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Jeff Passan on D&C: Red Sox poised to be ‘devastatingly good the next five years’; Jonathan Papelbon is ‘an infant’

08.02.13 at 10:41 am ET
By
Jeff Passan

Jeff Passan

Yahoo! Sports baseball reporter Jeff Passan joined Dennis & Callahan on Friday morning, and after calling the Jake Peavy acquisition “stabilizing,” Passan was very, very high on the Red Sox’ potential successes — both in the short term and long term.

“A lot of it depends on what happens with Clay Buchholz,” Passan said of the Sox’ chances this season in particular. “If they can come out with a rotation of Buchholz, [Jon] Lester, [John] Lackey and Peavy in some order or fashion there, that’s pretty good, especially if a guy like Drake Britton can step up along with a guy like Matt Thornton as their lefty specialist, and if Koji Uehara can continue the masterful pitching he’s showed.

“I hope people there recognize how damn good that guy has been. It’s not the prettiest thing in the world, but he throws as many strikes as anybody and is somehow striking out guys like Craig Kimbrel this year. It’s a beautiful thing to watch. … And you can’t say anything bad about the hitting. That lineup can be absolutely devastating. [Jacoby] Ellsbury is earning himself a nine-figure contract with his season. [Shane] Victorino has been stable in the two-hole. [Dustin] Pedroia is Pedroia. [David] Ortiz is like an ageless man.”

Passan also expects Xander Bogaerts to come up and take over as the starting third baseman within the next month. The fact that the Red Sox held on to him and the rest of their top prospects at the trade deadline puts them in an envious position for the foreseeable future.

“What the Red Sox have right now, they’re on the cusp — remember things back in 2004, and not just because of the World Series, but because of the young players, [the Red Sox] got really, really exciting there?” Passan said. “That’s happening again. Not all these guys will turn out well. … They have so much inventory in the mid- to upper-level minors that the Red Sox have a chance to be devastatingly good the next five years if they play their cards right.”

Part of that comes as a result of the Red Sox not trading for Cliff Lee, who would have come at a hefty cost in terms of both dollars and prospects. As far as Passan knows, discussions between the Phillies and Red Sox about Lee never got very far.

Lee wasn’t the only Philadelphia pitcher in the conversation, though.

Passan didn’t mince words when it came to Jonathan Papelbon, the Phillies closer who made news over the weekend for publicly criticizing, well, the entire organization that gave him a four-year, $50 million contract in November 2011.

“That’s like a prom date that ends up looking like ‘Carrie,’ ” Passan said, referencing the Stephen King novel and subsequent movie by the same name. “It’s really, really ugly there. You guys know Jonathan Papelbon, did you expect anything less? He’s an infant, and he always has been. He happens to be an infant who can pitch very well, but he’s running into that lovely phenomenon that all of us do called aging. And he’s losing juice on his fastball and turning around and blaming others for what he feels like is a bad situation that he has plenty to do with.”

Following are more highlights from the conversation. To listen to the interview, visit the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page. For more Red Sox news, visit weei.com/redsox.

On Alex Rodriguez and his looming suspension: “I’m not going to say it’s not happening today because Alex Rodriguez could have woken up today and said, ‘OK, I’m not going to fight this.’ … In all likelihood, I think it’s probably going to stretch over the weekend and maybe until Monday. What has always been Alex Rodriguez’s imperative is saving as much of his money as he possibly can. That’s what drives the guy. It’s a sad thing to say considering he’s made over his career upwards of half a billion dollars, but that is what’s important.

“We’re all pretty much resigned to the fact that Alex Rodriguez is going to take a significant suspension — 150-plus games, and that’s going to be the end of that. It’s ostensibly going to end his career. If you tell me that a guy is going to try to come back at almost 40 years old, removed from two hip surgeries, looking feeble already, with two full years in between him playing, I’m sorry — I just don’t see it happening. If he wants to, hey, that’s going to be a show like no other.”

On the importance of team chemistry: “It should be a factor everywhere. I don’t think the Red Sox are winning because of chemistry, however. I think that there’s a small — and I’m not going to say imperceptible — but a small tangible benefit to guys who get along. Guys who get along while they’re winning are even better.

“If you want to look for an example of a team that’s doing this and that did this before the Red Sox did, and if you want to say starting a trend, and it’s hilarious to think this, it’s the Oakland A’s. Look at the Oakland A’s. I’m serious. Look at their roster, one through 25, and tell me how they have any reason in the world to be 63-45. … There’s no reason whatsoever that this team should be as good as it is.”

Read More: Alex Rodriguez, Clay Buchholz, Cliff Lee, Jeff Passa Print  |  Email  |  Bark It Up!  |  Digg It
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