Friday, February 06, 2009

Of trucks and tags

In honor of Truck Day at Fenway Park, I would like to present my readers with today's Non Sequitur -

Click on it to enlarge.

So the Sox signed Brad Wilkerson to a minor league deal the same week that Mark Kotsay has back surgery. Coincidence? I think not, given that Wilkerson lists as, like Kotsay, as a OF/1B. If Kotsay is healthy and swinging the bat well by the end of Spring Training, I don't think Wilkerson makes the team, and is likely given his outright release. If Kotsay has trouble getting healthy, the 31-year old Wilkerson is the team's insurance policy fourth outfielder.

Overall, there is a drop off, career-wise, from Kotsy, a career .281 hitter, to Wilkerson who hit .247 for his career. As far as being an insurance policy, Wilkerson isn't terrible, but he's not thrilling either. The more at bats he gets, the better he's been - batting .259 in seasons during which he had a minimum of .500 at bats, but has batted .223 in seasons with fewer than 500 at bats. Also interesting to note is that Wilkerson suffered a severe drop-off when he moved from the National to the American League.

Of course, it can be argued that Wilkerson was already declining when he left the Nationals - batting .268, .255, and .248 in his last three seasons with Montreal/Washington before moving on to Texas.

The flip side - Last season Wilkerson batted .220. In his time with the Sox last season Kotsay batted .226.

Cassel building -

So the Pats franchised Matt Cassel - there were a lot of reasons to do this as well as a lot of reasons not to. Among the reasons not to - the Patriots now have $29.3 million tied up in two players at the same position. While the cap for 2009 is expected to be $123 million, a significant leap from 2008, it also needs to be noted that Randy Moss, Adalius Thomas and Richard Seymour combine for a cap hit of $26.7 million. That means that the team will have $56 million of money, or 45.5 percent of their entire cap tied up in five players. That's been contrary to the Patriots team philosophy since Bill Belichick has taken over.

According to Miguel's unofficial Pats Cap page (I've found it to be pretty reliable), trading Tom Brady, as some have suggested, would save the Patriots only $4.3 million against the cap, meaning that Brady getting traded still leaves the Pats with a $24.95 million hit at the QB position alone - meaning that Cassel, whose entire $16.5 million comes off the books if traded, is the likely player to be traded, in spite of Brady's age and recovery from injury.

All said, I still think that, unless Brady is struggling in his rehab, that Cassel opens the season as the starting quarterback for the Kansas City Chiefs while Brady is under center for the Flying Elvii.

Reaching new Summits -

Congrats to Pat Summit on win 1000 (1000-186 overall). Summit nailed her 1000th win in her 35th season. The next winningest basketball coach in the history of the NCAA is Bobby Knight with 902 spread over the course of 42 seasons. Seven more seasons and almost 100 fewer wins for second place - that's domination.


Chris Stone said...

love the comic strip!

Lisa K. said...

"As far as being an insurance policy, Wilkerson isn't terrible, but he's not thrilling either."

You mean, the way Rocco Baldelli was thrilling?

Kevin Smith said...

To be perfectly honest with you, I like the Baldelli signing. Sure, he hasn't been great shakes the last two seasons, but he was also trying to play while being treated for the wrong disease. According to reports, with the proper treatment he should be just fine.

And in his first three seasons, while healthy, he averaged 128 games per season, averaged .289 at the plate, and he was signed for little money.

As for the signings the Sox have done, remember - nobody was thrilled with the Pats offseason signings going into 2001, but they worked out really well. When you really look at the Sox from top to bottom, there are two areas of concern - Lowell and Ortiz. If the two are healthy, then 3rd and DH aren't an issue and the only concern is filling in the back end of the roster.