It’s three weeks into the free agency season…and when all’s said and done, here’s what we know about the 2007 roster:
Curt Schilling will be a starting pitcher
Jason Varitek will be the catcher
David Ortiz will be the DH
Jonathan Papelbon will be on the roster
And that’s it. No joke: there are no other untouchables. Youk? Pedroia? Hansen? For the right deal, they could all go. Wily Mo and Coco? Make an offer. Mike Lowell? His $9 mil price tag might seem cheap in comparison to Juan Pierre’s deal, but he could be packing his bags, too.
There are some intriguing possibilities out there, though, at least one of which hasn’t been much discussed, and that’s the possibility that Trot Nixon ends up back in Boston on a one-year deal. Said possibility was raised by Peter Gammons — an unabashed Nixon fan and someone with more than his share of confidantes in the Red Sox front office — when Gammo said Nixon could still accept arbitration from the Sox and end up back in Boston on something akin to a one-year, $7 million deal. In a frenzied free agent market, it’s somewhat shocking how little interest there’s been in the original Dirt Dog: this is, after all, a guy who’s only 33 and had a .974 OPS in 2003. Of course, since then his power has pretty much gone out the window, and he seems more fragile than J.D. Drew…but shit, he still looks like he’d be a decent option for some team out there.
If Trot does end up back in Boston and if Manny does end up somewhere else and if the Sox do end up signing Julio Lugo and J.D. Drew and Matsuzaka — a whole mess of ifs, I know — we could be looking at something like this:
Tek – C
Youk – 1st
Pedroia – 2nd
Lowell – 3rd
Lugo – SS
WMP – left
J.D. Drew – right/center
Coco – right/center
Ortiz – DH
Trot – right/left supersub
Schilling — SP
Matsuzaka — SP
Beckett — SP
Papelbon — SP
Wakefield — SP
Of course, that’s not taking into account who’d come to Boston in return for #24. And that’s sure to be something spicy.
All pure speculation. But a lot better than some of the speculation out there. Like that of Steve Phillips, whose entire career on ESPN has been devoted to showing the world why he no longer has a job as a major league GM. He said — in public! — that Barry Bonds might end up patroling left field.
This makes perfect sense. Except that:
* Bonds has said the whole city of Boston is full of racist jerks and he’d never play here
* The Sox would be getting someone who’s arguably the only person in baseball who could be more of a distraction that Manny
* His barcalounger wouldn’t fit in the Sox’s clubhouse
* He’s a near-cripple
* He’d bring a circus at a time when Theo Epstein has shown a consistent interest in reducing the circus-like atmosphere at Fenway.
Tune in tomorrow, when Phillips explains why Nomar might be included in the Dodgers’ proposed deal for Manny.
There’s more smoke and mirrors in this Globe piece from Gordo, although it’s not Edes’s fault: he’s just reporting the disinformation coming from various MLB execs. But the explanations offered up for why Manny wouldn’t want to go to San Diego — he’s not familiar with NL pitchers, the big dimensions of Petco would be bad for his power numbers, the Padres wouldn’t want a $20 mil a year guy — seem pretty silly. It’s hard to conceive of Manny being afraid of any pitcher, anywhere. And anyone who’s seen him plant a ball on the pike knows he’s not too concerned with the dimensions of whatever field he ends up playing on.