If you don’t have a horse in the race, the end of the World Series is a wonderful thing. It means the offseason can officially begin. Here we sit mere days after the Cardinals were crowned, and things are already starting to happen.
There were a few Sox specific items that popped up. First, the Sox picked up the option on Marco Scutaro. This was really a no-brainer. So, I guess it’s nice to prove that the new GM has a brain. There was no reason not to pick up the option. Unless you’re planning on signing Jose Reyes, I suppose. Worst-case scenario Lowrie or Iglesias absolutely wow the Red Sox and force Scutaro to be a $6 million back-up. If that happens, the Sox will be in pretty good shape. Besides, it wouldn’t be the first high-priced back-up the Sox have ever had. More likely is that Scutaro ends up being the everyday shortstop. Possibly even the third baseman if they move Kevin Youkilis for pitching. Scutaro gives the team options without tying their hands. The fact that he was the only Sox who remembered how to play in September doesn’t hurt either.
All the expected Sox free agents filed as well. Two of the biggest are Papelbon and Ortiz. They’re both going to be huge decisions for Ben Cherington, right off the bat. Papelbon is everything the new age baseball people are supposed to hate. A high-priced closer. I have to imagine that in private there is no way the Sox want to take him pack at the money he’ll be looking for. I really can’t blame them. Yes, closers are fun for fans. I love being at the park when Papelbon makes his entrance. But, he’s not worth a fortune. I wonder what else the Sox could get if they didn’t need to spend $15 million on a pitcher who throws 64 innings. But, he’s popular, and fans think closers are vital. This will be a test to see if the Sox can stick to an unpopular game plan.
Which brings us to David Ortiz. Would there be a less popular move than to let him walk? Ortiz is the fan favorite of fan favorites. Cherington will have to decide once again if he wants to stick to his plan, and hold back against public pressures. Personally, I think you have to keep Ortiz. Unless you’re convincing Pujols to come DH, there’s nobody out there who can do what Ortiz does for the Sox.
For non-Red Sox news, I bet I’m not the only one shocked to see CC Sabathia not opt out of his contract. Don’t get me wrong. I’m all for players signing with whichever team they want. If Cliff lee wants to take less money to play in Philly instead of NY, that’s fantastic. If Sabathia wants to take less money to play in NY, that’s just fine. What’s weird is that he took less money to play in NY than he could have gotten to play in NY. Does anyone really think the Yankees offer would go down if he hit free agency? Could it possibly have hurt him? I don’t see it. It looks to me that he could have had the money, and still play in NY. But, he just didn’t. It doesn’t look like he was thinking very clearly with this decision.
Although, I guess anyone who willingly plays for the Yankees has already proven they’re not thinking clearly.