It's been a while since I've found the time to post here — and let's face it, following baseball after a Yankees World Series win isn't all that fun. Tomorrow, the missus and I will head to the hospital to welcome the arrival of Grace-SF, so I don't anticipate being around much in the near future.
Preliminaries out of the way, the Sox have been slightly active in the subsequent days. Here's a rundown:
- Trade Hunter Jones and Abe Alvarez for Jeremy Hermida. Is Hermida the next David Ortiz or Carlos Pena? The Sox seem to have good luck with scrap-heap, salary-dump acquisitions like this. Of course it seems likely that, if he does eventually fulfill his promise, Hermida could wind up more Pena than Ortiz — failing to get enough playing time in Boston only to break out elsewhere. He'll be just 26 next year, and he was acquired for next to nothing. A solid move. Fun trivia: Before the Sox landed Jason Bay, Hermida's was the name being tossed around in the three-way trade rumors. Talk about falling stock.
- Decline $6 million option on Alex Gonzalez. A no-brainer of a move. Gonzo provides adequate defense, but it's not stellar like everyone seems to imagine, and his bat is wholly inadequate. Bringing him back wouldn't be a bad idea, but not at that price, and the best-case scenario is that Jed Lowrie's wrist is finally healed, and Gonzalez takes the role he really should have at this point: a sure-handed backup. It's disappointing that the Sox and Brewers couldn't reach an agreement on J.J. Hardy though.
- Sign Tim Wakefield to a two-year deal. As if Wakefield's $4 million recurring contract wasn't a good enough deal for the Sox, they came back and gave him two guaranteed years that cost even less (presuming his annual DL trip). Wakefield, of course, wants to win his 18 games to set the team victories record. He's won fewer than nine games in a season just once since he was a reliever in the early 2000s (that was the 2006 season, when the Sox seemed incapable of scoring runs for him).
- Decline $5 million option on Jason Varitek. Tek has activated his $3 million option, making him quite the well-compensated backup catcher in his likely final season as a baseball player. Now that it's firmly established that Varitek will not be starting 100 games, it just doesn't seem so bad that he'll return.
- Reportedly offer four years, $60 million to Jason Bay. This is really a fascinating case, given the presence of J.D. Drew and his $14 million annual salary on the roster. Drew and Bay arguably provide similar offensive production, but Bay's comes via the sexier home run/RBI counting stats that seem to be valued more highly in the free agent market. Meanwhile, Drew's defense is much better, and the market for outfielders generally is worse than it was when Drew signed his deal, so by all objective measures Bay should be paid less than Drew. Yet it's virtually certain that Bay will receive more, thanks to the Sox' needs and the paucity of elite bats in left field this offseason. FYI, Bay was worth 3.5 WAR in 2009 and 6.5 WAR since 2007. Drew was worth 4.7 WAR last year and 10.1 WAR since 2007.