Thursday, September 14, 2017

A Big Trade

Sorry I have not been posting much lately.  I have had a lot of other things going on these days.  

Anyway, here is a pretty big trade I worked out recently:
1.  2009 Topps Heritage Chrome Dustin Pedroia.  Good to have Pedroia back in the lineup.  Eduardo Nunez has been good, but Pedroia's defense is terrific.

2.  2012 Donruss Elite Extra Edition Elite Series Deven Marrero.  Marrero does not hit much, but his defense makes him a decent backup infielder.

3.  2014 Topps Heritage Chrome Refractor Jon Lester.  I still think Boston made a mistake in trading Lester away.

4.  2015 Donruss 1981 Press Proof Dustin Pedroia.

5.  2015 Donruss Elite Series Dustin Pedroia.  As you can see, I added some nice Pedroia cards in this deal.

6.  2015 Panini Prizm Camo Xander Bogaerts.  Bogaerts needs to be more consistent.  He goes through extremes and it gets frustrating.

7.  2015 Panini Prizm Black and White Checker Xander Bogaerts.

8.  2015 Panini Prizm Blue Pedro Martinez.  Pedro is still the most recent Red Sox Hall of Famer.  Hopefully someone will join him next year.

9.  2015 Topps Heritage Chrome Yoenis Cespedes.  Cespedes just did not work out well for the Red Sox.  But he was traded for Rick Porcello who had a Cy Young season last year, so there is that.
10.  2016 Donruss Optic Cyan David Price.  Price has not been as advertised for much of his stint in Boston either yet.

11.  2017 Donruss 1983 Magenta Back Mookie Betts.  Mookie is heating up and just the right time.

12.  2017 Donruss 1983 Season Stat Line Mookie Betts.

13.  2017 Donruss Variation Mookie Betts.  This one is a photo variation of Mookie.

14.  2017 Donruss All Stars Mookie Betts.

15.  2017 Donruss Elite Dominator Mookie Betts.  Lots of Mookie cards here too.

16.  2017 Donruss Elite Dominator Rick Porcello.  Here is last year's Cy Young winner, who has struggled quite a bit this season.

17.  2017 Donruss Elite The Elite Series Hanley Ramirez.  Another player who has struggled quite a bit this season, but the power is still there.

18.  2017 Donruss Optic Chris Sale DK.  For awhile, Sale looked like the runaway Cy Young winner this year.  I think Kluber for the Indians will probably come away with it.
19.  2017 Donruss Optic Jackie Bradley Jr.  He has to win the Gold Glove this year, right?

20.  2017 Stadium Club Mitch Moreland.  Moreland has been a great defensive first-baseman with some decent pop.  He is not likely to be back in Boston next season though.

21.  2017 Stadium Club Dustin Pedroia.

22.  2017 Stadium Club David Ortiz.  Love the photo here.

23.  2017 Stadium Club Contact Sheet Mookie Betts.

24.  2017 Stadium Club Scoreless Streak Chris Sale.

25.  2014 Donruss Elite Elite Series Xander Bogaerts.

26.  2017 Donruss Optic Andrew Benintendi.  I have always loved the old Rated Rookie logo.  Benintendi will finish second in the AL ROY race.

27.  2017 Topps Allen & Ginter Mini Relics Mookie Betts.  I was not originally supposed to get this card, but the other trader was very late in sending the cards and gave me a couple of extras for my patience.  Patience is a virtue.  He did not have to do that and I had no idea he was doing it, but I am very grateful.
28.  2017 Donruss Diamond Collection Yoan Moncada.  This was another throw-in.  I am even happier about this one.

29.  2017 Donruss Optic Prizm Chris Sale DK.  And we end with a nice Sale card.

Friday, September 8, 2017

Topps Now: Aug. 4, 2017

Boston seems like they have played an inordinate number of extra-inning games this season.  The nice thing is that that leaves lots of room for walkoff victories.  And that was the case on Aug. 4 against the White Sox.  First-baseman Mitch Moreland delivered a walkoff home run in the 11th inning against the unfortunately-named Aaron Bummer.  Moreland appears on his first Topps Now card with the Red Sox.

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Topps Now: July 26, 2017

Yes, in just his second Major League game, Rafael Devers already went deep.  He would prove to be a very valuable addition to the Red Sox lineup, bringing in some much-needed power.  And of course, he would appear on a lot more Topps Now cards.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Topps Now: July 25, 2017

Rafael Devers already has a lot of Topps Now cards.  It helps being the top prospect for a major market team who just made his Major League debut.  It also helps that he has played quite well since arriving in the Majors.  This is the MLB debut card.  Devers started at third base and was the youngest Red Sox starting position player since Luis Alvarado in 1969.

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Topps Now: August 8, 2017

I really could not resist this one.  This is my first card of Eduardo Nunez with the Red Sox.  Nunez is the biggest in-season acquisition of the year to this point.  He will likely be featured in Topps Update later on, but I had to jump at a chance to add one earlier.  Nunez was on a tear early in his Red Sox career and tied the record for most hits by a player in his first ten games with a team.  He has cooled off since, but remains a very good hitter.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Topps Now: August 1, 2017

This was a wild game.  Chris Sale and Carlos Carrasco were the pitchers and a pitching duel was expected.  No one expected what happened.  Sale apparently has issues with the Indians and they rocked him for seven runs in five innings.  Meanwhile, Carrasco gave up five in 1.2 innings.  Boston was in the lead going into the top of the ninth, but Kimbrel gave up two runs and the Indians were in the lead.  It came down to Christian Vazquez with two runners on, and he delivered the game-winning home run.  Vazquez does not get a lot of cards, so a Topps Now card was welcome.

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Topps Now Road to Opening Day Bonus

Part of the appeal of the Topps Now Road to Opening Day sets (other than the autograph, the Chris Sale I got it is a big deal) is that there would be bonus cards issued throughout the year if a member of the team made a certain milestone or if the team was in first place in its division at the All Star Break.  Well, no Red Sox player has hit for the cycle or thrown a no-hitter yet (hopefully one of those things will happen, I would love another bonus card), but the team did finish in first place at the All Star Break, so I got this card of the three dynamic outfielders in the middle of their Win-Dance-Repeat tradition after games.  I will take it.

Friday, August 25, 2017

The Jason Varitek Quest for 1,000: #927

This is the Orange foil, Black and White parallel of Varitek from Stadium Club.  I still do not have the regular base version and I am also missing several parallels.  At some point I will probably be going back and filling in a bunch of new holes.  There are several Varitek cards from this year that should be easy to find that I just have not taken the time to locate yet.  That should make it easy to increase the numbers though.  As it stands, I need 73 more to get to 1,000.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

The Jason Varitek Quest for 1,000: #926

This is the 2016 Topps High Tek Gold Rainbow card, serial-numbered to 60.  I now have ten variations on the 2016 High Tek card.  That is nowhere near the number that I have of 1998 Tek Sandy Alomar Jr. cards, but it is impressive in its own right.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Topps Gold Brock Holt

It is very disappointing that Brock Holt is struggling as much as he is this year.  He has had some injury issues, including a concussion and vertigo, so perhaps that is the reason.  His numbers are way down and he has been a liability at the plate.  Nevertheless, Holt is one of my favorite players due to his versatility.  He was an under-the-radar All Star in 2015, Boston's only All Star that season.

Monday, August 21, 2017

The Jason Varitek Quest for 1,000: 925...And More

Not many trades bring in new Jason Varitek cards for me, but this one did.  It also provided a bunch of other new cards.
1.  2014 Topps Update Gold Koji Uehara.  Koji will go down as one of my favorite relief pitchers during my lifetime.  He was a blast to watch and had some great numbers for the Red Sox.  He had a relatively short stint with Boston (four years), but he was so much fun.

2.  1997 Pinnacle Passport to the Majors Mo Vaughn.  This one folds to look like a passport on the front.  But that's boring, so I elected to show this shot of the inside.

3.  1969 Globe Imprints Tony Conigliaro.  I am not sure of the story behind these cards, but anytime I can add a Tony C. vintage card, I am there.

4.  2010 Bowman 1992 Throwback Kevin Youkilis.  Youk is another of my personal favorites from his time in Boston.  For a couple of years (2008-2009), he was quite possibly the best hitter in the league.

5.  2013 Topps Tier One On the Rise Autographs Felix Doubront.  For a brief period, I had a mini-player collection of Doubront.  Somehow I never added this one.  

6.  2011 Topps Diamond Anniversary Factory Set Limited Edition Jason Varitek.  Finally, the new Varitek.  This is from a factory set and I honestly did not know it existed.  I could have added several other players, but let's be honest, the Varitek is the key for me.

7.  1976 SSPC Carlton Fisk.  All I need now is the Yaz for this set.  I really want to start getting the later SSPC set, but those are really hard to find.

8.  2002 Topps Archives Reserve Wade Boggs.  We are well into a bunch of random wantlist needs.
9.  1974 Topps Carl Yastrzemski.  This is just a classic-looking shot of Yaz.  He was starting to decline, but was still productive enough to stay in the lineup for several more years.

10.  1974 Topps Bernie Carbo.  This is one of the cards that it is obvious the player changed teams before the season.  Carbo was a big World Series hero in 1975 for Boston.

11.  1974 Topps Rick Miller.  Miller had a couple of stints with Boston.  He was mostly a backup outfielder, but he pretty valuable to the team.  He had some speed and he was a great pinch hitter.

12.  1971 Topps Gary Peters.  Peters had a couple of good seasons as a starting pitcher for the Red Sox in the early 1970's.

13.  1969 Topps Russ Gibson.  And here we have the final card from the trade, a vintage Topps card of a Red Sox catcher.  Gibson was mostly a backup catcher and did not hit much in his three years with the Red Sox.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

More Wantlist Hits

1.  2017 Topps Heritage David Ortiz.  Starting things off with an SP.  I have not been very good about getting all of the short prints from Heritage.  I still need four more of these.  There were a lot for the Red Sox.

2.  2017 Topps 5 Tool Yoan Moncada.  Sale was beaten last night, but Moncada is hitting just .182 in 26 games with the White Sox.

3.  2017 Topps Heritage New Age Performers Mookie Betts.  I always like the New Age Performers insert set, but for some reason there have never been many Red Sox cards in those sets.  In fact, Betts is the first one since 2014.

4.  2017 Topps Heritage 1968 Game Mookie Betts.  I have all of the original 1968 Game Cards.  This is the last one I needed for this 2017 insert set.

5.  2017 Bowman 1948 Yoan Moncada.  This is the card that led to the trade.  Moncada will always be a curiosity in my collection, a player signed to a huge deal before becoming pro that was traded before he had a chance to live up to it.

6.  2017 Topps Gold Steven Wright.  I have not been getting as many Wright cards this year.  He had a great season last year, but this season was completely lost to injury.

7.  2017 Topps Memorable Moments Babe Ruth.  This card celebrates the first home run of Ruth's illustrious career.  It was hit in 1915, his second season.  It was the Deadball Era and he was a pitcher.

8.  2017 Topps Golden Glove Mookie Betts.  Will Betts be a Gold Glover again this year?  Most likely.  Although I would bet money on JBJ.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Wantlist Trade

I was briefly very active on one trading forum and worked out a number of deals for some wantlist hits, mostly from this season.  This one is kind of all over the place.

1.  2017 Bowman's Best Xander Bogaerts.  Bogaerts continues to make a push.  Among the current team, Bogaerts is currently third-most, behind Dustin Pedroia and Mookie Betts.  It had been pretty close between Betts, Bogaerts, and Jackie Bradley Jr. for awhile, but Betts pulled away and now Xander is pulling away from JBJ.

2.  2017 Bowman Chrome Rafael Devers.  Devers has proven he belongs in the Majors.  He is the next big star of the team after his game-tying home run in the ninth inning off a 103 mph fastball by Aroldis Chapman.

3.  2017 Bowman Chrome 2017 ROY Favorites Andrew Benintendi.  Benintendi has emerged from his slump and hit three home runs against the Yankees last weekend and he has continued his hot hitting.  Any other year he would be a top contender for the Rookie of the Year, but Judge, despite his recent struggles, has had too good of a year.

4.  2017 Diamond Kings Hanley Ramirez.  This is a short-printed card and I really like the Diamond Kings set.  It would be nice if Hanley would hit down the stretch this year the way he did last year.

5.  2017 Diamond Kings Originals Pedro Martinez.  An insert from the same Diamond Kings set.  Martinez is still the most recent Red Sox player to go in to the Hall of Fame with a Boston hat on.  Curt Schilling or Roger Clemens may get in soon.

6.  2017 Donruss Rookies Yoan Moncada.  I am still disappointed Boston traded Moncada, but getting Sale was a huge help to the team, and quite frankly, I would rather have Sale.  Certainly right now, but we'll see in the future.

7.  2017 Topps Bunt Programs Rick Porcello.  Porcello has struggled a bit this year, but his record is worse than his year would suggest.  He really has not been THAT bad.

8.  2017 Topps Allen & Ginter Hand-Drawn Art Xander Bogaerts.  I'm not really sure what these cards are.  The back almost suggests it is something like a relic.  Still, another Bogaerts.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Ortiz Silver Slugger

Just a one-card mailday today.  This is the Topps insert showing David Ortiz as the Silver Slugger Award Winner for designated hitter last year.  Not real exciting today, but Ortiz had one of the greatest final seasons in history.  He hit .315/.401/.620 with 38 home runs and 127 RBIs.  He led the league in doubles (48), RBIs, slugging percentage, and OPS (1.021).  He finished his career with an impressive .286/.380/.552 with 541 home runs and 1,768 RBIs. He was a nine-time All Star, won eight Silver Sluggers, a Home Run Derby championship, and both the ALCS and World Series MVP.  He was a part of three World Championship teams in Boston.  He is a good candidate for the Hall of Fame.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Bowman Platinum Trade

Nothing much to see here, just a quick three-card Bowman Platinum trade:
Craig Kimbrel, Xander Bogaerts, and Chris Sale are the new acquisitions in this trade.  Bogaerts is making a big push in my collection of late and Kimbrel is steadily moving along.  Chris Sale is the big card in this group.  Sale is having an outstanding season and looks to be the favorite for the Cy Young Award.  He may even be making a push for MVP.

Monday, August 14, 2017

The Jason Varitek Quest for 1,000: #924

And we keep on rolling for the goal.  With the increase in more modern buybacks this year, it became possible to add Jason Varitek buybacks.  I will not get into the absurdity of having buybacks that are less than ten years old, but I am always happy to add more Varitek cards.  This one has gold foil stamping.  I am not familiar with the rarity of the various colors, but gold seems like it would be somewhat rare.  I have only seen two of these.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Zippy Zapped Again

I recently received another Zippy Zapping from everyone's favorite Luis Torrens supercollector.  Actually the package was addressed from Torrens in San Diego, but I could see through that.  Torrens has not been given much game experience so far this year and it is likely San Diego will send him back to the minors next season for more seasoning, but they have to keep him up this year to avoid sending him back to the Yankees.

Anyway, on to the package:
1.  Roger Clemens.  This is from the All-Time All Stars insert set, which featured quite a few Red Sox cards.  Clemens won the 1986 All Star Game MVP, the same year he won the Cy Young Award and the AL MVP.  Unfortunately for Boston, he struggled a bit in the postseason.

2.  Xander Bogaerts.  Bogaerts has been struggling again of late.  He needs to figure out how to play well all season long.  He still has solid numbers but his power is way down from last year.

3.  Craig Kimbrel.  Kimbrel has been a beast.

4.  Chris Sale.  Sale is cruising toward his first Cy Young Award.  He has been amazing, which is good because I was apprehensive about giving up both Yoan Moncada and Michael Kopech to get him.

5.  Xander Bogaerts.  

6.  David Ortiz.  With the way he has been appearing in sets this year, you would think he was still playing.  I wish he was, because Boston needs some power.

7.  Mookie Betts.  It has been a down season for Mookie.  Hopefully he will make the necessary adjustment and get back to his 2016 production.  I almost wonder if he has some nagging injury.

8.  Xander Bogaerts.  I saw this card in Zippy's clone break post.  When he approached me about a trade, I was hoping it would be included.

9.  Blake Swihart.  A couple of minor league cards made an appearance.  Swihart is trying to get back on track right now.
10.  Matt Barnes.  Barnes has been a big part of the Red Sox bullpen this year and has quietly turned in a nice season.

11.  John Valentin.  Nice wantlist hit here.  My wantlist is my primary focus at this point.

12.  Jagger Rusconi.  You can always count on Asian-only cards from these packages.  Rusconi's versatility is his strongest asset.  That will not likely help him make it to the Majors unless he can start hitting more.

13.  Tate Matheny.  Mike Matheny's son has put up solid, if unspectacular hitting numbers.

14.  Rafael Devers.  This, along with the Bogaerts purple parallel is the best card in the package.  Devers arrived in Boston ahead of schedule to solidify third base and looks like the real deal.

Thanks Kenny!

Saturday, August 12, 2017

How About Some Red Sox Tek?

Of course my big goal with 1998 Topps Tek is to track down the remaining eight patterns I need to have all 90 Sandy Alomar Jr. cards.  But I also like to occasionally add Red Sox.  This is just my second Mo Vaughn pattern, joining three Pedro Martinez patterns and four Nomar Garciaparra patterns.  Mo Vaughn was one of my early favorite players and was an offensive force in the mid 1990's for the Red Sox.  His career declined rapidly after he left Boston.

Friday, August 11, 2017

Topps Now: July 16, 2017

This is the first Jackie Bradley Jr. card I have seen from Topps Now this year, and it celebrates a fantastic defensive play.  JBJ leapt at the center field wall to steal a home run from Aaron Judge of the Yankees in a game the Red Sox eventually won.  It was a terrific play and one of the best catches I have seen all year.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

2017 Bowman Platinum Pack Breaks

I bought a few random packs the other day, including two Bowman Platinum packs.  The Bowman Platinum packs really paid off.

1.  Jason Groome.  Boston's top pitching prospect at the moment and the most promising Red Sox pitching prospect since Roger Clemens.  Groome was drafted 12th overall last year and has been impressive in the minors.

2.  Andrew Benintendi.  A lengthy slump has taken some of the shine off of his rookie season, but he will get it going again.  He is too good a hitter not to.

3.  Rafael Devers.  This is the card I am most happy about.  It is an insert and Devers has been extremely impressive since being called up from the minors.

I do not even remember what the other packs were.  They did not produce Red Sox cards, so they must not have been too interesting.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Your 1981 Red Sox Pt. 10: Garry Hancock

In this series, I will look at each player who played in 1981, the year I was born. Because, why not?
What is the record for number of times one player was drafted?  I have no idea of the answer to that question, but I have to believe that Garry Hancock is up there.  He was drafted six times from 1970 through 1976, including three times in the first round, before he finally signed with the Cleveland Indians.  The Indians actually drafted him twice.  Nevertheless, they still traded him to the Red Sox in 1977 for Jack Baker.

Hancock had been a top prospect for the Red Sox in 1979 when he hit .325/.361/.505 with 15 home runs and 58 RBIs for Pawtucket after a brief stint in the Majors the previous season.  In 1980, he had a decent run with Boston again and was expected to stay in the Majors in 1981.  Unfortunately, injuries decimated his season as he appeared in just 26 games.  He managed to hit just .156/.191/.222 with three RBIs.  It was a disappointing season for a once promising prospect.

He would never really get it going in Boston.  He returned to the minors in 1982 after his lost 1981 season, where he had a fine season, and then appeared in just eleven games with Boston.  He was part of the trade to the Athletics the next season that brought Tony Armas to the Red Sox and he had his only full season in the Majors.  The next season, he struggled once again and was released by Oakland.  That was it for his career.  

Hancock died in 2015.

Monday, August 7, 2017

Slightly More than One-Year Wonder Pt. 4: Don Baylor

I had not originally planned on making one of these posts today, but unfortunately, Don Baylor passed away today.  So I felt it was an appropriate time for a tribute.
Don Baylor spent about a year and a half with the Red Sox, but he was a big part of the 1986 team.  He was brought over in a rare challenge trade between the Red Sox and Yankees involving each team's designated hitter.  Both teams got a decent deal, but for different reasons.  Baylor was more of a pure power hitter while Easler was more of a contact hitter.  Baylor was the AL MVP for the Angels in 1979 when he hit .296/.371/.530 with 36 home runs and a league-leading 139 RBIs.

In 1986, Baylor helped lead the Red Sox to the AL pennant with a very good year, hitting .238/.344/.439 with 94 RBIs and a team-leading 31 home runs.  Baylor was a veteran presence in the lineup and a calming influence in the clubhouse for a mostly young team.  He won the Silver Slugger Award and even picked up some MVP votes.  Baylor was also a well-known postseason performer and hit .346 in the ALCS before slumping in the World Series.

Baylor started out the 1987 season as the team's starting DH, and was on the verge of a similar season to his 1986 campaign as he was hitting .239/.355/.404 with 16 home runs and 57 RBIs when he was traded to the Twins on September 1 for the stretch drive.  Boston received a minor leaguer named Enrique Rios in the deal, who never made it to the Majors.

After playing one more season with the Athletics, Baylor's playing career came to an end.  He was able to become a Major League manager for several years, first with the expansion Colorado Rockies, and later with the Cubs.  Baylor was a well-regarded personality and popular with teammates and players.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

A Couple of Packs and a Team Set

I have not talked much about my job on this blog.  I think a few readers might have an idea, but many others probably don't know, and many probably don't really care.  Well, my job recently led me back to my hometown and a chance to go to the card shop I used to frequent growing up.  I am a criminal defense attorney and I currently work in a more rural area.  Last week, I had to go back to my hometown to meet with a client in the prison in preparation for a sexual assault trial.  This part of my job is not ideal and oftentimes it is nice to take my mind off of things a bit.  And now for the distraction:

Up first I bought a few loose packs.  I was mostly looking to pull an autograph, and lo and behold, I did, just not a Red Sox auto.  Here are the Red Sox:
1.  2017 Stadium Club Johnny Damon.  I love this shot.  This is from one of Damon's two home runs in Game 7 of the 2004 ALCS.  That is the Johnny Damon I prefer to remember.

2.  2017 Topps Archives Blue Nomar Garciaparra.  This was a very nice pull.  This card is serial-numbered to just 75.

And now for the auto:

I picked up the 2017 Topps team set, with a number of new cards:
It did finally add the Topps rookie card of Yoan Moncada, which was the big missing piece.  I am more interested in the Chris Young, Brock Holt, Eduardo Rodriguez, and Steven Wright cards.  These are players that are somewhat underrepresented in my collection, so I love adding cards of these guys.  

It was not the most productive trip to the LCS, but I got some nice stuff.  I love the Nomar card in particular.

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Holes Were Filled

I recently worked out a pretty big trade for a bunch of stuff from my wantlist.  There is nothing exceptionally exciting here, but any time I can knock a bunch of stuff off of my wantlist, it is a good thing.

The theme for the post: trades.  A lot of these guys were involved in trades at one end of their tenure with Boston or the other.
1.  Curt Schilling.  Originally drafted by the Red Sox, Schilling was traded to the Orioles along with Brady Anderson for Mike Boddicker before he ever pitched a game in 1988.  He returned to Boston late in his career in 2004 in a trade with the Diamondbacks in which Boston sent Casey Fossum, Jorge De La Rosa, Brandon Lyon, and Michael Goss.  The first trade helped both teams, despite the frequent recent media depiction, the second trade was decidedly in Boston's favor.

2.  Manny Ramirez.  A free agent from the Indians when he was acquired by Boston, Manny was sent to the Dodgers in the 2008 season in a three team deal in which the Red Sox received Jason Bay from Pittsburgh and the Pirates received Brandon Moss and Craig Hansen from the Red Sox and Andy LaRoche and Bryan Morris from the Dodgers.  The Dodgers did the best with an otherworldly performance from Ramirez down the stretch, Bay played very well for Boston, and none of the Pirates players worked out well for them.

3.  Clay Buchholz.  Buchholz pitched most of his career with the Red Sox before being traded to the Phillies this last offseason for prospect Josh Tobias.  Buchholz struggled through two games with the Phillies before being shut down for the season with an injury.  Tobias is still in Double A.

4.  Clay Buchholz.

5.  Curt Schilling.

6.  Mark Wagner.  Wagner never made it to the Majors and was never involved in a trade.

7.  Stolmy Pimentel.  Pimentel was a prospect in the Red Sox system when he was traded to the Pirates along with Ivan DeJesus, Jerry Sands, and Mark Melancon for Joel Hanrahan and Brock Holt.  Melancon ended up being the best player in the deal.  Hanrahan was a bust for Boston, but Holt has been a decent, versatile player.  Pimentel has been mostly forgettable.

8.  Fred Lynn.  Boston was forced to trade Lynn to the Angels in 1980 along with Steve Renko for Frank Tanana, Joe Rudi, and Jim Dorsey.  Lynn was not quite the player he was with Boston, but did far and away better than anyone Boston received.  Rudi was near the end of his career, Tanana was ineffective in his one season, and Dorsey pitched just four games over two seasons.

9.  Luis Exposito.  Boston lost Exposito on waivers to the Orioles before he had a chance to play a game with Boston, despite the fact that he had been called up to the Majors briefly.
10.  Shannon Wilkerson.  Wilkerson never made it to the Majors, nor was he involved in any trades.

11.  Shannon Wilkerson.

12.  Josh Reddick.  A Red Sox draftee, Reddick was sent to the Oakland A's before the 2012 season along with Raul Alcantara and Miles Head for Andrew Bailey and Ryan Sweeney in a trade that did not work out at all for Boston.  Reddick has generally been a pretty good player.  Bailey was hurt often.

13.  Alex Wilson.  Another Red Sox draftee, Wilson was sent along with Gabe Speier and Yoenis Cespedes to Detroit for Rick Porcello.  Porcello has been up and down, but he did win the Cy Young Award for the Red Sox in 2016.  Cespedes did well in Detroit.

14.  J.D. Drew.  Drew was never involved in any trades involving the Red Sox.

15.  Kyle Weiland.  Weiland and Jed Lowrie were traded to the Astros for Mark Melancon.  That deal worked out considerably better for Houston, but not due to Weiland.

16.  Ryan Lavarnway.  A Red Sox draftee, Lavarnway eventually left as a minor league free agent.

17.  Sean Coyle.  Coyle was selected off waivers from the Red Sox by the Angels.

18.  Blake Swihart.  Swihart is still in the Red Sox system, working his way back from injuries.
19.  Kendrick Perkins.  Perkins was never involved in a trade with Boston.

20.  Dustin Pedroia.  Pedroia is a lifetime Red Sox player.  He will likely spend his entire career in Boston, I hope.

21.  Williams Jerez.  There has been a position change from outfield to pitcher, but Jerez has remained in the Red Sox system throughout his career thus far.

22.  Miles Head.  As mentioned before, Head was involved in the ill-fated Reddick for Bailey trade.

23.  Zach Good.  Good did not make it far in his Red Sox career.  He was released just two years after being drafted.

24.  Brandon Jacobs.  Jacobs was sent to the White Sox for southpaw reliever Matt Thornton during the 2013 season.  Thornton was not great for Boston, but Jacobs did not do much either.

25.  Bryce Brentz.  Brentz is still in the Red Sox system, and has had a couple of stints in Boston.

26.  Joseph Monge.  Monge is still in the Red Sox system.

27.  Jake Cosart.  The younger brother of Jared Cosart is still in the Red Sox system.
28.  Carlos Asuaje.  Asuaje was traded to the Padres with Javier Guerra, Manuel Margot, and Logan Allen for Craig Kimbrel.  Asuaje has played well in the Majors as a utility player.  Kimbrel has excelled with Boston.

29.  Manuel Margot.  Margot has struggled with the Padres since being included along with Asuaje.

Monday, July 24, 2017

The Jason Varitek Quest for 1,000: #923

You can not really tell by the scan, but this is the orange refractor from 2008 Bowman Chrome, serial-numbered to 25.  I am not sure why I never seriously pursued getting the Bowman Chrome rainbow from that season.  Maybe I will now.  I already have the Superfractor.  Now with this orange refractor, the only colored refractor I still need is the red, numbered to just five.  It might be hard to find, but it would be worth it.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Busts Pt. 22: Pablo Sandoval

Sometimes, offseason acquisitions work out. Sometimes they don't. Sometimes, they are spectacular failures.
Oh boy.  I have not done one of these posts in a few years.  The last one was Carl Crawford.  Well this one definitely lives up to his dubious legacy.  With his release just a few days ago, it is time to talk about The Panda.

Like Crawford, I was a big fan of Pablo Sandoval prior to his time with the Red Sox and I was thrilled when Boston acquired him.  I even advocated attempting to trade for him earlier in his career.  Despite his size, he was a decent hitter, and a surprisingly good defensive player at one point.  He was also a terrific post-season performer.  Unfortunately, none of that carried over to his time with the Red Sox.  

Sandoval signed a big $90 million contract to play third base with the Red Sox in December 2014 as part of an attempt to add offense to the team.  In what would turn out to be his only full season in Boston, he hit just .245/.292/.366 with ten home runs and 47 RBIs, a marked decline from his numbers in San Francisco, despite now playing in a hitters park for the first time in his career.  His defense was also horrendous, making him pretty much a complete waste.

The next season, he somehow managed to get even heavier.  He ended up losing his starting job at third to upstart rookie Travis Shaw.  The highlight of his season was breaking a belt while swing (and missing) at a pitch.  He played just three games before going down with a season-ending injury, striking out four times in seven plate appearances.  There was some talk that he could be activated for the postseason, but Boston did not make it far enough.  

It was during this injury that some hope began to fester, Sandoval made an appearance with the team and had lost considerable weight.  Sandoval made it to Spring Training camp in great shape and played quite well.  There was finally the possibility that he would start to make his contract worthwhile.  His power stroke returned as he hit a few home runs early on, but when he was not hitting the long ball, he was striking out often and making otherwise weak contact.  Through 32 games, he was hitting .212/.269/.354 with four home runs and 12 RBIs.  But he was getting hurt and playing bad defense. 

Despite Boston getting next to no production out of third base, the Red Sox gave up on Sandoval after he was ready to be activated from the DL.  After two and a half seasons, Sandoval gave the Red Sox 161 games of a .237/.286/.360 line with 14 home runs and 59 RBIs.  That would not have been acceptable for one full season, much less three.  And so, The Panda was a bust.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Boston Globe Oddballs

One of the sets I am most interested in tracking down is the Boston Globe cards from the early 1980's.  Those cards mostly covered the 1950's and 1960's and included most of the players that spent time with the Red Sox and photography from the Boston Globe.  Unfortunately, they can be pretty difficult to find.  Recently, a bunch showed up on Ebay and included a couple that I particularly wanted.
1.  Pumpsie Green.  The first black player in Red Sox history is a player that I like to pick up whenever possible.  Add to that an interesting photo, which is pretty rare, and this is a card that I had to add.

2.  Elston Howard.  Yes, the great Yankees catcher spent the last season-and-a-half of his career with the Red Sox.  This was probably the card I most wanted from this set because of the amazing action shot.  Just an amazing photo.

3.  Dick Schofield.  We go from a terrific action shot to a bizarre profile shot.  "Ducky" Schofield spent two seasons toward the end of his career with Boston, doing his usual super utility work.  He was not much of a hitter, but he was versatile and that kept him employed.

4.  George Scott.  One of my favorite players who I never actually got to see play.  Like Green, I add George Scott cards whenever I possibly can.  I could have done without the splayed legs shot here though.

Friday, July 21, 2017

Topps Hanger Pack

Not much going on here.  I bought one of those $9.99 hanger pack things because I was bored.  A couple of base Red Sox were pulled:
1.  Blake Swihart.  Swihart's career has hit a little bit of a snag.  He struggled defensively last season as a catcher and was sent to the minors for more seasoning.  Then there was the ill-fated left field experiment that resulted in an ankle injury that ended his season.  This year he has not produced offensively in the minors and is now taking reps at third.  I am very disappointed in how things have gone for him.

2.  Andrew Benintendi/Jackie Bradley Jr./Mookie Betts.  This year's team card showcases Boston's highly talented outfield.  This is the Win/Dance/Repeat ritual the players started showcasing last season.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Slightly More Than One-Year Wonder Pt. 3: Ugueth Urbina

These players made it longer than one full season, but less than two seasons. They do not qualify as one-year wonders. They lasted slightly too long. But they still spent a brief part of their careers with the Red Sox.
He is mostly known for some off-field exploits now (including being convicted of attempted murder), but for a time, Ugueth Urbina was one of the best closers in the game.  Urbina came up with the Montreal Expos in 1996 and was originally a starter, but his fastball and somewhat erratic control made him a better option for the bullpen.  He was converted to a closer in 1997, and stuck.  His strikeout rates soared as his ERA lowered and he racked up the saves.  He was an All Star in 1998 and led the league in saves in 1999.  

By 2001, Urbina was struggling a little bit and the Expos were not going anywhere.  He was deemed expendable, and Boston's closer Derek Lowe was also struggling.  Boston sent Tomo Ohka and a minor leaguer to Montreal to acquire Urbina at the July trading deadline.  Urbina immediately paid dividends even though the team was tanking.  The new closer went 0-1 with a 2.25 ERA and an incredible 32 strikeouts versus just three walks in 20 innings.  He picked up nine saves.

Going into the 2002 season, Urbina was in place to be the Red Sox closer.  He ended up having his second All Star season as he saved 40 games.  He was just 1-6, but with a 3.00 ERA and 71 strikeouts versus 20 walks in 60 innings.  Urbina was just the fourth Red Sox closer to save 40 or more games in a season, joining Jeff Reardon, Tom Gordon, and Lowe.  His 10.7 strikeouts per nine innings was a little bit of a decline, but he was effective.

After the season, Boston declined to re-sign him, instead deciding to go with a closer-by-committee, an experiment that failed miserably.  Urbina signed on with the Rangers and was traded to the Marlins later in the season, just in time for their World Series Championship run.  He later played for the Tigers and Phillies, before his career ended due to that pesky attempted murder thing.

Monday, July 17, 2017

The Worst Red Sox Team of All Time Pt. 7: Pete Donohue

Failure is often even more fascinating than success. I am definitely intrigued by the 1932 Boston Red Sox, the worst Red Sox team of all time. The team finished with a record of 43-111, for a winning percentage of .279 and very little went right.
An amazing 41 players played for the Boston Red Sox in 1932.  Many of those players were obscure, very short-tenured players.  Others were players that were well past their primes.  Very few were actually decent players.  Red Sox ownership had virtually no money to spend on talented players that could help the team win.  So the team took a lot of chances on has-beens and never-weres.  Pete Donohue fits into the former category. 

Donohue was a right-handed pitcher who had a pretty decent career in the 1920's with the Cincinnati Reds.  He won 20 or more games three times, leading the league in wins in 1926 and winning percentage in 1922.  He was a workhorse who led the league in a number of categories like games started, innings pitched (301 in 1925!), and complete games.  With that kind of use, it is not terribly shocking that he started to falter toward the end of the decade.

After his 20 win season in 1926, Donohue declined significantly.  He held on with the Reds for a few more seasons, then played with the Giants and Indians before joining the Red Sox in 1932.  Donohue was just 31 years old, but it was clear his usefulness was gone.  He pitched in just four games with the Red Sox toward the beginning of the season, but he was 0-1 with a 7.82 ERA.  He notched just one strikeout and walked six in 12.2 innings.  That was it for Donohue as a Major League pitcher.  The former star pitcher had nothing left by the time he joined Boston.  That was pretty much par for the course for this era in Red Sox history.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

All-Time One-Year Wonder: Center Field

I'm going to do something a little different with the One-Year Wonder posts. I have decided to go position-by-position and see if I can determine who the best player at each position would be who only spent one year with the Red Sox. This requires a lot of time and research. I am not naming every single player who spent just one season with the Red Sox at each position, but just the better-known players. At the end of the post, I will pick the single best player for each position.

Braggo Roth is one hell of a baseball name.  Roth did not have a long career, just eight years, but he played for six different teams and has some success from time to time.  He split the 1915 season between the White Sox and Indians and ended up leading the league in home runs (7).  He had a decent run with the Indians in the late 1910's, hitting .286/.366/408 with Cleveland over parts of four seasons.  He started the 1919 season with the Athletics before being traded to Boston with Red Shannon for Amos Strunk and Jack Barry.  Roth played in 63 games the rest of the season, his only one with Boston, and hit .256/.337/.330 while stealing nine bases.  After the season, he and Shannon were again on the move, this time to Washington, for a package led by Mike Menosky.  Roth had one more decent season with Washington, then played for the Yankees before hanging it up.

There is not much to say about Tom Umphlett really.  He played just three seasons in the Majors, one with Boston and two with Washington.  So, why is he here?  Well, because his one season in Boston saw him finish second in the Rookie of the Year vote, and I have a hard time ignoring that, even for a player who had a very limited career.  Umphlett hit .283/.331/.376 with three home runs and 59 RBIs as the Red Sox center fielder in 1953.  Not great numbers, but for a rookie, they were pretty solid.  Boston then packaged him along with Mickey McDermott to go to Washington in exchange for Jackie Jensen, which was a great deal for Boston.  Umphlett's numbers tanked and he was out of baseball after two dismal season.  Meanwhile, Jensen was a huge star in Boston.  Umphlett does have the distinction of being the all-time Red Sox leader in home runs for a player whose last name starts with "U" though.  So, there is that.

At the very least, Willie Tasby is the answer to an interesting piece of trivia.  He was the first black player the Red Sox acquired in a trade, and the third black player overall to play for the Red Sox.  Tasby came up with the Orioles and was a decent player for a few years, mostly due to his athleticism in center field.  The Red Sox shipped Gene Stephens to the Orioles in June of 1960 to acquire Tasby to shore up their outfield.  He turned in a decent season the rest of the way with the Red Sox, hitting .281/.371/.384 with seven home runs and 37 RBIs.  After the season though, he was selected by the new Washington Senators in the expansion draft in December.  He was decent in 1961, but struggled for a couple of seasons afterwards.  

Thomson is mostly known for the "Shot Heard 'Round the World", the home run he hit off of Ralph Branca to propel the New York Giants to the NL Pennant over the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1951.  He played for the Giants for several years and had a lot of success, named to three All Star teams and receiving MVP votes in three seasons.  He drove in over 100 runs four times and typically hit 25-30 home runs for the Giants.  He later played a few seasons for the Braves and Cubs.  Thomson was traded to the Red Sox for Al Schroll prior to his final Major League season and played in 40 games, hitting .263/.323/.439 and hit the final five home runs of his career.  He was released by Boston early in July and caught on with the Orioles, for whom he finished his career.  Thomson barely qualifies at center field, he played 13 games in center and 12 in left for Boston.

The Red Sox throughout the years have typically been a team bereft of speed.  That was certainly true throughout the 1980's and 1990's.  For one season, in 1994, the team made a conscious effort to change all of that, bringing in speedster Otis Nixon on a free agent contract from the Braves.  Nixon was just three years removed from a season in which he stole 72 bases and he had not stolen fewer than 35 since 1987.  He was definitely as advertized, stealing 42 bases, and likely would have stolen more had the season not been shortened due to the players' strike.  He could have broken the team record of 54 stolen bases.  Nixon was never much of a hitter and had very little power, relying on his speed to get on base.  He hit .274/.360/.317 with Boston with no home runs, 15 doubles, and one triple.  He drove in 25 and scored 60 runs.  Despite his reasonable success, Nixon was traded to Texas after the season in exchange for Jose Canseco.

The mid 1990's saw the Red Sox experiment with a lot of low-risk acquisitions.  Some worked out, others definitely did not.  Milt Cuyler was one of a number of such players to be brought to the Red Sox for the 1996 season.  Cuyler had once been a bright prospect in the Detroit Tigers system and arrived in the Majors with much fanfare, finishing third in the Rookie of the Year vote in 1991 when he stole 41 bases.  Unfortunately, he was never again able to replicate that success.  He stayed with Detroit through the 1995 season, then Boston took a flyer on him.  He played in only 50 games with Boston and hit just .200/.299/.300 with two home runs, 12 RBIs, and seven stolen bases.  He was sent back to the minors and did not appear again the Majors until seven games with Texas in 1998.

ALEX COLE - 1996
Another speedster from the early 1990's that had fallen on hard times, Alex Cole finished ninth in the Rookie of the Year vote in 1990 when he was with the Indians.  That year, despite playing in just 63 games, Cole stole 40 bases.  He had a pretty good sophomore season, though his stolen base total dropped to 27.  After a rough start to the 1992 season, he was traded to the Pirates in July and also played for the Rockies and Twins, with varying amounts of success, and quite a few stolen bases.  Like Cuyler, Cole signed a low-risk deal with the Red Sox, and like Cuyler, he did not succeed.  Cole played just 24 games for the Red Sox with a line of .222/.296/.319 with five stolen bases.  Cole was just 30, but this was his last appearance in the Majors.

After two seasons in Japan, former Twins outfielder Shane Mack returned to the Major Leagues with the Red Sox on another low-risk signing.  The move was largely praised, and Mack, who once hit 18 home runs on the World Champion Twins, was predicted to have a big season.  He generally played pretty well, but he was not healthy enough and ended up only playing in 60 games for the Red Sox.  He hit an impressive .315/.368/.438 with three home runs and seven doubles in his short, injury-plagued stint with Boston.  He just did not quite work out as hoped, but it was a low risk.  After the season with Boston, Mack spent one more year in the Majors with Oakland and Kansas City.  

Marlon Byrd has played 15 seasons with ten different Major League teams.  He came up with the Phillies and was a highly-touted prospect, finishing fourth in the Rookie of the Year vote in 2003.  He bounced from team to team, but managed to make an All Star team in 2010 while with the Cubs and had a 20 home run season in 2009 with the Rangers.  In 2012, Boston was having injury issues in the outfield and swung a deal with the Cubs to bring Byrd to Fenway.  Byrd did not really improve the outfield picture.  He played in 34 games with the Red Sox and hit just .270/.286/.320 with just one home run and seven RBIs.  Boston cut ties with him in June and he was suspended for failing a PED test.  He was able to resurrect his career the next season and continued his odyssey through the Major Leagues, until failing another test in 2016.    

It was pretty slim pickings for center field.  Very few of the players here had good years.  And those that did, oftentimes did not play an entire season.  Ultimately, I decided on Nixon on the basis of the 42 stolen bases.  Despite his complete lack of power, he had a decent season with the bat, got on base at a decent clip, and of course, stole a lot of bases.  Only Tom Umphlett really came close, and he was generally better at the plate, but his numbers did not really catch the eye.  So Nixon's extreme speed gets him the nod.