One of the great attributes of a 162 game baseball season is the ability of fans and observers to monitor a team's and an individual players performance over that grueling stretch, and then summarize it. It is a fun and interesting analysis because over such a long stretch, almost any great player or mere mortal will reveal periods of days, weeks, or even months of lackluster or worse performance and yet still be judged a success considering other days, weeks, or even months of consistent and timely contributions. It's like life folks - you better do good on some days because you know there will be other days when you are going to whiff at it, and look ugly.
- Schilling: A
; lived up to high expectations on the field, dealt with Boston's oppressive media circus in his own way, and brought leadership to the clubhouse. The Man
, and The Man for October
- Pedro: B+:
The Old Pedro is not walking through that door folks, but the solid Number Two starter we had this year got it done without another major public controversy - in a contract year as well. Hope he comes back, but not for $15M - $10-$12M is more like it.
- Manny: A;
delivered the numbers, no dumb off-field controversies, played better defense, and completely ignored the off-season A-Rod trade quagmire which killed off Nomar's relationship with the club. The MVP, team and AL.
- Damon: A;
whatever you do, keep the hair Sampson, it's working. Not many steals, but that is a managerial decision. Played a good (not great) CF, and had great RBIs for a leadoff man. Finally lived up to the big contract he signed.
- Lowe: D;
had stretches in the mid-to-late season where he had quality starts, but clearly not the pitcher he was in '02 or '03 with enough terrible starts to put him on the High Risk list. Won't be back in '05, and that is OK, He needs a change of scenery.
- Wakefield: C+;
how does one rate Wake at applying the Black Magic art of the knuckler? He showed up, made all the starts, eats up innings, plays well against NY, will finish over .500, and win 11 or 12 games. That's OK from your Number Four starter in today's MLB folks.
for his first Major League season, better than most expected from the Number Five starter. Aren't you looking forward to watching this kid mature in '05? Will replace Lowe in the rotation next year, and be solid.
- Cabrerra: B+;
walked straight into a fan firestorm and emerged as the shortstop we want most to re-sign for '05. Great defense, hit a surprising .280, and a solid, gutty citizen.
- Bellhorn: B;
better than simply a refreshed version of Todd Walker, provided a generally solid if unspectacular second base, consistent but sometimes bi-polar offense. However the colossal "K" tally from a No. 2 hitter keeps me from ranking him higher. Helped carry this team during its summer .500 doldrums, a notable achievement.
generally delivered on his contract and expectations, though showed two stretches of unreliable mediocrity we are hoping don't emerge again in the playoffs.
- Varitek: A-;
still the "unofficial" team leader (even though he doesn't want the job), great handling of the pitching staff, good plate numbers, and stayed healthy - an achievement for a catcher who plays 120+ games. An absoultely "must sign" in the post-season.
- Timlin, Embree: B;
about as expected - mostly good outings with occasional stinkers thrown in. Asked to do a lot this year as the starting pitching, schilling aside, often failed to get past the fifth or sixth.
- Rest of the Bullpen: C-;
Lots of bodies here, gladly many won't make the post-season roster or be back in '05. Unfortunately, at mid-season we traded a very good-looking prospect (John Hattig at AA) for Toronto's Terry Adams, who may not make the post-season roster.
Rest of the Team: in Part II.