Red Sox Chick/Toeing the Rubber

Because you always need a backup plan

A newspaper blown through the grass falls…

Photo of Kyle Snyder arriving in Japan in 2008 – Taken by Rob Bradford

Checking in on random Red Sox players from the 2007 team: Eric Hinske: MLB Network is reporting that the Pirates are close to a deal with Eric. One year for $1.5 million. Given that a couple of weeks ago this same network had an analyst on who was convinced Hinske was going to Japan to play in 2009, this is a surprise. A wonderful surprise, but a surprise nonetheless. Good to see Hinske getting another chance. He might be far from his Rookie of the Year days but he’s still a good addition to any Major League bench. Added bonus number one: He’ll be in the National League so I won’t feel guilty rooting for him outright. He’ll also be joining 2007 alum Brandon Moss. So now there will be TWO reasons to follow Pirate baseball. (I’d include Craig Hansen as a third reason but I’m not convinced the kid will see the light of day at PNC Park. I hope he will, though!) Added bonus number two: If the Pirates pick up Hinske, they most likely won’t pursue Doug Mientkiewicz. You’ll find Mientkiewicz is one of a handful of MLB players that I’ve just never been able to take to. It wasn’t “stealing” THE BALL that did it for me. He’s just always rubbed me the wrong way. So, hell, win-win. Eric gets a job; not so much for Mientkiewicz. I never said I was logical or fair. JC Romero: Designated for Assignment in 2007 (to make room on the roster for Mike Timlin coming off a stint on the DL) he landed with the Phillies. He then went on to pitch in the 2007 NLDS (losing to Colorado) and ended last year on a high note, as the winning pitcher in games 3 and 5 of the 2008 World Series (game 5 being the series clincher). Thus far, 2009 hasn’t treated JC so well. During the first week of the new year, he was slapped with a 50-game suspension for testing positive for a banned substance. JC is quick to claim his innocence. So much so that he refused a deal MLB wanted to cut so that a “tainted player” wouldn’t be playing in the 2008 post-season. That’s the part that baffles me. He took a substance that the Player’s Association told all the players was “legal” but when he took his test, he failed. So, regardless of what they were told, the substance turned out to be illegal. I don’t fault Romero for that. (Although I wonder why players haven’t learned to NOT put anything in their system that they don’t have a team doctor sign off on first.) What I do wonder is what he was thinking in refusing the offer. I suppose he was hoping he’d win the appeal (which he didn’t). But now there will be people (Mets and Rays fans come immediately to mind) who will always consider the 2008 World Series “tainted”. (I, for the record, am not one of those people.) Given what has gone on in baseball lo these many years, players really need to be smarter about the choices they make. How difficult is that to learn? Kyle Snyder: How do I not include him? After a career full of injuries and disappointments, 2007 was Kyle’s best year in the majors, ending with his being left off the playoff rosters until he was chosen for the World Series roster. Kyle got his World Series ring (and a photo op with Steve the Ferret) and another contract with the Red Sox. In 2008 he started the season with the big team (even getting the opportunity to pitch in Japan!) but April did not go well for Kyle and he was Designated for Assignment and ended up pitching with the Pawtucket Red Sox all season. Sadly, multiple groin injuries sidelined Kyle on and off in ’08. Even still, Kyle and the PawSox ended up in the playoffs. So while it wasn’t the season he probably expected, it could have been a lot worse. At the end of the season, he became a free agent again and just this week the New York Mets signed him to a minor league contract and gave him an invite to spring training. Kyle gets another shot to show folks what he has. Why should you care? For two reasons. One being that Kyle’s a good guy and we see too few good guys in baseball so it’s nice to root for one to make it. The other is because you’ll be getting Kyle Snyder updates throughout 2009 so there’s no harm in being prepared for it now. Doug Mirabelli: Two World Series rings, an appearance on “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy“, a police escorted ride to Fenway from Logan Airport…how do you top this? You don’t. You acknowledge that you had a good career, mostly due to your ability to catch a knuckleball. You accept your second World Series ring in civies to the roar of the fans and you spend your first season of unemployment quietly watching your old team. Then you take a job as a baseball coach. Not in MLB, but for a Catholic high school in Traverse City, Michigan. He’s 38 years old and spent over 10 years in MLB and he’s decided to become a high school coach. I’ve always liked Dougie but this just adds another reason, for me, to find good things to say about him. I have the utmost respect for teachers and others who work with children. I think it’s wonderful that this is the path he’s chosen and I wish him a lot of luck.

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January 29, 2009 - Posted by | 2009 | , , ,

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