Thanksgiving is like beer, you can't really start early in the morning unless you want to be passed out and heaving come mid-afternoon. So because I have some time to kill this morning, I'm going to go all baseball on you here and take a look at what the Sox are, or have been rumored, to be looking to do this off-season. Now these explanations aren't exactly full of sound reasoning or even semi-sound reasoning, they're just full of whatever falls out of my head onto the keyboard.
Harry "Roy" Halladay - Rumors have it the Sox are going to have to give up Clay Buchholz and highly touted (baseball term) Casey Kelly AND possibly one more prospect to get a piece of Halladay this year and this would just be a "rental" year for the Sox as Halladay becomes a free agent at the end of 2010. He'll be 34 this May and looking for something like $20 Mil a year for at least 4 years which means he would be pitching for the Sox when he turns 38. Giving up Buchholz and Kelly for one year and negotiating rights to Halladay seems steep to me. Not to mention the Sox have other glaring holes to fill besides starting pitching. (read as: they need a bat)
Marco Scutaro - At some point the Sox need to address the SS problem but Marco is not the best answer. He's 34 (I guess everyone on the Blue Jays is) and has been in a full time position for 6 years and last year was the best year of his career. 34 year olds rarely get better with age and the Sox will be overpaying for him no matter what they pay because he's a Type-A free agent which means they'll be losing a pick if they do sign him. (Although with Bay and Wagner signing elsewhere they would get those picks) The Sox also have Jose Iglesias, aka the next SS savior, in the minors right now, so they don't want to lock up anyone to block him out in the next two years.
John Lackey - Ok, don't stop reading just yet. Lackey has been injured, yes, but he's also only 30 years old and has a lot less innings on his arm than Halladay. He'll come relatively cheaper (maybe in the $16-17 Mil range compared to $20) and you're getting more prime years than you are with Halladay. He is no Halladay and I'm not saying he is, but he may fit in the puzzle.
Miguel Cabrera - Ok, don't stop reading just yet. Sounds familiar. Miggy is a nut, no doubt about that. He got hammered the night before an incredibly important game last year, he harassed a fat kid at a hotel and he's got a huge contract to boot. Something you probably don't know about him: since 2004 he's played no LESS than 157 games a season. While he seems like a Manny type headcase, the guy shows up and plays. His contract could be crippling (signed through 2015 with roughly $118Mil remaining or an avg of $19/year) kind of like Manny, but he's 26 and all signs say he's not going to stop hitting any time soon. If the Sox are going to deal away guys like Buchholz and Kelly, they should consider getting a bat like Cabrera's in return. Detroit is looking to cut salary which in coded baseball terms means "we need to get rid of the guy that we're paying $20 Mil per season and fill that hole with less expensive options".
Here is how it should work. (I'll put a little salary explanation at the end so don't worry when you're reading it.) Sox should pass on Halladay. The Yankees don't have (says I the baseball professional) the prospects to land him so no one has to panic that the Yankees are going to pull a Tex and shove him down our throats. Sign Lackey to a 4-5 year deal worth $16-17 a year, so $70-85 Mil total. Trade Buchs and Kelly to Detroit for Cabrera. Detroit will take the trade to get rid of Miggy's giant contract. As for the OF, chances are if they sign Lackey they're not going to go after Bay/Holliday for the ridiculous numbers they are asking, they have Hermida already, so have him and Jermaine Dye, X-Nady or a slew of other affordable free agents platoon with Hermida.
Last year the Sox were at around $122 Mil for a total payroll (give or take incentives and such). This year Bay ($8 Mil), Wanger($10), A-Gon ($5) and a few others come off the payroll so they're looking at around $100 to start. Add in $17 for Lackey, $19 for Cabrera and you're looking at $136. If they can deal Lowell and half his salary, it goes to $130. After finding a suitable OF and SS it's probably at $140, but look at the potential lineup and starters.
CF - Ellsbury
2B - Pedroia
C - Martinez
1B - Cabrera
3B - Youk
DH - Ortiz
RF - Drew
LF - Hermida/FA
SS - FA
Obviously all this depends on lots of things, but it's not my money so it works for me. Next year Beckett, Lowell and Ortiz are free agents so has to be the year to make another push for a ring. And THAT is what I'm thinking this morning. Bring on the turkey.
Free t-shirt to anyone that actually read this far.