MLB Playoff Expansion Hits Road Block

Bud Selig’s office missed the February 1st deadline to have finished a proposed schedule to send to the players association. Talks have not ended and it still looks like a decent possibility that the MLB will be able to expand to two wild card teams in both divisions, but they have encountered many more scheduling issues than anticipated. There are a ton of different issues, but long story short is they need to figure out how to fit in the extra wild card matchups in between the end of the season and start of the ALDS. The real problem comes from scheduling tiebreaker games between first place and wild cards (which becomes much more important now), rain out makeup games, and also, to do everything in compliance with TV contracts.

This is huge news for Red Sox fans. The day they announced a possible expansion of the playoff format was like Christmas day for every fan of the AL East (yes, even Orioles fans). If the MLB is unable to figure out this situation soon, it will be detrimental to the playoff hopes of each the Red Sox, Yankees, and Rays. All are in position to be top teams in the MLB again, with the Blue Jays not far behind. As we all remember last year, the Red Sox failed to make the playoffs with 90 wins and the Braves failed to make the playoff on the last day with 89 wins. In the proposed situation, both would have made the playoffs. Also, this is an important proposition because it awards teams for coming in 1st place, by forcing wild card teams to use their best starters in a one game playoff, while 1st place teams get more resting time.

In other news for the Red Sox, the Nationals have agreed to a one year contract with Edwin Jackson, who was widely believed to be the best free agent pitcher left on the market. Talks look like they are winding down between the Red Sox and Roy Oswalt as well. It looks like we will be heading into spring training with Jon Lester, Josh Beckett, Clay Bucholz at the front of our rotation. The Red Sox will then have Daniel Bard, Alfredo Aceves, and an island of misfit toys duke it out and try to fill the 4th and 5th spots in the rotation.

Ross Joins Red Sox Nation

After Carl Crawford’s surgery on his wrist last week was announced, the Red Sox suddenly had a glaring weakness in outfield depth. Ben Cherington has clearly been in the process of addressing this issue for the past week. When the Sox dealt Marco Scutaro last weekend to the Rockies, they freed up $6 million for free agent acquisitions.

Cody Ross joins the outfield and immediately brings depth to all positions in the outfield. Ross is mostly known by baseball fans for his performance during the 2010 postseason, where he was named MVP for the San Francisco Giants after hitting five home runs, two off Phillie ace Roy Halladay. Ross provides a much needed righty bat in the lefty heavy Red Sox lineup. He should have a crucial role in the Red Sox outfield and at least be a platoon right fielder with Ryan Sweeney. Hopefully his batting numbers will improve since he will be playing in his most explosive offense in his 10 year career.

Although this is a great move for the Red Sox organization, I’m still hoping they make a big splash in the market for starting pitchers. I’m pulling for Roy Oswalt, but we will see how everything plays out in the next few weeks.

Shortstop Riddle Still Not Solved: Sox Trade Scutaro

20120123-144913.jpgIn a great weekend that highlighted two Bruins overtime thrillers and a Patriots win in the AFC championship, the Red Sox boring offseason continued. They traded away their starting shortstop in Marco Scutaro for righthanded pitcher Clayton Mortensen. Mortensen doesn’t seem like a big impact guy, just seems like a sinkerball pitcher the Sox will use out of the pen, perhaps in long relief situations.

Two big things come out of this trade: First, the Sox freed up money that can go to other free agent acquistions. I’m really hoping this money can go to getting a pitcher like Roy Oswalt, or help solve the mess in outfield now that Crawford is injured. Second, it brings up the fact that the Sox haven’t figured out the shortstop position in years. Ever since the Human Vacuum Cleaner, Nomah, was traded from the Sox in 2004, the position has been in shambles. Renteria, Lugo, Pokey Reese, Scutaro. All busts. We traded away Hanley Ramirez (which can’t be criticized- it was a win win trade for both sides).

Looks like 22 year old shortstop Jose Iglesias will finally get his shot at the big leagues. He’s about as surehanded as it gets at short, but the guy is a shit batter. Can’t hit at all. I mean the guy hit .235 in the minor leagues last year, so I can only imagine him in the Majors. I don’t care how good of a fielder he is, but every Red Sox fan wants to see offensive production and there is no way he can last in Boston hitting barely above the Mendoza line.