Tex going to the Yanks sucks for two major reasons; first the Sox have to see him 19 times during the regular season when the play the Yankees. Secondly the Red Sox line up remains a bit of question mark. If Lowell and Ortiz both come back healthy the Sox will be in great shape, however if not the hole left by Manny Ramirez will be talked about, especially after failing to sign Teixeira.
To complicate things in Red Sox Nation Kevin Youkilis' agent said a long term deal will not be reached between his client and the Sox this off season. Youk can either go to salary arbitration or sign another 1 year contract, I'd guess he'd make about $11 million next year either way.
In my opinion this isn't as big of a deal as others are making it out to be. The Sox are probably offering a contract similar to Pedroia, where the last years are back loaded with money. Youk is seeing dollar signs in his head as Teixeira just signed for $180 million; why would he sign a home town discount and why would the Sox offer him a truck load of money when they still control his future for another two years.
Secondly, I've heard some people say Youk is worth Mark Teixeira type money. I have to disagree with that at his point in both players careers. Youk has 3 full seasons under his belt and in that time is averaging 19 home runs, 90 rbi, and a .292 average. Tex is averaging 36 home runs, 121 rbi and a .290 batting average in his 6 year career.
I'd also like to point out Tex's on base percentage has been .400 the last two season, he gets on base 40% of the time. Hopefully Youk can continue to improve and put up numbers in the 4 hole, however 2008 was his first complete season statically speaking.
Now that the ink has dried on Tex's contract it's time to move on as Sox fans. The 2009 team is definitely going to compete with starting pitching and reigning MVP Dustin Pedroia. As far as who is the division favorite now it's hard to say; the Yanks are certainly better after spending $424 million and the Rays are bringing just about everyone back.
The Sox still have a few moves to make in regard to a 4th outfielder and another starting pitcher. Theo and the Brass also need to address the catching situation. Until then 2009 is shaping up to be another highly competitive year of baseball, which is what we all really want anyway, whether we realize it or not.
Happy Holidays to everyone and thanks for reading.