Sunday, August 20, 2006

Baseball: In Theory

Why did the Sox of 2004 win a World Series and why are the Only-Team-In-ANY-Major-US-Sport-to-Blow-a-Three-Game-Playoff-Advantage-in-a-best-of-seven Yankees winning now?

Brutal 1-9 hitting with no (or very few) easy outs. (Because lets face it, I'm sure lots of Yankee fans expected to hit some HRs of Josh "Gopher" Beckett Saturday, but how many though it'd be the Corpse of Bernie Williams? )

There simply aren't enough high OBP, high P/PA folks on the FA market for the Sox to compete, hitting-wise with the Yankees next season (though we can always hope and pray for more of the older Yankee players to break down and have a rash of injuries that is statistically more likely as you get closer to mid-30s and 40.) But could there be an off-chance, fiscal possiblity of creating a dominating 1-5 of pitching?

This is long-shot, mostly talking out my ass thinking, mainly to see if any SoSH folks could run the numbers. Five true #1 starters probably isn't going to happen...but let's through another, hypothetical long-shot out there:

1. Schilling and Beckett stay on
2. A trade of two minor league hitting prospects (not both top prospects but likely one good PawSox guy) plus Lester, to the Astros for Roy Oswalt
3. Free agent: Jason Schmidt
4. Free agent: Barry Zito

Additional salary would have to be moved somehow to avoid Yankee-payroll levels, but one admittedly risky trade plus two (very) expensive but more-or-less safe free agent signings would give the Sox a pitching rotation of:
1. Schilling (playing for his legacy and wanting to go out on top)
2. Barry Zito (proven stuff for the AL, still fairly young and a lefty)
3. Jason Schmidt (power arm, possible injury risk due to age but still very good)
4. Roy Oswalt (multiple 20-game winner)
5. Josh Beckett (easily an ace if he gets the HRs under control).

The downside is the total cost for this 5-man rotation could be 60-70 million. But that's still a good bit less than the Yankee infield alone. The way to beat the Yankees is to out pitch them at this the Yankee fan below pointed out (with perhaps too much pride) here's the Yankees rotation:

1. Mussina (not getting any younger, and his post ASB return to his higher career numbers mean any talk of him competing with Santanas of the world for a Cy Young are gone).
2. Wang (great young pitcher, not exactly lights out vs. the Sox, and some of us still think that his high groundball/low strikeout ratio will bite him in the ass one day. Especially with Bronze Glove A-Rod playing D. Add in the potential visage of Sheffroid playing 1st next season and that lineup may have to average 8+ runs to offset the defensive misery on the field.)
3. Randy Johnson. A few weeks ago the Yankee fans said he was old and cooked. Add another year to him.
4-5: Who? Getting Schmidt and Zito means they don't wind up in pinstripes.

So...can this (or part of it anyway) be done?

And will Theo and co. do it?

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