The Red Sox scored 872 runs in 2009, 43 fewer than the Yankees, and allowed 736 runs, 17 fewer than the Yankees. But today, at Fenway Park, they'll introduce thier two biggest acquisitions (so far) of the offseason _ John Lackey, a starting pitcher, and Mike Cameron, an offensive downgrade from Jason Bay, and a defensive upgrade over him.
Not exactly avenues to catching up to the Yankees offensively, in other words. But the moves make sense, and they highlight a greater awareness by all teams, and for which many fans and media folk need to join the party:
Stop with the "We need a hitter!" or "We need a pitcher!" What every team needs is to improve its run differential, by whatever means possible. That means is often dictated by the marketplace.
The Red Sox liked Jason Bay, but only enough to give him a four-year, $60-million offer. They liked Matt Holliday, but not enough to commit a nine-figure extension. In Cameron (two years, $15.5 million) and Lackey (five years, $82.5 million), they found values with which they were more comfortable.
I understand the disappointment among Mets fans that they failed to land John Lackey or Roy Halladay. The latter was simply never going to happen. For the former, apparently, the Mets were going to have to blow Lackey away with a crazy offer. So, they'll look for other methods to improve the run differential. If it's Jason Bay on a reasonable deal and an innings-eater, that could work.
James K. recommended that the Mets acquire Ben Sheets and Aaron Harang, which is interesting. It could probably be done only with a low-budget option for leftfield.
More than anything, there needs to be a realization that no one player is The Answer. That there are multiple ways to achieve your goal.
Now, whether the Mets' front office is capable of finding one of these answers is a different issue altogether.
--The Blue Jays can deny it all they want - and I'm sure they will, when this monster trade finally becomes official - but they just couldn't have dealt Roy Halladay to the Yankees or Red Sox, not without getting an overwhelming package of talent. You have to appreciate just how popular Halladay was among the Blue Jays' small fan base, and just how much those same fans loathe the Yankees (especially) and the Red Sox.
With Halladay locked into the Phillies for at least the next four years, that means the Blue Jays can carry on their business knowing that they won't be competing against Halladay for a playoff spot. That shouldn't have precluded the Blue Jays from trading Halladay within the American League, but considering Halladay wanted to be with the Phillies, anyway, it's a bonus.
Meanwhile, the Phillies come to Toronto in the 2010 season, June 25-27. If Halladay pitches one of those games, that'll probably be the season's best-attended game.
--Want to know why the Mets think Jason Bay is a superior defender to Matt Holliday? In part, it's because of Bay's experience playing centerfield. Which is sort of odd, because Bay has played only 40 games in centerfield, and hasn't been there since 2005. Holliday has never played centerfield.
--The Yankees and Mets both scouted Aroldis Chapman yesterday, and more than anything, the session in Houston was a "re-launching" of Chapman with his new agents, brothers Alan and Randy Hendricks. Chapman figures to get no more than $20 million.
--Let's not celebrate this new committee formed by Bud Selig until it actually does something. I'd be able to take it a little more seriously if George Will wasn't on it.
--White Sox GM Kenny Williams never ceases to surprise us, and the Juan Pierre trade goes right up there. Yes, Pierre had a decent year in 2009, but the guy has a career on-base percentage of .348 and tallied below that every season from 2005 through 2008. Pierre actually hitting atop the White Sox's lineup wouldn't be a good thing for the club.
--Sweeny Murti wrote a great appreciation of Hideki Matsui, and I echo everything written here. Matsui was undoubtedly one of my all-time favorite people I've met on this job. I'll miss seeing the fleet of Japanese reporters assigned to cover him, as well as Isao Hirooka, who coordinated Matsui's coverage for all seven years, and Roger Kahlon, who interepreted for Matsui.
How did I find Sweeny's column? A litlte thing called Twitter, that's how.
--The selection of Chuck Greenberg, as the group given exclusive negotiating rights to purchase the Rangers, would appear to be good news for Texas fans. With current team president Nolan Ryan part of the group, this potential transaction would keep the current leadership in place. The current leadership, of general manager Jon Daniels and his lieutenants, is doing a pretty good job.
--if you're a Mets fan and can make it to Manhattan tonight, you might want to check out an event called "Blue & Orange Hot Stove Huddle," from 7 to 10 at River. Participating Mets blogs include Amazin' Avenue (linked above), Blue and Orange (featuring occasional commenter Will Davidian), Mets Today and Tedquarters. I'm going to try to make it there, too.
But first, a full day of work ahead. I'll check in later.