No stripes for Unit
Boston Globe baseball scribe Gordon Edes weighs in on the Olde Towne Team in this edition of the Ask Edes mailbag.
Watching Randy Johnson throw that perfect game last week made me sick. Not that I don't admire The Big Unit, but I have visions of him ending up in pinstripes this year. His contract calls for $16 million next year which pretty much eliminates every team in the league except the Yankees from acquiring him. With the amount of good left handed hitters the Sox have on their roster, I can not see the Yankees passing up on him. How far do you think the Sox will go to prevent this from happening? Do you see Schilling being any kind of influence on Johnson?
-- Oscar, NY
A: Oscar, if it makes you feel any better, both Arizona owner Jerry Colangelo and GM Joe Garagiola Jr. insist they have absolutely no interest in trading Johnson, even if the D-Backs are still out of contention come the trading deadline. Johnson is signed through next season, and a personal services deal through 2011, and the D-Backs folks say they won't surrender their ace. Also, the Unit has a full no-trade clause in his deal, and is also a 10-5 veteran (10 years in the league, 5 years with the same team), meaning he could veto any deal. So unless both the D-Backs and the Unit change their minds, no need to worry about the Bombers. And no, I don't think Schilling would be able to persuade RJ that the Sox would be a better fit.
Do you think David Ortiz took less than his "market value" when he signed an extension last week? And if so, why? And could that effect negotiations with the other "Big Four" free agents?
-- Tom, Cambridge
A: Tom, He absolutely did. The two-year deal (plus an option) guarantees Ortiz $12.5 million , or a fraction over $4 million a year. I think there's another team that would have given Ortiz a three-year guaranteed deal in excess of that, probably in the $17 million to $20 million range, though the one thing that hurts him is he is a defensive liability and probably best suited for DHing. But two things to consider: The market is changing, so Ortiz may have had some questions whether he could do much better than the $19.5 mil he'll get from the Sox if they pick up his deal in 2007 ($7.75 million or a $750,000 buyout). Plus, he loves it here, and he should: Coming into the weekend, he was batting 70 percentage points better at home (.322) than on the road (.252) since coming to Boston. The split is 96 percentage points (.341 to .245) this season. I'm planning to point out that disparity in my notes column this Sunday. Ortiz has become a terrific Fenway hitter, making full use of the Wall. Continued...