Bard, Penny and a mini-mailbag
Getting to some of your questions (along with some input from site editor Rob Bradford), starting with some thoughts on two players who look like they might be coming to the Red Sox, Josh Bard and Brad Penny.
I didn’t get to know Josh all that well, but what I did know he was a fantastic teammate and great guy. An incredibly hard worker. Anyone that puts up the numbers he did when he went to SD has to be able to hit, more often than not I find when people do that well in short bursts they either have a glaring weakness in their ability to hit, or aren’t confident in their ability to maintain that success over the long haul
Brad is a great kid. I’ve always loved his arm and stuff but also always hoped he’d be able to dial it back a bit. He’s a max effort guy in delivering the ball and he’s helped by the fact that he’s a very big boy. That being said, your arm can only take so much. I think, if he signs here, he could do incredible stuff working with John Farrell. Get him to dial it back about 10-20 percent and he’ll still be throwing low to mid 90’s with command. Add his makeup on the hill to that and you could get one of the more valuable signings of the entire winter since if he’s healthy he’s a #1 or #2 in either league.
(RB: In my dealings with Bard, he seemed like a good guy who was genuinely thrown off by the criticisms he incurred throughout that 10-passed balls month. He admitted after that it got to the point where he was watching video of Doug Mirabelli catching Tim Wakefield to try and emulate him instead of just doing his thing. As for Penny, I’m thinking that being with his buddy, Josh Beckett, and seeing how his work ethic has evolved might translate into a ramped-up regimen.)
Question: Because you may still be playing in 2009 you may not want to answer this question, but what batter did you NOT want to face? Who had your number?
Answer: I just never looked at it like that. Not to mention it’s a question that is totally situation dependant. Runner on third, less than two outs? Guys that don’t strike out, game on the line, one run, no one on? Healthy Vlad, Helton always killed me too.
Question (Ernie): You said that you went up against Boras during a talk show. Was it about Drew not signing with Philly that year? And if so, why would you be against him?
Answer: 1. Yes. 2. Because I was a Philly and was as upset as the fans were at the whole situation. I wasn’t against JD as much as I was against Scott. I, still to this day, cannot fathom how playing independent league, even for a week, puts you in a better position in the future. That money and experience is never regained.
Question: Didn’t Drew, himself, make it clear that he wouldn’t sign for anything less than $10 million, then Philly drafted him anyway and tried to low ball him. Also, isn’t Boras doing his job by trying to get as much money for his client as possible? I mean, people always complain about how players make so much money and they should sign below market deals. But isn’t that just putting more money in the already a billionaire owners pocket? My point is, why shouldn’t an athlete try to get as much money as possible, especially in MLB where you spend 6 years “under control”?
Answer: Not at all, you are 100 percent right. Being right, in this case doesn’t feel good to me. I was wrong in what I said and how I handled it and made that clear to JD a few years ago, apologizing to him. That being said, I still thought the way it all transpired was bad for the game, the player and the fans.
Question (Ben): What’s your honest opinion on Dice K ?
Answer: Relentless. Perfectionist. Absolutely has the ability to win a Cy Young if he can find a way to gain more command of the strike zone. People putting the ball in play don’t fare well against him but it feels like he pitches away from contact, which is really not unusual. Often though, guys that do that get very few decisions and pitch much fewer innings due to huge pitch counts. If Dice gets into a situation where 110-115 pitches gets him through 7 or into the 8th he’s going to win even bigger than last year. BTW his last season was highly overlooked.
Question (John): As a power pitcher, do you see yourself coming back as more of a finesse pitcher?
Answer: Right now I am working out to get to throwing again. Just to see where my arm really is. If Doctor Morgan is correct — and he has been 100% so far — I’ll be better than I was in 2007. The question that remains is how much.
Question (Jimmie): Would you like to be a coach or manager in some capacity anywhere in baseball?
(RB: I would)
Question (Bill): Curt, will you and the family remain in the Boston area and continue to be part of the community?
Answer: Yes. We are settled in Medfield and love it here. Not to mention 38 Studios is in Maynard, so we aren’t planning on going anywhere.
Question (Chpln. O’Connell): Do you think Santa will grant my Christmas wish by making the BIG SCHILL pitch one more year for Boston?
Answer: That wish is far beyond Santa or his helpers to assist with.
Question (Pat): Do you think the Sox would be better off trying to make a play for Russell Martin, who has proven himself in the Bigs and is the catcher of the future, then say trading with one of the Texas catchers or Arizona’s and signing Tek?
Answer: My first choice, were I on the team, would be to have Tek back and grooming his replacement. After that it’s all guesswork. I’ve heard incredible things about Martin and some of the Texas kids but have not seen enough to call that.
(RB: I think the dream scenario is Taylor Teagarden and Jason Varitek as your catching duo for 2009)
Question (Carlson): Are you a Hall of Famer?
(RB: Yes — Curt, not me. Post-season success is the difference-maker)