It’s time for Jose Melendez’s KEYS TO THE HOT STOVE.
1. With pitchers and catchers reporting in just a few weeks and ending the darkest part of the winter, Jose thought this was as good a time as any to for Jose to review the Red Sox’s major off-season acquisitions. Unfortunately, they haven’t made any, so Jose will talk about two injured pitchers and a rehashed catcher instead.
Of all of the Red Sox acquisitions this off-season, Jose loves this one the most. Yes, Penny struggled his way to a 6-9 record and 6.27 ERA last year, but Jose just sees so much upside in the guy. It’s not just that he had a terrific 2007, starting out 12-1, it’s his broader history.
When Penny was just a child of 11, he was already doing most of the work in helping his uncle, Inspector Gadget, solve mysteries and counter a major terrorist network. How could you not want someone with that kind of background on your team? Jose noticed that when he was with the Dodgers last year, Penny appeared to have neither his laptop computer or his laser wristwatch, which may explain his struggles. Both were critical in Penny’s success as a crime fighter. Also, as Jose recalls, Penny got a lot of help from a sidekick named Brain, so the Sox should consider signing Dave Brain, who last played in 1908 to catch for him. Sure, Brain was mostly an infielder, but a 107-year-old infielder can’t be dramatically worse than what we have catching now.
An option as starter number five?
2. John Smoltz
The way Jose sees it, Smoltz is really a replacement for Curt Euro. It is a tremendous upgrade. Basically, The Red Sox replaced 42-year-old usual starter and sometime closer with a 127 career ERA+ with a 41-year-old usual starter and sometime closer with a 127 career ERA+. Smoltz has 210 career wins, Euro has 216. Smoltz has a 3.26 career ERA playing exclusively in the easier National League, Euro has a 3.46 career ERA in a mix of the two leagues. Smoltz has a career WHIP of 1.17, Euro’s career WHIP is 1.137. Smoltz has 3,011 career strike outs, Euro has 3,116. They are practically the same guy. Almost the only difference is in saves and that Smoltz broke his labrum and Euro broke his diet.
So why is this a big upgrade? Because the Red Sox will only be paying Smoltz $5 million not to play, substantial savings over the $8 million they paid Euro not to play last year.
That makes Smoltz 37.5% better than Euro. It’s really a no brainer. On the other hand, you do lose Euro’s medical expertise, which came in handy when evaluating the game readiness of guys like Scott Williamson.
3. Josh Bard
For all of the griping about the sudden appearance of time travel on Lost last night, Jose has yet to hear any complaints about the Red Sox dabbling in time travel. But shouldn’t fans be griping? As we all know, the consequences of time travel for plot continuity are terrible, and Jose doesn’t want to create any paradoxes that wipe out the 2004 World Series.
The mess began when the Red Sox traded Bard and Cla Meredith to San Diego to bring Doug Mirabelli back in 2006. This was an effort to travel back to 2004 and was nothing short of a disaster. Bard and Meredith played well, and Mirabelli caught the knuckleball and did little else of consequence; the Red Sox missed the playoffs.
Now the Red Sox are trying to undo the paradox by bringing Bard back, but that’s not how it works. The timeline is already changed, and the consequences are dire. Cla Meredith eclipsed Jose Melendez’s San Diego Padres record for most consecutive scoreless innings pitched, and thereby all but erased Jose from history.
Jose supposes the Red Sox could try to reacquire Meredith to set things right, but you know how it is with time travel, trying to fix things only makes them worse. With Jose’s luck trying to correct the time line would have completely changed history, the Red Sox would never have acquired Jose, Phil Plantier would have gone down as one of the great Red Sox busts and this feature would be called Dario Veras’ KEYS TO THE GAME.
I’m not Dario Veras, and those are my KEYS TO THE HOT STOVE.