My stormtroopers have effectively quelled the coup attempt disguised as a blog post immediately below this one, and the immediate thrill of winning the World Series has receded into a generalized sense of awe and gratitude, so it's time to toss some kindling into the old potbelly and warm our hands on the venerable hot stove.
Now that a few weeks have passed, I think I like the 2007 Sox even more than the 2004 club. While the Idiots will always hold a special place in my heart for slaying the dragon, this year's squad has a more appealing character. Maybe it's as simple as Jonathan Papelbon > Kevin Millar as the goofball face of the franchise. Perhaps the youth movement in 2007 makes them more likable. Could be Papi's "Bad Motherfucker" moment. Or it could be the fact that the 2007 team seems more like the beginning of something durable than a case of catching lightning in a bottle. I'm not paid to ponder these things. Go see Red and Denton if you want deeper meaning.
Midnight tonight marks the opening bell for open free agency, when players are free to negotiate with teams other than their 2007 employers. Despite reportedly productive negotiations, Mike Lowell has yet to agree to terms with the Sox on a new contract. The Sox, as per their normal position, seem willing to spend money but only over 3 years. Lowell wants 4 and will probably get an offer in that range from someone else. It's the Johnny Damon question all over again - which is more important to Lowell, straight cash, homie, or comfort level in a town that adores him? It's not an easy question to answer. I'm unabashedly, if not unbiasedly (not a word) hoping he loves being loved.
Although nobody loves being loved as much as Curt Schilling, who comes back for one more run at the ring at bargain dollars (if $8m can be framed as a bargain). I see nothing but win-win in this scenario, especially if the contract's conditioning provisions goad #38 into whipping himself into shape. Says here his awareness of his own legacy is all the incentive he needs.
Related to Lowell's situation is the trade rumor involving some combination of Jacoby Ellsbury, Clay Buchholz, Craig Hansen, Craig Bowden and a bag of balls for Miguel Cabrera. This may be the unrepentant fanboy in me talking, but I look at Cabrera and his growing waistline at the tender age of 24 and see red flags waving from here to Miami. Frankly, if the Sox were good enough to win it all with the team they've got, I don't see a real need to trade 2 or more of the terrific young pieces - even for Cabrera's potential.
Finally, Dustin Pedroia was named the AL Rookie of the Year in the same he announced that he'd played the season's final 2 months with a broken hamate bone. Studly little bastard.
Oh, and Theo, if you sign Alex Rodriguez, Nick can have my keyboard.