Saturday, November 03, 2007

The Party's Over

The party's over, and people have started to leave. As the overhead fluorescents flicker back on, the mood lighting disappears in a blast of blue-white glare and you're left holding what you hope is the jacket you wore on the way in. The World Series is over, the rolling rally has rolled on into history, and it's time to figure out who's coming back in 2008 and who's hitting the dusty trail to another city and another team. As the announcements start to pour in, however, let's hope the powers who manage our favorite team learned one thing from the aftermath of 2004: trying to duplicate success with cheaper replacement parts dances with disaster at every turn. So far, they haven't figured out that means bringing back Mike Lowell, but there have been a few other moves of note:

Exploring New Opportunities
  • Curt Schilling - No surprise here; Curt's been talking his next move since the Sox declined to extend his contract by a year back in the Spring. The master of media relations has been keeping the media and fans abreast of select negotiations matters through his blog, including an announcement intended to dispel rumors that he's ceased discussions with Boston management. Should Curt stay in Boston: behind the fate of Mike Lowell, that's the biggest question about this championship team. I've been inclined to say no, to give both Lester and Buchholz space to shine in next year's rotation, but that means Matsuzaka would need to have a much more consistent year in 2008. Safe money would have Schilling back for one more year.

  • Doug Mirabelli - Dougie filed before the Sox announced they'd be exercising Wakefield's option and before Kevin Cash chose free agency over assignment to Pawtucket, so it's likely he'll be back in Boston for another year, come hell, high water or the promotion of catcher Dusty Brown. When it comes to the knuckleball, I can't see the Sox making the same mistake twice.

  • Bobby Kielty - I wonder how much that pinch-hit, game-difference, helped-win-the-World-Series-with-one-swing home run added to his contract value as a utility player. I'd wish this guy luck, but with Eric Hinske testing the waters I wonder whether or not Kielty might end up making a good bench option for 2008.

  • Matt Clement - I think that marks the end of the "We Don't Need Pedro...We Can Sign Two Starters for Double the Effectiveness at Half the Cost!" experiment Theo launched in 2004. I'd say it all worked out poorly for Boston (I still have nightmares about David Wells taking the mound), but the Sox were right: Pedro's arm is now seeking to finalize the divorce from his shoulder, and the Mets are still paying him to rehab. I guess the winners are the teams that got the compensatory draft picks.

  • Eric Gagne - So, um...don't let the door hit you on the way out, ok?
Demonstrating Their Commitment to the Team
Entering a Mutually-Chosen Period of Readjustment
  • Royce Clayton - Clayton was the acquisition most people (including myself) don't remember Boston making in August; the guy who played six games and sat on the bench in the post-season, and now he's gone, just like that. Royce, we hardly knew ye, and at age 37, it seems a little unlikely any other team will, either. We'll always have Taco Bell, though.