This is the fourth in an occasional series of Sneak Peeks from Feeding the Monster. The section below–which is running in honor of Curt Schilling’s tenth win of the season–takes place on November 26 and 28, 2003, the span during which the Red Sox were allowed to negotiate a contract with Schilling. Here, CEO Larry Lucchino, general manager Theo Epstein, and assistant to the general manager Jed Hoyer are at Schilling’s house outside of Phoenix, Arizona, trying to convince the big righthander to agree to a trade that would send him to Boston. (Schilling had initially said he would only agree to trades that would send him to either the Phillies or the Yankees.)
Schilling’s initial wariness was noticeably softening. “The preperation they did in getting ready was big for me,” he says. “It was impressive. It was clear, they’re a very forward-thinking group of guys, and I knew that was going to mesh with what I was trying to do. There was just a lot of common ground.” That night, the Sox made their initial proposalâ€šÃ„Ã®three years with a club option for a fourth year or four guaranteed years at less money.
Schilling contemplated the offer, pointedly playing with his gaudy World Series ring. “Look,” he said. “You guys are bringing me here for one reason. It’s not to make the playoffs. It’s to get beyond where you were last year and win the World Series. Let’s make that very clear.” Since that was the case, Schilling said, why not build in a World Series clause into his contract: If the team won the championship while he was in Boston, he’d get a raise for every year remaining on the deal. “I don’t want a clause that says, ‘If we make the World Series,’” Schilling said. “This is about winning the World Series. That’s all I care about. That’s what I’d be there for.”
As Hoyer says, “We were like, ‘Yeah, that’s pretty cool.’”
As the Red Sox executives were heading back to Schilling’s house on Friday afternoon, they were hopeful they could seal the deal, but they knew that if Schilling didn’t agree to their new offer, they’d have almost no time to renegotiate. When they arrived at Schilling’s house, they presented him with their latest offer. Schilling took the piece of paper on which they had written out all of the specifics–the World Series clause, the award bonuses, the club option–and was silent for several minutes. Finally, he looked up…
What was Schilling’s response to Boston’s initial offer? What was it that sealed the deal? And what were the big righthander’s first impressions of playing in Fenway? Find out the answers to these questions, along with much more about Schilling’s tenure in Boston, in Feeding the Monster, out July 11 from Simon & Schuster.