Tag: Mike Lowell

Boston Red Sox: Character Is a Lost Trait These Days on Yawkey Way

It doesn’t seem too long ago that I was standing among a mass of Red Sox fans in the streets of Boston at the 2007 World Series Championship parade. What I will never forget from that day, aside from Jonathan Papelbon’s horrible Irish step-dancing, is the unwavering support that was shown to former Sox third baseman Mike Lowell.

People may forget, but it was that offseason that Alex Rodriguez opted out of his contract with the Yankees, making it possible for Boston to try and pursue him. Now there is no question that A-Rod’s talent far outweighed that of Mike Lowell. But for Sox fans, it was not about that. It was about the character that Lowell had shown on a consistent basis that made him the guy that Boston fans wanted as their everyday third baseman. Chants of “Re-sign Lowell” rang down upon the famous duck boats, and it felt like the party would never end as this team was sure to contend for years to come.

The same jubilation and hope for the future I saw exhibited by Red Sox nation that day does not exist anymore. Instead, it’s been replaced by a festering pessimism that has been rapidly growing since the team’s epic collapse last September. And if you even mention the word character to a Sox fan about this roster as it is currently constituted, expect a full blown laugh-out-loud moment to ensue.

Boston’s beloved Red Sox have somehow lost their way. In a span of five years this team has not only destroyed all of the goodwill that two championships within a decade brought, it destroyed the unbelievable high of breaking an 86-year winless drought.

And no one has been able to avoid this gigantic wave of negativity.

Dustin Pedroia, who many consider to be the spark-plug of this team, turned fans off with his comments regarding manager Bobby Valentine’s handling of the massively slumping Kevin Youkilis (via WEEI). David Ortiz, who in his own right should be considered a Boston sports legend, went on a tear this week while being interviewed by reporters making it clear that he is not enjoying his time on Yawkey Way anymore (via NESN). Even the former captain and now retired Jason Varitek came under mass scrutiny for his part, or lack thereof, in the handling of last year’s dreadful September.

Tell someone in Boston that Tek’s leadership skills were not up to par after his A-Rod face shoving heroics in ’04 and they most likely would have spit in your face. And don’t even go down the road of addressing Josh Beckett. Talk about a fall from grace since 2007.

So what character we thought existed amongst these guys has either faded away or maybe just never existed in the first place. Whatever the case may be, something needs to drastically change. This team has become a three-ring circus and it seems that there is no end in sight.

Sox fans have lost that faith they were told to keep in the entire organization, from ownership on down. Maybe it’s time to clean house and start fresh with the young guns down in the minors. The Red Sox are surely not famished for young, up-and-coming talent.

My question is, can this team find its identity again? For years what we thought we knew about these guys now seems like it was merely a mirage. All I’m saying is that the nation had it right in ’07. Character counts.

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Mike Lowell Receives Red Sox Send Off: A Look Back on His Storied Career

Mike Lowell will be honored tonight by the Boston Red Sox with “Thanks, Mike Night”, as we say goodbye to the consummate professional after 13 remarkable seasons. Lowell has announced that he will retire at the end of this season.

It’s been a tumultuous year for the once slick-fielding third baseman. Lowell has been on the verge of being granted his outright release multiple times throughout the season, and has had to endure being relegated to the bench for the first time in his career.

But good things come to those who wait, as Lowell will finish his major league career this weekend against the New York Yankees as the Red Sox starting third baseman. Adrian Beltre, Boston’s regular third baseman and Lowell’s replacement in 2010, has left the team to witness the birth of his third child.

So with Lowell at the plate and bat at the ready, let’s take a look back at the career of one of the most humble athletes to every play the game.

Mike Lowell, we honor you.

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MLB Free Agency: Ranking Adrian Beltre and The 10 Best Third Basemen Available

With the 2010 regular season coming to a close and the playoff picture starting to become a little clearer every day, there are some teams that will focus on free agency and which players they are going to bring back or which players they could possibly land this offseason.

One of those players that will hit the free agent market is third baseman Adrian Beltre, who seemed to reinvent himself this season as a member of the Boston Red Sox.

Beltre has hit .325 with 28 home runs and 102 runs batted in, his best combined numbers since his 2004 season as a member of the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Beltre isn’t the only third baseman that will be on the market. Here are 10 of the top third basemen that will be looked at in free agency.

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MLB Trade Rumors: Rangers, Tigers Cooling On Red Sox’ Mike Lowell

Amid intensifying trade negotiations for Florida Marlin Jorge Cantu, the Texas Rangers have reportedly lost interest in Boston third baseman Mike Lowell, according to Gordon Edes of ESPNBoston.com.

Texas’ fluctuating interest in Boston’s oft-injured backup third baseman has been well documented, and this writer most recently covered it in another article primarily dealing with Detroit’s reported interest in Lowell.

Poised to acquire the far younger and more productive Cantu, the Rangers have understandably cooled on acquiring the waning Lowell.

Edes also reports that the Detroit Tigers, the most recent front-runners for Lowell’s dubious services, are unlikely to make a move for the 36-year-old.

Although Detroit has hemorrhaged hitters in recent days, losing outfielder Magglio Ordonez and infielders Brandon Inge and Carlos Guillen, they seem less than interested in taking on any portion of the roughly $4.2 million remaining on Lowell’s contract.

Apparently Tigers scouting director David Chadd personally checked in on Lowell over the weekend during his rehab assignment with the Pawtucket Red Sox, but the former Red Sox scout’s reports haven’t pushed Detroit into negotiations for Lowell.

Indeed, according to Edes’ Major League source, the Tigers will not be pursuing Lowell en route to the 2010 trade deadline. That said, Lowell should easily clear waivers in August, and the Sox should enjoy another chance to move him beyond July 31st.

If you’d like to know as soon as Peter’s Red Sox articles have posted, you can follow him on Twitter at BoSoxUpdate.

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MLB Trade Rumors: Red Sox’ Mike Lowell Bound For Detroit?

The Detroit Tigers are looking to acquire Boston backup third baseman Mike Lowell to temporarily replace the injured Brandon Inge, according to Danny Knobler of CBS Sports.

Inge had been hitting .263 with a .755 OPS and was wielding a decent glove before landing on the disabled list for six weeks with a broken hand.

While Lowell is still owed a little less than $5 million this year and has spent most of the season languishing on the DL, he represents one of the most affordable short-term fixes at the hot corner currently on the market.

Lowell is just now looking to come off the disabled list and is scheduled to make a rehab start for Triple-A Pawtucket on Saturday, also according to Knobler. In 91 plate appearances at the Major League level this year, Lowell has hit .213 with 2 homers and a .658 OPS.

Since before Spring Training, it has been well known that the Red Sox would be willing to eat most of Lowell’s salary in exchange for an ever diminishing level of prospective talent.

The last trade with which Lowell was publicly affiliated would have sent the 36-year-old former World Series MVP to Texas for catcher Max Ramirez. That deal fell through over Lowell’s health. Although it seemed to resurface recently, there seems to be no pressing need in Texas for a player of Lowell’s value.

If you’d like to know as soon as Peter’s Red Sox articles have posted, you can follow him on Twitter at BoSoxUpdate.

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MLB Trade Rumors: Mike Lowell Back on Texas Rangers’ Radar

After dealing Justin Smoak and his right-handed bat for Cliff Lee, the Texas Rangers may have increased interest in reviving an offseason trade for Red Sox third baseman Mike Lowell, according to WEEI Sportsradio Network’s Rob Bradford.

Both Smoak’s departure and corner-infielder Chris Davis’ offensive struggles may force the American League West leaders to acquire a player of Lowell’s caliber to at least platoon with the likes of Davis.

While Lowell is currently on the disabled list rehabilitating a strained hip, the Rangers are “monitoring” his progress closely in the event they cannot acquire a better replacement for Smoak.

Interestingly, moving Lowell could be an important factor for the Red Sox in freeing up roster space for another catcher or outfielder.

Anyone the Red Sox pick up before the trade deadline certainly cannot be sent down once Jacoby Ellsbury, Jason Varitek, Dustin Pedroia, Victor Martinez, and Jeremy Hermida return from the disabled list.

Lowell has put up a .213/.350/.308 batting line in just 91 plate appearances this season.


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Daisuke Matsuzaka Activated, Mike Lowell Placed On DL by Red Sox

The Red Sox activated Daisuke Matsuzaka in last night’s series-finale against the Colorado Rockies. In order to make room for him on the roster, Boston placed third baseman Mike Lowell on the 15-day DL.

Lowell reported that he felt a twinge in his right hip during pregame drills on Tuesday night. He said he will consult with his hip surgeon, Brian Kelly, to determine his next course of action.

It is uncertain as to whether he will need another cortisone shot or a Synvisc injection, but he seemed to be leaning in the direction of a cortisone shot.

Lowell says the cortisone shots tend to help for a longer period than the Synvisc, but that he’s hesitant to have too many because of the cartilage deterioration they cause. The Synvisc injection provides substantial improvement for just a few days after which, the effects quickly wear off.

Lowell reportedly informed manager Terry Francona, via text message, of the hip discomfort after he experienced pain on Tuesday. Francona then used him as a pinch hitter at the end of the game, and Lowell ran down the baseline like a 90-year-old man who needed a walker.

Reports say Lowell is upset with the way he has been used by Francona – he has only had a handful of at-bats over the last few weeks – and that he notified his manager via text message rather than talk with him because their relationship isn’t very good right now. 

Yesterday, manager and player met and decided that a stint on the DL is the best way to go. Lowell told the media he is on board with the decision.

About his hip problems, Lowell said he is a candidate for hip resurfacing or for a hip replacement. He will wait until the off-season to decide how to proceed, as either procedure would likely put an end to his career.

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MLB Trade Rumors: 10 Hot Names Making The Rounds

As we inch closer and closer to Major League Baseball’s trade deadline at the end of July, the rumors will start flying fast and furious.

There have already been a few rumors shot down in the last few weeks, including one that was about to send an ace to a team that wouldn’t have any way of picking up his remaining salary because of their financial trouble.

Why some of these rumors get started is beyond me, but that’s what makes baseball, and the trade deadline, fun. We can talk about players, possible moves that our teams should or shouldn’t make, and how those potential trades could affect said team in the playoff race.

So who are the hot names making the rounds on the rumor sheets right now?

I’m glad you asked, let’s get to it.

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MLB History: 10 True Comebacks

Fans of all sports love a comeback, a return to greatness, a story of redemption.

This year, much has been made of Barry Zito’s new-found pitching poise, Vladimir Guerrero’s resurgent bat, and Vernon Wells’ revitalized swing, among other motivating stories.

Rightfully so, but these are relatively minor turnarounds compared to some of MLB’s true, claw-back-from-the-brink comeback stories.

Here are 10 of the top comebacks in MLB history.

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Texas Rangers and Minnesota Twins Vying for Mike Lowell?

Mlbtraderumors. com reports that the Twins and Rangers are the two teams rumored to be most interested in acquiring Mike Lowell from the Red Sox.  Makes sense to me.

The Rangers were reported to have strong interest in Lowell this offseason, but nothing got done.

Apparently this was because of the Rangers’ current financial problems (the rumors I recall had the Rangers agreeing to pay $2.5 to $3.0 million of the $12 million owed by the BoSox to Lowell in 2010 and the Sox receiving one or two B-grade prospects) and also because of on-going concerns about whether or not Lowell’s right thumb had really healed after he had surgery on it this offseason.

After tonight’s game, Lowell is only hitting .215 with a .666 OPS.  However, he hasn’t been playing much, with Adrian Beltre, Kevin Youkilis, and David Ortiz all healthy and performing well.

Even with Lowell’s poor production so far, it would be an improvement over what the Twins have been getting out of third base so far this season—a. 211 batting average and a .562 OPS.

My guess is that the Twins will be the winner of this bidding war, unless another team steps in.  The Red Sox strongest interest in unloading Lowell is finding someone to take off their hands as much of the $7.4 million remaining on his 2010 contract as possible.  With the Rangers still in financial limbo, and the Twins suddenly flush from their new ballpark, the Twins are obviously the team that can take on more salary in a deal.

The Twins have long been known as penny-pitchers, but with their new stadium, they have jumped to six highest average per game attendance in MLB.  They’re in first place, but this is definitely a season where it is in their interest to spend what it takes to win. 

Whatever they spend in money to take on veterans to fill holes this season, they are likely to make back in season ticket sales for 2011 if they do, in fact, make the playoffs this year.

My guess would be that if the Twins are willing to take on somewhere between $2.5 million to $3.5 million of Lowell’s remaining 2010 salary, they’d get Lowell in exchange for a very low quality player to be named later.

The Rangers will likely have to give a prospect of some potential value to get Lowell since they won’t be able to take on salary the way the Twins can at the moment.  However, if the Twins are willing to take on $3 million of Lowell’s remaining salary, I doubt the Rangers would give up a prospect of that value for a four month rental of Mike Lowell.

For what it’s worth, whoever ends of being the high bidder for the Rangers will probably make a killing if they can hold on to the team for ten years.  With the economy where it is right now, the value of major league teams has to be way down, because there just aren’t a lot of people around with $500 million to spend on a franchise, particularly when there are an awful lot of other bargains around for the purchasing.

Meanwhile, the Rangers play in a large market in a nice ballpark in a baseball-mad state with great baseball weather.  With good management and some success on the field, the franchise should be worth a whole more in 10 years than whatever the present market will bear.

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