With the Winter Meetings in full swing, it’s no surprise that we are starting to see a few big moves being announced. The Red Sox started the ball rolling by signing J.D. Drew and Julio Lugo.
Much as I have had a go at Just Dollars Drew, he is undoubtedly a good player and you have to grudgingly admit that his agent his done a great job for his client (yet again). Putting him in the five spot behind Ortiz and Manny makes for a very intimidating batting core. Of course, whether this plays out depends on whether Ramirez is still in Boston come April. While Manny does come with some bulky baggage, he is quite simply one of the very best hitters in the game. His fielding can be “interesting” at best, but with Ortiz locked in the DH spot you have to weigh it up and say that what he gives up on defense he more than makes up for on offense. The one other knock against Manny has been his contract yet there seems little point in trading him now when, compared to the current market, Boston almost have him on the cheap.
If the Red Sox can couple that lineup with an improved rotation then they will really be in business. Much will depend on the Matsuzaka saga currently being played out. Scott Boras (who must be making a tidy commission off Boston this winter) came out yesterday and started rambling about elephants:
“I think it’s going to take a cooperative effort from three parties to get something done on this,” Boras said. “The elephant in the room always is the principle of allocation. [That's] something that we don’t normally have to deal with. We’re all trying to create the saddle to ride the elephant, so we’ll see.”
I’m guessing he followed this quote with something about seagulls following trawlers or such like. Anyway, all of the parties concerned have a vested interest in agreeing to a deal so I’m still expecting this to happen. If it does, Yankees fans might regret any crowing about the Red Sox’s third place finish in 2006.
And while the Red Sox are trying to shake things up in the AL East, the Dodgers are making some noise in the NL West. The breaking news today is that Jason Schmidt has agreed to a three year deal worth $47 million (about £153k per week). That’s a fair chunk of change, but $15.5m per year isn’t exactly outrageous in the current market and the key with any deal is to guard against uncertainty. Schmidt is 33, but I wouldn’t have been surprised to see someone offer him a five year deal just to win the race to sign him. Three years is a fairly safe time period for a team to commit to.
So a few deals are now starting to surface and I’m sure there will be plenty more over the next couple of days.