Theo Epstein arrived fashionably late to the GM meeting in Dana Point, California, after swinging by to watch Clay Buchholz pitch in the Arizona Fall league. With the Red Sox facing several key financial and player decisions this winter, the GM meeting has become more important than ever.
The Sox have depth in every position except for catcher (which we won’t go into at the moment) which gives them a little wiggle room when it comes to personnel. If we like someone, we have lots of chips to trade, and with the loss of some big money contracts, this should be a good winter for trading – if necessary.
Theo spoke to the press, and has informed everyone that Timlin, who pitched six years in Boston, will not be returning to the Red Sox if he does not end up retiring. He also hinted that “The Mayor”, Sean Casey, will likely not return. Epistein also confirmed that he has signed a contract for an undisclosed amount of years and funds.
If they can do it, the Sox may be interested in bringing in a big name pitcher, like CC or A.J. Burnett, but are more likely to get a strong starter who will cost significantly less than the headliners. Throw in another strong arm to Dice-K, Beckett, Lester and Wake and you’ve got an impressive pitching staff. If they all remain healthy.
The Red Sox have yet to decide what they will do with rookie pitcher Justin Masterson, who pitched beautifully from the ‘pen in the second half. His flexibility is a big bonus for the decently strong Sox pitching staff.
You have to love the new owners and our GM, they really do put all the money we, as fans, spend on the Red Sox back into the team. Of course, this year Theo may have to do something he has never done before: got to arbitration. So far, he has always settled with his players, and with the money they have, the team should be able to give raises to a handful of their best players (i.e. Youkilis, Papelbon and Pedroia).
Jonathan Papelbon made just under $800,000 last season, and Kevin Youkilis went from $424,000 in 2007 to $3 million in 2008. Look for both of them to receive considerable raises. The Sox will also try to lock up Dustin Pedroia through his arbitration years, probably with a raise.
Epstein will also meet with the Prince of Darkness (Scott Boras) himself following the GM meeting to begin talks on Jason Varitek and whether or not he will be returning to Boston. While no deal is likely to be made, if they come to a quick agreement, Theo would not be opposed to wrapping it up early.