Good morning, everyone. I write this knowing there’s a strong likelihood I’ll have a lot more to say later today about a certain Arsenal transfer story. If that is announced, expect my thoughts and analysis on it in the late afternoon.
Yesterday in Boston saw a couple moves from our hometown teams. The Red Sox took step one towards 2015 by designating A.J. Pierrzynski for assignment in order to make room for rookie catcher Christian Vazquez. The young backstop is major league ready defensively, but his bat will take time. I’m a fan of giving him time to adjust in the major leagues for the next few months, as he could struggle now rather than in April and May of next year. Hopefully given some at-bats, he’ll find his stroke at this level. At worst, he’ll be another sub-.200 hitter for the rest of the year, but if he can throw out some runners and get comfortable with the pitching staff, it’ll be a good investment in the future. Being around the veteran David Ross could also do wonders for Vazquez. Last night’s walkoff win was an exciting start to the Vazquez era, and who knows, maybe this team still has some life in them this year.
As far as Pierzynski, I feel for the man. Clearly he thought that coming to Boston would be his best opportunity at another championship late in his career, but instead he got three months on an uninspired team. He struggled at the plate, devoid of the power that once made him a valuable bat in the lineup, and his swing-at-the-first-pitch style never was going to sit well with Boston fans if he wasn’t producing. At his age and with his short-term contract, keeping him in the lineup was doing nobody any good at this point. Hopefully he can catch on as a backup on a contender for these next couple months, but I think getting rid of him was a solid first step towards next year.
The other trade in Boston yesterday saw Danny Ainge and the Celtics collect three assets for essentially nothing. Ainge’s track record on trades gets better by the minute. With the trade exception from the Paul Pierce departure (when did everyone decide that trade was the Pierce trade as opposed to the Garnett trade?) set to expire this week, Ainge had a lot of incentive to make a move. And with lots of teams trying to shed cap space in the LeBron James hunt, it was the perfect opportunity for the Celtics to improve. In addition to acquiring another first-round pick, which can never be a bad thing, Ainge also added an intriguing expiring contract in Marcus Thornton and a young center in Tyler Zeller.
Marcus Thornton could help this team in a number of ways, even if he never puts on a Celtics jersey. His expiring deal will be attractive to many teams looking to shed cap space in 2015, and he could be a valuable trade chip. He might even be a piece the Celtics could use in the hunt for Kevin Love. I doubt he ever plays in Boston, but Thornton could help accelerate the rebuilding process in other ways than his play on the court. Zeller, on the other hand, will be a true center on a team that lacks one. I’m sure many Celtics fans will remember Zeller having a couple good games against us in the last two years, and he’s somebody who could play alongside Jared Sullinger or Kelly Olynyk. There won’t be much pressure on the UNC product, but he could prove useful, even if he’s no superstar.
That’s all for now, but hopefully there will be big news today on the Arsenal front. Check back later.