Celtics Still King Of The Castle, For Now

Boston On A Roll On This Road-Trip

The Boston Celtics are once again reigning supreme in the Eastern Conference as the C’s have reeled off ten straight victories to grasp control of the Atlantic Division and take firm hold of the best record in the NBA.

With a 19-4 mark, Boston has recovered from its mini-stumble in November by coming back strong in December, averaging 103.9 points per game while allowing only 93.4 points to their opponents in each contest.

The Boston Celtics outmatched the Chicago Bulls on Saturday, showing the gap that has been created since the two teams who met in the first round of the Eastern Conference playoffs last year.  A serious schism has come about with Vinny Del Negro and the Chicago Bulls but the opposite can be said about the Celtics.

Boston is gelling at this point in the season, which is understandable for a bunch of 30-year-old’s who have fresh legs at an early juncture of the season, but with the likes of Rajon Rondo and Kendrick Perkins, emerging as perennial all-stars, the C’s have reason to be optimistic about this streak running for the rest of the season and into the playoffs.

But don’t be scared if the C’s hit a couple of bumps along the way, that’s to be expected– with each and every team in the league.  So enjoy the ride, even with a little turbulence, because it could be a long ways away before the Boston Celtics have the type of success that they are having now.

(Getty Images) (Getty Images)

Rumors Are Here To Stay…

Door Open For Red Sox To Go In A Lot Of Directions

Jason Bay, don’t let the door hit you on the way out.  Mike Lowell welcome back.  Clay Buchholz enjoy sunny San Diego.

Those are some plot lines that could arise in the upcoming weeks but that doesn’t necessarily mean it will.  It is, after all, hot stove season.  

So the Boston Red Sox may be preparing for life without Jason Bay, very well could be welcoming Mike Lowell back if the Texas Rangers don’t think his thumb is up to snuff, and Clay Buchholz may be on his way to the Padres along with prospects Ryan Westmoreland and Casey Kelly in exchange for one, Adrian Gonzalez.

The maybe’s and what-could-be’s are in full force in the off-season as Theo Epstein is still playing all his cards in mid-December.  Lowell’s medical records are under review and the Texas Rangers have the choice to send Lowell back to Boston and keep catching prospect Max Ramirez.  That will halt all the Adrian Beltre and Gonzalez chatter for the time being but don’t underestimate the man with a plan.

Epstein’s plan A, B, C, D will be put into play this off-season to ensure that the 2010 Boston Red Sox don’t lay down to the champs.  Those plans may include the now non-tender free agents who are fresh on the market.

It’s like the incoming freshmen girls in the fall of a new high school year.  Oh the fresh meat, a little unprime but still good enough to buy, date, or at least look at.  The list includes Garrett Atkins, Jack Cust, Johnny Gomes, Ryan Garko, Matt Capps and Chien-Ming Wang, to name a few.  Intriguing buys would be Atkins, Gomes, and Wang for the Red Sox.

If the Sox do indeed move Lowell and deem that free agent Adrian Beltre’s (a Scott Boras client) asking price is too steep, then Epstein could bring in Atkins to play third-base for a short-term solution (although Atkins may be a product of Coors field in Colorado). Gomes would provide a solid bat from the bench for the Sox and can play corner outfield and infield positions if need be.  The last name on the list, however, brings more spice to the pot than the other two.

Wang, who was non-tendered by the Yankees, went 1-6 with a 9.64 ERA in 2009 and is recovering from shoulder surgery that sidelined him on July 4.  But lets not overlook the potential value and upside of Wang.  Before becoming riddled with injuries in the middle of the 2008 season, he was 54-20 with a 3.79 ERA in his first 95 career games.

Oh, and he placed second in the Cy young voting in 2006.  How quickly we forget.

So with a clean bill of health, Wang may also have a little motivation to get back at his previous employer by signing with the Red Sox and proving to the Yankees that they made a mistake in non-tendering the 29-year-old.

It may be worth a shot.  Even with Epstein’s poor track record in reclamation projects and players coming off injury, Wang may be the silver lining in what has been a rather bleak and uneventful off-season.  

Jason Bay, Have you met the Mets?

The Other Team From New York Gets In The Bay Mix

Someone else is interested in Jason Bay. No its not the Los Angeles Angels and no its not the New York Yankees.  Its that other team from New York, the New York Mets.  The Mets have cranked up the heat on the Jason Bay bidding war, or lack there of, by offering a four year contract reportedly in the range of $60 to $65 million, according to ESPN’s Buster Olney.  

Theo Epstein, the ball is now in your court. 

With the Sox balking at a raised proposal to Bay, it’s decision time for the Red Sox brass. Epstein and company are currently at a standstill regarding their willingness to offer Bay a guaranteed fifth year in a contract.  That may be a smart move, but why aren’t the Sox willing to eat a final year of a contract from an aging star like Bay, when they have repeatedly done so with the likes of Edgar Renteria, Julio Lugo, and now Mike Lowell.

Maybe the wonder boy and John Henry have wised up a little bit.  Or more maybe there are other things on the horizon.  With rumors floating around about Milton Bradley (please, no) and the obvious interest in the talented Matt Holliday, maybe management will let the Mets have Bay. 

We’ll take Holliday.  

The Mets are tight on cash this offseason and have reported interest in adding another arm or two to the starting rotation as well as a starting catcher.  Name that Molina, lets say, Bengie.

So with the obvious intent of getting younger shown earlier today by Epstein in the trading of Lowell, maybe its a precursor for things to come?  No Bay– but maybe Beltre?  No Halladay– but maybe some Holliday?

With aging stars like Josh Beckett, David Ortiz, Jason Varitek, and J.D. Drew, the Boston Red Sox are trying to infuse young talent into the pipe-stream.  However, since the cream of the minor league crop is still a few years away, it may be best for Epstein to get younger (and better) by adding some new faces and signing the likes of Holliday and Beltre instead of retaining Bay and keeping Lowell.

Time well tell where the hot stove will take us, but for now the Red Sox are on the front burner.  Just where Red Sox nation craves to be. 

Lowell Headed To Texas?

Red Sox Ship Third-Basement To The Rangers

The Boston Red Sox have reportedly reached an agreement to trade Mike Lowell to the Texas Rangers for Max Ramirez.

Lowell, in his final year of a three-year $37 million contract, will be sent to Texas, along with $9 million of John Henry’s finest dollars in exchange for catching prospect Max Ramirez.  The deal still must be approved by the commissioner’s office due to the amount of cash being transfered between teams and both players must pass their physicals.

Lowell played in 119 games last season and was slowed due to a surgically repaired right hip which drastically decreased his range and mobility.  The MVP of the 2007 World Series will move to the AL West to join the Texas Rangers mainly as a DH or first-basemen.  

In exchange, the Sox have landed themselves a young catcher with some pop in his bat. Ramirez may not have the best defensive skill set but he could find himself with the Red Sox as a full-time catcher in 2011 and beyond.

The Red Sox are losing a consummate professional in Lowell but in Theo Epstein’s effort to get younger, Lowell was the one obvious casualty.  With a hole now at third-base, Boston may turn their attention to landing Adrian Beltre or possibly Nick Johnson, which would move Kevin Youkilis across the diamond.

With now $18 million now spent to pay Julio Lugo and Lowell to play in other cities in 2010, Epstein must make sure his next contract won’t be a similar mistake (although Lowell’s contract shouldn’t be in that category).  Two words of advice, don’t extend Jason Bay to five years and please don’t overpay or extend with Beltre.  

Hindsight is 20/20 but in this case, you know that Bay will be a DH in three years and Beltre may not be worth a contract of more than three.  But other than that, Sox fans should be excited by the possibilities this trade gives Epstein and company in landing big fish like Roy Halladay, Adrian Gonzalez, Miguel Cabrera, or Josh Johnson.

But they may all just be a pipe dream.  We are once again, in a “bridge” year.  


Breaking: Mets to Make Formal Offer to Bay

Sports Illustrated’s Jon Heyman is reporting via Twitter that the New York Mets plan on making a formal offer to Free Agent outfield Jason Bay as soon as this afternoon.
This comes as a surprise as the Mets did not seem to be in the running for Bay’s services. More on this situation as it develops.
 3:54 PM UPDATE — The Mets have reportedly offered Bay four years at $65 million. Not that far off from Boston’s original offer. They’ll probably have to bump it to five years to land him.

Hot Stove Update – 12/10/09 Morning

Mike Lowell Former Sox 3B Mike Lowell?
Is the Mike Lowell era in Boston actually over? Not necessarily, according to Rangers GM Jon Daniels. “Both teams are considering it. Both are looking for alternatives,” said Daniels, according to ESPN’s Jayson Stark.
The Red Sox have acquired RHP Boof Bonser from the Minnesota Twins, who designated the righty for assignment yesterday to make room on the roster for RHP Carl Pavano.
The Red Sox have concerns about Jason Bay’s health over a multi-year deal, ESPN’s Buster Olney reports. Maybe that explains the lack of interest in Bay from a number of potential suitors.
Barry Bonds’ agent says the slugger’s career in baseball is officially over. Boo-hoo.
Roy Halladay is still in Toronto and a deal doesn’t appear imminent to get him out. Phillies GM Ruben Amaro said “a deal doesn’t appear likely.” Will the Jays hang onto the ace righty until the July non-waiver trade deadline?

Charlies Item of The Week

It was tough to choose a wicked pissah item of the week and then I woke up to a bunch of snow here in Boston today so fittingly I chose the Red Sox Snowflake Ornament. It is usually $9.99 but for a week it will be just $5.00! Now that is “Wicked Pissah”
Red Sox Snowflake Ornament Red Sox Snowflake Ornament

Get Your Own Charlie Chowdahead!

Charlie Chowdahead Wants to Be Your New Best Friend!
For those of you who do not know, Charlie Chowdahead is the mascot of Chowdaheadz. He was born in early 2004 and it was then, he became the face of the Chowdaheadz. He is a stuffed clam with humanlike characteristics and he symbolizes everything about New England.  He is the local expert on how to be a diehard Boston fan and he voices his opinions in the new “Charlie Says” sections on the website.
Right now, Charlie is looking to make some new best friends. He is funny, sarcastic and gets along with everyone. Some of the his favorite things to do with his fellow Chowaheadz include traveling, attending Boston sporting events, and going to the beach. He is afraid of seagulls though, so you may need to protect him if you see one.
If Charlie sounds like fun, here’s how to be his best friend:
1. Get your own Charlie Chowdahead at http://www.chowdaheadz.com/chowdaheadz-charlie-chowda-stuffed-beanie-clam.html
2. Send us your photos of Charlie from around the globe and we will post them online! Send to charlie@chowdaheadz.com
3. Become Charlie’s friend on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/#/chowdaheadzcharlie?ref=profile
Remember, love him, laugh with him, play with him, just don’t eat him!
Charlie Chowdahead Charlie Chowdahead

Its The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year

MLB Hot Stove Heats Up With GM Meetings In Indy

Let the good times roll and the rumors fly.  The Winter Meetings have arrived as Major League Baseball general managers, sport writers, reporters, and agents are coming together in Indianapolis for a few days of proposals, denials, and deals that will most likely shake up the baseball world.

These are the days of the deals that could’ve been, the deals that shouldn’t have ever happened, and the deals most sports fans will be talking about until teams report for spring training. The Boston Red Sox, led by “wonder boy”, Theo Epstein, will be in full force at the Winter Meetings this week.

Epstein will be looking to fill the holes at left-field, in the bullpen, and in the starting rotation.  He will also be looking to answer possible questions at third base or first base due to willingness to move oft-injured Mike Lowell and seeming need to add another power bat to the Sox lineup.

One thing to keep in mind for sports fans is that although the rumors are fun to hear, don’t believe everything you are told.  Also, don’t expect the 2010 Red Sox lineup to be set at the conclusion of the winter meetings as it may take weeks or even months to cross the T’s and dot the I’s for the 2010 Boston Red Sox.   

Celtics Keep The Good Times Rollin’

San Antonio Spurned By The C’s

The Boston Celtics and San Antonio Spurs squared off in a Texas shootout that saw two teams riding a five-game winning streaks, and the Celtics came away with a 90-83 victory over the Spurs.

Kevin Garnett led the way for the C’s with 20 points and seven rebounds as Rajon Rondo added 12 points and 12 assists, as the point guard’s jumper with just under a minute extended the Green Team’s led to four as the Spurs almost made a fourth quarter comeback.

Boston, winners of six straight, will have no time to enjoy this win as they head to Oklahoma City to take on the Thunder Friday night.  

Red Sox Sign Shortstop Scutaro

Deal Ends Shortstop Speculation, At Least For Now

The Boston Red Sox and Toronto Blue Jays have played musical chairs with shortstops this off-season with both teams officially electing to switch players for 2010.

Marco Scutaro has agreed to a two-year deal with an option, according to the Peter Abraham of the Boston Globeas Theo Epstein and the Boston Red Sox have found their solution to the laundry list of players that have fill the shortstop hole in the past five years.

It seemed that as soon as Billy Wagner signed with another team, that the Sox were willing to part with their first-round pick in order to sign Scutaro as they are receiving compensation from the Atlanta Braves for the Wagner signing.  

The 34-year-old Scutaro hit .282 with 12 homer runs and 60 RBIs last season for the Blue Jays and ranked third among American League shortstops with a .379 on-base percentage.  The Sox hope Scutaro’s career year in 2009 wasn’t an aberration as Boston will look for the veteran to continue to get on base, most likely out of the nine hole, at a better rate than offensively challenged Alex Gonzalez did in 2006 and part of last season.

(AP Photo) (AP Photo)