At the stroke of midnight tonight baseball's free agency begins, grab on to something because this will be an active off season. Players like CC Sabathia, Mark Texeria, Ben Sheets, Derek Lowe, AJ Burnett, and Jason Varitek are some of the bigger names available this off season.
I wouldn't expect any big name to be signed tomorrow, but I've been wrong before and I'll be wrong again. Baseball agents tend to let the market establish itself in the off season before signing, clubs do the same.
We've already seen the first of many Scott Boras related stories, including one written write here on ITM. Look for him to be in the spot light as he represents just about every free agent there is, including Sox catcher Jason Varitek.
So what are the Red Sox plans for the off season? I think it starts behind home plate. I think they resign Jason Varitek, there is no way they give him the 4 year 52 million dollar contract Boras wants, but I think he comes back. I don't really have a problem with the Sox over paying for players because lets face it, they can afford it, but the length of Tek's potential contract could be a point of contention for both sides.
There's also been a lot of rumblings about the Sox talking to the Rangers about one of there three catchers, Gerald Laird, and youngsters Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Talyor Teagarden. Ideally I would like the Sox to sign Tek and trade for a Saltalmacchia or Teagarden, both of those names are fun to say and I would definitely buy their t-shirt jersey. However to get one of those guys the Sox would have to wave goodbye to Buchholz or Michael Bowden. But that's why you have prospects to improve your team and I think the Sox need a catcher of the future. Perhaps bringing him in now allows him to learn a thing or two (though not hitting) from Tek.
Mark Teixeria is priority 1A or 1B this off season, and its not all about the Yankees getting him, its more the Sox could really use him. Teixeria is 28 and absolutely rakes the ball, plays gold glove first base, and if signed here will have enough money to buy every fan a Fenway Frank this year. If the Sox do land Teixeria expect Youk to move back to third and Lowell to be dealt somewhere. Scott Boras also represents Teixeria so I wouldn't think he signs for a few weeks as the Yanks and Sox get in a bidding war.
Derek Lowe isn't coming back to Boston, I'm sorry he 36, loves the sauce and will probably get 15 million/year somewhere else. He wouldn't be a bad 4th or 5th option but I just can't see it. What I can see is the revival of the Derek Lowe face on center stage if he comes back. Since the Dlowe has left the sox culture has definitely changed, I don't need the Derek Lowe face coming back and keeping me up at night. Pro to Lowe coming back, I live near the city now and could possibly run into him and have a beer, or 19, with him.
The Yankees missed the playoffs for the first time since 1994 and that was the year of the strike (greedy bastards), they are going to spend US Govt bail out type of money, and like the bail out they will light plenty of it on fire and watch it burn. The Yanks will be going after Teixeria, Sabbathia, AJ Burnett, and Roger Clemens. Ok probably not Clemens but that would be funny.
Today the Yanks traded for Pedro Gomez's 2008 preseason MVP Nick Swisher...
The Angels have seemed to have cut ties with Krod, he's going to get PAID. He'll end up in with the Mets, that's your Tim Murphy Stone Cold Locke Lead Pipe Keystone Light A1 prediction, mark it zero, next frame.
And then there's a former Sox Slugger Manny Ramirez, yeah he's okay. Manny, also represented by Boras, is reportedly looking for a 6 year deal worth 25 million dollars per year. I would like to point out that 5 minutes after signing a deal like that Manny will never run out a ground ball again. Instead I imagine he'll tag in the bat boy and he'll run the bases for him, that's just Manny being Manny I guess.
The Dodgers seem serious about getting Manny back, however a 2 year deal is on the table with an option for the third. I don't see anyone giving Manny 4 years guaranteed...except the Yankees. Why because they're stupid rich, a dangerous combination. If the Yankees don't get Teixeria I think they sign Manny. I say let them, he'll probably bat 1100 against the Sox in 2009 but the potential for comedy with Manny and Hank Steinbrenner is off the charts.
Yes ITM is back, congrats to the Phillies for winning the World Series. Tampa fans can now go back to Disney World and playing bridge, whatever they did before the playoffs started.