Boston Globe baseball writer Gordon Edes checks in every week to answer your questions on the Red Sox. Ask yours now, and come back next week to see whether it was answered.
Who do you think will have a bigger bounce-back season in 2008, J.D. Drew, or Manny Ramirez? Also, what are your projections for both of them?
Mike Anderson, Bristol, R.I.
A: Mike, that's a great question. I haven't laid eyes on either guy yet, though J.D. stopped by the complex Monday to drop off his stuff. J.D. hit .393 the last three weeks of the season, then .314 in the postseason. Granted, a small sample size, but he looked much more like the player the Sox thought they were getting when they signed him to a five-year, $70 million deal. He obviously had a tough adjustment period last season, and had the health issues of his son to worry about as well, so I think on many levels this will be a much more comfortable environment for him. I think he'll be settled in more, and I don't think people will set the bar as high for him as they did last season. The lack of power was a puzzle-just 11 home runs-but I see him easily returning to a 15-20 HR range. He's just 32, so yes, I predict a good bounce-back season for him. Manny? He'll be 36 on May 30, and the injuries are starting to catch up-patellar tendinitis in '06, oblique muscle in '07. But his future employment is at stake here-will the Sox pick up the $20 million options they hold on '09 and '10-so we might see what Manny looks like in a salary drive year. He clearly was still one of the game's most dangerous hitters last October, and I expect he'll play at a high level again this season.
Any truth to the rumor I heard that the Sox were interested in bringing back Bronson Arroyo?
Jamie Nicholson, Halifax, Nova Scotia
A: Jamie, I hadn't heard that one in a while. The big money kicks in for Bronson next season-he is scheduled to be paid $9.5m in 2009, $11m in 2010, with the club holding an $11m option for 2011-so he remains under control for the Reds. I suppose if he doesn't perform the Reds would unload him, but if he underperforms, why would the Sox want him? Clearly, Bronson has never made a secret of his love for Boston, but I can't see Dusty Baker, the new Reds manager, wanting to shed pitching any time soon, especially if it means another rebuilding program.
I keep reading that the Francona contract talks are moving along. I am a big Francona fan and am curious at the perceived slow pace, considering both sides seem to want to get it done. Is it simply because both sides assume it will get done, have other priorities, and are just taking a "we'll get to it when we get to it" attitude?
Carl Kaplan, Winchester
A: Carl, I think you have a pretty good handle on why Tito hasn't been re-signed yet. I'd be shocked if a deal doesn't get done soon, though Tito, having won the World Series twice in four years, has leverage unprecedented for a Sox manager. He should emerge with a pretty sweet deal, especially since you could make the argument that the Sox need him right now more than he needs them. He wouldn't be unemployed very long if for some crazy reason something didn't get done.
Would the A's consider moving their one time ace, Rich Harden, now while he still has value (albeit nothing like what it was 2 years ago) for an offer like Coco and a prospect (likely mid-level pitching)? I would love to see this given the recent development with Schilling, and I'm guessing that Beane and the A's would have to consider this given 1) their need for a CF (and Coco is moderately priced) and 2) the risk of seeing Harden go down w/ another injury and ultimately have the same fate as Prior did w/ the Cubs (and net them nothing in return). I would love to see it b/c the Sox aren't risking a ton, and yet could net a pitcher who, when he's healthy, is a contender for the Cy Young award hands down.
Jon F., Northboro
A: Jon, the Sox have asked about Harden in the past, but I think before they'd get serious again, they'd want to see how healthy he is this spring. Given that Billy B. is in full-scale rebuilding mode, I think his interest in Coco would be limited; his starting price would probably begin with Jacoby.
Why is no one making an issue of the fact that Youk is only signed to a one year deal? A versatile, relative young, gold gloving, OBP machine, will surely be the object of attention from other teams following the '08 season. Is this not a situation worthy of ink 'n' air? I've heard/read nothing (Admittedly, from way over here in Dr. Charlestown) about the length of the deal since it was signed.
Todd Bisson, Los Angeles
A: Todd, not to worry. This was just Kevin's first year eligible for salary arbitration, so he remains under Sox salary control for two more seasons after 2008. A player is not eligible for free agency until he has accumulated six years of big-league service time.
Do you think the revelations about Clemens steroid use (which seems all but certain) vindicate Dan Duquette's tenure as G.M. I'm thinking of his famous/infamous statement that Clemens was "in the twilight of his career," when the red sox made a much lower offer than the blue jays in Clemens' free agent year. Duquette had been vilified for that comment after letting Roger walk and then winning lots of Cy Youngs. But in retrospect perhaps Duquette was right, and deserves a more favorable look back at his tenure here.
Marc Fromm, Shelburne Falls
A: Marc, I don't think the steroid allegations vindicate Duquette's judgment of Clemens. No one to date at least has suggested Clemens was using performance enhancing substances in 1997, his first season with the Blue Jays, when he won the Cy Young Award. And we have no way of truly measuring the impact of performance-enhancing substances, if he used them, on his subsequent performance, just as we cannot say with certainty how many home runs Barry Bonds would have hit in 2001 if he wasn't allegedly using steroids either.
Why have the Red Sox relegated a statue of Ted Williams to the hideous position on a sidewalk out of sight of everyone? Why is it not in a prominent place at the front entrance to the park? This is a disgrace, an insult to Ted, the fans and the children. A total disgrace! [From] a 60-year diehard fan!
Frank Stabile, Del Ray Beach, Fla.
A: Frank, I have to admit, I never really thought about it in the terms you're suggesting. Now that they've made Yawkey Way a pregame street festival, I'm not sure there's a heckuva lot of room for a statue of Ted at the front of the yard, and always thought having it behind the bleachers was an extra treat for the fans who can't spend the big bucks to go to a game. I never considered it "out of sight'' but maybe I'm a bit short-sighted on this one. I've always felt the Sox never came up short when it came to recognizing what Ted means to the franchise.
The Indians cut Trot Nixon so what is he doing is he getting back in the game and has anyone picked him up.
Joe Mariano, Hubbard, Ohio
A: Joe, Trot recently went to audition for the Arizona Diamondbacks, who also invited some other clubs to check him out. I just checked this morning, and he hasn't signed with anyone yet. His back problems and declining numbers have scared off a lot of clubs. He'll always be respected in this town, though.
Have you heard any talk amongst members of the Sox front office of Jason Varitek being someone they would like to keep in the organization after his playing career as a possible manager for the team somewhere down the line? Seems like a natural progression for him.
A: Philip, if the topic has been discussed, it's been only on an informal basis-Jason still has some years left in him to play-but while he would seem a natural to remain in the game in some leadership capacity, my recollections of my conversations with Jason is that he'll be perfectly content to go home and spend time with the family when he's through playing. Funny, though, how so many guys who feel that way wind up coming back, irresistibly drawn back to the game.
I'm a little confused about a Red Sox visit to the White House this month. Is it still planned? Who will attend?
Frank Procopio, Cambridge
A: The club is scheduled to go to the White House on Feb. 27, just as they visited after winning the World Series in '04. I would think everyone on the '07 winners would go, although there may be a guy or two who opts not to attend.