The Insane Period

It’s been an absolutely insane week for me, and it has been for the Red Sox too. All we hear about is Theo’s future, and now we have Manny Ramirez’s future in doubt. We have Timlin trying to work out a contract amid all this, but not getting far (anyone else think this is not fair to Timlin and we’re playing with fire?) … the latest reports have him returning for one year at $3.5 million which is quite reasonable.
The Theo thing has dragged on enough, but there’s been enough encouraging news to believe that the outcome is not in doubt – Theo shall return. If he doesn’t, it’s poor timing by Larry Lucchino, what with assistant General Manager Josh Byrnes departing to Arizona to become their GM. If Lucchino or Epstein didn’t feel as if they would be returning, I would believe both of them would feed Byrnes that information and intimate he would succeed Epstein at the helm, which should have happened anyways. Now that Epstein is gone, there is no real clear cut candidate to be GM, and it would throw things into disarray. Plans would be ruined, concepts would not be implemented. Apocalypse now, if you will. It doesn’t make sense on the part of the Red Sox to open themselves up to this, and it doesn’t make sense for Theo to keep drawing negotiations out when GM positions are starting to be filled, closing the window on some of his potential opportunities. No, Theo will be back.
It’s clear that Mike Timlin is returning. Who knows on Bill Mueller? And it may be clear to some people that Johnny Damon will not return, but what if it isn’t? Have we heard of any team who is willing to bow to Damon’s five-year, ten million per demands? I haven’t, which means he’s going to have to lower his demands. Now maybe there’s another team willing to give him 4/40, but there won’t be many. Is it possible Boston could give him 4/40 and win? Yes, but that’s still one heck of a risk. Now, if you look into giving him 3 years 30 million with a club option that automatically vests with attainable goals (sort of like David Wells’ contract), he may choose that over a 4/40 deal elsewhere because he’s professed a desire to return to boston. Simply make the vesting option easily attainable (say, if he logs 1200 plate appearances over 3 years, which he can do with two full-time years) and that may certainly happen and we can have our centerfielder.
And then we come to Manny Ramirez. He wants a trade out of Boston. Again.
I don’t believe it.
How many times does one have to demand trades? Change his mind?
How many times before no one simply believes it? It could simply be the concoction of the media. Maybe he wouldn’t mind leaving, but all these trade demands? I don’t believe it. Why would he want to leave, honestly? He’s not that stupid. There’s got to be something else playing here. Family, agent, something. I just don’t think he’s been demanding trades as much as has been reported. Kind of the same way I don’t understand why all of a sudden Larry Lucchino is seen as a meddling brat. First off, he’s the president. He’s paid to meddle. Second off, he’s no just-graduated-from-college president. He’s done this for a long time, and fully qualified. Third off, where is this meddling? He meddles less than other people, or even owners. He meddles more than the ones who don’t care, and the ones who don’t care don’t have good teams. I think Lucchino is a fine president, and I’m not sure where all this meddling mumbojumbo that seems to be sweeping the nation as anti-Lucchino is coming from.
Things should start picking up now that free agent filing has begun, the 15-day window that the original club has with the player after the World Series to negotiate solely with them is closing, and more and more vacancies are filled, allowing teams to go ahead with their offseason plans. The Nationals already inked two (Damian Jackson and Bernie Castro) to major league contracts. Not terrible ideas, both of them. They’ve recieved some flak for these signings, but I like them.
Paul Konerko figures to have a lot of suitors, but I’d be hardpressed to say I don’t see him returning to Chicago. Chicago will give him the money. He likes Chicago, they just won a World Series. He’ll stay. One could point to Pedro Martinez as leaving even though the money and the opportunity was there, but make no mistake about it – Pedro has always wanted to pitch in New York, and when he saw an opportunity, manipulated it. That’s nothing against Pedro, mind you – but Konerko is not Pedro.
This is the period where the media goes insane. No free agent signings of note, no major (if any) trades because vacancies are being filled … instead, the pages are filled with “the manchild who cried trade”, the meddling president, and the Boy Wonder demanding the world in his contract.
Me? I’m more focused on what’s going on with free agency as a whole. Did you know Brian Giles rejected a 3-year deal from the Padres? The media reports it was worth $21 million, but other reports (agent, people close to the negotiations) say it was $28 million. Ouch. He should have no trouble getting a four-year deal, and I would advise against Boston giving it. Ramon Hernandez also is receptive to returning to the Padres, but the Padres said today they doubt it’ll happen, so we’ll see where Ramon goes. Trevor Hoffman wants serious money – he’s looking for three-years and to be the game’s highest paid closer! Ouch.
Eddie Guardado’s option may be declined, which means the Red Sox would want to pursue him heavily. Guardado in our bullpen would be excellent. If BJ Ryan signs with the Yankees, then they have Ryan-Rivera, and we have Guardado-Foulke. Not a bad answer. Braden Looper may not return to the Mets, so he’ll get a deal elsewhere, but the Mets are looking at Trevor Hoffman, Tom Gordon, and almost certainly will eventually reach Guardado and Ryan. Jose Mesa is a free agent, Esteban Loaiza is not. Jeromy Burnitz is a free agent, Scott Williamson and Todd Walker are not. And Paul DePodesta is ridiculously about to be fired, apparently. Too ridiculous to even bother talking about it.
Anyone else think Nomar might, just might, come back to Boston as a middle-infielder? He can sub at short, he can platoon at second, even third. He’s been open to playing the outfield, and with his size, could handle first. A dream? Sure, but with his willingness, it could happen. Why would the Red Sox want to bring back a sullen individual, though? Well, they’re completely different circumstances. A lot has changed since Nomar has left. If he returns, both sides are clear what Nomar’s role is. Nomar signs, which means he wants to return. Will it happen? I say no. He’ll sign somewhere – Arizona, Atlanta, wherever, on a one-year deal to be their shortstop. But it really doesn’t hurt to look into it. See! Even I’m going insane, I’m broaching the possibility of Nomar coming back as a bench player!

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