Friday, January 20, 2006

Business as Usual

So…comparisons to chick flicks aside, Theo’s back.  The Red Sox won’t tell us in what capacity he’s going to be working for the front office (or they won’t until next week, anyway), but the behind the scenes business that’s been going on since October is over for now.  Tony Massaroti and Dan Shaughnessy, who love these sort of twists and turns in the soap opera that is the Boston Red Sox, both point out that basically nothing’s changed for the better – Lucchino’s still in power as CEO, Epstein will still report to him and not directly to John Henry and not only has the organization moved on by hiring two new GMs, but by announcing that Theo is coming back but not saying where he’ll fit in at the office, Henry is just making things more treacherous.  All of these points may be correct – although it’s just as possible that Henry made the announcement internally and swore the staff to secrecy about Theo’s new role just to create more press – but honestly, could it get any more confusing on Yawkey Way?  The team has two GMs, for chrissake; throwing in the former GM in some advisory capacity isn’t going to make any more problems, even if he and the CEO don’t get along.  It’s not like the Sox haven’t made some major upgrades this off-season – with Theo behind the scenes all along, mind you – so why should things be any different now that Epstein is back in an official capacity?  If they can fit him up with a mitt to play shortstop, so much the better.

Speaking of those holes in the field, Bronson “Don’t Call Me Brandon, McCarver” Arroyo agreed to sacrifice his remaining three years before he’s eligible for free agency for about $4 million a year, plus an additional $4 million in incentives.  Arroyo, who went against the advice of his agent to sign the deal, cited his love of Boston and his desire to play for the Red Sox for the rest of his career as his reasoning for taking the extended deal; admirable sentiments, especially with two of his teammates trying to leave Boston and the likely possibility that on a staff of six (or possibly seven, depending on what happens to Boomer) starters, Arroyo might be the odd man out and off the team in exchange for Julio Lugo.  As the Herald points out though, if J & B turn around and deal Arroyo and his lightweight contract to another team, they risk losing the trust of players when negotiating contract extensions in the future.  In the end then, the Sox have the loyalties of a young, reliable and popular pitcher who they can depend on to pick up 10 to 14 wins a year, pitch from the bullpen if necessary and not get hurt…but they can’t deal him to fill holes without a backlash.  Everyone wins…I think.