December 20, 2004

Varitek, Six Others, Decline Arbitration. All of Boston's remaining free agents -- Varitek, Lowe, Cabrera, Reese, McCarty, Myers and Astacio -- rejected salary arbitration yesterday.

In the most important case -- Varitek -- it means the Red Sox have until January 8 to negotiate a contract. If they cannot come to terms by then, Varitek would essentially be gone, since Boston could not talk with him until May.

Tim Wakefield saw no evidence of any discontent between Martinez and Schilling last season. "I totally understand (Pedro's statements). I wish him all of the best and hopefully I'll get to see him again. ... I cherish the memories I have playing with Pedro Martinez for the seven years he was here."

Dave Roberts loves Boston and wants to start. "It's kind of tricky because the Red Sox' outfield is already set for next year. ... It's tough because I'm caught in the middle of playing in a place I love and people I love here in Boston and trying to win another championship, or try to do the best for my career and my family."

The Yankees expect Randy Johnson to ask for a two-year extension for about $32 million: "Added to Johnson's $16 million salary for this coming season, that would be a $48 million investment for a pitcher who will be 44 in the final season of the deal and already requires synthetic gel injections to lubricate his cranky right knee."

At his Mets press conference, Martinez said that 28-inch-tall Nelson de la Rosa's role as the Red Sox's good-luck charm last year was "just a trick." Now de la Rosa, who has not spoken to Pedro since the victory parade, is a little pissed off. "He broke my heart. ... I'm not going to the Mets unless some other Dominican ballplayer makes me an offer. And if the Yankees call me, I'll go with them."

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