Dipping my toe back in the pool: on Johan and Schill

February 10th, 2008 → 10:52 am @ // No Comments

Some loyal readers have pointed out that there’s been an usually long period of silence coming from this corner; in fact, January was the first month FTM was quiet since we started (virtual) publication. There are some good reasons for this: I’ve been obsessing over my rapidly shrinking bank account; wondering why I felt compelled to buy real estate last spring; wondering why I felt compelled to buy tech stocks in the spring of 2000; wondering if I can make a career out of forecasting when bubbles are about to burst…well, you get the idea.

I’ve also been waiting for news–real news, news that’s worth talking about–to come out of Yawkey Way. There have been some minor developments, but call me crazy, I didn’t think Eric Hinske signing with the Jays was of true, earth-shattering importance.

I know what you’re thinking: what happened today? Did Curt’s shoulder actually fall off? Did Coco jump Jacoby in a back alley somewhere? Is Pedro coming back to the Sox as a bullpen coach? No, no, and no — and in fact, the news that brought me out of my winter hibernation was as commonplace as can be.

It was the staggering stupidity of our favorite punching bag: Murray Chass.

Chass has been, for as long as I can remember, a uniquely horrid sportswriter, one of those buffoons that make you wonder how folks like him manage to be gainfully employed. It’s not just that he’s lazy. It’s not just that he uses a column in a national newspaper to browbeat subjects who dare not talk to him. It’s also that he understands next to nothing about baseball.

Take today’s column, which, by the way, is buried, as always, deep within the Times‘s sports section. In a section titled “Giving Up Early,” Chass writes that the Sox “may yet regret that they were not more serious in their effort to win this winter’s Santana sweepstakes.” Chass implies that the Sox interest in Santana was because “their primary interest preventing the Yankees from getting Santana,” but that now, with Schilling’s shoulder trouble, the Sox need a starter. (He then floats one of those conspiracy theories that make no sense to anyone save for the little monkey living in Murray’s brain: “Players these days are supposed to have physicals before signing contracts. If the Red Sox found no shoulder problem in November before Schilling signed an $8 million contract, why does he have a shoulder problem now?” Does he think Curt’s faking — you know, because he doesn’t care about playing? Or that the Sox secretly sabotaged their own efforts and blew $8 mil in the process? Anyone who can figure this out gets a free prize.*)

Now, since neither Schill nor Wake is going anywhere, the Sox are guaranteed of having two 40+ starters on their team. They also have Dice-K, Beckett, Lester, and Buccholz. You could reasonably assume that the team’s brass figured that one of their older starters were likely going to be in the shop for repairs at any given point…but that their stable of young arms protected them.

The Sox might also have decided that, at the end of the day, paying Santana $140 mil through age 35 might not make sense – the team does, after all, know a little something about the durability of hard throwing aces that weight in at under two bills once they hit, say, age 32.

But it’s ridiculous to say that Ye Olde Towne team was never interested. Any package that includes either Jon or Jacoby is clearly a serious one. (For the record: I was never in favor of a Santana deal.

So there you have it. Happy new year, folks. I’ll be seeing you again real soon.

* Note: There is no prize.

Post Categories: 2007 Hot Stove Season & Curt Schilling & Johan Santana & Murray Chass

4 Comments → “Dipping my toe back in the pool: on Johan and Schill”

  1. Andrew G

    16 years ago

    Seth – Love the book and the blog and its great to see you back. Maybe it is because I thought the rumored Ellsbury and Lester offers were too rich, I was never fully convinced the sox were ready to give up that much to sign Santana to a $150M deal. Do you think there was ever a possibility of agreement on the players but the deal falling through (ie the sox offering Santana a smaller contract than he would accept)? Really an exercise in futility anyway.

    Also – I think you meant Hinske signed with the Rays, not Jays.


  2. lperdue

    16 years ago

    Dude, great to have you back. I can sympathize with the shrinking bank account issue. As I’ve learned over the years of working for myself: your account balance is the only difference between self-employed and un-employed.


  3. tinisoli

    16 years ago

    I never imagined that the Sox were serious about Santana, what with the money he was asking for (rightfully so, in light of Zito’s deal). But it seemed like a good move to get in the mix and prevent Johan from going to another AL East team, if nothing else. It’s hard to imagine them offering what the Mets offered for any star pitcher, even one a little younger than Johan. And I’m glad to see they didn’t give up the kids, especially Ellsbury. One thing that two WS titles in four years will buy you is some patience among the fans as far as giving the youth movement a shot. I’m fine waiting a few more years to win the next trophy if it means we get to do so with the lads guns who came up through the system. Going out and buying a Santana or a Miguel Cabrera doesn’t feel necessary in the way it did after ’03 or ’06.

    But the Schilling business seems odd. On the one hand, Sox “sources” are implying that they knew all along that Curt might pitch only half a season in 2008, but then $8 million for half a season seems like a hefty RAISE, doesn’t it? Shouldn’t they have offered $5 million guaranteed plus $8 in incentives?


  4. JoelShoe

    16 years ago

    This whole post looks to me like a big misdirection play.

    You’ve got news to report/comment on. That news makes some person or entity — Schilling, the Red Sox doctors, the Red Sox front office, maybe all three — look pretty bad. And you spend the column ragging on… Murray Chass? We know Chass is an idiot. But this post leaves the distinct impression that you are unwilling to criticize the actual people who were directly involved with this story.


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