ORLANDO - A few questions for Theo Epstein:
Q: Comment on the Schilling deal ...
TE: "We're really happy this got done. We think it's a great thing for the club and it will work out for Curt as well. A lot of times players say it's not about the money and it ends up being about the money. It wasn't about the money. That's something to be commended in this day and age."
Q: What was the thought process behind the deal?
TE: "How we project him for next year... we thought $8 million was a reasonable number. If there's a downside or things don't go well next year, then $8 million seems reasonable under that scenario. If everything goes right, if he gets himself in great shape and pitches the whole season, then we're comfortable with the higher number (up to $14 million) which is why the contract is structured that way."
Q: When did this get going?
TE: "We started talking a few days ago. We made some progress over the weekend and then our first day here and we wrapped it up last night."
Q: Was it easier without an agent involved?
TE: "In this case yes. Curt knew what was important to him. We started out far apart. We were offering one thing and he was asking for something else. We were able to bridge that gap pretty quickly with his directness."
Q: Did Curt learn a lesson from not coming into shape last spring training?
TE: "You'd have to ask him, but I think he did learn a lesson because he volunteered the weight clause as a way to bridge the gap. He's going to make every effort to get into great shape. I think he's committed himself to having a very productive off-season which he didn't have last year and using that as a spring board to good health and success in 2008."
Q: If he works out do you think his velocity will rise?
TE: "Yes. The keys for him are maintaining his shoulder, execution of the shoulder program and conditioning his body generally and staying in solid shape."
Q: Are you out of the pitching market?
TE: "We're probably out of the free-agent market unless there's a real value there, as far as the trade market is concerned if we have a chance to add a real good young, controllable pitcher, sure but we're pretty happy with our depth right now. What we needed was quality to protect the remainder of the rotation."
NOTE: Schilling's inning pitched clause starts at 130 innings and goes in 10-inning increments up to 200 innings. He makes $375,000 per increment.
Also, Schilling weigh-ins will be very difficult to make. He would have to really be in outstanding shape to make all six weigh-ins and earn the $2 million extra according to a source familiar with the contract.