General Red Sox

The Flip Side

Temper that excitement, Sox fans.

On the heels of finally removing Julio Lugo from the team, general manager Theo Epstein said the Red Sox and Jason Bay have broken off talks, likely until the offseason.

They better be pretty confident the market for outfielders isn't going to rebound because it's hard to see how Bay isn't worth at least $15 million a season.

8 replies on “The Flip Side”

I don’t think Bay will get that. But he will get $50 million over 4 years.
Damon will be worth half as much, though. Would you welcome him back? Cause, yeah, that market is looking awful. The only other options are to overpay for Crawford (if Tampa lets him walk) or Holliday.

I am not about to start worrying about December free agent talks in the dog days of July, in the midst of a pennant race. We have no idea what the Sox will do at the deadline, who they might pick up, what their needs will be in six months.
And if breaking off talks now means they have to spend an extra few million to keep Bay when/if he hits the market then so be it. This is Bay’s decision, rightfully. He has waited a long time, in a non-contending market for the most part, to get a pay day. He can wait if he wants. It is his right and his risk, even more than the Sox’.

It is his right and his risk, even more than the Sox’.
I was right with you up until that last sentence. It’s exactly because of the mediocre market that the risk is on both sides. Unless the Sox have a youngster ready to claim the spot? With the Sox also needing a corner infielder and DH, I’d say signing Bay should be a given.

that the risk is on both sides
Where did I say the Sox had no risk?
The phrase “even more than the Sox'” implies risk on both sides, quite obviously. I don’t see how this is arguable: Bay forgoes an extension worth what is likely a lot of money, guaranteed, to play out 80 games and the playoffs, games in which he could hurt himself physically and endanger his future value. Bay risks a massive contract, the Sox risk paying extra, nominal dollars, on a huge contract. The risk is greater for Bay. As is the reward.

i think the risk is a draw sf, especially if you factor in the possibility that the sox risk losing him altogether…if the pool of free agent outfielders is going to be shallow, risking losing a guy that has been that productive and likeable would worry me…the part of the equation i don’t know is how many teams are looking for a quality outfielder…i’m guessing that more than a few will take a hard look at bay if he becomes available…the yankees will certainly be one of them…the question is whether he’s worth damon/drew money…i’d say yes, just based on what he’s done in boston…

.if the pool of free agent outfielders is going to be shallow, risking losing a guy that has been that productive and likeable would worry me
This is exactly what concerns me. I assume the Yankees will sign either Bay or Holliday. That leaves one elite left fielder for the other X teams that need one. We all know the Sox don’t engage in bidding wars, so the prospect of being overbid by a desperate deepish-pockets team like, say, the Mets, is a far bigger concern — and more realistic, I think — than the Sox paying a few million more.
And if the Sox sign neither Holliday nor Bay, what do they do? Move Youkilis to left and hope Anderson is ready? Put Kotsay out there? Say hello to the Chris Carter experiment? This is what worries me,
And while, yes, the Sox could look a lot different in a month, the chances of that seem slim. If the Sox were going to make a move for a better-hitting corner infielder, they probably would have done so already when that need was most acute. If Lowell is remotely healthy, he’s going to be the starting third baseman. They could trade prospects for Halladay, but I doubt that, given Halladay’s age and likely cost. Who knows what else is on the horizon. The only acquisition that would make a Bay re-signing not the top offseason priority would be Victor Martinez, and even so, that would leave the Sox’ offense entering next season with the exact same problem they were in entering this season — a shallow lineup past the top five hitters, with Ortiz, Varitek and Lowell yet another year past their primes.
The Sox generally know what they’re doing, their shortstop problems notwithstanding, so I trust they have the market read better than I do (that wouldn’t be hard) or have some five-way trade ready to swing at a moment’s notice for Albert Pujols or something else that would mitigate the potential loss of Bay. Because that’s always been the benefit, to me, of extending Bay before this offseason — not the cost savings, but the security of locking him up before he gets a chance to test free agency.

I agree with almost everything you say here, Paul, especially the part about some players being a year older too.
Two nitpicks:
1) Centerfield also seems to be an organizational blindspot. This situation with Bay is starting to feel like Damon’s. There they set their value and weren’t willing to increase it even if it meant trying to replace his production with a lesser, and unproven, talent. With LF, I have little doubt they’re prepared to do the same. Problem is, the lesser talents on the market really are lesser. And to make a trade, they’d have to give up talent to get talent.
2) Holliday isn’t elite. His road OPS this year is sub .800. Bay really stands tall by himself. He’s the only decent hitter on the open market. What’s amazing is he’s created over $70 million in value over the last six+ seasons, and yet he’s only made less than $20 million. The Sox have already gotten back more than the $12 million they’ve given him.

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