Photo courtesy of Kelly O’Connor

This is Fire Brand’s fifth iteration of the TrollBag, and I’m feeling particularly generous this week, so it’s going to be a big one.

Before we get started though, I’d just like to mention that the TrollBag now officially has its own Twitter account ( It’ll help me keep questions straight, and should be pretty entertaining all on it’s own.

Go ahead, give it a follow. You know you want to.

And now, for what may be the only sports column 100% unrelated to Johnny Manziel: The TrollBag.

I think the more succinct question would be “How many has he spared?” I mean, the guy looks like Jeremy Renner’s psycho character in The Town.

To that point, is Juan Nieves okay? Has anybody heard from him lately? Maybe we should check on him.

I lumped these two together because, even though I never thought I’d say this, I think my answer to Evan’s question is Salty.

Last year, I was not what you’d call a Salty fan. I was happy with the power, but his defense was atrocious and he was something of a one-trick pony offensively, batting .222 with a .288 OBP.

While his defense will always be awful, he suddenly has a very respectable .271/.341/.456 triple-slash in 2013. I’m not confident in the immediate options to replace Salty at catcher (read: Ryan Lavarnway), and with Blake Swihart and Christian Vazquez remaining a ways away from the major leagues, suddenly Salty looks like a pretty attractive option to hold down the fort at catcher for the next few years.

(All this is invalid if Brian McCann is available for cheap, by the way.)

As for the rest of the notable free agents, I really want Koji Uehara back and I would not re-sign Jacoby Ellsbury (price), Jonny Gomes (unnecessary), Stephen Drew (Bogaerts), or Joel Hanrahan (sucks). As for Mike Napoli, I’ll reserve judgment until the season is over, but I would like to see the Red Sox find a younger alternative (Mike Carp?) at first base, if possible.

With Xander Bogaerts now a major-leaguer, I think it’s time we devoted some TrollBag space to him.

Freudian slip notwithstanding, of course he is. And with Dustin Pedroia able to play first and second and Jackie Bradley playing the entire outfield, the Red Sox will have a really efficient player/fielding position ratio.

Maybe they could add some more designated hitters?

I think he’s more on the “most awesome” name scale. The “weird” name scale consists of guys like Coco Crisp and Metta World Peace.

As for his place on “most awesome,” I’d say he’s about even with Bismack Biyombo, just
above Shin-Soo Choo.

Let’s not be too hasty here. Xander Bogaerts is going to need at least five more games in the majors before he surpasses Cabrera. At least.

TrollBag: Promoting patience with prospects since 2013.

Look, I’ll be honest, Bradley’s going to have to hit at least .415 next season to justify staying around while Jose “Ted Williams” Iglesias was traded for Jake Peavy.

Same goes for Xander Bogaerts, but he’s a baseball superhero, so I’m not too concerned.

Free Twitter account idea: @StuffInRedSoxBeards. Just tweet Photoshopped pictures of things in Mike Napoli’s and Jonny Gomes’s beards. I think there’s a lot of potential here, I’m just far too lazy to realize it.

On a semi-related note, I had a friend mention something about my writing in conversation today. Her description (paraphrased) was “You were talking about hiding things in somebody’s beard.”

It really reaffirmed the value of the work I’m doing here.

Personal favorite TrollBag subplot: Kim’s steadily more negative questions about Barry Zito.

For the next TrollBag, her question will probably be “Why won’t Barry Zito just die already?”

No. The Sox – Orioles game that is in progress as of this writing (tied 3-3 in the 8th) is going to carry on in perpetuity forever.

You think I’m joking. Just wait until they’re still playing when this gets published tomorrow.



The decline of the Blue Jays is simultaneously one of the saddest and funniest things about the 2013 season, to me.

On one hand, I love some of the guys they brought in: Jose Reyes, R.A. Dickey, Josh Johnson, and Emilio Bonifacio, to name a few. On the other, they’re the Blue Jays, and the whole “Clay Buchholz spitball” thing rekindled a hatred for them that I hadn’t felt in some time.

I think your best course of action is probably just to not root for the Blue Jays.


(Kate’s got a thing about “large, frightening, green creatures.” I’ll refer you guys to this piece of her’s.)

Is this a response to my at-bat music choice for Napoli in the previous TrollBag? Because I am unapologetic for that.

But honestly, if somebody wants to Photoshop Mike Napoli into a suit of some kind, I will absolutely include it in Part Two of this TrollBag. I used up my Photoshop skill putting words on that Wally picture just now.

Did you look under your couch?

Funny enough, I just won a World Series with the 2014 Cubs in MLB 13: The Show by trading Starlin Castro for Mike Trout.

So, there you go, I guess.

Oh man. It looks like we might be nearing the end of this one…

Yep. I think we’re done here.

I receive a metric crapload of questions for this TrollBag, so as I inferred above, it will in fact be split into two parts. The second part will be coming… well, soon. Keep an eye on Twitter for more information. And as always, more questions are always welcome.

Tweet questions to @PoarchDaniel, @TrollBagQs, or @firebrandal, or use our nifty little Mailbag Question thing over there on the right-hand side of your screen.