"I don't think there's anything left."
"OK. Call it."
"February 4th, 2009."
"It led a good life, but this Red Sox offseason is done."
Yup, so I'm killing the offseason right now. I am saying that the hot stove is closed, shut down and MIA until October 2009. We're done, folks. Nothing else to see here. Just mosey along now, ya' hear?
There's nothing left to do. The last remaining piece of the 2009 World Series puzzle has been inserted (his name is Brad Wilkerson*) and now it's time to wait for pitchers and catchers to report to Fort Myers, Fla. Which, by the way, is next Friday the 13th.
Oh, it is so, so close.
Can anyone really believe it? It seemed like just yesterday Dustin Pedroia was crowned the American League Most Valuable Player. It seemed like 40 minutes ago when the Red Sox came back from seven runs down to defeat the Rays in an elimination game of the ALCS. And now it's all almost back.
Let's reflect on this offseason. Here are the most significant moves, in order:
Nov. 19, 2008: Acquired RHP Ramon Ramirez from the Kansas City Royals in exchange for OF Coco Crisp.
Nov. 28, 2008: Acquired RHP Wes Littleton from the Rangers for a player to be named or cash. He had been designated for assignment on Nov. 20.
Dec. 3, 2008: Signed 2B Dustin Pedroia to six-year extension.
Dec. 4, 2008: Signed RHP Junichi Tazawa to a three-year contract.
Jan. 2, 2009: Signed C Josh Bard to a one-year contract with a club option for 2010.
Jan. 8, 2009: Signed free agent OF Rocco Baldelli, who had been with the Rays, to a one-year contract. Designated RHP Charlie Zink for assignment.
Jan. 9, 2009: Signed RHP Brad Penny to a one-year contract. Sent RHP Charlie Zink outright to Triple-A Pawtucket. He had been designated for assignment on January 8.
Jan. 10, 2009: Signed RHP Takashi Saito to a one-year contract with a club option for 2010.
Jan. 13, 2009: Signed RHP John Smoltz to a one-year contract. Designated RHP David Pauley for assignment.
Jan. 15, 2009: Re-signed OF Mark Kotsay to a one-year contract. Designated RHP David Aardsma for assignment.
Jan. 16, 2009: Signed INF Kevin Youkilis to a four-year contract with a club option for a fifth year.
Jan. 31, 2009: Signed C Jason Varitek to a one-year deal with a club/player option for 2010.
Feb. 3, 2009: Signed OF Brad Wilkerson (deal pending).
It's been active, to say the least.
Let's put the offseason in a nutshell:
- Nailed down the right side of the infield for many years to come.
- Signed a bunch of pitching depth.
- Low-risk, high-reward all over the place.
In my opinion, the biggest two moves were signing Pedroia and Kevin Youkilis. To me that was much bigger than signing a very over-paid Mark Teixeira. Yes, I couldn't get through this post without saying the MT name. I'd much rather spend (much less) money on two home-grown talents like Pedroia and Youkilis than buy a soon-to-be stale bat like Teix.
Other big signings, but not as big, include John Smoltz, Brad Penny and Takashi Saito. Smoltz and Penny will anchor the bottom end of the rotation while Saito could be an amazing setup man for Jonathan Papelbon. All three signings, for me, are grade A in terms of talent and money involved.
Smaller signings, but still important, were bringing back Mark Kotsay and signing Rocco Baldelli. Kotsay will be a greath 5th outfielder/backup first baseman while Baldelli is already a fan-favorite as the 4th outfielder. Once again, very solid signings to increase the depth on this team.
The jury is still out on a few moves. What role will Josh Bard serve? Will he even make the team? How good will Ramon Ramirez be moving from pergatory to baseball heaven? Brad Wilkerson ... ? Wes Littleton ... ? Both could do something, but most likely won't.
All in all, this was a very good offseason. However, depending on how the low-risk, high-reward deals end up, this could be an amazing offseason. It really could change the way the Red Sox do deals while in the Theo Epstein era. No more big deals for the Sox. All farm system, all the time.
Now it's your turn. What was the best move of the offseason? The worst? The 'ehhhh'? Make sure to grade the offseason in the poll as well.