Live from Las Vegas

A typical quiet first day here at the Winter Meetings, at least as of 7:30 p.m. ET.

A few Boston scribes just bumped into Theo Epstein in the lobby and he certainly painted a picture of having nothing new to report. Epstein’s session with the media is at 8 p.m. ET and he already warned some of us that we shouldn’t expect bulletin-board material: “Get ready to be underwhelmed … I’ve got nothing.”

In other news, Greg Maddux announced his retirement at a classy press conference a bit earlier and the Red Sox continue to have extreme uncertainty when it comes to their catching situation.

With the Rangers trading Gerald Laird to Detroit, they may no longer be a fit as a trading partner with Boston. Taylor Teagarden and Jarrod Saltalamacchia both become far more necessary to the Rangers with Laird gone.

And the Tigers, who might have been in the running for a catcher if not for acquiring Laird, obviously aren’t players anymore for Varitek.

A lot of people are questioning Varitek’s strategy, as in, why didn’t he accept arbitration? That might have been the best contract he was going to get. If there are teams interested in Varitek for multiple years, none have come out and said so.

As for other options the Red Sox might have, Ramon Hernandez and Bengie Molina — both veterans — are both said to be available via the trade market.

21 Comments

Boston has Varitek right where they want him. Varitek’s options are very limited for obvious reasons. Varitek in golf terms is on the back nine of his career.

I can’t wait for the Texeria sweepstakes too heat up! Red Sox??? Angels??? Yankees??? I don’t see any other team that could sign Texeria. Sometimes a Red Sox off-season can be better than the regular season.

I think Tek got some bad advice from Boras. I don’t see a lot of teams looking for him. I hope that he’ll resign shortly.

Julia
http://werbiefitz.mlblogs.com/

Brian, I don’t see the Sox as being a huge player in the Teixeira battle. I think they will talk to Boras and perhaps even make an offer, but I don’t see them paying him $20+M a year. If Lowell is healthy and doing well (and we haven’t heard much about that), the Sox don’t have a huge need for Teixeria. No question, he would improve any lineup offensively, but by $20M worth. I don’t think so. If they have definitive plans to trade Lowell, then they might become a strong player. However, in the absence of that, I just don’t see it happening.

By the way, I agree with you on the Tek situation. Someone will make him an offer but it won’t be close to what he probably would have seen in arbitration. I honestly believe this “handling pitchers” thing is way overstated. A catcher has to hit, at least a little, and Tek didn’t do that at all last season. Personally, I love the guy and think he’s a good team player and leader. I hope he’s back in Boston next year, but the Sox, while saying he is their number one priority, haven’t really behaved that way. I think they will resign him if he agrees to a reasonable contract, but I don’t see them getting in a bidding war over him. I suspect someone will offer Tek a contract, which won’t be as lucrative as he and Boras hoped for. The Sox may opt to match that offer if they think it’s reasonable.

it IS fun to speculate, but in the end, remember how far the 08 RS came to the WS?!?! all with many injuries, etc… ? Look at the Angels, who had Tex… did they get to the WS?! i hope we don’t sell the farm off essentially to get any one player, the work that the team has done in bringing up really good quality players is so evident, and any comparisons to the Yankees as far as big payroll and the need to win at any cost… i think it is cool that Theo is sitting pretty and hopefully playing his cards just as he should… let other teams be driven to overpay for the likes of CC and Tex… let’s keep Paps , Youk, Lester, Ells, Lowrie, Justin and all the rest – heck i had one hell of a good time watching our Sox battle it out and it was also cool to see them do so much better without Manny. all that and i do hope Tek is back again, and forever a Red Sox – be it coach, etc in the future.

Garry…

I think the Red Sox will be involved in the Texeria sweepstakes. Too get your hands on Texeria, you’ll have too dish out 20 million or more per season and maybe a little more. Probably a 6 or 7 year contract. Red Sox are one of the few teams in baseball that can take on a contract that size. Texeria would look great in the middle of that Red Sox lineup. A switch-hitter with power! Not many guys like Texeria over the years. When you have a chance to get someone like that, you must look into it!

I agree with you about Varitek and his handling of pitchers. Over-rated as you say. Varitek is an outstanding leader and he deserves too have that “C” on his jersey. I’m guessing Varitek is back. If he isn’t, I say thanks for the years! Varitek isn’t going to be around forever.

Brian,
As hot as the Angels are about retaining Teixeira and what Boras has said about seeking 10 years, I don’t think 6 or 7 years will get the job done.

Also it’s likely someone will sign Varitek for three years, and I think it will be the Red Sox.

Let’s think the unthinkable, Carl Pavano or Andy Pettitte as your No. 4 starter. Anyone? It’s reported that the Sox have expressed interests in Pavano or Pettitte.

Kramer…

What Boras wants he doesn’t always gets. If I am the Red Sox I wouldn’t go anymore than 7 years, 6 yrs. is ideal. If a team wants too give Texeria a 10 yr. contract, I wouldn’t be too happy if I was a fan of that team. Payroll flexibility is key for success in baseball.

Brian,
I’m not one who is wary of 10-year contracts. By the time the sixth year roles around the annual rate will likely be below market value and easily tradable. That is enough flexibility for me!

I think the market for free agents this year is different than in years past. Except for the Yankees, and to a lesser extent, the LA Dodgers and Angels, the teams seem to be less willing to spend big $$$. Perhaps the economy is affecting the advertising on TV and that, after all, is where all these millions come from. Not that there will be NO free agents getting big multi-year deals, but it looks like the big bidding wars are not on the horizon this off season. So Tek may just be unable to get a big 3 or 4 year deal this year when in the past he might have. Although, looking at his stats from last year, he doesn’t deserve a huge contract anyway. But sometimes in the past that was not a deterrent to wild spending by the owners. I think Tek lands back in Fenway almost by default. That’ll be a good thing.

I’ve read in a couple places, including SI’com’s Jon Heyman’s most recent column, that eight years and $160 million will likely land Teixeira. I wrote about why Teixeira is worth it today. The Red Sox don’t need another front-line starter. They already have three, and Buchholz and Masterson have the potential to be solid major league starters. What the Sox lack is that big bat in the heart of the order. Signing Tex apparently is Boston’s top priority right now, as it should be.

Jeff
http://www.soxandpinstripes.com

Kramer…

You should be wary of 10 yr. contracts! Other than A-Rod, who else has gotten a 10 yr. contract? Few and far between. Boras says 10 yrs. because he knows he’ll get 6 to 8 years for Texeria. I also think what Arnie wrote is dead on. Perhaps Arnie should bail us out, LOL!!

With all eyes on CC and Tec, what about signing Cora? He was an excellent reserve. Give him two years for, perhaps, 5-6 million. And, trade Lugo to Detroit for Robertson and pay the difference in salary owed each in ’09. Such moves will make the Winter Meetings meaningful…Pete

Brian,
Other than A-Rod (twice) the only other 10-year contract I know of was Dave Winfield. I think there may be only one other, but I don’t know whom. Maybe Garry or Jeff can add something.

Jeter’s contract is 10 years.

Kramer…

As I stated above, few and far between. Let the Yankees hand out 10 yr. deals. 7 yrs. or 8 yrs. for certain hitters in their prime! I wouldn’t give a pitcher more than a 5 yr. deal. Only pitchers I would give more than a 5 yr. deal are….Johan Santana and Roy Halladay, I think those two pitchers will pitch when they are 40 yrs. old. Just one man’s opinion. It always makes me laugh this time of year when pitchers like Burnett are suddenly really good. What has he done too get a 5 yr. deal? Burnett has the hardware but not the software! LOL!!

Rob,
Thanks for the Jeter info!
Brian,
You also think Peavy is a joke! Actually the 2008 numbers I just calculated show 173.2 innings in 27 starts for an average 6.414. This may include a game or games he was lifted for a pinch hitter. Matsuzaka?s numbers were 165.1 innings in 29 starts for an average of 5.693. Not a whole lot of difference!

I just read that the NFL and MLB are laying off workers. Also the Tribune (they own the Cubs) just filed for bankruptcy. Maybe the players will get the call to bail out baseball! They can re-invest their millions in the game they love. Beats wasting their hard earned cash on hussies, floozies, drugs, ex-wives and Club Med. I hear that Jose Canseco will be the special envoy and go-between to work the deal through. The entire game will be restructured to reflect a leaner business plan. Players will share lockers and the team bus will be a hybrid of wind power provided by Curt Schilling and gas from CC and Prince. Following the Roger Clemens “vitamin” plan, the pitchers will be able to pitch AND catch the ball, ala Bugs Bunny, and the outfield will have only 2 positions, right-center and left-center. No more SS, (that was suggested by Theo for some strange reason)! Anyway, look for a whole new game come spring!!!

Kramer..

Never said Peavy was a joke. I stated I wouldn’t want him in Boston. I also said if the Yankees got him, I would have loved it! Peavy can stay in the N.L. and pitch his 6 innings. Also with Peavy he has gotten lit up in October!

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