The new trend in baseball free agency, it seems, is to recruit players like college football coaches. Only handing out money is legal.
Red Sox fans remember the ill-fated trip to Texas members of the front office made in 2008 to try and get Mark Teixeira. That same winter, Brian Cashman flew to California and came back with a commitment from CC Sabathia.
Cashman was down in Arkansas earlier this week to start the process with Cliff Lee. Now Torii Hunter tells the L.A. Times that he expects owner Arte Moreno to head to Texas to talk to Carl Crawford.
The good news is that Theo Epstein has experience in these matters, having once gone to Arizona for Thanksgiving dinner with Curt Schilling and returned with a pitcher who helped make history.
Now that the Yankees and Angels are taking to the skies, the Red Sox would seem compelled to join them.
Our suggestion would be to get a boombox and stand outside Victor Martinez's house playing "In Your Eyes" until he comes out. If that fails, beat Moreno to Texas to see Crawford then swing by Adrian Beltre's house and remind him he had 49 doubles last season.
On a serious note, these gestures probably are helpful and in some cases could fire up the fan base. But in the end, prominent free agents sign with the team that offers them the best combination of money and long-term security. All the rest is just for show.