"Happy, Happy, Joy, Joy" [in regards to this off-season].
Again, not really a collection of Daily Links, but just a collection of pertinent links in general. With Spring Training not too far away (well okay, for some of us it certainly feels like it is), it would behoove us to take a quick look at a few of the things that have taken place this past off-season. Suffice to say, there's been plenty, though I'll try to not "beat a dead horse" on some of the things that have taken place.
Jumpin' Jack Flash to those links in 3...2...1...
Hammer, meet nail. Adrian Gonzalez, meet the friendly confines of Fenway Park. There wasn't a deal in place after the trade, but the understanding is for 6 to 7 years around $155 million with the deal most likely being held back due to luxury tax concerns.
- Holy Hole in a Doughnut, Batman! First Gonzo, now Carl Crawford! Theft of the bases could reach an all-time high! Of course let's not forget the deal is for $142 million over the life of the contract and an interesting tidbit in regards to the no-trade clause: the team can block a trade to the New York Yankees if Crawford ever wanted to be traded there.
So after the signing of Bobby Jenks and Dan Wheeler, and with very serviceable options in Hideki Okajima and Scott Atchison, the Red Sox have quite the bullpen along with Jonathan Papelbon and Daniel Bard. Of course that's pulling a Captain Obvious, but considering the mess the bullpen was last season, now having 3 pitchers that are bona-fide closer material is enough to make even the most hardened cynic have some faith in the bullpen. Though I have to say, the Yankee's haul of Rafael Soriano certainly warrants attention.
- Well I'm not saying he is and I gather most of us here at OTM aren't either. We all know Tito sticks by his guys and so don't expect Marco Scutaro to be out of the shortstop job anytime soon unless he really falls apart. That being said, expect Jed Lowrie to be a "super" utility player, seeing as how he can play all 4 infield positions. We may very find out that "The Jedi" is really our new shortstop of the future this season. Plus, if he fulfills his promise, he could possibly transition to being the team's 3B once it's time for Kevin Youkilis to move on (yes, scary thought but he's not getting any younger).
- This is certainly a nice development. Not much else to really say beyond that it keeps one of team's more significant minor-league affiliates close to the heart of Red Sox Nation territory. I'd honestly be shocked if they ever let that PDC run out.
- A nice little piece about Jon Lester's time at the beginning of his career. I have to say, the high signing bonus...totally worth it in retrospect. Good thing he was never traded for A-Rod...
- Not surprising seeing as how Theo & Co. have faith in Bard and signed Bobby Jenks as well this off-season. The salary might be a sticking point, but if the front office sees no use for Papelbon, they may be ready to eat a good chunk of his salary just to trade him off to an N.L. team that's in contention. Yes, an N.L. team, not an A.L. team; no need for him to come back and haunt you, is there?
- Nice piece from Gordo's "10 Questions" series about the Red Sox this off-season. So is he ready? I don't think so just yet, but if he turns out to be close to Jason Varitek's skill-set in any way, this will have been a coup in Theo & Co.'s eyes and certainly a success when it comes to "reclamation projects." Personally, I still think the talent is there, now it's all about harnessing it all together and pushing to succeed. Salty, you've been given a golden opportunity; carpe diem.
- "Show me the money!" indeed. All I have to say: if Bard keeps it up, that pay day will be big for sure.
Got links? Send 'em on over and I'll be nice enough to give you credit!