The Nation Asks Questions…The Answers Remain Elusive

In which Nick Cafardo gloats about liking Jose Iglesias, as if he is the only one in the entire world.
Hey Nick, when and where are you writing to us? In case we wanted to stop you for an autograph and pic to put on Instagram?
Writing to you after a 9-2 win over the Phillies as we head to New York.
Thanks for the update.

The bag this week is a Jose Iglesias lovefest. Funny how it works. I was getting lit up by a few for touting him. Now lots of people have joined the Iglesias force.

Probably not the same people, Nick. And there is a possibility of overstating who he is. Do you understand this? The ability to like someone, without measuring them for Hall of Fame jackets? People do this…

Of course Iglesias is the best shortstop on the Red Sox. Who wouldn’t know that? He’s doing a good job at third base as well. He’s very athletic. I’m sure he would be an excellent third baseman over time, but he doesn’t have the offensive power to play there full-time.

Do you mean defensively? Best defensively?

He definitely adds an energy to the team, so when Will Middlebrooks returns, the Red Sox will either make Iglesias a utility player and be rid of Pedro Ciriaco or send him back to Pawtucket so he can play every day.’  We love this man past the point of reason. Credit SittingStill

Yup. Those are the options.

Many of you are wondering about trades. Not sure the Red Sox feel they need to improve any aspect of their team at this point. They would love Cliff Lee, but I doubt he’s going to be available.

Well that came from left field. Cliff Lee. Bomb. Dropped. (then quickly cleaned up…nothing to see here!!! Go on with your lives, people!)

Here are your questions:

I have anxiety over the shortstop of the future. I’m excited about everyone: Iglesias, Bogaerts, and Marrero, but something has to give. I know the safe answer is to say these things sort themselves out and injuries or performance will make the decision. What’s your take?
Kevin, Glendale, Ariz.

I’m thinking Bogaerts will be playing a different position. He can be a thirdbaseman, center fielder, corner outfielder. Not sure if Jose Iglesias is the shortstop of the future, but he’s the best defensive shortstop I’ve seen in years.

Nick Cafardo thinks Bogaerts will change positions, while much of the industry is changing their mind on this. But, let’s get to the question. Since when does anxiety come from a plethora of reasonable options? Shouldn’t anxiety be saved for the 1b base position – of which there are no options? Or world peace? Or food shortages?

We faithfully watch the Sox on NESN and are worried about Jerry Remy. He has been missing for the last several games. Do you know if he is OK?

Bill, Kennebunk, Maine

All we know is what they’re saying at NESN – allergies.

Nick Cafardo – send him your mailbag questions! He has the same sources as you!!!! Now there is some hard hitting, insider work.

Two months into the season, Gomes is still really struggling. I am confused why the Sox haven’t replaced him, especially considering he is there to hit lefty pitching. Can’t they find somebody better?
Dave, New York City

Right now, they’re content with his ability to come up with the big hit. He’s not had a good year, but he’s contributing as a leader. Homered on Thursday vs. Philly.

#bighit #leader #contributing

How many buzzwords that ignore the issue at hand do you count? The media likes Gomes, so they will defend him. But, probably, the real answer as to why Gomes has not been replaced is twofold: 1) injuries to others and 2) a two-year deal.

How can Salty still be the catcher with his awful rate on throwing out runners? Not to mention the errors are poorly thrown balls.
Ray, Lancaster, Pa.

He’s been much better lately. He’s having a good offensive season.

.257/.329/.453 equals good offensive season? For a catcher perhaps, but give me a break, the answer does not even answer the question about the poor defense.

I was wondering, what kind of names could the Red Sox be interested in at the trade deadline? I think they could look at catcher, where they could get an upgrade over Salty by acquiring McCann or maybe give Jesus Montero a shot. I also think that we might need a starting pitcher and a closer. Maybe the Sox could look at Cliff Lee and David Price. I am also interested in a Papelbon-Red Sox reunion.
Kyle, Peabody

If we’re making this decision right now, I don’t think they do anything. I think they like their staff and their bullpen. If things get dicey between now and July 31, I could see them being proactive. They would love to get Cliff Lee, but the more I speak to the Phillies people, the more I hear they’re not interested in moving him. I wouldn’t want Jesus Montero to be my everyday catcher. Braves won’t deal McCann and the Rays aren’t going to deal Price. Papelbon is the most realistic, but the Red Sox have a few weeks to see if Andrew Bailey can do it. They could deal for a power-hitting outfielder, but I think right now they like Nava, Ellsbury, Victorino, Bradley, and Gomes.

Kyle – that is a ridiculous wish list. Do you actually think any of this is possible or reasonable? As is custom, teams like the Rays love trading their reigning Cy Young winner, especially in division.

Nick – they would do nothing today, but might in two months. So, what you are saying that you have no ideas and no connections.

First off, what is the timetable for Victorino and Middlebrooks? Are they both expected to be back once they are eligible to come off the DL? Secondly, when Victorino was put on the DL, why not call up Bradley Jr.?
Xander, North Andover

There’s a good chance Victorino and Middlebrooks come back June 5 and June 8 when they’re supposed to. Bradley is on the roster, as you know, but he’ll go back as soon as Victorino is ready. Ciriaco could be in danger of going down considering Iglesias’s excellent play. But if Middlebrooks is back, I’m thinking Iglesias will go back to Pawtucket so he can play every day. The other issue is keeping Iglesias in the majors so Bogaerts can come up to Triple A. Anyone with options on the 40-man roster can go up and down.

Xander? Is this Bogaerts asking Nick questions so that he can plan his housing situation later this year? Also, Xander, get twitter. This question has been answered, psotualted, and reasoned by smarter people (in a much quicker fashion) than by Asking Nick (TM).

I believe Jacoby Ellsbury remains a good long-term OF for Boston. With the season he’s having, I’m sure Boras is devising every trick in the book to still get him a monster deal. Yet, I have to believe the cards are falling right for Boston to keep him for something like four years and $50 million, and that if they could somehow re-up
him right now, it would loosen him up and he’d start playing better right away. Any chance Cherington pokes Boras in the ribs before, say, the All-Star break to see if they can get something going now?
Mike, Hendersonville, Tenn.

Four years, $50 million is probably too low. I doubt that would get it done. Listen, it all depends on how he finishes. He stole five bases vs. Philly Thursday night. This guy can really play. Tough to let him go, but the Red Sox may feel Jackie Bradley Jr. is a competent replacement. I would be surprised if there was a deal before the end of the season.

Is there any new ground covered here? Although, I still think that Ellsbury will not get near the deal that has been speculated. I anticipate his final deal will look more, say, Michael Bourn than it will look Carl Crawford, if you know what I am saying.

After seeing Will Middlebrooks play well last year before his injury, I was glad to see him as a starter this year. But he has appeared to struggle mightily, hitting in the vicinity of the Mendoza Line and repeatedly making fundamental fielding errors such as missing tags. It seems he starts every at-bat 0-2. Is there any thought to sending him down to the minors for some more polishing? Jose Iglesias would be a definite upgrade, at least defensively, and at this point, offensively too.
David, East Granby, Conn.

It’s something they should consider if things don’t turn around for him after he rehabs. Middlebrooks should have been this team’s No. 5 hitter with his power. While he’s hit for power, they can’t afford for him to hit .200 all year, either. Everyone is waiting for him to get hot, and I thought he was getting better before he got hurt.

State the obvious – players needs to hit better than .200, and anything is an improvement from that.

Credit SittingStill

Now that Farrell has given Stephen Drew a “day off,” isn’t it time to face the tough question? With nearly a third of the season behind us, it seems more and more evident that Drew is becoming a liability. Yes, his .205 average, his 3 HRs, and his 18 RBIs are concerning and are predictable rally killers for the most part, but what is most damning is  his inconsistency in the field. He seems to make the occasional nice play but those few are offset by many more instances where he fails to execute. Can you give me any reason, other than the 9.5 million obvious ones, that Iglesias has not made the case for staking claim to his position?
Andrew, Knoxville, Tenn.

I think anyone who knows baseball knows that Iglesias is a superior defender, who is now showing he can hit at the major league level. Drew, as I’m writing this after Thursday’s game, is hitting .217. He’s currently on an 0-for-10 streak. He’s 26 for 103 (.252) after being 4 for 35 (.114) to start the season. He does have 21 RBIs.

Drew has been good at SS this year, any other assertion is silly, and in spite of his mediocre bat (weighted heavily poorly by an atrocious start), Drew still is sporting a 1.4 bWAR. He has been a valuable player.

Iglesias has been a joy in the majors, but please some tell Andrew about BABIP and regression to the mean.

And, Nick, way to get at Andrew for miscalculating RBI’s! Love the snide, passing jab!

Why the hell did they sign Drew? It’s ridiculous. Look at Iglesias. He is ready to be up with the big team full-time. Why not Cody Ross instead of Victorino? They do this stupid stuff all the time.
Manny, Braintree

Hmmm. Before, it was, “Why do I keep harping on Iglesias to be the shortstop, because Drew is so good?” I like Victorino’s energy. He just can’t stay healthy.

“They” have two World Series in the last decade and currently have the 2nd best record in the American League. After a disaster of a 2012, why is there this anger and angst?

I was wondering if the Sox are losing confidence in Ryan Lavarnway. I noticed he did not play after having issues with John Lackey. I was really surprised to see him not get a start against lefties while he was up. Salty had three K’s in the game against Chicago which Santiago started. Would have been a perfect game to start Lavarnway.
Chuck, Whitefield, N.H.

No, I think they’re growing confidence in him, actually. I think they believe he’s a smart guy who can call a good game. They believe he’ll hit. I suppose at some point, with Saltalamacchia becoming a free agent, you’ve got to find out whether he can be your full-time catcher.

Is the question answered here?

I ask this question fully aware of the great chemistry this team has, and not wanting to disrupt it. However, what do you think of a Victorino-for-Andre Ethier swap?
Y., Los Angeles

The Red Sox are not incredibly high on Ethier, so I’m not sure something like that would happen. The Red Sox like Victorino and I think he brings great energy. I’d rather have Victorino right now.

The Dodgers just had Victorino, why would they trade to get him back? And Either is platoon player, no matter what MLB Network or Don Mattingly try to tell you.

Last season, I was a big fan of Pedro Ciriaco. Whether getting a key hit or stealing a base, he provided a spark. This year he has not hit well and keeps making fielding errors. I wonder what happened. Is it because he doesn’t play every day?
Kathy, Mystic, Conn.

I think that’s the reason. He was in a nice flow last year playing every day. But this is his job. Not sure he’s going to stick here unless he picks it up.

And the team sucked when he was playing every day. Do not miss that correlation. He was unable to make the Pirates Major League team in 2011, why do people think he is good? But seriously, is we could only get his flow right once again!

Do the Red Sox employ any sports psychologists? If so, how many? The two who I would suspect need someone to talk to the most would be Middlebrooks, pressing and fighting to break out of his sophomore slump, and Ellsbury, pressing to convince his next employer that he deserves multiple years and big bucks. Multimillionaires playing a kid’s game must still battle unreal pressure.
Bruce, Saigon, Vietnam

They have two. Bob Tewksbury is in charge. They work with players, but the stuff is confidential, so it’s very difficult to know whom he’s working with. I do know he’s worked a lot with Daniel Bard.


Also – is this former Major League junkballer Bob Tewksbury? That would be kind of

Until next week…

Categories: Boston Red Sox Garin Cecchini Jose Iglesias Nick Cafardo Mail Bag Shane Victorino Will Middlebrooks Will Middlebrooks Xander Bogearts

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.

3 Responses to “The Nation Asks Questions…The Answers Remain Elusive” Subscribe

  1. Gerry June 4, 2013 at 11:31 AM #

    Nick's maibag is generally full of questionns from average fans, not from contributors to soSH or OTM. The format is conversational and neither threatening nor, generally, pedantic. Perhaps Nick's answers could be more esoteric and confrontational, but that may miss his market entirely.
    Your responses seem to have become increasingly antagonistic. Perhaps that is inevitable in a continuing process of responding to responses of often silly questions. I wonder if you would consider actually responding to the questions in a more complex, in depth,
    positive manner with less hubris towards Nick. IMO you could thereby create a classic Firebrand feature which is universally respected for its insight and intellectual value. Less snark and more content and humor
    could be a valuable formula. Just sayin.

  2. ItsOnlyTheRiver June 4, 2013 at 1:37 PM #

    I agree with Gerry.

  3. ItsOnlyTheRiver June 4, 2013 at 1:39 PM #

    Btw, Dewey was my favorite player growing up but Marty B. was no slouch. Loved that 85-88 version of the Olde Town Team.