Red Sox and other baseball thoughts on the eve of free agency

Well, MLB free agency will be upon us in about two hours time.  Almost like Christmas Eve right?  Not so much.  Baseball free agency moves at a snails pace and this year will be no exception, with the biggest prize on the market being tied up waiting for his current team’s manager situation to be settled.  Here are some thoughts.

  • What a difference a few days makes…during the weekend the Red Sox had the only managerial opening in the majors but in the past 72 hours Theo Epstein’s Cubs and the world-champion Cardinals have opened up their positions.  Between Theo and Cherington’s philosophical similarities and the rivalry between the Cubs and the Cardinals I expect alot of stepping on each others toes, whether intentional or not, in the next few weeks while this all plays itself out.
  • Of course the crown jewel of free agency, Albert Pujols, will wait and see what happens with the manager’s position in St. Louis before he makes any decisions.  I’d expect that Pujols will sit idly by for the next few weeks watching the drama unfold with the rest of us.
  • Prince Fielder on the other hand may go in for the quick payday.  Most second tier players wait until the main guy is off of the market but Jayson Werth bucked that trend last year by taking a mammoth contract with the Nationals and setting the market for the superior outfielder, Carl Crawford.  Fielder will have a huge market but I expect Pujols to be in his own zip code anyway, so there is no pressure to wait and see what the Pujols market is, Fielder should jump right in with the suitors immediately.
  • I say David Ortiz and Jonathan Papelbon are both let out into the wild at 12:00 tonight and at least one of them comes back home when it is all said and done.  I would be more surprised if they both left than if they both stayed.
  • So Ryne Sandberg is not a candidate for manager in Chicago but he is a candidate in St. Louis?  Isn’t that the opposite of what should happen?
  • Can’t wait to see the out of control market for relievers this year.  It is becoming an annual tradition, which middle of the road journeyman maybe set-up/maybe mop-up guy will get the biggest contract and the most years?
  • I still see Terry Francona sitting out the year.  I don’t believe he is a candidate in St. Louis or Chicago and a year off would do him good anyway.  He could be the next Jon Gruden, who settles for a job in the booth and never leaves because he is so good at it and enjoys it so much.
  • I think if you are the St. Louis Cardinals you need to question whether or not you really want to rock the boat coming off of a World Series win.  If they don’t look for them to turn to longtime 3B coach Jose Oquendo to be their next manager.  He’s been associated with the Cardinals for as long as I can remember as a player and a coach and he is an ally to some of the important pieces such as Pujols, Yadier Molina, and Mark McGwire.
  • Speaking of McGwire, you don’t have to forgive him but you have to admit he did a hell of a job as the hitting coach for the Cardinals this year.  Like it or not he earned his way back in and should have a job next year regardless if the Cards new manager retains him or not.
  • I can’t shake this feeling that in a few years CJ Wilson will be the “Lackey” or the “Burnett” of whatever team he signs with.
  • Still not so sure about the Red Sox managerial search.  I like Sveum, am cold on Mackanin, and am patiently waiting for the names of the two mystery entries into the race as the Red Sox wait to receive permission to interview them.  I hesitate to guess because I could think of 4 or 5 guys that they would like to talk to from other teams.

Enjoy the first day of free agency but don’t get your hopes up.  Just like the games are deliberate the hot stove is as well.  Things heat up during the meetings and until then there is just a lot of planting of seeds.  And Theo Epstein and Ben Cherington negotiating, and negotiating, and negotiating Theo’s compensation.

Twitter @EriKVenskus

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About evonsports
30 year old sports enthusiast and aspiring writer from Boston.

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