Ortiz Back in the Fold

The Red Sox exercized their 2011 option on David Ortiz today. Ortiz was looking for a longer-term deal, but the Red Sox clearly felt this was the best way to go, even if they could have signed him to a deal worth less in 2011.

I contend they could have signed him to a 2 year, $20mm or a 3 year, $27mm, but the length obviously scared them away. His 2011 option is for $12.5mm. That’s a ton of money for a DH, but it is one year and done. Might this build resentment on Ortiz’s part? Maybe, but he did agree to have that option in there in the first place.

New Pitching Coach

The Red Sox, like the Yankees, found themselves in need of a new pitching coach this off-season. Well today, they announced a replacement. ESPN is reporting that the Red Sox have named Curt Young their new pitching coach.

Young comes from Oakland and arrives with a good reputation, from what I can tell. Upon learning that Young had decided to walk away from Oakland, pitcher Dallas Braden said of Young, “This came as a complete shock. He’s been that accessible, everyone’s-favorite-uncle figure, a guiding light for us. He taught me how to study within the game, what to look for. He always understood my role and put me in the best position to succeed.”

This move signals the real start to the off-season. As Peter mentioned in his prior post, there are only 5 days before free agency, so things will get nutty in short order.

Pressing issues for the Red Sox include whether or not to exercize David Ortiz’s 2011 option for $12.5mm. Or then can decline it and hope to negotiate a 2-year deal (or more…their call). Also Victor Martinez will be a free agent and NESN’s Peter Gammons believes Martinez will not re-sign, instead preferring a longer term deal with Detroit.

Gammons also speculates that the Red Sox will be prime bidders for Carl Crawford’s services. Crawford is a player that seems better in person/tv than his stats otherwise suggest. He has a career .337 OBP, granted his early years were lousy on the OBP front and have been better 4 of the last 5 seasons, but overall, he isn’t a lead-off calibre hitter but rather someone who could his 2 or later down in the order. Where he does dazzle is on the basepaths which accounts for his misleading perception.

These things will sort themselves out in short order and I’ll post on projected line-ups, etc.

Get Ready

Congrats to the Giants on winning the World Series and a special thanks to them for lighting the hot stove tonight. Thanks to a change in baseball rules this year, we no longer have to wait 15 days for free agency to begin. Instead, free agency will commence in fivedays! That’s right, we could know by the end of Sunday where Cliff Lee is going.

Obviously, from the Yankees’ standpoint this will speed up their meetings. Cashman is in Tampa now meeting with Hal and Hank and he better get his ducks in a row quickly- the open market begins soon!
One other important note, the Yankees brought Kevin Long back on a three-year deal as hitting coach. Yankees’ fans should be very excited that he is back.