After running errands all morning, it's time to unload some sports thoughts I've been carrying around lately...
Considering this is the last year of his current contract, I'm hoping Josh Beckett steps up again and pitches like the ace he was in 2007. Too often the last two seasons, Beckett has not pitched to his talent and during the second half of last season, was surpassed by Jon Lester as the ace of the staff. He was still a good pitcher, just not a #1 starter. Beckett is well respected by the pitching staff for the way he prepares and is considered the leader of the staff.
I can't quite put my finger on whether the Celtics are treating the regular season as a tune up for the playoffs or if they really are an inconsistent team. The talent is certainly there and they do have players coming back from injuries. However, their inability to hold a lead has been a problem since the turn of the new year.
The NFL Scouting Combine is this weekend. I've been thinking about the Patriots and what they need. First order of business is a pass rusher. I'd also like to see them look into an interior offensive lineman, a tight end, and a feature running back. While the wide receiver position may look weak, they can always acquire one via a trade or through free agency.
Despite the way last season ended, Jonathan Papelbon is still an elite closer. He did get a little fastball happy last year and I'm hoping he spends spring training refining his splitter, so he can keep hitters off balance better this season.
The inconsistency with the way the Red Sox treat their aging former star players is puzzling. They can't wait to ship classy 3B Mike Lowell out of town and were willing to eat $9 million of his salary in a trade with the Texas Rangers that fell through. However, they seem content with Jason Varitek at backup catcher making $3 million when he was the worst player in the major leagues the 2nd half of last season. I can't understand why they wouldn't opt to give Dusty Brown the opportunity to be the backup catcher. The Red Sox defense at the catching position is below average. Brown brings excellent defensive skills and a strong arm to the table, and he couldn't possibly hit worse than Varitek did the second half of last season. While Mike Lowell doesn't have much range in the field anymore and might possibly be the slowest baserunner in the game, he can still flat out hit.
Kendrick Perkins has to be one of the most underrated players in the NBA. He's developed into a quality center who can score around the basket and is a tremendous defensive player. Perkins works hard and knows his role. He is one of those "Glue Guys" that good teams find indispensable.
The Red Sox are very excited about their young prospects P Casey Kelly and SS Jose Iglesias. They look good so far, but let's not start the plans for induction into Cooperstown, yet. Let's see how they perform at AA and AAA. Last year, the hot prospect the Red Sox were crowing about in spring training was 1B Lars Anderson, and by all accounts, he had a dreadful season at AA Portland. Take it easy and let the kids develop on their own timetable.