Looking Ahead, Is It Too Soon?

While still enjoying things, my mind wandered to thoughts of 2008.  Just a few notes to consider when forming your strategies and opinions on how to construct a team capable of defending a world title.

Salaries coming off the books:

Matt Clement – $9.5m, Curt Schilling – $13m, Mike Lowell – $8m, Tim Wakefield – $4m, Julian Tavarez – $3.35m, Eric Hinske – $2.8125m, Mike Timlin – $2.7m, Wily Mo Pena (already gone) – $2.5m, J.C. Romero (already gone) – $1.6m, Brendan Donnelly – $1.4m, Doug Mirabelli – $750k, Eric Gagne – $6m, Bobby Kielty – $500k.

That’s over $56m in payroll that drops off the books.  Now consider that raises are in order for Kevin Youkilis (first year arb. elig.) and slight increases for Jonathan Papelbon and the other guys under 3 full seasons, but still there is going to be cash available.  Also consider that Coco Crisp is likely to be traded this off-season.  His $5.17m put it to $60m in freed up cash.

Some of that extra cash will also be spent on Mike Lowell, should he be re-signed.  If he gets $12m that cuts the resources to $48m, still enough to make significant inroads to helping the team.  But please tell me, won’t you, just where you’d spend that money.

Your immediate options include re-signing current free agents and perhaps considering giving long term deals to Papalbon and Kevin Youkilis ala Nomar Garciaparra.  The idea would be to have them sign into their free agency years.  Those are just a few.  While we can all keep enjoying these good times, there is work to be done to keep this train a rollin’.

Anyway, I’ll cut it at that and let me know your ideas.