More Free Agent Chatter

Peter Gammons recently came out with an article as he does from time to time on ESPN.com. Not surprisingly, there’s plenty of Red Sox nuggets in here.

Pedro Martinez, arguably the best starting pitcher on the market, already has a two-year, $25.5 million offer (with an option for another $13 million) in his pocket as he awaits the moves of George Steinbrenner and the Angels’ Arte Moreno, among others.
Martinez may now be closer to Greg Maddux than the Pedro of 1997-2001 and his earned run average may have climbed to 3.90, but he is still 50-17 over the last three years. His strikeouts per 9 IP have only declined from 10.8 to 9.93 to 9.41. If the Red Sox think this is dragging on too long and that he is playing games, they will continue to pound after Jason Varitek and move on to either Brad Radke (34-23 in three years) or Carl Pavano, whose three-year career path (6-10, 5.16; 12-13, 4.30; 18-8, 3.00) is the opposite of Derek Lowe’s (21-8, 2.58; 17-7, 4.47; 14-12, 5.42).

Pedro still has tremendous value and I, personally, don’t have much problem paying him “Curt Schilling money.” Yes, his 2004 season was not tremendous, but you have to remember who Pedro is, and as Gammons says, “he is still 50-17 over the last three years.” So why is Pedro not signing? Is it money, does he want more? Is it driving the price up for the Red Sox, then eventually resigning? If you remember way back when Bernie Williams was a free agent, the Red Sox were talking to him about signing him, and the Yankees and Red Sox were fighting for Bernie. Bernie finally signs with the Yankees, and it comes out that Bernie always planned on re-signing, but wanted to drive the price up. Well, he drove the price up a lot and he’s sitting very pretty right now. What is it, then? Is it that, or the fact he wants to gauge other teams’ interest? Does he want the respect of knowing he is widely wanted? Is it the years? Does he want three or four?
You know, many Red Sox fans assume that because it’s just the Red Sox, players will sign for less than normal. “Oh, but it’s Boston. It’s a great clubhouse, we just won the World Series, great ownership, GM, good manager, great fanbase, etc. etc. etc.” but in reality – wait, let me have Curt Schilling put it in perspective for you.

If I am a free agent, why would I take alot less money, or even just LESS money, and fewer years, to sign here? In both cases you guys are advocating both options. Other teams are going to win, other places are fun to play, maybe nowhere as fun or as winning (here there is no fun without ALOT of winning) as here, but why would I do that?

There is also rumors that we will go hard after Pavano. As Gammons said, “Carl Pavano, whose three-year career path (6-10, 5.16; 12-13, 4.30; 18-8, 3.00) is the opposite of Derek Lowe’s (21-8, 2.58; 17-7, 4.47; 14-12, 5.42).” Now, if you’ve spoken to me personally, you probably still don’t understand why I don’t want Pavano. Actually, I do, but not in the way you are phrasing it. People talk about Carl Pavano in case Pedro leaves. Pavano cannot replace Pedro. Yes, I’m fully aware no-one can, but there are too many questions about Pavano to justify replacing Pedro. Radke would be a better choice to “replace” Pedro, in my opinion. Radke is consistent, throws innings, and won’t cost nearly as much. Pavano? He’s had only one spectacular season, and it’s possible he could get a case of the Suppan-itis. You remember Jeff Suppan, don’t you? Very good in the NL, very lousy in the AL. It is what it is, and that’s a risk to have Pavano replace Pedro.
Pavano replacing Lowe, on the other hand, now I would definitely be for that.

There are rumblings that the Yankees will go hard after the Red Sox by trying to sign Martinez, Lowe and Varitek. However, finding a trade for Jorge Posada won’t be easy unless they pay a big chunk of his contract, which would make Varitek a $13 million-$14 million catcher. But not only is Steinbrenner after the Red Sox, the Yanks’ front office was furious during their playoff series at the complaints filed by Boston with the Commissioner’s Office for things like Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez getting radar readings from the stands