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I was Yoshida Bild – Over the Beast

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I’ll admit it: after three *years of doubt, I’m finally excited about it Boston Red Sox repeatedly. It feels weird, and this necessarily follows the stretch of Rafael Devers, who finally made me believe better things are possible after a long period of self-sabotage. This isn’t a call for celebration, but nonetheless, coming out of the dark feels better than I ever expected, and while there’s a long way to go to be fully in the light, I’ll take whatever I can get now.

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* Yes, including 2021. I’m a hater. What can you do?

Of course, everything is relative. Would I be so excited, several months later, about Masataka Yoshida if the Sox were him World Championship candidate? Mostly not. Should they be one? yes! And yet. And yet. Yoshida’s signing, which clearly heralds a patient new era for Sox baseball, has me so excited I can’t hide it.

Yes, I became smitten with Yoshida, thanks in large part to his dynasty baseball game, because of which I had to become intimately familiar with the expectations of first-year players. I’m not the only one. Over the Monster often wondered, aloud, about Chaim Bloom’s moves, but she He had nothing but good to say about this. If it’s not quite clear, let me say on behalf of OTM, in the voice of Bill Simmons: Haim Blum, God’s work through you.

Could all of this be wrong? Sure, but the proof is negative, at least to some extent. Yoshida’s contract was instant fodder for National Media’s Sour Grapes column takes shots at Bloom, which was my first indication, that Bloom nailed it. First of all being unfair to management: this our profession. Let OTM cook, gentlemen. Second: the degree to which people were willing to say the Sox got it wrong was clearly an exercise in projection, carried on by opportunism. There is strength in numbers: If a crowd says someone is wrong, but they are right, then the crowd won’t take so much blame because… it was a crowd?

In this case, there is no “there” there. Any consensus that the Sox paid Yoshida a lot of money is ludicrous, given the known unknowns of upcoming Japanese players and contracts generally awarded in Major League Baseball, and that should be what they call a “tell.” We already know that the owners are complicit. What my theory presupposes is: what if it is not selective? Is this one of those times?

I may be on the outs, but if the Sox were slaloming like a small market when they were supposed to slalom with their big-market brethren, now is the time I’m glad they’re stuck crashing. Before predictions arose, Bloom didn’t have much in his back pocket to explain Yoshida’s deal. Now we can see it with our own eyes. The machines don’t just nod, they clap thunderously (figuratively, because computers don’t have hands). And I join them.

Simply put: If Yoshida really put up a .298/.388/.479 line, as STEAMER PROJECTS, it would be worth twice what they paid, not half, as the haters suggested. Considering he hits the top of the lineup, his slash doesn’t tell the whole story. Size is the hidden value in baseball, and it’s what keeps the season going. Yoshida is not a bit of a gamer with some great streaks. He’s a major character with a long list of them, and we’d better get to know him sooner rather than later.

Obviously, I believe in expectations more than I don’t. Baseball is the game of baseball. Separate skills are separate skills, and machines, while not knowing everything, know enough. Yoshida has the right skills to succeed here, and if (when) he does, the whole town will fall in love. There will likely be no playoff race attached, but that’s hardly the point. You never get a second chance to make a first impression. Good thing I don’t think Yoshida would need it.

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