Wow. Just, wow. Hugeness this week. Trust me, there is epicness to discuss.
Beltre and Felipe Lopez both declined arbitration, but there is still hope for the former. We all know that the A’s are offering Beltre a sweet deal, but he’s taking his equally sweet time in signing it. He stated publicly that he wants to return to Boston, so he’s waiting to see what Theo’s got.
It turns out that what Theo’s got is a seriously awesome replacement. Adrian Gonzalez, welcome to Boston! Finally! He went to Boston yesterday for a physical to make sure his right shoulder is on track after his surgery, and he passed. We’ll be sending Anthony Rizzo, Casey Kelly, outfielder Reymond Fuentes, and a player to be named later to the Padres, which fortunately shouldn’t hurt our farm system too much because last year’s draft was so successful. Although it’ll be rough to see them all go. The important thing to keep in mind about prospects is that you never know. They could be awesome like Hanley Ramirez. Or they could be terrible like Craig Hansen. We already know what Adrian Gonzalez is capable of at the Major League level.
There’s room for a contract extension; Gonzalez is entering the last year of his current deal and we already acquired permission from Major League Baseball to hammer out a new one by this afternoon. That didn’t happen, so Theo might wait to watch his shoulder in the spring, and of course there are the luxury tax implications. But he won’t be giving up all those top prospects if he weren’t assured that an extension could be worked out, which would give us stability at all three bags. Given Gonzalez’s age, anything from five to eight years can be considered feasible. We offered six, but he wanted eight. So there you go.
But one thing’s for sure: celebration is indeed in order. Gonzalez will succeed in Boston. His lefty swing was practically built exclusively for Fenway Park, and he was able to excel in a quintessential pitcher’s park. Seriously. Most of his fly balls in Petco would’ve been out in Fenway. That’s why I’m convinced that he’ll get over his National League-ness in a hurry. By the way, he’s got two Gold Gloves at first. And he started almost every single game for about the last five years. Without DHing once. So here’s to you, Theo. Two years later, you finally closed the deal. And the fact that the Padres’ general manager and assistant general manager of scouting and player development both used to work with Theo is the icing on the cake that didn’t necessarily work to our advantage since they basically knew our farm system inside-out. Gonzalez will play first and replace V-Mart’s bat, we’ll move Youk to third, and Beltre, who’s older anyway, will now probably sign with the A’s. The deal is done on principle. All they need to do is announce it on Monday at Fenway and that’s it. The Adrian Gonzalez Era in Boston has begun!
One more thing. Fundamentally this deal was not about New York; it’s about us, our team, our organization, and our hunger. But while we’re on the subject, I would just like to point out that, not only is Adrian Gonzalez the answer to Mark Teixeira, but we now have a young infield that’s locked and entering its prime while the Yanks have guys on the downward slope of their careers. I’m just saying. I would advise New York to be afraid. Very afraid.
Tek signed a one-year deal with two million dollars plus incentives; those rumors about him going to the Dodgers couldn’t have been more wrong. They started circulating because the Dodgers had to decide whether to tender Russell Martin, who’s awesome except for injuries. We didn’t tender Okajima, given his poor performance last season, but we already tendered Paps and will be making offers to Ellsbury and Taylor Buchholz. Rumor has it that we made an offer to Mariano Rivera before he signed a two-year deal with the Yanks. The Yanks seem to be avenging this action by showing interest in Carl Crawford to drive up his price. I honestly don’t think the offer to Rivera was serious. And I honestly don’t think New York’s interest in Crawford is serious. Unless they don’t get Cliff Lee. If Lee stays in Texas, New York might seriously start looking at Crawford because they could always deal Brett Gardner for a starter.
Pedroia’s foot is almost at one hundred percent. He’s been cleared to jog and will be ready for Spring Training. We have officially met with both Crawford and Werth, who, according to Dwight Evans, is the best right fielder in baseball and similar to himself. This is Dwight Evans, people. That’s seriously high praise.
Not that that’s going to help anyone. Not even Werth himself. Werth is now officially out of the picture and off the deep end. He signed a deal for seven years and 126 million dollars. With the Washington Nationals. I’m not kidding. That tells me two things: one, he’s not hungry, and two, he’s essentially a fool. He’s not going to win a ring with the Nats, and seven years from now, when his contract is up, he won’t be starter material, which is obviously something that the Nationals don’t care about. So his ring with the Phillies will be the last of his career as a starter. If he wanted security, he sure got it. He knows where he’ll be for the majority of the next decade, and he’s getting a whole heap of money for it. To be honest with you, he would have been great in a Boston uniform, but I wouldn’t want someone only interested in money and years to play for us. Especially not someone who would ever seriously consider both money and years with the Nationals. I mean, they’re the Nationals. Not only are they National League, they’re the worst in the National League; in fact, they’re the worst in the Major Leagues.
But wait; it gets better. He says he’s been considering signing with the Nats since hiring Scott Boras as his agent last season. Let me get this straight: he hired Scott Boras to get him a deal with the Washington Nationals. That’s ridiculous. Why would you hire Scott Boras to cut a deal with the Nationals? Jayson Werth doesn’t need an agent to negotiate a deal with the Washington Nationals; Jayson Werth can walk up to the Washington Nationals, write down a year amount and a dollar amount on a piece of paper, hand it to whoever is spearheading the process, and receive a “yes” to everything in five seconds flat. He says he’s impressed with the Nats’ acquisition of young talent? Give me a break. Nobody expects all that young talent to stay there; as soon as they’re able, they’re writing one-way tickets into free agency and out of town. And then he went on this tangent in which he basically implied that he only signed with the Nationals because they assured him that they’d continue to acquire the talent necessary to compete and win, because that is very important to him. Oh, sure. If it’s that important to him, he would not have signed with the Nationals. So they present their future plans to him and he asks questions about the team. Great. Now let’s see the Nationals follow that plan, the young talent stay put, and Werth stay in shape long enough to merit his salary at the end of his contract. I don’t think so.
We signed starter Brandon Duckworth to a minor league deal. He was part of the Billy Wagner trade. We are supposedly interested in reliever Matt Guerrier.
Oh, and I fully expect Mike Cameron to morph into some sort of hitting specialist against lefties, being that many of the AL East’s elite pitchers are lefties and some of our middle bats struggled against lefties last season. The only potential hindrance to that expectation is playing time. Cameron has the potential to get rolling, but he can’t get rolling if he never gets going.
The Spring Training schedule is out. We’re opening with an exhibition doubleheader with Boston College followed by Northeastern. March features competition with Minnesota, Atlanta, Philly, both New York teams, Florida, Baltimore, St. Louis, Tampa Bay, Pittsburgh, Detroit, Toronto, and Houston.
On Saturday, Sox Pax and tickets for twenty-one games in April and May will go on sale.
Get psyched. The Winter Meetings are starting on Monday, and they’re going to be very interesting. And by interesting I also mean hectic, since most of the important offseason deadlines have moved up. Theo has his work cut out for him; we have a bat to replace V-Mart, but we’ll need another, preferably a righty, to replace Beltre since he’ll sign elsewhere, and relievers. Good ones. We’ve already made a splash; the key is to fill the club’s needs without removing all of our flexibility for next year.
In other news, the Bruins dropped Sunday’s game to the Thrashers, 1-4. But then we shut out the Flyers, three-zip, and completely decimated the Lightning, 8-1. Krejci and Ryder each racked up three points. It was awesome. If this were baseball, that would be considered a slugfest. Then we lost in a shootout to the Leafs, but at least we get a point. The Pats take on the Jets tomorrow.
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