These are the dog days, I guess. Last season it seemed like there were a smattering of entertaining games, but I suppose most of those were before the 2017 trade deadline, when Jose Quintana, Todd Frazier, David Robertson, Melky Cabrera, Anthony Swarzak, Dan Jennings, and Todd Kahnle were still around.
Now here we are. The trade deadline is three days away, and it doesn’t seem like Rick Hahn will be as aggressive in moving veterans for young assets as he was a year ago. I suppose this inertia should be expected, seeing the aforementioned names that have been shipped elsewhere, preceded by one of the best left handed pitchers on the planet, Chris Sale, and, um, that Adam Eaton guy. There aren't many valuable veterans left to deal.
So what do we have to be excited about in the here and now? Obviously, this is a rebuild. Patience is a mandate. Yet, attendance is down, and television ratings for Sox games are down. Hawk is nearly retired, left to spin yarns to complete strangers at the deli counter in the supermarket. I know, I am pumped for 2022 just like you are, but what about now? I could be hit by a CTA bus or run over by the red line train at 35thstreet before Nick Madrigal gets called up. Besides sick, twisted fandom, why am I going to watch Sox vs. Jays tonight?
Top 10 Things to (try) be excited about between now and the end of the 2018 season:
10. Matt Davidson could turn out to be the Sox pitcher of the year.
9. Even though a home run is a home run no matter how hard or how far it is hit, Daniel Palka’s typical exit velocity is extremely impressive according to Jason Benetti. Maybe when Rob Manfred is done juicing baseballs and adding a clock to a game that has been just fine without one for 147 years, he’ll make home runs hit really hard or really far worth 2 runs instead of 1.
8. The Sox lead all of Major League Baseball in strikeouts. Hey, eventually those big, long, uppercut swings have to connect with something, right? It’s just a matter of time until the Sox barrel those balls up and lead the league in home runs. If there’s a heaven, skilled hitters like Tony Gwynn are shaking their heads at the game they’ve left behind.
7. We can keep reading about Eloy Jimenez’s .333/.383/.588 line (in AA and AAA) on the internet instead of actually seeing him play with the Sox!! We need more Nicky Delmonico and Leury Garcia in left field!! Maybe they’ll call Jimenez up when he hits .400.
6. Jose Abreu’s leadership. Soak it up people. Can you feel it? Any minute now it’s going to affect Yoan Moncada’s strikeout rate.
5. Carlos Rodon has shown glimpses of being a solid #2 pitcher in the starting rotation since coming off the disabled list. Start a pool with your friends to see who can guess when he’ll be injured for six months again.
4. At least we have one good reliever in the bullpen. No wait, he’s a Brewer. (Before you get too excited about the Kodi Medeiros era, go to Baseball Reference and check on the stats of Ryan Cordell and Casey Gillaspie, the returns in last year’s trades of Swarzak and Jennings, respectively. Uh, not good.)
3. Have you seen Moncada’s son, Robinson, swing a bat? The Sox could draft him in 2032 in year 16 of the rebuild!
2. Tim Anderson’s bat flip has become very solid. He’s got to be Top 10 in the American League for bat flip style and rotations from hand to grass. It’s especially cool to see him bat flip and give an extra long stare to a home run when the Sox are down 26-1. Awesome.
1. James Shields is leaving in two months and two days (come on, no one is trading for him).
See. There are silver linings everywhere, you just have to look really, really hard.
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