For my second post of the day...
So the Sox have once again won the World Series, their 2nd in 4 years after an 86 year drought. Not bad. The lovable losers have morphed into the perenniel favorites. It's a weird feeling.
But the question always remains, what do we do now? Just in case Theo Epstein and the rest of the Red Sox front office are reading the blog of danny, here are some thoughts on the issues.
Resign Curt Schilling? Supposedly Schilling wants a one year deal at his current salary, somewhere around $13 million. I don't think there's any way you can pay him that much. That's too much money for a pitcher who is guaranteed to miss at least 10 starts next year, and pitch hurt in another 10. Yes, he's a proven postseason star and a self-proclaimed great mentor to the younger pitchers, but $13 million is more than he's worth. If he'll come back for less, and maybe work some incentives into the deal (extra money if he reaches 30 starts, etc), then you might keep him. Otherwise, he'll be bringing his decomposing body somewhere else. With that said, Schilling should never have to pay for a meal in this city again. He helped bring 2 championships to Boston and pitching in 2004 with the bloody ankle will go down in history as one of the gutsiest performances in sports. I'll love the man forever.
Resign Mike Lowell? This seems to be an obvious "yes", doesn't it? I mean, he led the team in RBI, played an outstanding 3rd base and was named MVP of the World Series. Quite a resume. But let me throw a damper on things, just for some perspective. One, this was a contract year, and there are a number of guys who had great contract years, signed for big money, then never produced like that again. It's a fact of sports (Adrian Beltre is a recent baseball example). Mind you, I don't think Lowell is the type to play hard only for the money, he takes pride in his game and is naturally competitive. I'm just pointing out the facts. Two, I don't think the Sox will end up resigning him, but not because they don't want to. They will be hesitant to offer him any contract longer than 3 years (with a club option for the 4th), and someone out there will give him more years. More years means more guaranteed money. If the Sox offer him a 3 year deal at $12 million per, and someone else offers him a 5 year deal at the same money, he'll take the second deal. Can you blame him? I hope they resign him, he's a valuable part of the team and one I'd hate to see get away. I'm just not sure it's going to happen. Which leads us to the next question...
Go after A-Rod? We Sox fans shudder at the thought of A-Rod wearing a Red Sox uniform. After all, purple lipstick doesn't coordinate well with Fenway green. He is what ever fan loves to hate: he get's paid more than anyone ever should, he's a prima donna, he plays in a way that is considered "bush league" (slapping the ball out of Arroyo's glove in 2004 [see picture], distracting an infielder on a popup this year), and worst of all, he doesn't perform well in the postseason. In the world of sports, those are good reasons not to like a player. No one can deny his statistics during the regular season, but when you pay someone that much money, you want postseason results. I hope the Sox take this into consideration.
Here are a couple things to think about. One, A-Rod is looking for a deal of $30 million per year for at least 5 seasons, probably more. For that money, we can resign Lowell and go after another pitcher or two to help our rotation/bullpen. Two, he would probably bring too much baggage into the clubhouse, and the Boston team thrives on a laid back, "we are family" type atmosphere. Even though I'm sure A-Rod isn't the incarnation of evil as some seem to suppose, he has never been known to help team chemistry. Three, we have won 2 World Series with A-Rod playing for our biggest rival in our own division! How valuable can he be? Do we really need him? Would Theo really tie up that much money in a guy we have won 2 titles without?
I hope the answer is "no." We don't need him, in fact, he needs the Sox more than the Sox need him. Let him go to Chicago, or LA, or LA of Anaheim.
Free Agents? The Sox could use another pitcher if Schilling leaves. We'll be bringing back Beckett, Wakefield, Dice-K, Lester and Buckholz, who could join the rotation next year. Wakefield is becoming more injury prone in his old age, the Sox will need some insurance for him. They could also use some help in the bullpen, since Timlin is only getting older, Gagne will be (thankfully) gone and Okajima, while great, can get worn out. As for the offense, I'd guess that Coco Crisp will end up being traded to make room for Jacoby Ellsbury, the man who won all of America a free taco (see picture). Unfortunately, Drew will be back, since no one will take him. If Lowell walks and the Sox don't sign A-Rod, then they'll have to fill the 3rd base position and have no one in the minors to do so anytime soon. They do have the option of moving Youkilis to 3rd, his original position, and signing a 1st baseman (Carlos Pena from Tampa Bay?). Either way, they are in a good position: they don't have to make any major moves other than figuring out what to do with Lowell. That's a good place to be in coming off a championship.
After 2004, the front office decided to shake things up. They let Orlando Cabrera go and signed Edgar Renteria, who they thought was an upgrade. They let Dave Roberts, one of their most important backups, walk and never found a way to replace him. They let two pitchers, Pedro Martinez and Derek Lowe, walk and never filled the whole. I hope they learned not to mess around this time. If you can win with this team as currently constituted, then there's no need to play around. Patch a few holes, let your young guys play and don't mess with success.