THE WHEELS OF CHANGE ARE TURNING
They’ve hardly finished sweeping up the confetti in the Canyon of Heroes (they should have dropped some of it in bales on the Yankees) and things are happening. There really isn’t much of an offseason anymore. The Red Sox have picked up the option on catcher Victor Martinez. That was a no-brainer. Martinez will be the every day catcher for Boston, putting an end to the Varitek era. Jason could use his player option to remain in Boston as a back up to Martinez. Tek would still command a 3 million dollar salary. (unbelievable money everywhere but in baseball!) We’ve always heard about what a leader and example he is, so it shouldn’t be a problem if he and his agent Scott Boras decide to remain in Boston. Those moves didn’t surprise me. Signing Tim Wakefield for two years did. The 43 year old knuckleballer is coming off back surgery and is recuperating in Florida. If he returns healthy, he could make 10 million over the life of the deal. It is reportedly worth 3.5 in ’10 and another 1.5 in’11. With incentives for starts and innings pitched, it could double. Wake is also just 13 wins shy of surpassing Cy Young and Roger Clemens as the winningest pitcher in Red Sox history. If he can regain the All-Star form of the first half of 2009, 25 wins, and 200 for his career are attainable. Boston declined to pick up the option on Alex Gonzalez. That surprised me, given the lack of depth at shortstop in the organization. Jed Lowrie is a question mark after battling wrist problems all year. If he’s healthy, he could produce. Gonzalez cemented the infield defense down the stretch and added some bonus offense, hitting .284 with 5 home runs. There is always a chance that Theo could bring him back for less money. Nick Green and Joey Gathright both turned down assignments to Pawtucket and elected free agency. Green recently had disc surgery and should be OK by the Spring. He feels he could catch on as a utility guy with someone. Boston has exclusive negotiating rights with Jason Bay until November 20. After that, he becomes an unrestricted free agent. It looks like he will test the waters, and who can blame him? After all, the Red Sox only offered him 15 million a year for the next 4 seasons.
Congratulations to long-time PawSox trainer, Greg Barajas. Barajas, the 2007 I.L. Trainer of the Year was named to the Major League training staff. Greg will serve as assistant to newly anointed head trainer Mike Reinold. Reinold was promoted when the Sox let Paul Lessard go. Barajas has earned the bump through the spectacular work he has done in Pawtucket over the last 5 seasons. The life of a minor league trainer isn’t the easiest. Aside from tending to the health and well-being of the Sox’ prospects, Greg handles logistics on the road, serves as a sounding board for manager Ron Johnson and also acts as a part-time psychologist and babysitter. Anyway, whoever replaces Greg at McCoy has very big shoes to fill.