December 5, 2004

A Full Plate. A Red Sox team source told the Herald that the Jason Varitek situation is "very solvable. ... Boras knows we're not going to a no-trade ... [but] the deal is already effectively a no-trade deal after year three (because of Varitek's 10-5 rights).

Varitek's latest offer to the Red Sox would allow the club to void a proposed five-year contract after four years because of injury. Varitek says he's making every effort to re-sign short of "shooting myself in the foot. ... [W]e've made some progress. We've come off five years while still allowing me to have the opportunity to have five years."

On keeping Varitek -- Schilling: "It's incredibly important. I've talked to him quite a bit in the last month. He's the guy I'm most concerned about." Mirabelli: "I think it's impossible for the Red Sox to let him go. We can't fill his shoes. He fills so many different roles on the team, his durability and leadership. I think it would be devastating to this team if Jason Varitek isn't back."

Some Sox were shocked when Pedro Martinez met with the Yankees, "struggl[ing] to shake the image of Martinez making nice with their archrivals. 'I was surprised that Pedro went there,' Curt Schilling said ... [C]ould Schilling actually imagine Martinez in pinstripes? 'No, God, no,' he said. 'Not after this year. No way.'"

Newsday's David Lennon says the Mets were "cautiously optimistic" about signing Pedro Martinez, but are now "more confident" since Boston will not offer Martinez a fourth year. While the Mets wait for Pedro's counter-offer, they are also wondering how they can sweeten the deal, if necessary.

Because of the Red Sox's firm stance (which I agree with (though I now wonder if they'd consider some type of Tek-like injury clause for that extra season)), it looks like Martinez's choice (assuming no other team, like Anaheim, gets involved) comes down to: three years in Boston or four years in Shea.

For a World Series celebration in Ft. Myers next week, the Red Sox did not invite Derek Lowe, who lives in that Florida town. The team claims Lowe was "unavailable," but he says, "They never called." ... Kevin Millar and Doug Mientkiewicz are both being shopped (at least one of them will not be back). ... Larry Lucchino says the World Series trophy will visit all 351 cities and towns in Massachusetts between now and Opening Day. ... Hey Red Sox: There's more than a few Sox fans in New York who'd like to see it also!

Gordon Edes of the Globe asks: "What if baseball had a steroid scandal and nobody cared?" ... Schilling offers his two cents. ... Gammons mentions an MSNBC report that three Yankees -- Giambi, Sheffield and Kevin Brown -- are now involved in the developing scandal.

The Yankees sent Kenny Lofton and cash to the Phillies for setup man Felix Rodriguez and reacquired Mike Stanton from the Mets. They also gave up on Randy Johnson because they felt the Diamondbacks' demands were too high.

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