Thursday, November 26

Happy Turkey Day Boston, Gonzo Signs With the Jays

I'm two seconds away from settling into my turkey-induced coma when I hear that Gonzo has signed with the Bluejays. The news certainly won't stop me from collapsing into a chair for a few hours, but it does rub me the wrong way.

I understand the Sox not picking up his initial option, but I was truly hoping they would negotiate a lesser contract for 2010. Gonzo could have been a solid stop gap next year while Boston's Cuban sensation develops down on the farm (is it way too early to call him a sensation?).

So the Sox will now certainly acquire a shortstop from outside the organization to fill their ever-changing faces at short. As we all know, Theo wouldn't care if he never saw Jed Lowrie again, so it's likely the Sox may be looking to the NL for a filler in 2010. As cool as Marco Scurtaro's name is, the answer is not overpaying for a 34 year old short stop who has had one solid year. Awesome name aside of course.

What bothers me about the Gonzo signing is it was for 1 year, at 3 million (of course affordable for the Sox), and we'll get to see his masterful skills 19 times a season since he'll stay in the AL East. It makes me wonder how serious Theo was about resigning him in the first place....perhaps it indicates he has bigger, better plans in the works.

For once, just once, I want a value-added short stop who isn't an offensive liability at the plate. Something I may have to wait for Jose Iglesias to have.

I promise I trust in Theo this off season, but I can't help but feel a little anxious (which you could also call nervous) about the implications of the potential roster changes (see Roy Halladay).

It's quite possible the Sox will have an entirely new left side of the infield in 2010. In Theo I trust....I swear.....I think.

Now back to my regularly schedule Thanksgiving food coma.

Friday, November 20

Big Papi the GM?

David Ortiz is in fairytale land and playing GM again. The just turned 34 year old spoke out yesterday, providing the media with his thoughts on Boston's off season needs:

“Everybody was looking at me like I was a clown,’’ Ortiz said yesterday at Fenway Park, dropping an expletive to make his point. “I said we needed another 30-home run hitter. Everybody was talking trash. There you go. Now what?’’.....

“You want to compete with those guys across the street? You better bring it. Period,’’ Ortiz said, referencing the Yankees. “We always need help. We need guys capable to produce. Not only us, everybody. That’s what everybody chases in the off season, guys that can come in and provide power, RBIs....

“This is a team that plays in the [American League] East division. Everything is powerful right here. You saw the world champions in the East. You have Tampa Bay in the East. You have the Blue Jays getting stronger every year in the East. You have Baltimore that you don’t know if they’re going to come and kick your [butt] all year along in the East.

“This division is hard to play. You need to get stronger.’’

And finally, in regards to landing either Adrian Gonzalez or King Felix...

“If I can get both of them, I bring them in,’’ he said. “Problem solved.’’

So there you go, it's that easy. Apparently, Ortiz has all the answers, I'm sure Theo is taking notes as he reads this. Seriously, do you think Theo reads stuff like this and shakes his head with a chuckle? Or does he sink whisky, fire a junior analyst, rehire him, and then break his glass by throwing it against the wall? I'm going with the latter.

Is it time for Spring Training yet?

and PS: it's been confirmed that Theo hates Jed Lowrie....hates.

Monday, November 16

2010 Sox Ticket Prices to Increase

The great recession you say? What of it? Swept out of the ALDS in crushing fashion? Who cares. Ticket prices at America's most beloved ball park are going up next year. One year after freezing prices, the average seat at Fenway will rise again in 2010....although it appears the most significant increases will be felt by the pink hats, which is fine by me....

Lower bleacher, infield grandstands and right field box seats will be increased by two dollars....while loge, field box, and the coveted green monster seats will jump by five bucks each.

Enter management's media spin.. "63 percent of the tickets at Fenway park will be 52 bucks or less." Yeah, thanks a lot. 52 dollars at most other parks would last me the entire game. In Kansas City, I could buy half the team. Instead, in Boston, add in 30+ dollars for parking, outragoues food prices, and 8+ bucks per adult beverage, and an "average" night at friendly Fenway will run well north of $150.

As a result of the Yankees building that monstrosity of a complex 300 miles Southwest of Boston, the Sox had the second-highest average ticket price in 2009 at $50.24, while the Yanks rumbled in at $72.97.

In the grand scheme of things, nothing much will change. The franchise’s record sellout streak of 550 games will continue, fans will fight in the bleachers and I'll pay for a few too many adult beverages every time I go.

First chance for dibs on tickets for the 2010 season will be at the team’s annual Christmas at Fenway celebration on December 21.....take it from this guy who went last's a great chance to get tickets early and often, but irrational spending may require you to take out additional lines of credit.

Saturday, November 14

Soccer Goalie Gets Owned

This has absolutely nothing to do with the Red Sox, or baseball.....and considering it's soccer, it hardly qualifies as a sports post. That said, this has to be one of the best in your face taunts I've seen in a long time. Football players sit around all day and dream up touchdown dances (and then immediately get fined by the No Fun League), but this college soccer player provides the best on the spot, rub it in your face celebration yet. It's too good not to post:

Enjoy this monsoon of a weekend. Go Sox.

Thursday, November 12

Buster Onley: Sox may stay quiet

The Busta Bust is grabbing the torch from Peter Gammons and running with it. Not that I equate the two, but this guy is waiting in the wings, ready to pounce on the title of "the god of baseball knowledge". Olney makes a few quality points here, and even goes so far as to suggest the Sox will stay quiet this off season in preparation to land some big time names next off season when the free agent market is better (think Mauer) and the economy has recovered (God willing). I'm not entirely sold on the economic significance within this theory, but there is growing talk that the Sox will take a similar road as last off season and look for low risk, high reward type players.

Names like Erik Bedard and Justin Duchscherer are currently being tossed around.

Call me crazy, but this theory doesn't seem to match up wtih Theo's recent comments in Chicago while at the GM meetings. He's not saying anything definitive, but indicated the desire to push the payroll envelope this off season if it makes sense. We know the money is there, bad economy or not, go out and get it done Theo. While you're at it, keep taking a little out of the ol' pay check for Mauer in 2011.

Tuesday, November 10

Details on the Wakefield Deal:

Below are the recently hammered out details of Wake's new deal. It comes as no surprise that it is incentive-laden, which will require the 73 year old knuckleballer to maintain some semblance of health in order to reach financial milestones. Thanks to EEI's Alex Speier for the specifics:

Base salary is $3.5m in 2010 and $1.5m in 2011.

Bonuses in 2010: Wakefield receives $50,000 each for starts 11-15; $75,000 each for starts 16-25; and $100,000 each for starts 26-30. (Max potential earnings: $5 million.)

Escalator clause for base salary in 2011: Wakefield’s 2011 base salary can increase, based on the number of innings he throws in 2010. If he throws 130 innings this coming season, his 2011 base salary increases to $2 million; he throws 160 innings in 2010, he would earn a $3.5 million base.

Bonuses in 2011: Wakefield’s potential bonuses for 2011 will depend on the base salary:
If the base salary is $1.5 million (after fewer than 130 innings in 2010): $100,000 each for starts 11-15; $200,000 each for starts 16-25, and $250,000 each for starts 26-30. (Max potential earnings: $5.25 million.)

If the base salary is $2 million (if he throws at least 130 innings but fewer than 160): $75,000 each for starts 11-15; $150,000 each for starts 16-20; $200,000 each for starts 21-30. (Max potential earnings: $5.125 million.) If the base salary is $3.5 million (provided Wakefield throws at least 160 innings in 2010), the bonuses are the same as in 2010: $50,000 each for starts 11-15; $75,000 each for starts 16-25; and $100,000 each for starts 26-30. (Max potential earnings: $5 million.)

This reminds me that y=mx+b. It also tells me that Wake is a warrior. I would have hung up the cleats 5 years ago if I were him, but he loves the game and is always a valuable member of the pitching staff. If you don't like and admire Tim Wakefield, then you might as well kick puppies for a living, because you're just a bad person.

Sunday, November 8

The Search at Short Continues?

It's officially the 2010 season. Here at ITM we'll try to avoid mentioning the culmination of the 2009 season at all costs, as well as write in during the off season to discuss potential deals, moves, and prospects leading up to Spring Training.

News out of the Sox camp today is that they have officially declined a 6 million dollar option for Alex Gonzalez. This is not to say the Sox won't try to bring Gonzo back for the already much-anticipated 2010 season, they're just telling everyone that 6 million is far too high a price to pay. It is quite likely the Sox will continue to negotiate with Gonzo, hoping to sign the 32 year old with gold glove talent to a cheaper deal. The interesting part of this move is that the Sox had until the end of the month to decline the option, thus sending Gonzo into free agency sooner than expected.

This news comes just days after the Sox reportedly asked about J.J. Hardy. Hardy has been on Boston's radar since the trading deadline, but an asking price of either Bard or Buchholz kept the Sox from getting too serious about bringing the 27 year old (who has some legit pop in his bat, albeit, National League pop) to Fenway.

I recently spent a lot of time on a plane coming back from a business trip to India, and while flying somewhere over Iran, a sharp fear ran through my body...."what if the Sox don't pay for Gonzo, and in this terrible free agent market, end up with Lowrie at short?" The German guy sitting next to me didn't answer, but he looked just as scared as I felt....i'm sure he shared my concern.

Currently, with Gozno officially a free agent, the Sox don't have a legit short stop on their roster for next season. Would I be willing to pay the full 6 million for Gonzo to allow me to breathe a little easier every time I fly over Iran? Considering how much we paid for Rentawreck and Lugo, absolutely I would....

Go Sox
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