And Then There Was One…Maybe

The Boston Herald and Boston Globe are both reporting that Mike Lowell’s suitors now number one. The one being the Red Sox. The Globe sites ESPN’s Peter Gammons who said he believed the Yankees had withdrawn their offer to Lowell with the signing of Alex Rodriguez.

That means he has a 3-year deal worth something in the $36mm to $42mm range from Boston. Word is he wants a 4th year and who can blame him?

Both the Globe and Herald are suggesting he might make a decision this weekend. My concern is that both the Anaheim Angels and Los Angeles Dodgers are making a play for Florida Marlins Miguel Cabrera. The loser might be apt to make a run at Lowell if he is still on the market. So it might make sense to Lowell’s team to wait things out. That being said, you can be sure the Red Sox offer isn’t not going to last forever. Their leverage is that they can withdraw their offer at anytime and I’m sure Lowell knows this.

So there is risk in any decision. Lowell can wait to see if a better offer comes along, but get left holding the bag if Boston withdraws its offer (and Boston would then be dealing from strength), or he can sign now with Boston (but potentially leave money on the table if either LA club were to have offered a better deal). The Red Sox risk losing Lowell too should they jank their offer. No matter what, it really does seem that Lowell has 1 legit offer on the table now and that is from Boston. Seems like a no-brainer to me Mike. Let’s sign that contract and enjoy the next 3 seasons.

Molina’s Coming Back

Nothing I would get very excited about, but Jose Molina has agreed to a two year/$4 million deal to serve as backup for the Yankees. I have bored you enough about the Yankees’ need for a real backup catcher so I won’t again, but it would be nice if they didn’t just cross this off their list.

The lead of the story announcing the Molina signing contains some interesting news on Rivera. Apparently MLB is upset with the current Yankees’ offer to Rivera because they feel it will inflate the market for relievers. They are right of course and I would imagine that their concern will keep the Yankees from making a bigger offer if they were inclined to in the first place. (I don’t think they were)

I understand Mo’s pride has been hurt here, but he needs to suck it up and sign the contract. If he can get more somewhere, then by all means go get it, but the Yankees do not owe him more money and the people who keep saying he was underpaid for years need to reconsider their position. He may have been underpaid in the 90’s, but since 2000 he hasn’t been and he has made almost $80 million and pitched about 650 innings including playoffs. That’s about $123,000 an inning, not too shabby.

At Least It’s Not A Paternity Suit….

Looks like #2 might be in trouble with the law.

I know a lot of people who also claim to be Florida residents but spend a lot of time in New York so Derek isn’t alone, but you would think a guy who makes $20 million a year wouldn’t miss the roughly 10% it costs the rest of us to be residents of this great state and city. (Note to any tax officials reading this. By saying “know” I mean I have heard that some guy down the street, a street I don’t really know the name of, may have gone to Florida last month to visit his sick grandmother. On his way to the airport, I am pretty sure he stopped off at a New York tax office and made an estimated payment, but I am probably confused about the whole issue and I could never testify in a court about any of this. Wait, I forgot what my name is.)

Even More Lowell

Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe is reporting that the Anaheim Angels of Los Angeles have NOT offered Mike Lowell a deal. So if you believe reports, he has offers not from Atlanta, St. Louis, or Philly, but instead New York (Yankees) and Boston. The Angels are after Miguel Cabrera. If they fail to get Cabrera, perhaps they will turn their attention to Lowell. But just how long will the Marlins negotiate before they pull the trigger on a deal for Cabrera?

When matched up against all the reports in the last 24 hours, Lowell has 2 offers, from the Yankees and Red Sox. In the words of Fletch: “Irwin M. Fletcher you choose…”

While We Were Sleeping

You know the thing that strikes me about a story like this isn’t how improbable this outcome seemed a few days ago. Instead it’s how all of this happened without anyone being the wiser to it. While all of the press was out chasing the latest rumors, all of this happened, LAST WEEKEND!

I mean seriously, you have to give everyone involved in this props for dropping the cone of silence on these proceedings. Considering that we live in a 24/7 news cycle, it really amazes me that this thing didn’t crack until apparently all of the interested parties wanted it to.

No More Mo?

This story is interesting on two fronts. First off, it confirms what many of you have suggested, Hank’s mouth is costing the Yankees. And it tells you that Mo wants a fourth year.

Look you cannot begin to calculate Rivera’s worth to the Yankees these past 12 years. The guy has been lights out and his plaque belongs in Monument Park as soon as he retires. But, the economics of baseball mean that you just can’t make a bet on a fourth year with him. Based on his career, Mariano has pretty consistently pitched 70-something innings a season. So, if the Yankees offer of $15 million a season is true, they are willing to pay him about $200,000 an inning next year! (Roger Clemens just got about $175k per inning)

All of those assumptions are based on the idea that Mo stays healthy throughout his deal. If he gets hurt, the math gets even uglier and pitchers in their late 30’s and early 40’s almost always get hurt for some part of the season. The Yankees have been burned by plenty of guys who fit that age demographic over the past few years. From Randy Johnson to Kevin Brown to Roger last season, age got the best of them. It gets the best of all of us and betting against it is always going to make you a loser. The Yankees can roll the dice and pray that Mo stays healthy for four years, but it is a stupid gamble. If he insists on the fourth year, I would thank him for everything and wish him well in the future. Someday the Yankees were going to have to replace Rivera and this might be that moment.

More Lowell

Rob Bradford of the Boston Herald has this to say about the Lowell situation. The key being he has talked to a source in the Atlanta organization who said Lowell has not been part of their planning and rumors out of St. Louis suggest they aren’t interested either, both run contrary to the WHDH report from yesterday.

That does leave New York in the running as well as Anaheim.

Also from the Herald, Tony Massarotti has this to say about the Lowell situation. He indicates that Philadelphia also has interest, but there are no details of an offer.

Massarotti suggesst that the time is quickly coming that Lowell has to figure out what he should do:

4 years, $48mm – $60mm from someone like NY or Anaheim.


3 years, $36mm from Boston (ESPN is reporting it could be 3 years worth as much as $45mm).

Of course if Lowell is still productive after 3 years, he can re-up with Boston or someone else. But that is no guarantee (which is why Boston isn’t budging on their offer). So if he signs with Boston, he is leaving 1 year and between $12mm – $24mm. That is a bunch of money.

Again, my heart tells me to go to 4 years. I mentioned this the other day too, why not offer a vesting 4th year option that has fairly easy triggers? At the very least Boston gets some certainty out of the 4th year. But get ready for disappointment Boston fans.

Lowell Talk

Wow, this ARod saga is getting out of hand. Glad I’m not a Yankee fan. Talk about being conflicted.

Of greater importance to Red Sox fans is the status of Mike Lowell. WHDH TV 7 is reporting that 4 teams have offered Lowell a 4 year deal with total money in the $55mm – $60mm range. WHDH says the teams are the Angels, Braves, Cardinals and Yankees. The Yankees want him to play 1b.

Now if the Red Sox really want to re-sign Lowell, they have to go to 4 years. If the reports are true that Boston has offered 3 years, $36mm, then a 4th year would drive that to $48mm, below the range listed above, but probably enough to get him to sign.

I have no idea which way the Red Sox will go should they lose Lowell. But the key is, despite what I am suggesting, giving him a 4th year, the Red Sox have a track record on limiting the length on contracts. Just ask Johnny Damon and Pedro Martinez. Both the Damon and Martinez decisions were widely criticized in Boston at the time, but both have to be considered the right move. Pedro had a good 2005, but was an average pitcher in 2006 before undergoing surgery missing the rest of 2006 and most of 2007. Damon gave the Yankees a good 2006, but struggled in 2007 and ended up in leftfield. His power numbers aren’t what you want from a leftfielder.

Of course it will be sad if Lowell goes as he was such an important part of the team, but that is baseball and you can be sure the Red Sox front office has set a value on Lowell and there is little wiggle-room. I was about to say I wish they’d done the same with J.D. Drew, but that grand slam was huge.

I am finding it difficult to find much news on the Lowell negotiations leading me to believe there isn’t much action between the Red Sox and Lowell camps at present. The further leads me to believe that the Red Sox are sticking to their guns.

Help Me With My Math

OK, so I am reading all these various reports about this whole mess and I am beginning to think that Scott Boras knew exactly what he was doing here.

Consider that before the opt-out, the Yankees were on the hook for at least $81 million for the next three years. With escalator clauses it would have probably worked out to $91 million. Then add in the proposed extension they were going to offer, supposedly $28 million a year for 5 years. which works out to an additional $140 million. That means you have the Yankees originally on the hook for $231 million and eight more years or $28.75 million per year- but $21 million of that was paid by Texas which makes it $210 million and $26.25 million per season. If the deal that has been reported is signed ($275 million at 10 years) the Yankees increase their obligation by another $44 million and 2 years and the average value is $27.5 million a year. And, many reports peg the potential deal at around $300 million with incentives.

So, the Yankees end up extending a deal for two more years than they were originally prepared to do and actually increase their annual outlay by $1.25 million a season. Boras also gets his client another $44 million and sets another record for biggest contract in sports history. How is this a “win” for the Yankees? Maybe I give Boras too much credit, but I can’t help but wonder if this was his plan all along. Sure, he looks bad, but does he care when he grabs his 10% of the deal? Could he have realized all along that $350 million was absurd and the Yankees were his best shot so it was just about grabbing a bigger amount of Yankees’ dollars?

I still think this all ends up for nothing and until I see a signed contract I will maintain that, but the final details of a potential Yankee contract would be fascinating to see.


Check out this report.

I don’t agree with this move at all, but it is an interesting tactic to say the least. Of course, we are getting ahead of ourselves here.