Every morning we compile the links of the day and dump them here... highlighting the big storyline. Because there's nothing quite as satisfying as a good morning dump.
"Last year was probably the hardest year I ever had playing baseball, not from the standpoint of doing good or doing bad, but just mentally I don't wish going from a starter to a backup player on anybody," Sweeney said. "Playing once or twice a week or going in there and pinch-hitting against a closer or whatever, that's a tough thing to do and be successful. It was frustrating for me last year being an everyday player and only getting to play once or twice a week -- that was pretty tough."
"...I was just really excited to be able to play for the Red Sox. And they sounded like they were excited to have me and being the type of player -- how I hit, with the Monster and everything -- hopefully I can hit a lot of doubles off that wall."
Yes, Sweeney could very well emerge into one of those players who is more valuable to the Red Sox than other teams, both because of his hitting style -- a gap hitter who goes the other way -- and his fielding prowess. Fenway might be the toughest right field in all of baseball.
MLB.com - Gritty Sweeney excited to join Red Sox
Let's get the bad news out of the way first. If Sweeney can't adapt to playing a couple days a week (and from his quote above, he can't) we should probably lower any expectations we had for this guy right now. Unless he separates himself during Spring Training and outright wins the every day job (which is a possibility) more than likely Valentine is going to platoon Sweeney, McDonald and Aviles out there; ride the hot bat, play the matchups, etc., etc.
Not to mention the possibility that Cherington brings in a right-handed hitter to play right, although that seems less likely by the day.
Negatives out of the way, it's also very possible that Sweeney could thrive in Boston. I still don't know a ton about the guy, but he was a pretty highly-touted prospect at one point. And, as I stated yesterday, the Sox don't need another All-Star caliber playing patrolling right. They just need someone who, first and foremost, can handle right field at Fenway -- and it appears that Sweeney has that ability -- and secondarily, someone that's not a guaranteed out at the plate. Check and check. Although third on the list is a right-handed bat, which Sweeney doesn't posses.
There haven't been too many positions up for grabs recently in Boston, so having some excitement and a little drama in right is a nice change from the Drew era.
On Page 2, you can cross Soriano off the potential right fielder list.
Epstein is trying to gut the Cubs from all of their bad contracts and start anew and has been willing to eat a lot of money to do so.
His next order of business is to find a place for outfielder Alfonso Soriano. But it won't be the Red Sox. They are not interested according to a major league source. The Sox and Cubs still have a compensation issue to resolve, but Soriano won't be a part of it.
The 35-year-old Soriano has about $54 million coming to him (for the next three years) from his original 8-year, $136 million deal. The Cubs would have to swallow a lot of it to deal Soriano, who also has a full no-trade clause which we know are often meaningless and at the very least, certainly negotiable.
Globe - Sox won't bite on Soriano
If the Cubs get Epstein and, in return we get Soriano, there should be riots in the streets. Soriano has no place on this Red Sox squad. Even if Epstein offers him up for a bag of chips and a pat on the back, Cherington should say 'no thanks'.
Rest of the links:
CSNNE - Existing Red Sox needs | Herald - Bobby Jenks has back surgery again | Globe - Meet the Red Sox newcomers | WEEI - History repeating? For Andrew Bailey, Red Sox hope that past is prelude