Well, midnight’s come and gone, and the Boston Red Sox were unable to come to terms with free agent World Series hero
Bobby Kielty Mike Lowell.
Both sides agreed there’s still room for an agreement to be reached and they’ll continue to stay in touch. Lowell will now be able to determine whether there’s a four-year market out there for his services. Indications are that the Sox would not move off three years.
On the one hand, this changes nothing. Lowell should always have known the Sox would not go four years. He also should always have known he’ll easily get four years from the several teams desperate for a third baseman who won’t cost them $30 million for each of the next 10 years. The offers he receives from other teams (Yankees included, I think) won’t really be surprising. Four years in the high-50s is a likelihood. Lowell knew this the moment he filed.
On the other hand, this changes everything. Secure in the knowledge that the Sox would never offer a fourth year, and that taking the one fewer year would be something of a "hometown discount," Lowell could have signed right away. He didn’t, and the motives could range from, "He’s outta here to the highest four-year bidder," to, "He just wants to see what else is offered before ultimately taking the Sox’ offer." I’d guess he has a place or two in mind where he wouldn’t mind playing out the rest of his career. If those clubs give him better offers, he’ll go. If not, he’ll return. In the end, it’s up to him.
Let’s not forget the Sox are free agents, too, so to speak. I have no doubts they’ll be on the phone today with Scott Boras, as they should, as well as exploring trades for every available first and third baseman — particularly with teams in need of center field help. Something inside tells me the Sox are secretly hoping Lowell rejects their offer so they can push hard after A-Rod and secure him, once and for all. I can’t say that necessarily troubles me.