08.09.06

Couture : Theo Blew It With Bard

Posted in Baseball at 1:13 pm by

The morning after the Red Sox dropped a 6-4 decison to Kansas City — a loss that Buster Olney equates to missing a two foot puttSouth Coast Today’s Jon Couture takes issue with Boston’s reacquisition of Doug Mirabelli.

The Bard-for-Mirabelli will probably be accepted as the worst of the Theo Epstein era should Boston miss the playoffs. It was a panic move. The sort of panic move that rarely works, and the sort of panic move Epstein has so rightly made it a point not to make.

Given that catching duties are currently rotating between Mirabelli, Javy Lopez and Corky Miller, let’s clarify. This swap was a perfectly acceptable backup with specialized value in Boston for a career .238 hitter, thrown into the Coco Crisp-deal because Kelly Shoppach went west.

Meredith’s success as a middle reliever for the Padres could make things worse long-term, but that’s for another day.

It was a pro-active Epstein trade, both in dealing Bard (above) before real trouble and in explaining why Boston yo-yoed back Mirabelli after a month without him.

“We have no doubt (Bard) would have eventually figured it out with Wake. It might have been three days from now. It might have been three months from now,” he said. “We didn’t necessarily have the luxury of time. The single best solution was available now and we didn’t want to wait.”

Yes, they wouldn’t wait and had no luxury of time because another bidder ” presumed to be the Yankees ” kept trying to drive up the reasonable price.

But isn’t that, spun another way, allowing your rival to dictate your own actions? Isn’t that exactly what Epstein refused to do leading up to July 31, when the Yankees acted?

San Diego originally took a backup catcher for everyday second baseman Mark Loretta to clear salary and give uber-prospect Josh Barfield somewhere to play. Boston made the trade because, well, you don’t often pass on trading Doug Mirabelli for an everyday second baseman who plays outstanding defense and hit .301 in his first 11 seasons.

Trades should make you better ” ideally both now and in the future, but either one is fine. Bard-for-Mirabelli didn’t seem a particular step in that direction then, with Wakefield, Francona, Epstein and everyone else all saying it was a matter of time for Bard and that a move wasn’t necessary.

Does it seem like one now? With Bard (28) seven years Mirabelli’s junior?

While there’s nothing novel about the A’s winning in August, I’m having little luck recalling the last time I saw a game conclude on a strike ‘em out / batter’s interference play.

12 Responses to “Couture : Theo Blew It With Bard”

  1. Eric B says:

    “with Wakefield, Francona, Epstein and everyone else all saying it was a matter of time for Bard and that a move wasn’t necessary.”

    What else were they supposed to say, “he’s useless at the one thing we hired him to do”? I think Bard had 3 PB at the BOS-SEA game I attended, there wasn’t a naysayer in the house when that deal went down.

  2. GC says:

    point taken, though in his brief time subbing for Metal Mike, he’s proven that he’s occasionally capable of something other than dropping knuckleballs.

    as Couture points out in the part I neglected to c&p, Wake didn’t get a ton of run support in his early season losses. But you’re correct, I don’t remember anyone freaking out when Mirabelli was rushed from the airport. And while that was long before anyone envisioned a Mirabelli/Huckaby platoon (!) finishing off the season, being blamed for psychic unfriendliness comes with the territory where Theo’s concerned.

    now that the O’s have picked up Chris Widger, there’s still a chance for Kelly Stinnett. To go to the movies tonight, I mean. I don’t think anyone will be offering him a catching job.

  3. Rog says:

    I had a hell of a time trying to figure out where the South Coast Today was even based. Sounds like this guy’s auditioning for Glenn Ordway’s show on ‘EEI. Sound the alarms!!! The reason this team won’t make it to the playoffs is because Theo traded for Mirabelli!!! C’mon, writers like this neglect to even mention that they netted All-Star Mark Loretta in these two deals. Bard’s a nice backup, but I don’t see him becoming Carlton Fisk in his career. Christ, if Varitek wasn’t injured, this column wouldn’t have even been written. The real problem is injuries, and no amount of finger pointing and hysterical whining about the GM is going to help.

  4. GC says:

    actually, Theo is at fault for not making the ground around 2B super cushiony, so ‘Tek wouldn’t have been hurt.

    I was hoping someone would 2nd guess the Shoppach/Crisp trade before calling Josh Bard the missing link, but as Paul Lo Duca’s creditors know all too well, I suck at predicting things.

    You’ve never vacationed on the South Coast, Rog?

  5. kt says:

    I had a hell of a time trying to figure out where the South Coast Today was even based.

    in the left margin, below the “Your Town” link is the following list of communities:

    Acushnet
    Dartmouth
    Fairhaven
    Fall River
    Freetown
    Lakeville
    Marion
    Mattapoisett
    New Bedford
    Rochester
    Wareham
    Westport

    i’m guessing “south coast today” is a snappier name for a rag that used to be called “the whaler” or something. probably got sued by burger king or something.

  6. Rog says:

    “You’ve never vacationed on the South Coast, Rog?”

    Actually, no.

  7. Rog says:

    “I’m having little luck recalling the last time I saw a game conclude on a strike ‘em out / batter’s interference play.”

    I once saw a Dodgers game in the early 90′s that ended on catcher’s interference (there was a man on third in the bottom of the ninth in a tied game and on a pitch in the dirt, the catcher scooped up the ball with his mask; runners advance, the end.)

  8. Kevin says:

    How strange, when I saw the headline, I immediately thought of Theo Fleury.

  9. GC says:

    indeed, I heard that Fleury’s attempts at Shakespeare In The Park didn’t go that well.

  10. Jon Couture says:

    The paper’s actually The New Bedford Standard-Times. South Coast Today was the creation of our publisher before … I’m told he thought it made us seem more impressive. I’ll leave that to stand on its own.

    I find the comments that it sounds like I’m auditioning for ‘EEI hilarious … I’d rather cut off an arm than have to listen to four hours devoted almost solely to motivating idiots to call a radio station. Knowing some of the show’s co-hosts, I often wonder how much they’re getting to make sitting there worthwhile.

    Maybe I was the only one who thought kicking Bard to the curb when he hadn’t actually been detrimental to either the team or Wakefield was stupid, especially when it was to get back a backup with a rapidly eroding skill set. I don’t think I was though, since there are people out there smarter than the median EEI caller.

    I’d like to think anyone who actually read the whole column wouldn’t see it as panic mongering, since it was written because I thought the deal bore discussion given what had happened. Eh, I’ve been wrong before.

  11. GC says:

    just for the sake of nit-picking, Rog was the only one who accused you of auditioning for WEEI.

    He’s accused me of much, much worse, I assure you. But not of auditioning for WAAF. That would really be hitting below the belt.

  12. Jon Couture says:

    Point taken. And truth be told, I’d take either of those stations over Kiss 108, though the last time I listened to ‘AAF, Opie and Anthony were still doing the afternoon show.

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