No bush beating today. It's...
The huge news is, of course, that the Red Sox signed Aaron Cook to a minor league contract with an invitation to Spring Training. (This is according to Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports.) The Providence Journal's Tim Britton is all over this one, with a few notes on Cook. In short: he's an extreme ground ball pitcher with extremely no strikeouts. He enjoys extreme skiing, extreme body-boarding, extremely high buildings, extremely cold ice cream, and bobbing for apples. Cook's signing is, I'm sure, a depth move, and doesn't preclude the Sox from going after sexier names, like Paul Maholm. And yes, that was a joke.
MLB.com's Peter Gammons says that the luxury tax has kept the Yankees and Red Sox out of the free agent market making this winter. The lack of big bidders has upset the apple cart, so to speak, though even if the Sox and Yankees were out to spend, spend, spend, neither had a spot for Prince Fielder anyway. And as Mr. Gammons says later, the Yankees could very well still sign Edwin Jackson. Big market inaction isn't confined to just Boston and the Bronx. The Mets and Dodgers, two huge market teams, are both suffering from severe money problems due to ownership containing the financial acumen of spray cheez. And, even without those four teams (for the most part), big money teams have been making big moves. The Angels signed Albert Pujols and CJ Wilson (on the same day, no less), the Rangers won the bidding on Yu Darvish, and the Marlins are throwing money at anything that isn't nailed down. Still, any year which doesn't feature at least the Yankees picking over the market is, as Mr Gammons notes, a weird one.
Over at Fire Brand of the AL, Charlie Saponara thinks the Red Sox should sign Rich Harden as a reliever. It's far from a terrible idea, though I'm not sure where Harden would fit in exactly. The Red Sox currently have nine relievers on their 40 man roster. That means to sign Harden, they'd have to get rid of one or more of Aceves, Albers, Bailey, Achison, Bowden, Doubront, Jenks, Melancon, and Morales. Aceves may or may not be in the rotation, though nobody seems to think that will stick, Achison could be lost with little problem, and Jenks may not make it out of the garage, but that still leaves six guys. So the question is, would having Rich Harden (and his salary) be much better than keeping Michael Bowden and probably someone else?
The folks over at Yankee Analysts have a piece up about what it would take to trade for Matt Garza. The Red Sox aren't thought to be in the Garza sweepstakes, but considering who is running the show over in Chicago, it makes sense to monitor the proceedings. Thus, you should read this and this update as well. Then you should pray to the God of Expectoration that Garza's spittle-emitting face remains west of the Appalachians.
The Daniel-Bard-to-the-rotation thing is a sticky topic, and not just here at OTM. Writing a column on recent confusing moves at SI.com, Cliff Corcoran labels the Red Sox plan to move Bard a mistake. It's not really the piece's intent to cover the topic in detail, but Mr. Corcoran does give a rundown of the deal that made it possible for Bard to make the jump to starting, the Andrew Bailey for Josh Reddick trade.
Speaking of polarizing topics, I'm a fan of the Red Sox TV announcers. Sure they can get a bit silly from time to time, and Remy's hawking of just about everything under the sun can wear on you, but mostly I think they do an outstanding job of going with the flow of the game. They point out the subtitles of the game when it warrants, astutely analyze when called upon to do so, and they aren't afraid to talk about some guy who just chucked a slice of cheese pizza at some other dude either. I bring all this up because Fan Graphs is having an off season crowd-sourcing exercise wherein you answer four questions about your team's TV announcers. You can answer them here. The whole idea is explained here. I gave them high marks.