Rupe a Dupe? (A Note from Epstein's Mother of a Pickup)
Reportedly prepubescent (So what? He's 28. Get over it.) and newly-appointed Red Sox GM Theo Epstein made his first personnel move today. Was it the signing of free-agent star Jim Thome to fill the void at first? No. Was it to claim Neifi Perez off the waiver wires and juggle him and other ex-pat shortstop Rey Sanchez at second base? No. Was it to place Nomar Garciaparra on the DL in order to get ready for the regular season? No.
It was Ryan Rupe, a man unceremoniously waived by the lowly Devil Rays. Was it just to get Red Sox fan's ulcers ready for the regular season? No, I think this could be a nice pickup for young Theo. (Was he even alive when Buckner missed the Mookie Ball? I'm only kidding.) Rupe is a big kid (27), who was hurried through three minor league levels in 18 games in parts of two seasons. He jumped from Double-A to the majors in 1999. It looked like a good decision in his first year but has turned sour ever since. I think this guy could blossom in the right atmosphere. With what the Sox have done with errant arms in the past few years, I wouldn't be surprised if he turned into a reliable end-of-rotation starter, which is all the Red Sox need with Martinez, Lowe, and Wakefield at the top of the order. This quiet pickup could be big if Rupe fulfills his potential. If not, at least the price is right.