Wednesday, December 07, 2005

One Down...A Few To Go

When I checked the papers this morning, I counted something like 6 rumors involving Red Sox coming out of the Winter Meetings in Dallas.  This evening, one of those rumors is official truth: Doug Mirabelli will be competing with Miguel Olivo for the starting catcher position in San Diego, going to the Padres in exchange for second baseman extraordinaire, Mark Loretta.  The 2004 NL All-Star has a year and $3 million left on his contract, providing a cheap and convenient placeholder at second base for 2006 and allowing for the further development of prospect Dustin Pedroia for 2007.  So far, so good.  Loretta’s a solid hitter, a good defender and he’s in a contract year and looking to impress other teams, so he should play things up.  I’m not entirely sure what benefit the Padres get from this deal – maybe Mirabelli will play a Bull Durham-like role in Olivo’s development.  The Sox win out on this deal no matter what, though unless Loretta hurts his thumb again.  I’m pleased, even if means saying good-bye to another member of the 2004 team.

Meanwhile, today’s the day for making offers for salary arbitration.  The 2005 winners: Johnny Damon, Bill Mueller, Tony Graffanino and losers: John Olerud (he’s retiring – “outlaw man, we salute you”), Kevin Millar (no kidding, he’d actually re-sign), Matt Mantei (one of the failed experiments) and most interestingly, Mike Myers, who’s going to get instant interest from the Yankees, among others.  Since the rules guarantee the Sox draft picks for any players to whom they offer arbitration but sign elsewhere, Damon sounds like a hedge bet, Graffanino sounds like a sure bet (after the Loretta trade, why would he stay?) and Mueller is the wild card – do they try and re-sign him, move Lowell to first and ship Youkilis somewhere else?  Or is he as sure a bet as Graffanino?  Time will tell.  

Myers is the interesting case because a.) he was a useful acquisition two years in a row and b.) the Sox need bullpen help.  Right now, the only left-hander the Sox have is Lenny DiNardo…and now Boston can’t re-sign Myers until May 1.  Presumably something else is in the works to make a lefty specialist less valuable.