Because it's starting to look like we're going to have both. Bay's request for more time and loot than Boston's 4 year, $60 million offer has met with no takers except the Mets (4 years, $65 million), and Bay either doesn't like his potential numbers in Citi Field or he'd rather not sign with a team that's made spectacular season blowups a regular habit, because his agent is trying to resurrect interest from the Sox front office. Meanwhile, Nick Cafardo has some thoughts on how Jeremy Hermida will never develop the big bat he's reputed to sport - Cafardo makes some Ortiz comparisons - if he's playing fourth or fifth outfield with Cameron/Bay/Ellsbury/Drew/whomever. With the team in the process of assembling a group that seems better suited to win today than tomorrow relying on Hermida's offensive development doesn't seem like a good strategy, but the more I think about it, the more I think what Cafardo is saying makes sense: if this guy really is a slugger in the making, let's see what he's got and take advantage while he's in Boston.
So...despite my vitriolic assertions to the contrary, I guess The Boof wasn't Boston's only off-season move for the pitching staff, what with the John Lackey signing and all. In fact, I might even be willing to say that I completely acknowledge the error of my ways and resolve - once again - to never criticize the methods behind the madness that is the front office, because - despite all of the odd experiments - the Sox keep making these deals that make so much sense. With Lackey, they now have:
A superior starting pitching staff that's on the verge of becoming 2007-like godly if Matsuzaka carries his form from the last four starts of 2009 into 2010. We thought the '09 staff had an excellent chance of dominating the field in Spring Training, but the success of even that illustrious group required a blessing of the stars; besides the Dice-K question, all the 2010 Sox need ask of their starters is for health and consistency with their already established numbers.
A trade piece in odd man out Clay Buchholz, who'll have the chance to become the "maybe he'll make it" ornament of some other team's staff. Buchholz becomes trade bait for the bat the Sox will need to replace Bay, now that they've elected to...
...sign Mike Cameron and choose defense over offense in left field. The deal has everyone saying farewell to the likable-but-expensive Jason Bay and those Gay for Bay t-shirts Robin planned to market, but frees up money for one of those expensive contracts the Sox will likely acquire with Bay's offensive replacement.
Of course, we can't celebrate a successful hot stove season just yet: someone has to agree to make the trade that makes the Cameron acquisition worthwhile at a price that doesn't make us cry for a mortgaged future or (even worse) a missed opportunity. Anyone got a player with .896 (or better) OPS they can spare?
Dan Shaughnessy has a column in the Globe this morning about how the Sox are selling us a bill of goods by talking about a "bridge period" in the team's development instead of pushing to sign the players that'll make the team competitive against the Yankees next year. I had intended to write the whole thing off as the usual crank trash that Shaughnessy likes to write, but then two things happened: first, I read Joe Posnanski's post on how much of a steal the Granderson deal was for the Yankees and the full impact of that trade finally hit me after several days of denial. Then, I went to Boston.com to look for the Shaughnessy column again so I could blog about it and the Lowell trade speculation and saw this on the home page (I've added a red underline to underscore the point):
I almost choked on my breakfast when I saw that. The Boof?!? A 28-year-old pitcher with an injury history as long as his surgically repaired arm, 96 appearances in four seasons, and a career 5.12 ERA? I get the timing is coincidental, but damn: the Yankees boost their already formidable lineup with a righty whose swing seems tailor-made for the Stadium and the Sox get a pitcher with a ridiculous nickname on his last shot for major league success. To say things seem inequitable with a poor chance of improvement is an understatement.
I would like to call Manny Delcarmen an idiot. I really would: because he pitched secretly hurt for half the season, he looked like he had completely lost his edge, and made us question whether or not he belonged on the team. After all, a healthy Manny Delcarmen may not make the difference between a first-round exit and a World Series victory, but he's still a piece of that all-so-important functioning bullpen and therefore responsible for an additional win or two.
So I would love to blame him, but I can't: if an athlete in 2009 feels like they have to hide their injury, it's a symptom of a larger social problem, where players are so worried about looking they have the competitive spirit that they sacrifice health for the game and make themselves less effective in the process. It's an irrational stance to take, which is why it bothers me: in a perfect world (in my head, anyway), players would not play when they were hurt and people would not judge them for lacking the competitive spirit. Alas, this perfect world does not exist, so we have the next flawed thing: a player has to make the decision about whether or not it's more important to be judged by their competitive ability or their health and some - like Delcarmen - choose competitive ability over health as a rational decision and end up losing both.
Now it all makes sense: letting the market empty of potential shortstops was part of the front office's plan all along! While we were all zigging and trying to talk ourselves into settling for a Marco Scutaro/Jed Lowrie combo package, the Sox were zagging and talking to Pedroia about switching from second to short in 2010.
Well, that's the rumor, anyway. It's not a confirmed thing and - given the quotes Pedroia gave to the Herald when quizzed about the possible move - something that may be more in his head than anywhere else. In fact, for all of the move's logic - because after all, it's a lot easier to find a decent second baseman than it is to find a decent shortstop - it's giving me some deja vu. After all, it was a little over three years ago when Alex Gonzalez last left Boston and we were asking the same questions then that we are now, even if the circumstances are a little different.
"Four people are sitting around a table, talking about baseball, five minutes of it, very dull. Suddenly a bomb goes off. Blows people to smithereens. What does the audience have? Ten seconds of shock." -Alfred Hitchcock