Being Nick Cafardo

Nick Cafardo answers questions presented to him by Red Sox fans spanning the globe. I ignore his bland (non) answers, and answer them plainly and kindly.

Credit rickhanz via flickr

Mission, should you choose to accept it: Do the job of Nick Cafardo.

This was the primary task assigned when I was assigned the Tuesday morning column. Should be easy enough. After all, one of his primary tasks is imply to choose the most simple questions asked him by the Red Sox fan base and provide a reasonable distraction to what was actually asked (my interpretation of how he views his task).

As a fan of Keith Law, Craig Calcaterra (at least most of the time) and, it is safe to say that I believe a little snark is vital to sports writing. Perhaps that is interesting, even comical. Perhaps it is sanctimonious. Either way, it seems we deserve better than what or Nick Cafardo provides us.

Therefore, mission accepted. We shall see if, over the course of the 2013 season, without any access, favor, or sources Nick Cafardo’s job could be done in a more informative and interesting manner. I will attempt to respond to the chosen questions with only occasional mention of the hilarity that ensues when Cafardo makes an attempt to write (like, for example, when he claimed the Royals have the 10th best roster in baseball headed into 2013.

The first such article considers the questions asked of him on January 14, 2013.

I would trade Ryan Kalish, Franklin Morales, and two minor leaguers for Michael Morse to play first base. What do you think of the trade proposal?
Art, Huntsville, Ala.

You would? Praise God that you are not the Red Sox General Manager. Seriously, I would be out. Perhaps the Seattle Mariners could use some fans! Morse is going into his age 31 season which happens to also be a contract year. He has strong power, but is simply average when it comes to OBP (and only .321 last year!). He also does not really have a defensive position.

Now, do not get me wrong. He would be a good player for the Red Sox (assuming he had not gone to Seattle), but you want to trade a useful outfielder who could become a solid starter while cost controlled for another five years? Plus the man who was perhaps the best pitcher on the team in 2012, and certainly the most versatile? PLUS two minor leaguers? Were you thinking Barnes and Bradley?

Thanks for the advice, don’t be shocked if Ben Cherington is too busy laughing to get on the phone with Washington (or Seattle) with this one.

Why haven’t the Sox aggressively pursued Justin Smoak? Seattle has given up on him and traded for Kendrys  M0rales, and Smoak hasn’t put up enough numbers to justify a high price tag, so he would come cheap.
Dan, Felton, Del.

Of course, I suggested this one last week, so I will tread carefully here. But, why does trading for a DH mean that Smoak has been “given up on?” Give me a break. And, if you believe that lousy-hitting Seattle has “given up” on a hitter, is said hitter really the man you think will improve the Red Sox?

Why does Red Sox management have so many issues with signing someone almost every year? It seems to create bad blood and it creates a bad view of the team from an outsider considering to sign. The holdup on the Napoli signing makes us look bad, sometimes you have to take a chance.
Leo, New Port Richey, Fla.

Leo! We are neighbors…I live just south of you in St. Pete. We should meet up some time. We can yell about Rays fans. Both of them.

That said, I am a man of God. I really appreciate all the pub that God gets whenever a player signs with a team. That said, outside of Reggie White, God seems to be interpreted as sending free agents continually to biggest pay day. My hypothesis is thus: if the Red Sox keep offering big $$$ to the free agents they want, the bottom line will affect their decision more than Mike Napoli’s hip injury has.

Any thought of offering Troy Glaus an invite to spring training?
John, Peabody, Mass.

Only if Mike Schmidt and George Brett turn our offers down.

I like most of the moves that Ben Cherington has done this season. I believe that if most of the guys play to their capabilities, they will be playing meaningful baseball in September. They obviously still need another starter and I thought that Franklin Morales was really good last year in that role. Are they going to give him a chance as a starter or do they see him more as a reliever?
Nick, Wallingford, Conn.

If Franklin Morales is the answer, then they don’t actually need another starter, do they? Also, the media is excited about John Lackey again, remember? Josh “Lord Voldemort” Beckett is gone, and Lackey is going to be better after Tommy John, remember?

Didn’t the Red Sox have a fine young prospect named Lars Anderson who was ready to play first base? Were they too hasty to offload him?
Don, Williamsburg, Va.

You do not have the internet in Williamsburg, VA, do you?

Why aren’t the Red Sox going after Kyle Lohse? He had an ERA under three, and I think he fit really nicely in the rotation.
Gianna, Boston

Quite simply because he is Kyle Lohse. Have you not noticed that it is January and he is STILL a free agent? Sure his ERA was good last year. He has a career 13.7 WAR and 97 ERA+ in a 12 year career, he is looking for his fifth team, he would cost a draft pick, he is going to be 34 next season, and in spite of being really good last year, his FIP was 3.51 or .65 runs higher than his ERA (basically meaning that his defensemade a huge difference for him last year).

Reason enough?

And seriously, are we still duped by a simple ERA calculation in 2013? Let me guess, RBI”s are still the measure of a hitter, too?

Can we please squash once and for all the “they didn’t do any big moves so all is lost in 2013″ stuff? The Big Splash idea is a marketing thing as much as an on the field thing. I like the team of grinders and adding energy and low salaries as the kids develop.
Andy, Summerville, SC

Ah, my first “grinders” reference of 2013. Spring is in the air!

(grinders translation: little white guys, with little talent and much dirt on their shirt)

But, seriously Andy. Isn’t this whole question the product of marketing? I like grinders and energy! I want low salaries (why? how does that affect you?) I want kids developing! Aren’t you just regurgitating what Ben Cherington is selling?

Do you think the Red Sox will avoid last place this year with the pitching staff they will use to start the season? I think they need at least two starting pitchers.
Fernando, Maracaibo, Venezuela

Nick has fans in Venezuela! Welcome to the show, Fernando!

I think the Red Sox need at least five starters. That is typically how major league teams rotate their starters these days.

If you think they need two more, well, good news! Teams are dying to trade their Verlanders and King Felix’s and they desire to do so at little to no cost!

1. Is it crazy for me to wonder why Clayton Mortensen and Junichi Tazawa don’t get a chance to start? Last year, they were two very bright spots who pitched multiple scoreless innings on several occasions. 2. I was trying to remember why the Red Sox shipped out Adam LaRoche so quickly when they had him last. We got him (not sure why) and he was shipped out within days for Casey Kotchman. Why?
Steve, Leominster, Mass.

They were given chances to start. They were not good at it. As is the case with most every reliever (remember Jonathon Papelbon and Daniel Bard were converted to the pen when their careers were sputtering as starters in the minors).

Adam LaRoche? Casey Kotchman? Neither is a world beater, and mistakes happen. Let’s not over-glamourize LaRoche. He is a nice player, but he is likely not even a top-10 first baseman.

In my opinion, the Red Sox offense doesn’t need any more help, the starting rotation is the priority. Do you think a trade involving Jarrod Saltalamacchia and a low prospect to the White Sox for SP Gavin Floyd would make sense?
Ryan, Sharon, Mass.

Yay! More fan created, recycled trade proposals. Being a GM is easy for me on MLB: The Show as well.

While the Sox maintain they’re all-in on Mike Napoli, why not teach Ryan Lavarnway to play first base and bring in Casey Kotchman to be his mentor? We know they’re looking for a right hand bat for the line-up. Also, what do you see them doing to round out the starting rotation?
Maury, San Antonio, Texas

Are we even paying attention any more? Lavarnway is only a potentially difference making bat as a catcher. Catcher offense is atrocious across baseball. Lavarnway can be a good hitter, the question is, can he be a passable catcher. If he cannot be a passable catcher, he will likely not hot well enough to be a passable starting first baseman, even with the same stats. Why? More production is expected out of a first baseman than a catcher. Enough with the change everyone’s position questions.

As for the rotation, it is simply Buchholz, Lester, Lackey, Doubront, Dempster. And you should be praying that it stays that way for 162 games (barring an enticing mid-season trade).

Do remember how they “rounded out their starting rotation” last year?

Aaron Cook.

5.65 2012 ERA, Aaron Cook.

But seriously, did you just squeeze like four questions and declarative statement into one question, Maury from San Antonio? Way to get bang for your buck! Answers are hard to find until Nick answers our questions. He is the Dalai Lama of Red Sox Nation.

One guy that no one is talking about is Matt Garza. Would seem to be a good fit for Boston (free agent year, AL East tested, draft pick if he signs elsewhere). Not sure Chicago’s strategy or if they would even want to move Garza, but seems like a Saltamacchia, Bailey, prospect trade would make sense for both teams.
Andy, Reston, Va.

True, I never heard any talk about the Red Sox kicking the tires of Matt Garza (merely 272,000 google hits on the subject).

Our fans are big fans of trading for players in their walk year. Because, you know, the whole Jacoby Ellsbury thing is not going to be enough of a story this year.

You have stated it was premature to pass judgment on Cherington. The dilemma is that when the time for judgment arrives, it is inevitably too late to address problems. I think he is unduly cautious, and unlike former GM Theo Epstein, Cherington is a very poor judge of talent. Not one of his trades has netted the Sox a [sic] cearly superior player than the one who was traded, and virtually all have had the opposite result.
Jim, New York

Ben Cherington: bad at job, one year to prove otherwise.

Jim, New York: struggles to spell clearly. Just the guy we need judging the work of a Major League General Manager who inherited a small mess after said one year.



After just one of these, I have to admit: maybe Nick is not the problem. Perhaps the issue is the quality of question being asked Nick. Perhaps, Red Sox Nation needs more patience, more creativity, a dose of reality, and an internet connection with a book mark to and/or



Categories: Ben Cherington Boston Red Sox Josh Beckett Nick Cafardo Mail Bag

Thinks Pedro deserved the MVP and that Justin Verlander did not, that Dwight Evans was better than Jim Rice, that Marty Barrett was a worthy choice as favorite Red Sox player when I was a child, that J.D. Drew was very good for the Olde Towne Team, that Fenway Sports group owning Liverpool is not a proper reason to support that loathsome soccer club, that Peter Gammons needs a key lock on his cell phone, still thinks that Nomar Garciaparra is better than Derek Jeter, and that, finally, there is no such thing as being completely bias-free. When not writing about or watching the Red Sox, I moonlight as a father, a husband, a pastor, a doctoral candidate, an infielder and #2 hitter on the church softball team, soccer fan, Disney pass holder, snark manufacturer, and pizza connoisseur. Free time free since 2001.

One Response to “Being Nick Cafardo” Subscribe

  1. Jeff C January 23, 2013 at 1:47 PM #

    A bit heavy on the sarcasm for my taste. You CAN actually answer the questions instead of just flippantly dismissing them first cant' you?