewalling a deal.
Sure, San Diego is a pleasant place, but it’s not as if Chicago is Siberia.
The Dodgers showed they mean business, adding lefty reliever George Sherrill. He will team with hefty fireballer Jonathan Broxton to give Joe Torre perhaps the best ninth-inning righty-lefty option in baseball.
A few hundred miles to the north, the archrival Giants weren’t just sitting around evaluating the latest Napa cabernets. They gave themselves a better lineup by relieving Pittsburgh of a major remaining asset, second baseman Freddy Sanchez. I realize no one here is paying attention, but the Giants are very much a National League wild-card contender, and I am telling you that if they do get into the tournament, they could be a tough out. History has proven that if you’ve got a hot 1-2 pitching duo you can indeed go a long way in a baseball postseason, and in Tim Lincecum and Matt Cain – a combined 23-5, surrendering just 226 hits in 288 2/3 innings – they have as formidable a 1-2 as anyone.
And no discussion of 2009 trading deadline deals would be complete without noting that, five years to the day in which he came to Boston in the Nomar
Garciaparra blockbuster, Orlando Cabrera was dealt to the Twins, who rightfully consider themselves an AL Central contender.
The Red Sox had to do something. They entered last night’s game in Baltimore having gone 5-8 since the All-Star break and having lost 5 1/2 games in the
standings to the Yankees. They are in desperate need of a major lefthanded bat. Forget about Martinez’s little current slump (4 for 24, one extra-base hit in his last six games). This, too, shall pass. He is a proven hitter, a two-time 100-RBI man, a switch-hitter with power from both sides. He is a Professional Hitter, period. He is also a two-position player, which gives Francona valuable short- and long-term flexibility.
I’ll table the philosophical objection to a July 31 trading deadline and welcome this man to Boston. Thanks to this deal, the Red Sox are a better team today than they were 24 hours ago. Hey, the rules are the rules.

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