Tagged: Free Agent

The Money Debate

Money

Who is rich? He that is content. Who is that? Nobody.

– Benjamin Franklin

I’m sick and tired of all this arguing, so I’m going to set everyone straight, right here,
right now. Ever since last off-season when the Yankees committed $423.5MM to
three players, Red Sox Nation has continuously complained about the Yankees
“buying a World Series”, followed by Yankee Nation complaining about those
accusations. Before you know it, the steroid issue comes up, you start hearing about
the ‘good ol’ days’ before any of us were born, the owners and GM’s get shot at while
we all know they’re doing a great job, blood gets spilled, tears fall, Babe Ruth turns in
his grave, a baby heard crying in the distance. It’s messy, to say the least – and it
makes us all look like idiots. If we’re complaining about each other spending or not
spending, what does the rest of the fan base for the 28 other teams think of our poor
behavior? It can’t be good.

Yankees

To all you Yankee fans, stop complaining about the unfortunate Red Sox souls. We
don’t know how it feels to be part of a dynasty … we’re bitter. Please, try to ignore
us. But don’t think you guys are getting off scott free. Stop complaining about
Lackey and Halladay “selling out”, among others. Sabathia didn’t sell out? How
about Texeira? Does A-Rod need $275MM to survive? You’re only complaining
about Lackey and Halladay because you didn’t get the chance to sign them. Your
team is the only team in the majors over the last year that were over the $170MM
luxury cap barrier. The closest team to that mark were the Mets at $139MM. Also,
look at the highest-garnished contracts in the history of the game. The top 5 are all
Yankees (even though A-Rod’s 2001-10 contract wasn’t signed with Cashman, he
fronted the majority of the bill). If the Yankee players aren’t selling out, then no one
is. Not that I’m complaining. If you’ve got the money to spend, you might as well
spend it. As for the players, if you can squeeze a large contract out of ownership,
then kudos to you.

Red Sox

Now, to Red Sox Nation: We’ve never had the right to complain about Yankee
spending habits. Looking back at the highest garnished contracts in MLB history, #6
happens to belong to Manny Ramirez, which the Sox paid a substantial portion of.
As for our payroll, it has been consistently over $100MM/year since 2004. The
World Series championship team in 2007 was paid a total of $143MM. That’s hardly
a bargain price. You may complain about John Henry and Theo Epstein being frugal
with the money they spend and the agents they sign, but since John Henry and Theo
Epstein came to town in 2002, they’ve been on a shopping spree that’s never really
ended.

You don’t believe me? Take a look at the Yankee signings from 2008 until now:

Alex Rodriguez

2008:

  • Alex Rodriguez – $275MM / 10 Years
  • Jorge Posada – $52.4MM / 4 Years
  • Mariano Rivera – $45MM / 3 Years
  • Robinson Cano – $30MM / 4 Years

Total money dedicated in 2008: $402.4MM.

2009:

  • Mark Teixeira – $180MM / 8 Years
  • C.C. Sabathia – $161MM / 7 Years
  • A.J. Burnett – $82.5MM / 5 Years
  • Damaso Marte – $12MM / 3 Years

Mark Teixeira

Total money dedicated in 2009: $435.5MM. Why did we only start
seriously complaining about the money this year? Maybe it’s because they won the
‘Series. Maybe it’s because they outbid us for Teixeira. Maybe it’s just sour grapes.

2010:

  • Curtis Granderson – $30.25MM – 3 Years (remainder of contract)
  • Nick Johnson – $12MM – 1 Year
  • Andy Pettitte – $11.75MM – 1 Year

Total money dedicated so far in 2010: $54MM.

Total dedicated over the last three years – $891.9MM.

Now, for the Red Sox spending over the last couple years:

Daisuke Matsuzaka

2007:

  • J.D. Drew – $70MM / 5 Years
  • Daisuke Matsuzaka – $52MM / 6 Years
  • David Ortiz – $52MM / 4 Years
  • Matsuzaka Blind Bid – $51.1MM
  • Josh Beckett – $30MM / 3 Years

Total money dedicated in 2007: $255.1MM.

2008/2009:

  • Kevin Youkilis – $41.125MM / 4 Years
  • Dustin Pedroia – $40.5MM / 6 Years
  • Mike Lowell – $37.5MM / 3 Years
  • Jon Lester – $30MM / 5 Years
  • Jason Varitek – $8MM / 2 Years
  • Jonathan Papelbon – $6.25MM / 1 Year

John Lackey

Total money dedicated in 2008 & 2009: $181.025MM.

2010:

  • John Lackey – $82.5MM – 5 Years
  • Mike Cameron – $15.5MM – 2 Years
  • Marco Scutaro – $12.5MM – 2 Years
  • Victor Martinez – $7.7MM – 1 Year

Total money dedicated so far in 2010: $118.2MM.

Total dedicated over the last four years – $554.325MM.

Okay, sure. The Red Sox have spent significantly less over the last 4 years than the
Yankees have spent over the last 3, but those numbers are all relative. Upon
examination of those numbers, you see that most of the Yankee contracts are
long-term whereas a majority of the Red Sox contracts are of a shorter length. As a
good example of that, the Red Sox have about $20MM locked up in 2013, while the
Yankees have around $95MM locked up in 2013. In the near future, the Yankees
have players locked up for the long-haul, while Epstein will have to deal with players
leaving in the next couple years. The most obvious at the moment is the potential
losses of Varitek, Ortiz, Beckett, Martinez and Lowell. The Yankees on the other
hand only need worry about big names Jeter and Rivera. The Red Sox are going to
be the second team this year, along with the Yankees, that will either exceed or
seriously flirt with the luxury tax barrier of $170MM. What are we complaining about?

Terry Francona

Everything in baseball is relative, folks. Now, don’t get me wrong … Last year’s
Yankees were a team that my 2 year-old niece could have managed to a World
Series trophy (not that I’m demeaning Girardi as a manager. He did a great job).
You can’t just buy a World Series, or else more managers would be doing it.
You still have to survive the 162-day injury-plagued season to be able to contend.
The money doesn’t hurt, though.

Red Sox Nation, just be lucky you’re fans of a team that has money, and isn’t afraid
to spent it when the chips are on the table.

Milton Bradley to Seattle; Bay the Odd Man Out … Again

Jason Bay

Makes you wonder if Jason Bay will ever sign with a team. He’s starting to look like the ugly duckling.

First, Los Angeles sees no need for him. Then, Boston offers a deal to Holliday, and
signs Mike Cameron, seemingly being content with having a 38 year-old
player with two major injuries from the past, instead of a young power slugger.

Mike Cameron

Now, Seattle decides that they’d rather have a man who can’t even count to three out
in left field every day instead of a perennial slugger.

Maybe Bay should consider lowering his price …

Once a Pirate, Always a Pirate

Jason Bay

I can’t remember the last time I’ve seen a decent slugger face-palm himself so many
times at Fenway Park. Oh wait – maybe I can! Jason Bay comes to mind.

As a fellow Canadian, I was one of few people in the know regarding Jason Bay
before he threw himself into All-Star status. When he was coming up through the
Padres and Pirates organizations he was the pride of Canada. With Larry
Walker
retiring, and people like Jeff Francis and Matt Stairs on
the decline, he found himself in the spotlight with every major media outlet in
Canada. And then, as quickly as he became a star, Russell Martin and
Joey Votto took his place.

Enter July 2008. he gets traded to Boston in a blockbuster for Manny
Ramirez
. He plays his first Major League game in Canada. He thrives in the
middle of the lineup for a big market club.

And then he balked. He pulls off 36 HR and 119 RBI, but combined with 162
strikeouts and a mediocre-at-best AVG of .267.

Looks like he slipped again. With the Red Sox signing Mike Cameron to fill a
spot in LF alongside Jeremy Hermida, and John Lackey as a way of
spending the money thought to be going to Bay, he’s almost guaranteed to be
leaving Beantown. I for one am totally okay with that, as much as I loved his time
here.

You tried to get more money than you’re worth. You’ve seen how Epstein works in
the past, Jason. He always gets the job done when he needs to, and trying to steal
money from him that you don’t deserve won’t work. If someone else wants to pay you
that much, then good for them.  Maybe you could find a career as a true
Buccaneer.

Enjoy your life in Seattle or Queens. Between the coffee and great Broadway shows
(not to mention the great shopping in both cities! A great opportunity to spend all
that cash!), they’re two great choices for you to never win a World Series in. Enjoy
never seeing the post-season again. I hope the extra year and $15 million was worth
playing in a pitcher’s park on clubs that will always be “just not quite good enough”.

Don’t let the door hit you on the way out.

New Gifts Under Tree for Red Sox

Just when we all thought the worst was only starting – Epstein supposedly rebuilding
Jason Bay apparently willing to go somewhere else … Listening to more
Yank-fan gibberish – Christmas came early for the Red Sox.

First, reports of John Lackey agreeing on 5 years @ $85 Million, pending a
physical and some paperwork (it’s about time, too! I was starting to get sick of
seeing him shut us out seemingly every time we played LA over the last couple
years!).

John Lackey

Follow that up with the news that the not only are the Yankees not getting Roy
Halladay
, but that we’re only going to have to face Roy in Inter-league play
and/or the World Series. After not landing Halladay ourselves, that’s a fantastic door
prize.

The Yankees lost out again short after, with the news that Hideki Matsui is to
sign with the Angels.  Bye Bye, Godzilla.

Mike Cameron

But wait, there’s more! That’s right – for two affordable installments of $7.75 Million,
we’ll give you not just a perennial 20+HR hitter, not just arguably the best defensive
CF in the game, not just a great clubhouse personality, but all three of these in
one! Mike Cameron, welcome to Beantown! It’s yet to be mentioned if he’s
Bay’s replacement, or if he’s going to play a platoon with Hermida in left. Maybe he’ll
move to CF, moving Ellsbury to Left. Maybe move Ellsbury to RF, and Drew to LF
where he might be better suited? Regardless, we now have options.

Merry Christmas, BoSox!

Wednesday Roundup @ the Winter Meetings

Jason Bay

  • 6:04pm EST: Theo Epstein doesn’t expect any kind of blockbuster move
    before the meetings end, according to Alex Speier of WEEI.com. Epstein
    – “I don’t think we’ll make a blockbuster between now and (leaving) …
    Something small could come up.
    ”  Also, talks haven’t progressed with
    Jason Bay‘s representatives. Epstein – “Those guys are off doing their
    thing
    .”
  • According to Alex, Adrian Gonzalez will likely be a Padre in 2010 –
    Bud Black says “Do I anticipate him being with the club in 2010?
    Yes.

Matt Holliday

  • The Red Sox reportedly met with Scott Boras, with one item on the menu
    being Matt Holliday, however Jason Bay is still the club’s first choice.

Mike Lowell

Adrian Beltre

  • Rob Bradford of WEEI.com reports that the Red Sox are discussing a
    deal that would send Mike Lowell to Texas. Who would be coming to
    Beantown at this point is suggested to be catching prospect Max
    Ramirez
    . The deal is reported as “not close”, but is starting to heat up. As
    expected, Boston’s front office would have to front a bill for a significant majority
    of Lowell’s 2010 contract. Mike has also been rumored to be on the block to go
    to the Cubs for Milton Bradley, although that seems rather unlikely. So
    unlikely, in fact, that Ian Browne has called shenanigans on the idea.

Justin Duchscherer

  • Multiple sources report that the Red Sox have a significant interest in free agent
    Adrian Beltre. Because Mike Lowell will probably be traded to a team
    such as Texas, a deal for Beltre is not only a real possibility, but almost a
    requirement for Boston to keep a strong offense in 2010. However, Beltre’s agent
    is Scott Boras, so expect life to be a relative hell in the coming weeks. The Giants
    were originally thought of as being potential suitors of Beltre, but in reality they’re
    looking for a short-term fix at first base and a center fielder, allowing them to
    move Aaron Rowand to the corner infield.

Mike Cameron

  • Rob Bradford also reports that the Red Sox have not made any progress on a
    Justin Duchscherer deal.  They talked last on Sunday night. 11
    other teams are reportedly interested in the pitcher. Maybe if the Red Sox sign
    him, I’ll learn how to pronounce the Duke of Hurls’s real name properly.

Rich Harden

  • The Red Sox appear interested in Mike Cameron.
  • Red Sox were mentioned as forerunners for Rich Harden after he
    mentioned he was willing to take a one year incentive-driven deal, but the
    Rangers seemingly won the race.

Coco Crisp

  • The Red Sox are not likely interested in Rafael Soriano.
  • Jayson Stark of ESPN says that the Red Sox have a couple teams they
    could trade Mike Lowell to.
  • Low level interest in bringing back Coco Crisp. If you could sign him with
    a clause in his contract stating that he has to get into a brawl every night with the
    starting pitcher, I say go for it!

Aroldis Chapman

  • Ramon A. Ramirez claimed off waivers from Tampa Bay. Fabio
    Castro
    signed to a one-year non-guaranteed contract.
  • Expect the Red Sox brass to be in Houston next week to watch Aroldis
    Chapman
    ‘s bullpen session, alongside the Yankees and Angels, at the very
    least.

Winter Meetings Another ‘Sox Bust?

David Ortiz

The Winter Meetings have hit the half-way point – one blockbuster three-way trade is
all but signed, sealed, and delivered, and it looks as if the Yankees are going to steal
the show in Indy just like they did in Vegas the year before. The deal involving
Curtis Granderson to the Bronx adds a lot of intrigue to the meetings,
and most likely leaves Red Sox fans hoping for some form of retaliation.

Rewind to this time last year, where the Yankees took center stage by signing the two
biggest arms on the market in C.C. Sabathia and A.J. Burnett. That
later led to another Red Sox disappointment when another player went the way of
A-Rod after nearing a deal with Beantown but instead siding with the Yankees when
all was said and done – Mark Texeira. Three big deals for the Yankees, and
nothing to show for the Red Sox’s presence in the off-season accept two gambles in
the form of Brad Penny and John Smoltz. Naturally, the Sox deals
failed while the new Yankees thrived, all the way to a 27th championship. The Sox
eventually added Victor Martinez, but one late addition hardly matches two
quality pitchers and one of the best bats in the league.

Curtis Granderson

Enter 2009. The Yankees add Granderson, while the Red Sox brass are seemingly
sleeping in their deluxe suite, enjoying their World Series dreams. For two teams
that were relatively equal for the majority of the last decade, one big deal for a
decent bat hardly counter-acts 4 huge deals with high-impact players over two
years. The Yankees have quickly changed from a comparative team to the odds-on
favorite – not just for the division, but the World Series – every year. So what are the
Red Sox doing?

Epstein has mentioned on numerous occasions he doesn’t plan on trading away the
future of the franchise for a quick fix or solely to keep up with the Yankees in the
short-term. Casey Kelly and Jose Iglesias are the faces of the future
at Fenway Park. Lars Anderson had a bad year, but he’s looking to be a
perennial first-choice for first base. As for Clay Buchholz, we all know he’s
here and he’s only looking to get better with real experience. Add that to an already
young setup of Pedroia, Ellsbury, Papelbon, Bard, Delcarman, Dice-K and Lester,
and you’re looking at a solid team that plans to stay in tact long after the big signings
of the Yankees go to the wayside. But can the fans handle two years of Yankee
dominance in the East before these prospects so much as show their faces?

Fenway Park Ticket Sales

The silence of Red Sox management this year at the Winter Meetings could be very
concerning for the ‘Nation – a group of fans that have sold out Fenway over 500
consecutive times. Look for that record to potentially be snapped in 2010 if
something doesn’t happen soon.

The silence, however, could mean that something is in the works. Something
BIG. Could it be a deal for Adrian Gonzalez? Maybe Roy
Halladay
is in the mix? Maybe a 4-team deal for both? Maybe talks with
Jason Bay, John Lackey, Rich Harden, and Mike
Gonzalez
are further along than Epstein is letting on. Maybe I’m just farting in
the wind.

Will the Red Sox step up, or will the Yankees continue their dastardly ways by signing
Lackey and/or Holliday? Only time will tell. This time of year when the Yankees pick
up steam and the Red Sox seemingly are running on empty, the time seems to slow
down, and every second breaks the heart. So please, John Henry, Theo Epstein –
do SOMETHING – and do it soon. This heartache is unbearable.

Clock

The Shortstop Dilemma

Today comes the signing of a new player to join Red Sox Nation – Marco
Scutaro
. With Marco, comes a debate as to whether he’s good enough to
play in Boston, and whether or not he can succeed where others have failed
since 2004. Let’s look at this systematically, shall we?

Nomar Garciaparra

2004 – Nomar Garciaparra. Pokey Reese. Orlando Cabrera. Cesar Crespo.
Ricky Gutierrez. Mark Bellhorn.
When all was said and done, Nomar was traded
at the deadline, picking up a replacement in Orlando Cabrera, who helped lead us to
a World Series title the same year. All combined, a total of 20 errors that year
between the three players. However, all’s forgiven when Nomar’s heart wasn’t in it,
Pokey wasn’t exactly an All-Star, and Orlando didn’t play in that lineup for very long,
and we won our first ring in 86 years. At the end of the season, it became apparent
that Orlando wasn’t the best person in the clubhouse, and that the Red Sox were
interested in getting rid of him. And so, he left. Who would fill the gap
now?

Edgar Renteria

2005 – Edgar Renteria. Ramon Vazquez. Alex Cora. Mark Bellhorn. Hanley
Ramirez. Alejandro Machado.
Renteria seemed like a good option. Afterall, he
won a world series with Florida in 1997. He was tearing up the National League at
the time, and watched us win the World Series in 2004 from the opposite dugout. I
guess no one realized he played his entire career in the National League, because
he didn’t stand a chance against the elite pitchers of the American League, nor did
he ever feel comfortable in Fenway. Alex Cora was a relatively decent backup, and
Hanley Ramirez made his first appearance, giving all Red Sox fans a little bit of hope
for the future. But, alas, all dreams come to an end, including watching Hanley
Ramirez move his belongings to Florida, in exchange for Josh Beckett and Mike
Lowell. Once again, the Red Sox make the team as a whole better, while neglecting
the most important position on the diamond.

Alex Gonzalez

2006 – Alex Gonzalez. Alex Cora. Dustin Pedroia. Alex Gonzalez signs, and
everyone considers it a godsend. A great fielder, World Series victor in 2003
alongside Beckett and the Marlins, and who cares if he only hits .250 with no pop? In
the nine hole, we’ll take the good defense. Who knew that .250 with no pop would
turn into .255, 9 HRs, but sadly a hell of a lot of inning-killing outs. He made a great
defensive player, but ultimately one that the Red Sox felt they couldn’t rely on after
not making the playoffs, and had to find another option elsewhere.

Julio Lugo

2007 – Julio Lugo. Alex Cora. Royce Clayton. Then begins the Julio Lugo
debacle. $9 Million a year for a fielder that lacks in defensive ability as compared to
Gonzalez, but with considerably more pop at the plate. Why was Lugo signed when
Alex Cora could have easily taken the job, and Pedroia was ready to come up to the
majors, you ask? Well, Pedroia filled a hole at second base that was much needed
(Bellhorn, Graffanino, and Loretta were just as faulty from 2004-2006 as the
shortstops were). Alex Cora never got a chance after being labeled as a bench
player. $9 million for a “better” offensive player than Gonzalez, who in reality goes
on to hit at a .237 clip that year, with 19 errors in the field. Sounds a little out of
place, no?

Jed Lowrie

2008 – Julio Lugo. Alex Cora. Jed Lowrie. Gil Velazquez. I know what
you’re thinking – “Maybe Lugo just had a bad year?” Well, if you’re a Red Sox fan,
you know he went on to hit .268 with 1 HR. Not exactly a power hitter. Add to that
another 16 errors and a season-ending injury, and you’ve got yourself someone
who’s not worth $9 million. Jed Lowrie showed up as the kid of the future, according
to the Red Sox brass, and he did just that. He showed up with a bat and a glove to
the post-season and showed all of Red Sox Nation that he meant business. Could
this be our solution? Could the Lugo nightmare finally be over?

Nick Green

2009 – Nick Green. Alex Gonzalez. Julio Lugo. Jed Lowrie. Chris Woodward.
Gil Velazquez.
Julio Lugo and Jed Lowrie have a battle in spring training for the
starting spot at short, and Lowrie wins out after an injury to Lugo. However, Lowrie
gets injured desperately early in the season as well. Enter Nick Green. What a
pleasant surprise that kid became. He managed to bridge a gap to the returns of
Lugo and Lowrie. However, Lugo returned and underperformed, allowing Green to
keep his starting role, and eventually Lugo moves over to St. Louis while we pay his
$9 million for the next year and a half. Hopefully St. Louis can be tortured by him
while paying nothing. Green then gets a replacement in the return of Gonzalez, who
seems to start as a combination with Green, but later takes his position as the
starter. Lowrie comes back as well, keeping Green on the bench, although Lowrie
also sits on the bench with poor numbers at the plate and nagging injuries. Alex
thrives at the plate and in the field, and carries the team into the post season.

Marco Scutaro

Present – The Red Sox, weary about how Alex performed in 2006, drop his
contract option, and let him sign with the Blue Jays. In the end, the Sox swap
shortstops by signing Marco Scutaro. More to come on that later. Green is a free
agent and likely will sign elsewhere, and Lowrie has been proven to be unreliable
and injury prone. Now, hopes of a young 20 year-old in Iglesias running around the
minors with the title as Red Sox Saviour, come 2012. Here’s to hoping he doesn’t get
moved like Hanley and Pedroia.

So assuming that Iglesias really is Jesus (the verdict is still out on whether or not he
can walk across the Charles), is the new signing of Scutaro exactly what everyone’s
hoping for, or is it another Renteria, Gonzalez, or Lugo mistake by Epstein and
company. Let’s take a look.

Scutaro has for his entire career been a bench-ridden utility player. That being said,
he tore up the AL East in 2009 with the Blue Jays, playing 143 games at shortstop.
Can he hit .282 with 60 RBI, 100 Runs, and 12 HR once
again Only time will tell. Is he a stud? Possibly. Is he worth $5 million a year?
Probably. Can he play in the AL East? He’s proven he can, and that’s good enough
for me. I’m willing to take the chance. What were the other options we had this
off-season?

1) Placido Polanco – Could he play short? Sure, why not? He’s a second
baseman at heart, but if the Phillies can move him to third, why couldn’t we move him
to short? Why not sign him and move Pedroia to short? In the end, the Phillies
jumped too fast and we couldn’t catch them before they climbed over the fence.

2) Orlando Hudson – Could the O-Dog move from second to short?
Probably, yes. Is he worth the money he might demand? Probably not, at least not
anymore. Is he a better choice than Scutaro? Maybe, maybe not. He doesn’t
require draft compensation like Scutaro (the Dodgers denied him arbitration), but
he’s coming off a decent injury and has been declining the last couple years.

3) Miguel Tejada – Can anyone say overrated? Sure, he can hit for the
home run or for average, and he used to hit well at Fenway when he was with
Baltimore. But chances are the NL has slowed down his swing, and his defense was
never amazing to begin with. Next!

4) Orlando Cabrera – A player who was a sparkplug for Boston in 2004, and
has been tearing up the AL West and Central ever since. But he’s a player who
lacks in clubhouse demeanor, which is why the Red Sox said goodbye to him in the
first place, so no thank you.

5) Chone Figgins – A player who can play basically any position in the world.
He could easily move from third to short. Seattle looks like they’ll sign him, and for
only $9 mil a year. For $9 mil, they’re buying someone who can hit from the top of
the order, play almost any position, hit for average, steal bases, and is great to get
along with. That’s a lot more than Red Sox fans and players can say about Lugo
and his $9 mil. Whether or not Epstein ever actually looked into this option may
never be known.

6) Hanley Ramirez – Get real, he’s not being traded.

So in the end, we get to live with Scutaro for two, maybe three years. He’s a good
player, unproven in the majors due to playing as a bench player on sub-par teams,
but he’ll never prove himself until a quality team gives him a chance to shine. He
didn’t get into the top 17% at his position last year by chewing gum and cheering
from the bench. Here’s to hoping he can bridge the gap to our savior from Cuba.