Friday, November 05, 2004

Red Sox offseason moves

You know, I first started feeling old when Playmates and All-Stars were younger than I was. Now, general managers are younger than me. Wow, how your perspective changes with age.

Since I was always taught to listen to my elders, perhaps Theo Epstein will read this and act accordingly. After all, this is what the Red Sox need to do this offseason:

1) Re-sign Jason Varitek: This one is a no-brainer. Yeah, he's pretty solid offensively for a catcher, perhaps in the top two in the AL. But it's how he handles the staff that matters. This pitching staff runs the gamut of personalities, from prima donna Pedro, to superstar Schilling, to blue-collar Wakefield (OK, so Varitek doesn't catch Wakefield, but I'm on a roll here) to head-case Lowe. Leadership in the locker-room can't really be understated -- Varitek is the rock, the guiding light, the glue that holds the band of merry idiots together. Alternate Plan should Varitek leave: Do whatever it takes to sign Mike Matheny.

2) Offer Pedro $10-12 million for three years: If he takes it, great. If he wants a longer deal or more money, let Steinbrenner or Arte Moreno overpay for him. Pedro is still a very, very good pitcher -- but he's no longer the No. 1, especially on the Red Sox, and he shouldn't be paid as much. Yeah, he looked good in the postseason, but a good start in the Series doesn't erase four horrendous starts to end the regular season. Which brings us to...

3) Pay for Derek Lowe's ticket out of town: Yeah, I really liked Lowe - even more now that he won three postseason series clinchers. Liked the 21 wins, the 2.27 ERA, the no-hitter, the 42 saves. Can't stand the up-and-down nature. After the Yankees shelled him in the Stadium in the regular season, I said he would never, ever beat the Yankees again. Thank goodness I was wrong. But who feels confident when this guy is pitching anymore? Can't say with any conviction that I do.

Alternate plan for re-tooling the pitching staff: Get Carl Pavano, throw in the incentive of making his parents dry-cleaning business the official laundry of the Red Sox. Yeah, he's done it for just one+ years, but he's 28 years old (I think), wants to go back to Boston, and will have more run support and better defense than he's ever imagined in Montreal or Florida. Then, go sign Matt Clement or Eric Milton. Brad Radke would be a nice option, too -- especially in that park. Throws ground balls, works fast, throws strikes and is in the Tim Wakefield mold mentally. All business.

4) Sign Orlando Cabrera for whatever he wants: The reason here is simple - the excuse for not giving him a 6-year deal is because Hanley Ramirez is "just" one or two years away. Yeah, and Hanley Ramirez is 20 years old. Look, I'm all for home-grown talent and developing players and such, but it's been a long time since highly-touted prospects have worked out (can you say Josh Hamilton?) With Cabrera, you know what you are getting -- very good defense, .280, 20 HRs and 75 RBIs. If Hanley is all he's cracked up to be, ship him off for Randy Johnson or something. Alternate plan: Sign Edgar Renteria. Do NOT sign Barry Larkin. I'd even accept Omar Vizquel for a year or two.

5) Go get Troy Glaus: Yeah, Bill Mueller is at 3b. But if he's healthy, Troy Glaus was the player made for Fenway. Above average defense, great work ethic, absolute masher and a fan favorite. Think the Sox had a stacked lineup this year and last? Add Glaus to the mix in place of either Bellhorn or Mueller (who have high trade value after the Series) and watch the fireworks.

Aside from that, things seem pretty normal -- perhaps go get Steve Kline, because he's madder than heck at the Cards and Boston is closer to his Pennsylvania home, and Mike Myers didn't exactly do the job as the lefty; stay away from Beltran - a 10-year deal? c'mon. Yeah, he's a great player and all. That's another one for Steinbrenner to have. Plus, we have no place for him in our outfield. Damon had a fantastic season, Manny is one of the best pure hitters in the game and Trot is the best defensive outfielder we have.

So, the Sox Christmas wish list looks like this: Varitek, Pedro (for a reasonable price), Pavano, Cabrera and Glaus. I think I like it.


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