NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 09: Josh Beckett #19 of the Boston Red Sox pitches against the New York Yankees on June 9, 2011 at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx borough of New York City. (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)
Sometimes the best contracts are the ones your team didn't hand out. Mo Vaughn comes to mind. Pedro Martinez, as amazing as he was, also qualifies. Jason Bay is looking more and more like he fits into the category as well. After dealing with concussion symptoms last season, Bay is off to a horrendous start this season, hitting .207/.307.279 on the season. Now comes word Bay's bottom is going to be seeing the business end of the bench for the foreseeable future, at least partially due to the horrendous 0-24 streak he now finds himself in. That the Mets owe Bay about $43 million to a player who hasn't hit in what is now coming up on a year comprises most of the problem, but the no-trade clause is the cherry on the flaming bag of poo Omar Minaya left on the Mets' front porch. But before we get all uppity, do remember, folks, the Red Sox did offer Bay a long term deal. He could have easily taken the four years and $60 million the Sox put on the table, but spurned the Sox for New York thanks to an extra $6 million and a medical clause-free contract. Be glad he did. Bay was a productive member of the Sox for a year and a half, but as I said above, sometimes the best deals are the ones you don't make. Sadly Bay fits that description perfectly.
The Red Sox aren't the only ones cashing in on the new Tommy John Surgery fad. The Yankees are trying to get in on the action as well. Your tenth favorite Nebraskan and mine, Joba Chamberlain, will be the first on the Yankees to head down that lonely road this season, as he's been diagnosed with a torn ligament in his elbow. That, medically speaking, is bad. Jay Jaffe has more on Chamberlain over at the Pinstriped Bible. Recall all the way back to April when the Yankees big bullpen plan was Chamberlain in the seventh inning, Rafael Soriano in the eighth and Mariano Rivera in the ninth. Sounded good on paper, but as we all know paper isn't the most permanent of writing receptacles. That would be rocks. The Yankees plan, dubbed JoSoMo which sounds like a real estate agent's attempt to drum up interest in a crime infested neighborhood, lasted all of ten minutes before Soriano's ineffectiveness and subsequent injury derailed the proceedings. Now comes word that Chamberlain will miss the rest of the year. In the span of two months the Yankees have gone from JoSoMo to Mo. Alert MLB Trade Rumors!
The often criticized Jon Heyman of SI.com has a quick mention of J.D. Drew's potential retirement in a column this week. Drew's contract is indeed up at the end of the season so all those WEEI callers will finally be able to rejoice as he's unlikely to return to Boston next year. According to Fan Graphs, Drew has been worth $58.4 million through last season which is interesting in that through last season he's been paid $56 million of his five year, $70 million deal. In other words, he's been worth almost exactly what he's been paid. He's earning $14 million this season and considering his production so far (.229/.333/.346) he's unlikely to reach that figure in value by year's end, though you never know as Drew is a bit on the streaky side. One way or the other Drew's deal won't go down as one of GM Theo Epstein's worst regardless of what happens this season. *coughLUGOcough*
The Sox concluded their draft and now come the tide of draft winners-or-losers articles. Jonathan Mayo has one up over at MLB.com though he smartly abstains from calling anyone a draft loser. Mr. Mayo does like the Red Sox draft, for what that's worth. I add "for what that's worth" on the end of the previous sentence not as a slight against Mr. Mayo but because it is absolutely impossible to diagnose correctly how a team did in the draft a day after the thing is finished. As Hardball Talk's Craig Calcaterra notes in a very well done piece, baseball players take so much time to develop that making pronouncements about who won or lost the draft days after the fact is a fools errand. Mr. Calcaterra makes note of a piece by Kevin Golstein of Baseball Prospectus wherein Mr. Goldstein describes players whose high draft slot was panned by the critics at the time. These players, including the Red Sox own Adrian Gonzalez, have since gone on to become stars. The point is there is no way to know now who did well and who did not. There likely isn't any way to tell next year and there may not be anything definitive three or even four years down the line. Like so many other aspects of baseball, it's more subtle and complex than it's sister sports. And isn't that more interesting?
Finally, a must read: SI.com's Joe Sheehan has an excellent piece up about the return of the stolen base. Mr. Sheehan explains much about the form this season's baseball has taken, centered around the run environment. To properly understand how a player is doing you must understand the context, and Mr. Sheehan has done a great job of explaining that context.