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The Tally Ho

Monday, March 06, 2006

Monday Baseball News: Wells Stays in Boston

As a fan of major league baseball, specifically the AL East and the Central Divisions, I thought I would provide a bit of my geekdom over the next several weeks. This article about David Wells resciding his trade demand is actually big news - but it also creates a problem for Terry Francona and the General Manager Theo Epstein.
FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Apparently, those waves of San Diego can wait a year for David Wells. The ageless left-hander, who asked the Red Sox to trade him to a West Coast team as far back as October, reversed his stance on Sunday, saying that he'd be fine with spending what is likely to be the final season of his entertaining and successful baseball career in a Boston uniform.

For as much as Wells loves to hop on his surf board on blissful San Diego mornings with his kids, he also loves to win.

"I'm just looking at the situation we have here. I think we're a better team this year than we were last year," said Wells, who won 15 games for the Red Sox in 2005. "If you're going to go out on top, you might as well do it with a team you feel good with."

This is a luxury, and a problem. The Red Sox have seven big league starters, none of the them have a history of arm problems – and with the exception of Wells, none are slow this spring training. This surely means that once the early season rest days are over, Terry Francona will carry twelve pitchers: Schilling, Beckett, Wells, Wakefield, Clement, Arroyo, Papelbon, Riske, Seanez, Tavarez, Timlin, and Foulke. This means that Triple A will consist of Jon Lester, Craig Hansen, Manny Declarmen, and Lenny DiNardo – all of top prospects right below the bigs. This also means Dustin Pedroia will also be in the minors. This pitching staff is young, old, in their prime, and with arms below in case of injury or flexibility. The three biggest questions I have about the Red Sox this years are: 1) is Keith Foulke 100%? If not, this flexibility allows Francona use Papelbon or Hansen as the closer – or make a trade closer to the deadline. The Dodgers have two closers in the final year of contracts and look as if they could use one more starter. 2) The outfield. Kapler will not be back for sometime, and Boston continues to platoon Nixon in right. A Jay Payton type player is not available for the job either. Boston has brought in Dustin Mohr for the role this year. Nixon is in the last year of his contract, and I can see Boston sending him with Clement to Philadelphia for a prospect and Bobby Abreu. 3) What will Lowell, Youkilis, and Gonzalez give offensively at the bottom of the order?

More later...

Update: Article from Boston Globe states
But assuming Wells is healthy -- ''My knee is still hurting, I'm not getting any younger, my arm feels great and the rest of me is subpar" was his self-assessment -- it appears more likely that the Sox will hold onto Wells while fielding offers for Matt Clement and perhaps Bronson Arroyo. Ideally, this is the rotation the Sox would like to open the season with: Curt Schilling, Wells, Josh Beckett, Tim Wakefield, and Jonathan Papelbon. In that scenario, Arroyo goes to the pen as a swingman, and Clement is pitching in another uniform.

Trading Clement and Wells retiring really doesn't change the outlook for the rotation and staff in 2007.

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