RED SOX NOTEBOOK
They can't say Henry hasn't done his share
Rays still woeful despite revenue-sharing windfall
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- When the Red Sox open a three-game series tonight against the Devil Rays, principal owner John W. Henry may wonder what his Tampa Bay counterparts have gotten for the $20.4 million the Sox helped steer their way last year in revenue sharing.
The Rays, who have lost 17 of their last 20 games to post the worst record in the American League, received a $5.8 million boost in revenue sharing from the previous year, according to figures obtained by the Associated Press. And the Rays can thank the Sox for a large chunk of it.
Only the Yankees paid more in revenue sharing ($52.7 million) last year than the Sox, whose $38.7 million contribution more than doubled from $17.9 million the year before. The Yankees paid $26.6 million the previous year.
Under a new system that took effect with the 2002 collective bargaining agreement, teams must pay 34 percent of their local revenues to a central fund, up from 20 percent under the previous contract. Large-market teams such as the Yankees and Sox also must help provide an additional $72.2 million annually to be distributed to small-market teams.
Henry has called the increased burden on the Sox "onerous," though he has expressed hope that the changes would be good for the game. After the new bargaining agreement was reached, Henry estimated the Sox would pay an average of $35 million annually during the four-year deal, nearly four times the average of $9 million a year they paid under the previous labor contract.
Henry predicted in '02 that the increased burden would affect the market for free agents and arbitration-eligible players. While the Sox were not dissuaded last winter from acquiring big-ticket stars such as Curt Schilling and Keith Foulke, they have made it clear they cannot afford to sign all of their major remaining free agents: Pedro Martinez, Nomar Garciaparra, Derek Lowe, Jason Varitek, and David Ortiz.
The only teams that received more in revenue sharing last year than the Rays were the Expos ($29.5 million) and the world champion Marlins ($21 million). In all, $220 million was distributed under the new system, up from $169 million the year before.
For all the Sox invested in Foulke as their closer, he has started his career with the team by appearing in non-save situations in 11 of his first 18 outings, including a 9-3 victory Friday and a 4-0 shutout Saturday against the Blue Jays.
"Even though some of these situations aren't save situations, to me they're wins," manager Terry Francona said.
The Sox are 15-3 in games in which Foulke has appeared, even though he has logged only two saves since April 21.
"I think his saves are probably lower than some other people, but his impact is large," Francona said. "I think he knows that and he knows I appreciate the way he goes about it."
Foulke, who anchors a bullpen that leads the majors with a 2.74 ERA, has not allowed a run in 12 innings over his last 11 appearances. Opponents have hit .079 (3 for 38) against him over that stretch, and he has struck out 12 of the last 23 batters he has faced since April 29.
Foulke, Scott Williamson, and Lenny DiNardo have yet to allow a home run this season. The Sox pen has allowed only six homers in 108 1/3 innings. By comparison, Martinez has surrendered seven homers in 57 2/3 innings and Schilling has yielded five in 56 1/3 innings.
Ortiz leads the league in doubles (15) and extra-base hits (25), and he has as many doubles as he does singles (15). He has 10 homers and needs one more for the 100th of his career. Of Ortiz's last 13 hits, 10 have been for extra bases (five homers and five doubles) . . . Ellis Burks has taken batting practice four straight days as he comes back from arthroscopic surgery April 26 on his left knee. "I'm not hitting on all cylinders, but it's coming along," he said. "I'm very encouraged by it. I didn't lose too much of my timing." Burks is not expected back for at least two weeks . . . Johnny Damon's next stolen base will be the 250th of his career. He will become the 17th active player to reach the plateau . . . The Sox have doubled at least once in each of their last 14 games . . . After Cesar Crespo knocked in his first run of the season Friday in his 51st at-bat, only one player in the majors has gone more at-bats without an RBI. Former Sox second baseman Rey Sanchez, now with the Devil Rays, has gone 65 at-bats without driving in a run. Sanchez is batting .214 (3 for 14) against Tim Wakefield, who starts for the Sox tonight. As for Crespo, he has yet to draw a walk in 59 plate appearances . . . The morning after the Sox arrived at the Toronto airport for their flight to Tampa with two rookies -- DiNardo and Kevin Youkilis -- dressed like Hooters girls as part of a hazing ritual, US Customs officers were still getting a chuckle out of it . . . Indians catcher Victor Martinez shared AL Player of the Week honors largely because of the damage he inflicted on the Sox. He went 4 for 9 with three runs and five RBIs in two games at Fenway Park.
© Copyright 2004 Globe Newspaper Company.