Archive for Red Sox
I’m sure I’m not the only one who thinks it strange that The New York Times Company owns a stake in the Boston Red Sox. It’s not only that, though. They own 17.75 percent of New England Sports Ventures, which also includes a stake in Fenway Park, 89 percent of NESN, and 50 percent of NASCAR’s Roush Fenway Racing team. This morning, NYTCo announced that they’ve hired Goldman, Sachs & Co. to “explore the possible sale” of this asset.
Hey, maybe this is where Mark Cuban gets his in…
In their on-going effort to capture the low-risk signing market, the Red Sox inked former Dodger closer Takashi Saito to a one-year, incentive-laden deal, according to Ken Rosenthal. Saito will make between $1.5 and $2.5 million with incentives that could push his contract value past $7 million. When he’s on and healthy, Saito is utterly filthy, and while he did pass his physical, he missed much of 2008 with a sprained elbow ligament. All in all, this is a very nice pickup for Boston.
When it comes down to the Yankees and the Red Sox, it’s always a competition. One team has to be better, smarter and more popular than the other. One team always has to win.
This off-season, the Yanks have emerged the winners. They’ve out-spent the Red Sox, and they even snatched Mark Teixeira seemingly out from under Boston at the least minute. Yet, still, their fans insist that the Red Sox may come out ahead. Just take a look at this post by a Sox fan using Win Value to show how much smarter the Sox are. Never mind the Yankee injuries and other 2008 speed bumps.
Of course, two can play that game. Courtesy of frequent RAB reader Scott Falivene, let’s take a look at some payroll figures. Scott writes:
Red Sox fans — and their front office it seems — love to cry about the advantage the Yankees have over them in spending. So with the Sox signing Smoltz, I was curious what the cost of their rotation will be, you know, because they can’t compete on the Yankee’s level. I used the top seven guys most likely to see time in the rotation because it’s unlikely the same five guys start and end the year in the rotation.
Here are the total 2009 expenditures in millions, courtesy of Cot’s Baseball Contracts. Homegrown players are denoted with an asterisk:
Scott adds some more commentary:
Granted, that CC figure is a bit misleading, and the Yanks might still sign Pettitte. But that’s the way [Sabathia's contract] is structured. $3.2 million sure doesn’t seem that crazy different, no?
Better yet, the Red Sox have “bought” $33M of pitching for 2009 while the Yankees have only “bought” $30.5M. Evil Empire indeed.
Also, EVERY team in baseball has the ability to sign Smoltz and Penny as their 6/7 starters, right? Those Red Sox sure have it a lot tougher than the Yankees. They should really complain more often. I don’t want this to seem as if I’m not aware of the spending advantage the Yankees have but, seriously, aren’t Red Sox fans supposed to be hyper-educated about the game? They need to stop.
We’ll have some more guest opinions on the Red Sox over the next couple of days, but I think Scott raises some valid points. Sure, the Yankees can outspend the Red Sox by a significant amount, but when push comes to shove, officials, fans and columnists in Boston don’t really have much credibility if they start claiming poverty. The Red Sox may not be the wealthiest team around, but they’re in the top five. No one will be too sympathetic to the team’s self-perceived plight.
The Red Sox are on the verge of landing themselves a pair of injured players with high upside. Buster Olney reports that John Smoltz, a 20-year veteran of the Braves, will jump leagues and cities. He and the Red Sox are nearing a deal on a one-year, $5.5-million contract. Smoltz will be playing his age 42 season in 2009, and he’s coming off surgery. The Sox don’t expect him back until the end of May, and I wonder how he’ll handle the AL for the first time in his career. Boston, however, can well afford the risk.
Meanwhile, MLBTR directs us to various reports on an impending deal between Rocco Baldelli and the Red Sox. When healthy, Badelli ranks up there with the game’s top outfielders, but he has played just 155 games since the end of 2004. Baldelli received some good news earlier this winter when his mitochondrial disease was revealed to be a misdiagnosis, but he’s not out of the injury woods yet. Again, this is a nice potential low-risk, high-reward signing, but Baldelli shouldn’t be considered more than a role player until he can be healthy for long stretches at a time.
As The New York Times Co. continues to see its newspaper holdings shed money, the company is looking to move one of its profitable ventures. According to The Wall Street Journal, The Times Co. wants to sell its 17.5 percent stake in the Red Sox for $300 million. While Barclays Capital believes this share to be worth about $166 million, The Times is shooting for the stars in a bad economy. If they are successful in getting their asking price, the Red Sox as a whole would be worth around $1.7 billion. Fundraiser, anyone?
Jack Curry, on The Times’ Bats blog, picks up a story about Tim Wakefield and his locker in the visiting clubhouse at the Yankee Stadium. Lou Cucuzza, the Yankees clubhouse manager, is giving Wakefield the 49 plaque that has, for the last 14 years, indicated the Red Sox’s knuckleballer’s spot in the room. Wakefield, who served up on the more famous home runs in recent Yankee Stadium history, speaks wistfully of Yankee Stadium, and this piece is just another hint that the crazy fans, by and large, take this rivalry way more seriously than the players.
When Craig Hansen hit Alex Rodriguez with a fastball yesterday, Fenway Park classlessly erupted in howls. It was retribution for Joba Chamberlain‘s not hitting Youkilis, and my dad, watching at a bar in the Berkshires, said that a Red Sox fan near him hoped that A-Rod was hurt. Gotta love Red Sox fans. Anyway, Jack Curry checked in on this escalating situation, and I have a sinking feeling this whole ridiculous thing isn’t over yet.
A little over two weeks ago, Theo Epstein criticized Mike Mussina over his complaints — from 2004 — about the Yankees’ ill-fated trip to Japan to opening the regular season. At the time, Yankee fans were a little surprised about Theo’s seeming breach of protocol. A GM’s criticizing another team’s player for comments about an unrelated incident are exceedingly rare in sports.
Today, the shoe is squarely on the other foot, and I have to wonder if this isn’t some sort of karmic retribution. The Red Sox, you see, now view their upcoming trip to Japan as a huge inconvenience. Josh Beckett, their ace, is out indefinitely with back problems and will miss the trip. Daisuke Matsuzaka’s wife is expecting, and he may miss the trip as well. The trip — two 18-hour plane rides in four days plus two baseball games that actually count — disrupts the rhythm of Spring Training and generally messes with athletes used to routine.
Publicly, in the Boston Herald, the Red Sox are saying that they’re excited to go. They say they could sit back and complain, but they’re just going to tough it out instead. Of course, reading between the lines, complaining is exactly what they’re doing, and I don’t blame them. In this case, I completely sympathize with the players.
As for Mr. Epstein, I think he should take this one as a lesson. Internally, I’m sure there will be a lot of Boston-based grumblings about this trip both before and after. Mussina just happened to share his with the world. For that, he does not deserve the criticism he received. Enjoy your flights, Theo. I hear crossing the international date line twice in 96 hours does wonders to the body.
With Curt Schilling out indefinitely, the Red Sox needed to fill that over-the-hill, fat guy spot in their rotation. To that end, they have reportedly inked Bartolo Colon to a minor league deal. Colon, coming off a shoulder injury, was unimpressive in winter auditions and probably won’t make the Red Sox anyway. But we can still make fun of him.