Required Reading: U-L series on Sox farm system

March 30th, 2008 → 11:15 am @

Lord knows Boston sports fans have plenty of options when it comes to reading about Ye Olde Towne Team — I’d bet there’s more available information floating out there than about any other professional team in history. Much of the time, this means there’s a lot of redundant stories out there: the same Sox notes columns with the same quotes and the same observations.

A lot of the reason for that is systemic: if you’re covering the Sox beat and your game story is missing a quote that’s in every single competitor’s piece your editor is gonna be on your ass. It takes a lot of work, and a lot of smarts, to put together something that’s interesting, comprehensive, and new. That’s what makes Alex Speier’s new series in the New Hampshire Union-Leader so impressive (and enjoyable). It’s about a topic that’s near and dear to my heart: the Sox player development system, the way the team has emphasized building–and keeping–young talent even when it means dealing with the wrath and scorn of the instant-gratification hoi polloi.

Today’s piece is the first in a six-part series. Those words–“first in a series”–usually serve as a cure to the most stubborn insomnia. Not this time. Do yourself a favor and skip the stories about Colon pitching the PawSox season opener and savor this instead. You’ll be glad you did.
(As an aside, Speier’s work also shows why the current evisceration of the country’s press corps so upsetting. Are there a lot of redundancies? Yes. But redundancies are necessary to make sure everything out there gets covered. Take the WMD controversy – it wasn’t the Times, or the Washington Post, that did the most important work when this story was in its early stages; it was Knight-Ridder’s Washington Bureau. A bureau that, along with Knight-Ridder itself, no longer exists.)

Post Categories: 2008 Season & Alex Speier & Sports Reporters

Jacoby Ellsbury: we will be seeing you in October

September 6th, 2007 → 9:21 am @

Scratch everything I wrote below; that applies to the old rules. The new ones say that any player can replace any other player that’s on the DL…which means Ellsbury can (and I’m pretty confident will) replace either Clement or Donnelly. Thanks to the Union Leader‘s Alex Speier for the clarification (and to reader Lenny Harris for prompting my query). For anyone interested in how Manny’s return (and Ellsbury’s surge) will play out, check out Speier’s piece on that very subject. I’d be shocked if Ellsbury took any serious time away from Coco, who I continue to view as the best center fielder playing right now. Drew (despite also turning in impressive performances in right) wouldn’t surprise me quite as much…

There are lots and lots of arcane rules in baseball; the rules dictating playoff rosters aren’t even close to the weirdest or hardest to understand, but they’re what’s most relevant today…so in response to a query by reader Aaron Cohen, here’s my (undoubtedly insufficient) effort to explain just who can, and can’t, play come the playoffs.

The short answer is, only the 25 guys on the team’s active roster as of August 31, plus anyone who was on either the 15-day or 60-day DL on August 31…which would mean no Clay Buchholz, no Jon Lester, and no Jacoby Ellsbury. The longer answer is, well, almost anyone. Or at least anyone on the team’s 40-man roster.

Let’s back up. I can’t find anyplace that lists the team’s roster at as of last Friday, but I think it looked something like this, including guys on the DL:

Josh Beckett
Curt Schilling
Daisuke Matsuzaka
Tim Wakefield
Julian Tavarez
Jonathan Papelbon
Hideki Okajima
Eric Gagne
Mike Timlin
Manny Delcarmen
Kyle Snyder
Javier Lopez
Matt Clement (60-day DL)
Brendan Donnelly (60-day DL)

Kevin Youkilis (1B, 3B)
Eric Hinske (also can be listed as an outfielder)
Dustin Pedroia (2B)
Alex Cora (2B, SS)
Julio Lugo (SS)
Mike Lowell (3B)
David Ortiz (1B, DH)

Jason Varitek
Kevin Cash
Doug Mirabelli (15-day DL; activated on 9/1)

Manny Ramirez
Coco Crisp
J.D. Drew
Bobby Kielty

Since teams are allowed to replace anyone who is injured for the playoffs, that means that, assuming Clement and Donnelly remain out of action, the team has two pitching spots to play around with; both Lester and Buchholz are eligible for those spots (but, of course, that’d mean that one of the team’s 12-active roster pitchers would need to be left off).* There are also three catchers who are eligible for the team’s two catching spots.

You’ll notice that Ellsbury is not listed anywhere above, and since he’s not a catcher, that would seem to indicate his lack of availability for postseason play. This isn’t entirely true: if one of the five outfielders listed above (I’m including Hinske here, who can be listed as either a corner IF or an OF) gets hurt, or “hurt,” the team can use Ellsbury to fill his position. Barring an actual, season-ending injury, that makes Bobby Kielty the most likely candidate for a phantom pull/strain/etc. Now is that all clear?

(There’s more discussion of sundry roster rules in this Bradford Files post.)

* Playoff rosters can change series to series, a fact which is especially relevant when discussing someone like Buchholz, who is on a strict innings diet.

Post Categories: 2007 Playoffs & 2007 Season & Alex Speier & Clay Buchholz & Jacoby Ellsbury & Roster Rules