- Now that the Sox have re-upped Mike Lowell, it appears that all the major pieces of the 2007 World Series Champions (cue swelling strings and drum crescendo...annnnnd stop) will open the 2008 campaign in Fort Myers. In some cases, standing pat is synonymous with getting stale. In the Sox' case, though, 2007's careful mix of youthful energy with proven veteran leadership looks to be at least decently insulated against the ravages of the year after. Jacoby Ellsbury will likely start the season as the Sox' centerfielder. Jon Lester and Clay Buchholz will get a chance to step into the rotation, with Tim Wakefield's flexibility and Julian Tavarez' rubber arm serving as buffers against overuse. The Killer P's, Papelbon and Pedroia, return with another year of big game experience and maturity. Okay, experience.
- Speaking of Lowell, while my belief is that he's not likely to "earn" his whole 3-year, $37.5m contract on the playing field, his signing despite reported longer-term offers from other clubs reinforces the notion that a certain breed of player likes performing in Boston. There's value in that perception in terms of future negotiations, and there's intangible value in Lowell's clubhouse presence. He's also got a swing made for Fenway, so it's unlikely that he'll completely tank. And frankly, he was the second-best available 3rd-sacker (single sacker?) and the Sox got him for 40% of the top guy's annual salary.
- With the heavy lifting done, the Sox turn to the bullpen and depth. Sure would be nice to have someone credible backing up Jason Varitek's increasingly aging bat. As fun as Doug Mirabelli is to have around, I'd be perfectly content to wish him well and bring in a younger receiver. Coco Crisp seems not terribly pleased to be the Sox' 4th outfielder, and I can't really blame him. The Sox may have trouble getting full value for a guy that lost his job in the postseason, but Crisp was arguably the best defensive outfielder in baseball last season, which should be worth something to Minnesota and Atlanta, both of whom lose stellar defenders in center (assuming Andruw Jones doesn't slink back to the Dirty South after nobody else wants him).
- Word comes this week, as it inevitably would, that the Yankees have opened negotiations with the Twins aimed at bringing Johan Santana to New York. We'll set aside, for a moment, the question of why this was news when presumably 6-9 other teams have also "opened negotiations" with the Twins. Focusing on the Red Sox angle, this is the one offseason possibility that gives me pause. A-Rod resigning with the Yankees was a) not surprising and b) doesn't solve New York's glaring pitching problem. Santana is a horse of a far different and more terrifying color. The Yankee rotation would be immediately and massively improved, even if they had to send Phil Hughes or Joba Chamberlain to the Twins as part of the deal. And Santana's young enough that he could be in pinstripes for 7-10 more years, assuming his early-career arm troubles don't return. Some pundit somewhere speculated yesterday that Santana was bound for the Mets. Make it so, please.
Tuesday, November 27, 2007
Since we're only 2 posts away from setting an all-time record for posts in a calendar year (you knew this already, of course, because of the incessant media buzz around the milestone), and because I'd like to knock some of the rust off the old MLC masthead, I'll stumble around for a few moments, if you'll indulge me. Who knows, like the proverbial blind squirrel, I may find a handful of acorns that please you.