Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Normally I like Dayn Perry, But...

The Red Sox as No. 1 in initial power rankings? Seriously? Well, if he's going to make such an assertion, he'd better have some hefty words to back it up.

The Red Sox have done a solid-to-admirable job of filling their holes at third, first, shortstop, and in center. The relief corps has been impressively revamped, and the rotation has imposing depth. To boot, Theo Epstein’s back in the fold. Much depends on the health of guys like Curt Schilling, Josh Beckett, David Wells and Keith Foulke, but as things stand now the Red Sox are tops in baseball.

How does one define a "solid-to-admirable job?" Apparently Alex Gonzalez and J.T. Snow fit Dayn's bill, but not mine. J.T. is a quality part-time player, and associating him with the word "admirable" is quite a stretch. He'll have a platoon partner in Kevin Youkilis, which could define the Sox handling of the position "adequate," but not quite "solid" or "admirable." And Alex Gonzalez may shore up a hole in the defense, but his presence inspires zero confidence offensively. Remember the days when Bill Mueller was batting ninth for the Sox? Yep, they're long gone.

Mike Lowell also doesn't inspire me to use Dayn's words, considering his horrible regression in 2005. There is no guarantee that he'll find his stroke this year, so to call him a solid or admirable acquisition isn't exactly accurate. I will give the Sox some credit, as Coco Crisp can be described as "admirable."

Finally, Dayn shoots himself in the foot with his final note about the fragile pitching staff. He lists four guys who are certifiably injury prone or possibly over the hill. David Wells's back is a bad outing away from ripping into two equal parts, and there have already been concerns this spring with Foulke's rehabilitated knee. Schilling hasn't yet proven he can return to pre-bloddy ankle form, though he has made a compelling case this spring. And Beckett...well, he could be the next Nolan Ryan or the next Matt Mantei.

He ranks the Yankees third (behind the White Sox, which I can't argue with) with this blurb:

As the Bombers are wont to do, they filled their most gaping hole but overpaid to do so. Johnny Damon gives them a capable, albeit pricey, glove in the outfield and good left-handed stick at the top of the lineup. The rotation is potentially deep, if a tad unimposing, and the bullpen will be solid. The aging lineup is still capable of scoring 800-plus runs on the season.

If he is compiling power rankings for the 2006 season, why does he mention Damon's contract twice? How does that have anything to do with how he'll perform in 2006? I'm sensing a little bias here, which is natural, since he's a Braves fan and is obviously envious of the Yankees championship run.

Call me biased if you will, but I think the Yankees are the team to beat in the AL East. I won't go so far as to say they're the team to beat in the American League, since the White Sox are until further notice. The Red Sox have plenty of questions to answer before they can assert their dominance in 2006.