As the Red Sox look to rebuild their pitching staff, they added Justin Masterson and Rick Porcello yesterday and are still working to finalize a deal for Diamondbacks starter Wade Miley.

While these are good additions, they still need to add that guy to the top of the rotation. It’s all about that ace.

Now it’s time for Red Sox to go get an ace – Nick Cafardo looks at James Shields (please no) and Cole Hamels as the top options.

Red Sox moves don’t look bad at all – Gordon Edes urges fans to have a little faith that the Red Sox know what they’re doing.

Don’t bet they’ll go to Max – Michael Silverman says never say never, but the notion of the Sox making a play for Detroit Cy Young winner Max Scherzer is unlikely, especially with Scott Boras involved.

Rotation built in a day: Sox land three starters after losing Jon Lester – Scott Lauber has more on the Sox moves from yesterday.


The Patriots look to clinch the AFC East on Sunday when they take on the Miami Dolphins at Gillette Stadium.

Given the way he prepares, Tom Brady won’t be slowing down anytime soon – Greg Bishop of Sports Illustrated looks at the fanatical preparation and work routine put in by the Patriots QB.

Patriots’ television ratings through the roof – Chad Finn’s media column looks at the ratings the team has garnered this year, and has several other notes, including Butch Stearns’ candidacy for the Boston Herald sports editior job that went to Sean Leahy.

Bill Simmons’s Voice Has Been an Important One in the Quest to Expose Roger Goodell – Finn also has this piece on which praises Simmons for his work in getting details about Roger Goodell’s ineptitude out in the public.

It really is mindroasting to think about how Goodell can continue to not only avoid any type of sanctions, but actually keep and increase his power while maintaining full support of the NFL owners. In the same day that ESPN’s Outside the Lines released a report on the testimony that Goodell gave about his Ray Rice decision, in which Goodell is shown to be elusive, obstinate, inconsistent, probably dishonest and not very smart, the NFL announced its new personal conduct policy in which Goodell will remain as the ultimate judge, jury and executioner, and keeps him firmly in control of discipline.

If anyone can kill the golden goose that is the NFL, it is Roger Goodell. I just wish the NFL owners could see that.

NFLPA grievance: New England Patriots doctor put team ahead of patient – The Washington Post reports on a grievance filed on behalf of Jonathan Fanene, which alleges the team instructed the Doctor to delay surgery in hopes that the player would retire.

Browner gratified by support from fans – Nice bit from Mark Daniels about how the huge cornerback has fit into the team.

Patriots have developed successful run-pass balance – Michael Whitmer has a look at the quest for balance by the Patriots offense.

Devin McCourty finding a new life at old job – Jeff Howe has the Patriots safety getting some run at cornerback in the San Diego game.


Zdeno Chara returned to the Bruins lineup last night, but his club still fell to the Chicago Blackhawks 3-2.

Bruins play the right way, but losing continues – Fluto Shinzawa says there were plenty of positive signs in the loss.

Julien: ‘Effort was there, execution was poor’ vs. Chicago – Joe Haggerty has the Bruins coach praising his team’s effort.


35 thoughts on “All About That Ace

  1. The Giants have won three World Series in five years. Which of these was the biggest factor in that success:

    (A) Throwing millions of dollars at “ace” pitchers Barry Zito and (later) Matt Cain?


    (B) Developing the NEXT set of aces in Tim Lincecum and Madison Bumgarner?

    Also, color me shocked that Gordon Edes is the voice of rationality in all this….


    1. Edes is back pedaling from his “…the Sox have some explaining to do…” column from earlier this week.


      1. They had an exceptional run in the early Theo years: Papelbon, Hanley Ramirez, Pedroia, Buchholz, Lester, Masterson…I may even be forgetting one or two guys. It really began to cool off after Pedroia, around 2008 or so, but the current crop of prospects who’ve had a chance to play at the big league level have at least showed some promise (Bogaerts, Betts, Ranaudo). It’s a total crapshoot, however, I grant you that. The Giants really have been the gold standard at developing “aces” over the last several years. But they’re just as likely to hit a dry spell like the Sox did with their farm system. That’s just the way the MLB draft is. It’s a far bigger crapshoot than the other sports drafts because a lot of these prospects come straight out of high school.


        1. You forgot Ellsbury, Anthony Rizzo, Tim Federowicz, Dustin Richardson, and Manny Delcarmen. Also, guys like Abe Alvarez and Casey Fossum were legit ML players, if not superstars. Also, don’t forget that the Duke drafted but failed to sign some kid named Mark Teixeira out of Maryland…. (They also drafted Pedro Alvarez of the Pirates out of HS, but he chose to go to college, where he was drafted by Pittsburgh 3 years later.)

          The MLB draft is a HUUUUGE crapshoot. If you get 1 or 2 players out of a given draft who make it to the MLB starter level, you’re doing pretty well. The Sox are actually an above-average organization in developing talent, especially when you consider that their success plus free agency signings have pushed them down in the draft quite a bit…


  2. I was having some thoughts similar to Daver. It seems to me that if the baseball operations were left to Ben C then there would be a plan which includes Free Agent 2/3 starter types and the development of a true ace in the farm system (Owens, Renaudo…someone or two else). It is the knee jerk reactions of ownership who either do not trust the GM or who so wholly do not understand baseball operations that they feel they have to meddle to increase the “product”.

    Had the Sox not chased Lester at all and announced that they signed/traded for Panda, Ramirez, Porcello, Masterson and Smiley…while they shipped Cespedes (for the rest of us), Rubby De LaRosa and Allen Webster out of town…most people would look at this as a good solid offseason and with optimism towards next year. Instead, because they put on the spectacle chase of Lester, now if they do not come up with a true ACE then the offseason was a failure. I do not understand how this organization has evolved into being so PR tone-deaf.

    While I am at it. So the Sox got De LaRosa and Webster from the dodgers in the Nick Punta trade and now they have shipped both of them out of town. Other than $250 mill in payroll relief that at times they appear not to know what to do with what do they have to show for trading Nick Punto?


  3. In, re: Goodell. Nothing like what it was during the Rice/AP stuff but there are at least still some descent reporters (DVN Jr, Bob Ley, OTL, etc.) on this. It is shocking how they could be incompetent but I’m also not shocked. As you look industries and businesses that are in an unchallengeable place, sports being a big one, it’s not too uncommon to see anything like this. Just the details on how NFL underlings under Goodell won’t eat if he doesn’t eat.. wow, but that’s how it is. Look, A+ on those in the media not just bending over for their rights-holders, but I’m not sure much changes until people not only stop watching but are also not paying for cable.


  4. I knew Goodell wasn’t all that smart the very minute he turned the Patriots’ jaywalking offense in 2007 into a capital crime….and into a “scandal” that some morons are STILL talking about. As for the Fanene thing: does anyone for a minute believe that if he had a grievance case with the Tennessee Titans that involved alleged impropriety on the Titans’ part, the Washington Post–THE WASHINGTON POST!–would bother to do a story about it? I’ve enjoyed this era of constant on-field success immensely, but it’s come with a price. I’m sure Easterbrook is sharpening his Brookstone-made electric knife as we speak.


    1. It was known before this, if you looked into it, but really shown that
      the NFL’s “security” force is closer to Ray Donovan than it is Sherlock
      Holmes. The stuff with Rice continues to augment this.

      I said this before but I’ll say it again:

      With how the Spygate stuff went down, and looking back now, I seriously would like to know what was on the tape. Yeah, I’m a Patriots fan, and not to get all Tim Benz on you, but don’t you have some questions now about it? I do.

      I wish Jay Glazer, who apparently has a copy of the tape he plays at parties, would show it someday.


      1. Are you talking about the tape that was confiscated at the Meadowlands that day? We know what was on it because Fox Sports played it the following Sunday after it was leaked to them. We also know that Matt Walsh turned over tapes in 2008 showing the exact same type of stuff: cheerleaders’ butts, scoreboard shots, and an opposing defensive coach flailing his arms in front of 70,000 witnesses. There’s nothing to see there. Never was. Goodell’s massive ego, and his idiocy, created a complete mess out of a big, steaming pile of nothing.


        1. Fox Sports played it the following Sunday after it was leaked to them.

          By a “NFL source”, right?

          Never thought that it might have been what you were intended to see?

          Apply the logic in the Rice case: Goodell swept this under the rug. If it was to protect Biscotti and the Ravens because he’s buddy, buddy or to protect the league, we’ll never know. He ran the whole investigation under the premise that the tape itself would never get out. Call it amateur hour but also arrogance dictating such matters because they’re used to operating in the same way.

          Why should I be skeptical of everything the NFL has done since Goodell took over, including Spygate?


          1. Yes, it had to have been leaked by someone in the NFL, but if I recall correctly, speculation at the time was the Goodell was none too pleased about the fact that it was leaked, and that may have played a role in his “destroying” the tapes that BB turned over to him. I’m sorry, but I have to cite an Occam’s Razor on this one–what was on those tapes is what has been disclosed publicly. Goodell’s behavior was idiotic during that entire episode, and his actions have CREATED, in some circles, this notion that “they’re not telling us everything they know.”


          2. Sounds like an euphamism “Spygate Truther”.

            speculation at the time was the Goodell was none too pleased about the fact that it was leaked

            Stuff is never strategically leaked? Other party acts like they didn’t want it leaked? Happens daily in PR and business.

            I tend to find those people hate the team and winning, and that’s their motivation behind believing in such. I’m never there nor will be there. I think the team won in the past and wins at the clip it does because of talent but the folks in charge also are some of the best.

            My point on it is that I think the Rice stuff finally exposed that the NFL FO is pretty bad and shady at handling these things, if it wasn’t already exposed during the Saints “Bountygate” stuff. Therefore, why not call into question everything he’s done, even if it includes something against our team?

            We most likely will have to settle on the difference here, but when you work with this daily, you’re always skeptical. That’s my reason behind it.


          3. I do call into question everything Goodell has done. Seriously, I knew the perception was that Tagliabue ran a “loose ship”, so to speak, but was the public clamoring for the new commissioner to go all “Dirty Harry” on anyone who committed any kind of offense? Or was there a clamoring for the new commissioner to become judge and jury, without any kind of due process, whenever a player stepped out of line off the field? I don’t seem to recall such an outcry–probably came from the media, but they’re not the public and do not represent the public’s views. In fact, a great many of them hold the public (“the great unwashed masses”) in utter contempt. My guess is that if you polled football fans old enough to remember the Tagliabue era, and asked them if they’d prefer to go back to the way things were done back then (particularly with regard to the fact that playing pass defense was actually legal in those days), my guess is the real fans out there–not the fantasy football addicts who need Larry Fitzgerald to have 200 yards and 2 TD catches every week–would say: “please bring back Tagliabue.”
            By the way, regarding Glazer and his Spygate “party” video, I believe he’s already publicly confirmed that it’s got nothing but cheerleader shots–about half the tape, in fact–and then it flips over to filming the scoreboard and hand signals. Occam’s Razor. Or, if you prefer, I’ll channel Lt. Frank Drebin, Police Squad: “Move along people. Nothing to see here!”


      2. I always thought the NFL blew it when they didn’t air those tapes. They should have had a prime time special on the NFL Network. Even if there was nothing on them it would have gotten ratings.


  5. I think something that is being underplayed is the fact that this Lester contract will be an albatross in three years. I commend Ben for not caving to the fans and the whining of Mazz and the like. The team clearly feels like they can have a good offense (I’m not sold on Panda, but that’s a different topic), a strong bullpen and a collection of 6 or 7 starters who can somehow keep you in 60 percent of your games. I think this is because they’re really hitching their wagon to Henry Owens (Lester Jr?). Owens’ development, health and how smart the team can be regarding how quickly to bring him up for a long look will go a long way in whether by September we all kind of forget about this. Also, the many, many, many media nerds who clamored to keep Lester because he played big in big games despite being only above-average are the same who said don’t sign Panda because Panda is “an average player who had some big WS games.” Can’t have it both ways.


  6. ESPN officially jumped the shark that day. And for Mark Schlereth, of all people–a guy who owes two of his Super Bowl rings to his Broncos cheating on the salary cap–to be so high-and-mighty about it was utterly ludicrous. He was called out by Pats fans on his website about his Broncos cap cheating, and he totally either try to downplay the impact of the cap cheating on Denver’s success (rightfully so, IMO), or he moved the goalposts and cited Belichick’s ignoring Goodell’s memo as being a really big crime. Tool.


    1. Funny you should mention Welker. I was checking out Denver’s team page on the other day (looking at their schedule to assess if there was any chance they’d lose another game and afford the Pats the opportunity to “back in” to the #1 seed should NE unexpectedly drop 1 of its last 3 games). While on the page, I checked out Welker’s stats: 41 catches for 376 yards. D. Thomas and Sanders each had over 1000 yards already, and Julius Thomas, who’s missed at least the last two games, had one fewer catch than Welker, 50 more total yards, and TEN more touchdown receptions. Based on that albeit cursory glance, and based on what many of us who’ve seen at least a few Denver games on TV have observed, Welker has become Manning’s fourth option in that offense, and appears to be a player in steep decline. While it’s clear that the Patriots’ attempt to replace Welker’s production with Amendola has been a spectacular flop, it should also be clear that Belichick’s long-held stance of “being one-year early rather than one-year late” in parting ways with a player before his career nosedives is also playing out in Welker’s case. Does the hyper-critical local media, many of whom still bash BB and Kraft for “stiffing Wes Welker,” ever mention the strong possibility that Welker may very well find himself on Denver’s discard pile after this season is over?


      1. To the media elite, what he does elsewhere doesn’t really matter. If he was here, he’d have 120 receptions for 1400 yards and 10 TDs. Same with Logan Mankins, who is doing nothing down in Tampa. When you are the media elite, you get to always frame your argument such that you are always correct, Don’t need to look any further than the Deion Branch – Reche Caldwell situation in 2006. The Pats repeatedly get killed for trading Deion Branch and Caldwell repeatedly gets killed for sucking. Funny, their stats were for all intents and purposes the same that year. And when it came down to it, the Pats scored more than enough points against Indy in the AFC Championship game, their defense was wiped out and completely gave away the lead (and horrendous biased officiating calls didn’t help). Yet all you will ever hear is that the Pats forfeited a Super Bowl that year because they traded Branch.


  7. Based on the Neumeier blurb at the end of Finn’s column, Bob must be closer to Dick Clark than Tedy Bruschi on the post-stroke condition spectrum.


  8. On the topic of an ace, Lester (and Lackey AND the relievers) pitched very well in the 2013 post-season, but look at the Dodgers. They have the reigning MVP (I would’ve voted for McCutchen) / Cy Young and Greinke and have only a couple of division championship banners to show for it.

    I do not envy Cherington.

    Many fans and mediots act like we’re talking about a computer program and all that one has to do is apply the proper code in order to insure a winner, but not even I (one of the biggest Homers around) went into the 2013 season (which isn’t to say that I DIDN’T recognize their status as a very good team right away in April and the lack of it right away this past April when the Brewers blew their doors off – run differential, it’s a powerful indicator) thinking they were a WS contender.

    We should not forget the impact that a high quality fielding team can have on / in addition to the performance of a pitcher. People love to talk about baseball as an game of individuals, but that’s simply not true.


    1. The mediots who want to act like its a computer program are the exact same people who endlessly make fun of the Sox for “Carmine”. The never ending hypcrisy knows no bounds.


  9. I know this isn’t a Boston sports media issue. And maybe I should be criticized for looking to ESPN for anything. But I just tuned into SportsCenter for Patriots highlights and post game press conferences, highlights, and reactions — and I found Screamin’ A. Smith discussing Kobe Bryant’s career legacy. On a Sunday evening in December. HUH?!?!


    1. Check out how many times the once again lottery bound Lakers have been already and will be broadcast on ESPN/ABC this season. Five more games on ESPN and two on ABC in addition to the (at least) two or three that have already been shown on ESPN.

      I would love to know the name of the basketball fan hating nitwit at ESPN/ABC that looked at this LAL roster after the free agency period and decided it was a team worth broadcasting 10x during THIS season, as opposed to say Anthony Davis and the Hornets (one game on ESPN dand none on ABC during the entire reg. season).


      1. Same reason why the 8/8 Cowboys over the last 3 years still got as many P/T games or maybe one less than the Patriots.

        Why are the mediocre Yankees always Sunday Night Baseball?

        They have the research and virtually every single time it comes out that way if you go and check the Nielsen shares.


    2. Even if you dislike the guy, see the Gotlieb interview on DP Show, after he left ESPN:

      It explains all you need to know about how ESPN dictates coverage. Tebow, LeBron, Tiger, Manziel, Kobe. Hell, throw Brady/Patriots in there for the rest of the country.

      That’s now.
      They won’t always be there.
      There will be future stars.

      ESPN will do the same thing.

      Why? Because it’s what they’ve determined works (and it must work when they do A/B testing) for the LCD that fills up that ratings share and demo.

      Turn it off.

      Want to be a little more palpable? Cancel cable. ESPN still gets $6/mo of your cable bill even if the thing is off.


      1. I’m not saying don’t report it. But to be talking about the career legacy of a guy who just moved into 3rd place on the all-time NBA scoring list instead of showing NFL highlights, post game pressers, and just discussing the games in general at 4:30 PM on a Sunday in mid-December is insane. Kobe’s “achievement” should be running on a scroll at the bottom of the screen while the NFL is the story. Instead it was just the opposite. The NFL scores (that one can get ANYWHERE) are on the side bar while Kobe Bryant’s place in NBA history is the main topic. That’s ass backward.


  10. One of my favorite Monday morning pass times is to check in on Hector Longo (Eagle Tribune) for his “Two Minute Drill.” He appears to be working extremely hard to move up from the jv to the varsity with the likes of Borges, Felger, and their ilk. Methinks that the Globe must LOVE what his Patriots Hot Takes portfolio looks like. Next time there is an opening, I’d have to think he’s in line for a promotion.


  11. Peeve alert (triggered, of course, by Shank….):

    Attention Boston Sports Media: “Not interested in the player at any cost” IS NOT THE EQUIVALENT OF “not interested in the player”.

    I’d be really interested in getting a Bentley. Great cars. Did you know they actually put leather on the inside roof??? But I digress. Anyhow, say you offered me a Bentley, and in exchange I’d have to have my arms and legs cut off. I’d say “You know, maybe I’ll drive a Ford instead.” Shaughnessy would then go on Channel 7 and say “It’s pretty clear that Daver never really wanted a Bentley, and the test drive and financing arrangements were just for PR purposes.” NO!!!!! NO F—ING NO!!!!!!! IT MEANS I DIDN’T WANT MY F—-ING LEGS CUT OFF!!!!!

    Just because the Red Sox did not hand Jon Lester and the Levinsons a blank check and said “fill it in, boys” does not mean the Red Sox were not interested in signing Jon Lester. For pete’s sake, do you media people think we’re morons?????

    /rant off


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