November 30, 2003

Ha Ha Ha! Some wishful thinking from New York:

Bill Madden: "Francona will be officially named the new Boston manager on Tuesday and all you can say to that is: Will the Red Sox ever get it? Red Sox brass is clearly going for it all next year with a bust-the-budget roster that is banking on two aging and delicate starting pitchers ... After 2004, their core players - Martinez, Nomar Garciaparra, Jason Varitek, Martinez [Pedro's leaving twice!], and Trot Nixon - are all free agents and likely to be gone. In the meantime, though, the pamper-the-superstars, country-club environment goes on in Boston as now the newest Red Sox supertstar [sic] has brought in his own manager with him."

Shaun Powell: "Believe this: It will be very, very tense in Boston next season. By signing Schilling ... the Red Sox made a decision. They're going for broke. They're staking their city's fragile mental health, their enormous payroll and their entire philosophy on next season. It's all or nothing for a team trying to end 85 years of frustrating finishes."

(Have you ever heard Schilling described as "delicate" before? "Aging"? Please. Pedro is 32; Mussina turns 35 next month and Contreras is 57.)

The Schilling negotiations will undoubtedly effect any talks with Pedro Martinez about a possible extension past 2004. Martinez will earn $17.5 next season and Schilling's deal averages out to $12.75 per year. In a press conference last month, Pedro said he understood he might have to take less money in the future. $14 for 3 years sounds about as high as Boston should go. Pedro should take it and stand alongside Schilling for the 2005-06-07 seasons.

Both John Henry and Theo Epstein made it clear that flexibility is key. Henry: "It was Curt's goal that his deal not adversely impact the competitiveness of the franchise. We had the same goal. We knew the realities of the current market, but we were not about to wait around to determine exactly what they were. There almost certainly is another franchise that would have paid him more money, but this was about his career and as he said at the outset, dollars were not the most important aspect here." Theo: "There was a bit of a disparity between what Curt deserved for what he brings to the table and what we needed to be able to remain competitive in building the rest of the team. Through a lot of extra effort on both sides, we were able to come to a position that satisfied both criteria." And: "Curt wasn't out for every last dollar. Very far from it. He wanted to structure his deal so the Red Sox would be competitive for every year of his contract."

Some random notes from the Globe: From a guest at Nomar's wedding: "The buzz around the place was that Nomar really wants to stay in Boston. They're trying to work it out right now. Nomar certainly doesn't like the media attention, but he loves playing baseball in Boston." ... Jose Canseco hopes to become the next Bruce Lee. ... According to a source close to Andy Pettitte, the best offers he has received are from the Astros and Red Sox. ... The oddsmakers at The Palms in Las Vegas now list the Red Sox at 4-1 to win the 2004 World Series (down from 7-1); the Yankees remain at 3-1. ... If the Sox do get another closer, Scott Williamson would like to start. ... Mike Lupica: "Epstein 1, Yankees 0" ... Bill Moyers on Jim Bouton. ... A Schilling chat transcript from Saturday night.

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