Monday, January 16, 2017


DECEMBER 12, 2016

Like most Red Sox fans, I was delighted that Dave Dombrowski was able to pull off two trades which not only strengthened Boston’s pitching, but gave them a good chance of making the playoffs. Oh and maybe winning a World Series or two.

Even better, Dombrowski did it while running under the radar (or sonar) of sports talk shows and reporters. He ran silent and ran deep until the trades were done. Best not to let the submarine surface until the attack is completed and the enemy is thwarted.

Dombrowski and the Red Sox were barely mentioned as a destination for Chris Sale. It was all about the Nationals, Astros and Braves being in the running for Sale. The price, in terms of minor league talent, was huge with the Red Sox sending the White Sox INF Yoan Moncada, RHP Michael Kopech, OF Luis Alexander Basabe and RHP Victor Diaz. Moncada is considered by baseball analysts to be as close to a sure major league talent as you can get. Kopech has some issues. He was suspended for using a banned stimulant, and then lost part of last season when he broke a bone in his pitching hand while fighting a roommate.

Per an article by Steve Adams ( – 12/6), the switch-hitting Moncada (21 y/o) was rated the #1 baseball prospect by Baseball America. Kopech (20 y/o) was ranked as the 3rd best BoSox prospect by Baseball America and Basabe #8. Basabe’s twin brother had been dealt by Dombrowski to Arizona for reliever Brad Ziegler.

Adams notes that Victor Diaz is considered the 28th best Boston prospect by Also the Red Sox agreed to pay the remainder of the $31.5 Mill owed Moncada.

In return, the Red Sox get one of the best left handed starters in the AL. Chris Sale’s career ERA is 3.02 and during that time he has averaged 10 strikeouts per 9 innings and 2 walks per 9 innings. (Adams had this). has it as a career 3.00 ERA and 10.1 K’s per 9 and 2.1 BB’s per 9. Trust
And best of all (barring injury – knock on wood), Sale is owed $12 Mill for this year and the team has options for 2018 ($12.5 Mill) and 2019 ($13.5 Mill) which is chump change for such an ace. Interestingly, the Red Sox picked up Clay Buchholz’s 2017 option and he will make $13.5 Mill this year. So he will earn more than Sale!

The other Dombrowski trade was for RH reliever Tyler Thornburg of Milwaukee. shows that Thornburg has a career 2.87 ERA. His ERA in 2016 was 2.15 and he had 13 saves. The compensation to the Brewers was 3B/1B Travis Shaw, SS/2B Mauricio Dubon (AA), RHP Josh Pennington (A) and a player to be named. With Thornburg, and hopefully the return of RHP Carson Smith from injury, the Sox bullpen should be shored up.

As soon as these two trades were made, I began trying to remember what prospects the Red Sox still had left in the minor leagues. 3B Rafael Devers (AA) came to mind as did 1B Sam Travis, who was injured last year (torn ACL – left knee), but should be back in Pawtucket this year. The PawSox also have pitchers Henry Owens, Brian Johnson and Roenis Elias. The now suspect OF Rusney Castillo will be there too (maybe).

The Red Sox drafted 18 year old Jason Groome last year. The 6’6” lefty was considered one of the best high school pitchers in the country. The Red Sox, not having to give up any of their young major league talent (like Andrew Benintendi), and their relatively young starting staff have time over the next couple years to replenish the minor league talent.

With the free agent signing of Gold Glove 1B and lefty Mitch Moreland, the Red Sox can platoon righty Hanley Ramirez with him while allowing Hanley to DH on days when they face a righty. Moreland had a down year for BA (.233) with Texas, but he still had decent power and RBI numbers (22 HRs, 60 RBI).

Spring training is just over 2 months away. Can’t wait for the return of bats and balls.

So the Steelers used underinflated footballs when they played the Giants. That’s OK. ‘God’ Goodell has dismissed this issue because the Giants didn’t file a formal complaint.
Oh and Tom Brady and the Patriots weren’t involved. A pox on Goodell.

The Celtics miss Isaiah Thomas. The Bruins miss the net (no scoring, no power play).

Per the Globe’s Ben Volin, the NFL receiver with the most catches over the last three years is Miami’s Jarvis Landry (269). Landry is just ahead of former LSU teammate Odell Beckham who has 262 (not counting Sunday’s games).

On the identity of the 2001 Patriot who was in a wheelchair at the team celebration
Just looked it up. #26 is db Matt Stevens. FootJoy Thank you FootJoy. Per Wikipedia, Matt Stevens was injured in a motorcycle accident in 2007. It paralyzed him from the waist down. He is now able to walk with special leg brace supports. Stevens played for the Pats in 2000-2001. - Z
This may, possibly, be a historic edition. A misquote, admitted in print? WOW! Ha!!! The Wizard of the Web Wiz, ha, ha. As if I never admitted in print to an error before. Didn't see any answer from you on the trivia question. - Z
NFL ROUNDUP Watching the end of Sunday’s 1 o’clock games, then the highlights, I noticed:
Sammy Watkins of Buffalo makes a great sideline catch near the end of a game that the Steelers will win. He runs into his own team’s sideline and no one tries to catch him or prevent him from falling. Team, eh?

Miami was at the 2-yard line in the waning minutes versus Arizona. The game is tied and they need at least a FG (in a driving rain). Miami QB Matt Moore does poor clock management (coaches too), only gets off a couple plays and a run almost runs out the clock before Head Coach Adam Gase awakes and calls a timeout with 1 second left. The FG is good and Miami escapes egg on their face.

On 4th and 1 at the end of the Indy-Houston game, the Colts hierarchy decides to call a screen pass. Big Vince Wilfork busts up the middle, chases QB Andrew Luck who then misses on the throw. A screen pass? On 4th and 1?

The Lions need a TD against the Bears. Detroit QB Matthew Stafford is flushed out of the pocket, but runs it in from 7 yards out as he bowls over a couple players including his teammate # 85 TE Eric Ebron in the end zone. Not to be denied.

The Steelers Le’Veon Bell had the game of his life (38 carries for 236 yards). At the end of the game one of the Buffalo Bills and Bell embraced each other. It was ex-Patriot DB James Ihedigbo. Bell went to Mich. St., Ihedigbo to UMass.

The Bear and I were talking about Christmas dinner. I told him that it was a tradition of ours to go to China Inn for Christmas dinner. FootJoy said a good birthday tradition is waking up.

Told Professor Peter about the great deal that I got at Rochambeau Library in Providence. They have book sales and also CDs and DVDs. I got the CD soundtrack to The Sopranos for $2. I bought it just to get the opening number of the show which is Woke Up This Morning (And Got Myself A Gun) by A 3 (Alabama 3). However there are a number of other good songs on it, including Bob Dylan’s Gotta Serve Somebody.

The Hot Club has had Christmas Trees, but this is the first time that the Christmas Tree has been on the deck. A big plump one with many lights. There are also boughs atop the railings of the decks. Nice touch. Very festive. Kudos to Sarah Bates and crew for the seasonal greetings.

One wag, OK it was Cap’t Jack’s friend Mark, wanted to know if the Christmas Tree on the HC deck was the reject from the State House. No, no no.

What director had two smash hits, one a western and the other a war movie, but did little else in his career? Why John Sturges who helmed The Magnificent 7 (1960) and The Great Escape (1963). Steve McQueen, James Coburn and Charles Bronson were in both. The only other decent film that Sturges directed was Bad Day At Black Rock. Per Wikipedia, Sturges once met Akira Kurosawa whose Seven Samurai was the basis for The Magnificent 7. Sturges was thrilled when Kurosawa told him he loved the movie.

Another gem from Buffalo Steve: This TV producer created 9 different well known TV shows, a couple of which were of the detective genre and a couple that were sci-fi. He also was in a singing quartet and wrote and/or composed three Gold records for them on Capitol Records. Name? (Thanks Steve. Send me your trivia and I’ll give you credit.)

Sportzine is available at thanks to Buffalo Steve Lenz


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