As you can well imagine, the irony of the Red Sox opening the regular season up against the very pitcher in Cole Hamels, that many of us thought they needed for long term success, was not lost on anyone. So when Clay Buchholz (7 IP, 3 hits, 0 runs, 1 BB, 9 SO, on 94 pitches) clearly out pitched him, and the Sox bats smacked four home runs off him in 5 innings, the conversation revolving around whether or not they need an ace got considerably more confusing. To top it all off, the Red Sox must have decided they already have an ace, as the news came out shortly after the game that they had given the 26 year old Rick Porcello ace money in the form of a 4 year $82.5 million contract extension. So, where does that leave us now?
That’s a very good question, the answer to which may now not involve Mr. Hamels. I’m not totally jumping off that bandwagon, as Boston has one of the deepest, most highly rated farm systems in major league baseball (I believe BaseballAmerica ranked them second). You have to believe they could still put together a trade package that would be attractive to the Phillies without harming themselves long term. Even if all those years in a row of throwing 200 plus innings have started to catch up to Hamels and he is no longer ace material, I have to believe that he could still add a valuable veteran presence to the rotation. We’ve seen Buchholz look good before only to lose focus, Joe Kelly couldn’t get out of Spring training without getting hurt and I’m still of the mind that Justin Masterson is more of a bullpen force, so adding another lefty, whether as a 1A or a 2A, still seems like a good idea. Besides, after what I have to imagine most Yankees fans consider a less than stellar start by Tanaka, I have to assume they’ll be taking a hard look at their options, and that has to include the Phillies’ southpaw. One way or another, you have to assume he’ll soon be on the move. Let’s face it, given that his effort against the Sox was not overly impressive, I would guess that one or two more like that would cause Philadelphia to move him sooner and not risk his losing too much value.
I had barely finished typing my prediction that Rusney Castillo would be the starting right fielder, when John Farrell announced that they felt they owed it to the 34-year old Shane Victorino to give him his old job back. I don’t have too much of a problem with that, as I’m already on record as saying I thought that Boston clearly missed his attitude and competitiveness last year. Also, the 27-year old Cuban star could likely benefit by a more gradual exposure to the conditions known as “Spring in New England.” But let’s face it, you don’t spend $72 million on someone so that they can ride a bus in the minor leagues. I still expect we’ll see Castillo in Fenway Park soon…
It was nice to see the return of the “laser show”, aka Dustin Pedroia. I’m not sure either one of those shots would have been home runs at Fenway, but it was sill nice to see him put a charge into the ball…
Hanley Ramirez‘s 2 HRs and 5 RBIs was certainly was a nice way to make his return to the American League, at that pace…
I was surprised to see someone who I assumed was a Scott Boras client, namely Rick Porcello, sign an extension rather than go to free agency. It turns out that he is apparently no longer a Boras client, so that may explain why he did it. That and about $20 million a year, makes sense now.
Featured image courtesy of: Boston Herald
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