Wednesday, November 07, 2007

The Sox dye has been cast

Hey Peeps and anyone else checking in. A special "Hey" goes out to Hazel Mae if she is checking in.

Ok, before you even think it, the subject line has nothing to do with Curt Schilling's bloody sock - we don't have $1 million bucks to bet on whether or not it was Curt's blood or a foreign substance on the sock.

Curt Schilling announced that he had reached an agreement on a 1 year/$8 million deal that includes a number of incentive clause - from innings pitched to keeping his big mouth shut (by that we mean eating less) over the off-season, to getting a single vote for the Cy Young award. All told Schilling's incentives could reach $5 million; if he were to hit all of them - which is highly unlikely - would mean he would make the $13 million he told Red Sox Management (and the Nation) it would take to sign him to a 1 year extension at the beginning of last season.

Schilling will get part of the $2 million for innings pitched - no way he hits 200 innings to collect the full 2 mil; he'll be a number 4 or five starter, meaning he'll probably get 30 starts. The likelihood of Schilling reversing the decline in his game over the last two years to be a 7 inning/per game pitcher isn't going to happen.

The incentives for his weight are again believed to be so hard to reach that it will be almost impossible for him to collect the full 2 mil.

The $1M for receiving a single Cy Young vote is almost a given - we hate to say it, but there seems to be a growing dislike for the Red Sox, meaning some crusty, bitter old baseball hack will cast a vote for him just to stick it to the Sox.

When it all comes out in the wash - Schilling will probably earn somewhere in the neighbourhood of $10 million; which is about right for a guy of his abilities, at this stage of his career. As much as we can't stand Schilling, the Red Sox have to be applauded for the signing. They took the safe way out - signing an experienced starter who can give them 15 to 20 decent starts and pick up anywhere from 10-12 wins (depending on the support he gets) - and more importantly, gives the team another year to slowly develop future starters like Clay Buchholz and John Lester.

The annoyance that goes along with being a member of "Curt's World" is something the management team has decided they can live with. In weighing the Pros and Cons (that's not a joke about Schilling's weight) it was decided that Schilling could remain with the Sox provided the number was right (again, NOT a weight joke).

We've given Theo Epstein some grief on this page (look up J.D. Drew) but he really deserves a lot of credit for this very shrewd move. This move has a lot to do with maintain clubhouse harmony - if Big Papi can take a "hometown discount", so can everyone else - and even more to do with signing Mike Lowell. By signing Schilling to a contract that he heavily laden with incentives, Epstein is putting down a marker to Red Sox Nation favourite Mike Lowell. The message the Schilling signing sends to Mike Lowell is loud and clear - "you want to stay here, we want you to stay here, but we aren't going to pay an outrageous amount for a career year".

Epstein has surveyed the lay of the land - the Yankees are in flux, the Jays are (and will continue to be) a joke - and decided that it is better to go with established guns that will almost guarantee you the AL East, than to take a chance on a couple of young starters who might not be ready for prime-time and guy like ARod who would have a very tough time co-existing in a clubhouse that has a pit-bull like Jason Varitek, and (in the words of our man Quikdraw) a "media-whore" like Curt Schilling who wants to be front and center.

This is a move that Hockey God, Brian Burke, would be proud of. Sign a guy that you could do without (Schilling) in order to attract/retain a guy that will be an important part of your team (Lowell). Burke did it a couple of years back when he signed Rob Niedermayer to a relatively big deal (leaving some hockey experts scratching their heads) in order to get his brother Scott Niedermayer to take a little less to play there. We're not suggesting that Schilling and Lowell are brothers - but you have to think Lowell would think twice about leaving a team that has all the pieces in place to win again next year for a couple of million somewhere else (remember Johnny Damon?).

Same old story for the Maple Leafs last night - another night of defensive miscues, misreads and misunderstandings, couple with an anemic power play sealed their fate as they dropped another one to the SenaTards. And we skipped this week's Hazies for that?

The silver lining yesterday was that FC Porto got a goal from Lisandro Lopez in the 79th minute to beat Marseille by count of 2-1; of course Ricardo Quaresma was the architect of the goal, hitting in a beautiful cross that Lopez headed home. The win pretty much guarantees that the "Dragoes" will advance to the knockout phase of the competition - FC Porto are the equivalent of the Minnesota Twins in terms of European Football. Unfortunately, things didn't go as well for Benfica as they lost 1-0 to Celtic in Scotland.

We'll defer to Quikdraw for yesterday's three stars - we'll give you 18 of them, as he posted the Gold Glove winners from both leagues.

We should have left well enough alone last Sunday - a tough day meant that the total for the week was - $300 - the total for the year stands at - $700. We are GOING to get well this week - bank (bet) on it. Tonight's suggestions:

Tampa Bay over Florida - the Lightning lost to the Panthers on Monday night, so they'll be looking for revenge tonight; plus, they are pretty tough at home. Lay $100 on the Lightning - $145.

Colorado over Edmonton - the Oilers are a disaster right now and the Avs are flying, after beating up on the Flames on Monday night. This one could get really really ugly if things go according to form. Lay $100 on the Avs - $270.

Anaheim over Phoenix - this particular matchup cost us HUGE last year. Anaheim won't take the Coyotes lightly, having already dropped one to them this year (no we didn't suggest a play on the Ducks in that game). Lay $100 on the Ducks - $220.

That's it for today gang - thanks for taking the time to check in. Have a great one peeps.

Hazel, we hope things are groovy in your world.

We're Out!


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