One of our own.
Good ol' Rocco Baldelli, famous for being a classmate to Z.C. Hosseini, is now on the Boston Red Sox. There's no doubt I am pleased with this development. A local boy on the local nine. Who doesn't love that?
He figures to be a fourth outfielder to sub in for J.D. Drew when Drew has his annual six week back strain injury. Baldelli himself has had his injury issues, but with a plentiful supply of nearby coffee milk and Dell's Lemonade, he should stay healthy and strong. I can tell you from first-hand experience that the lack of such Rhode Island delicacies is very tough on the body and soul.
Oh, they also signed future Hall of Famer John Smoltz, who is coming off major surgery. No one can predict what the Sox will get from him, but this signing is indicative of the Dan Duquette strategy Boston is employing this offseason.
The Dan Duquette strategy, you ask? The former GM of the Red Sox during the 90s always seemed to miss out on the big free-agent 'gets' so he ended up signing 'diamond in the rough' players. He signed an aging Brett Saberhagen whose shoulder was made of chicken wire and yarn by that point. He signed Steve Avery after the lefty's glory days had passed. He picked up Ramon Martinez, brother of Pedro, who I always feared would lose his right arm right on the mound.
But some of these players contributed to playoff teams. Duquette, for all his many faults, always seemed to find good players from the trash heap while their value was at their lowest. If he batted .500 with those acquisitions, he'd have taken it.
Flash forward to 2008 and the Sox have signed Brad Penny, John Smoltz and Rocco. All intriguing. They could contribute to an AL East title or they could become as useless as Julio Lugo. I'm not brave enough or smart enough to predict who will do what, but I do know one thing ...
The Red Sox should start selling Baldelli jerseys at the Warwick Mall as soon as possible.