Monday, November 13, 2006

Gammons adds sources to ESPN report on Matsuzaka to the Red Sox

While waiting for official word, still, which may not come until tomorrow... ESPN TV and are adding to Buster Olney's original report that the Red Sox are the high bidders.

And now Peter Gammons is stating information from his sources that the Red Sox were the highest bidder, by far, and the bid was $42 million.

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Saturday, November 11, 2006

Off-season baseball schedule: free agency filing complete

In an article about the Yankees likely trading Jared Wright, ESPN confirms that essentially all players eligible for free agency have completed their filing as of Saturday's deadline on 11/11/06.

Colorado third baseman Vinny Castilla also filed for free agency Saturday, the last possible day, raising the total to 178. Free agents could start negotiating money with all teams starting Sunday.
The Los Angeles Angels' Tim Salmon was the only player eligible for free agency who didn't file.

But, since we know that Tim Salmon has retired from baseball, the mention of Salmon not filing is a non-issue.

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Friday, November 10, 2006

Keith Foulke decides... he's out

Keith Foulke has decided not to return to Boston... he's not coming back to the land of Johnny from Burger King because he wants to be closer to his family.

I find this decision rather surprising, from a monetary standpoint at least. Foulke always said that if he left baseball "today" that he wouldn't miss it and would move on with his life. He's a hockey fan and baseball to him is not a passion - it's a job.

The money is/was nice, but there are more important things in life to him. Cheers, Keith, on that one.

Now, he's not retiring, we assume, but he definitely is taking a pay cut this year. He just left a guaranteed $3.75 million on the table. Maybe the money isn't that important.

We can also assume that emotions (besides those re: family) played into this a bit too, like pride. Foulke was relegated to setup roles and has been the subject of many rants from the Boston media and citizenry over the past two years whilst dealing with injuries and an overall loss of ability and/or under-performance issues.

After performing superb his 1st year on the team and like an MVP in the World Series, he clearly had issues upon following the short off-season into 2005. In 2006, he lost his closer role just days in to the season only to continue to struggle and eventually leave for more surgeries.

Foulke was never going to be comfortable again here. While the team was probably willing to give him yet another chance to redeem himself, and would have been contractually obligated to let him try, he knew that many team officials wanted to move in different directions and certainly the media and fans would so far gone that it'd be near impossible to regain their respect. (Ed note: Is that ever possible in a market such as Boston? And Foulke isn't the kind of guy to try, at least off the field PR-wise.)

Put that all aside: Let's ignore his poor choice of words, bad quotes, lack of honesty or lack of being forthcoming to the media, and we'll definitly skip the topic of who should "own" the famous World Series last out ball, for now - Let's give credit to Keith for putting his money, and in fact himself, where his mouth was and taking his game out of town - And thank him for his service.

Keith: we thank you and wish you well!

Keith Foulke needs to make a decision today

Keith Foulke needs to make a decision today 11/10/06...
Also: News expected soon on Japan's Matsuzaka and Iwamura

The Red Sox declared on Wednesday that they would not pick up the option on Keith Foulke. The $7.5m is too much considering recent performance (and injuries/availability) after his MVP-caliber performance in the 2004 World Series and season. That was two years and $15m ago.

However, since Foulke's contract also has a player option, he could still chose to play next year in Boston. Though he must decide by today.

The Red Sox made a smart move by declining the option on Foulke earlier than they needed to. Since Foulke must decide within 48 hours of the Sox decision, the option doesn't allow him the ability to test the free agent market before deciding. Since he will likely want to see what kind of money is available, the Sox made a crude move to force a decision before that can happen.

The Sox Foulke $1.5m in the buyout, and another $3.75? if he decides to return. They just saved themselves $2.25m even if he returns. If not, they could use the spare $5m for new talent?

Speaking of new talent: K.D. Drew is apparently available. He himself canceling his remaining 3-year $33 million contract with the LA Dodgers. Now that's confidence! He obviously expects either to make the same or more in a new contract or at least wants to play somewhere else without taking much of a pay cut. The Sox have always had interest in Drew. Trot Nixon's chance of a return just got slimmer... unless, of course, Manny gets "dumped" elsewhere.

Alex Cora was said to have been re-signed to the Sox a few days ago, but there is still no official word from the team. If no news comes today, does Cora test the free agent market?

It's only November, but Sox fans are hungry for news!

PS: The free agent filing deadline is officially today. The Sox can start negotiating with all free agents tomorrow.

We are also waiting for news on two Japanese players who intend to make the transition to the MLB, assuming the current teams that own their rights accept bids from MLB teams which would relinquish the players from their current contracts. New should come soon regarding Pitching phenom Matsuzaka (bidding already closed) and Iwamura (bidding closes today 11/10). The Red Sox are likely to be interested in both players, but it has not been confirmed whether they actually bid on either (or both).

I definitely expect some news today on at least one of these fronts.