Via the wireless on a moving train, here are some random Red Sox notes:
• The New York City chapter of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America held its 91st awards dinner Saturday night in Manhattan.
Hall of Famers Hank Aaron and Sandy Koufax were at the head table along with new Hall of Famers Bobby Cox, Tony La Russa, and Joe Torre.
BBWAA award winners Miguel Cabrera, Jose Fernandez, Terry Francona, Clint Hurdle, Clayton Kershaw, Andrew McCutchen, Wil Myers, and Max Scherzer also were on hand, along with Mariano Rivera, Andy Pettitte, David Robertson, Tony Clark, Rob Manfred, and others.
But one of the loudest ovations of the night went to Kevin McGill, a detective with the Boston Police Department.
McGill was one of the first responders to the Marathon bombings, aiding victims and securing the area. He was chosen by the New York writers to represent Boston and receive the “You Gotta Have Heart” award.
After a powerful introduction from Red Sox pitcher Craig Breslow, McGill gave an eloquent speech. To see fans in New York cheer a Bostonian was a special moment.
Here’s the video:
• David Ortiz was the only award winner not to appear at the dinner Saturday. He was voted the winner of the Babe Ruth Award as the Most Valuable Player of the postseason. Ortiz also skipped the Boston BBWAA dinner last Thursday.
• Ortiz was criticized for speaking out about his contract and that is sure to continue. A 38-year-old DH set to make $15 million is an easy target and not very sympathetic.
But look at it this way: Ortiz will have earned $125.9 million over 12 years with the Red Sox by the end of the coming season. That’s an average of $10.8 million a year. That makes Ortiz a huge bargain for the Red Sox given the 41.6 WAR he produced over the first 11 years.
The Red Sox showered money on the likes of Carl Crawford, Adrian Gonzalez, and Daisuke Matsuzaka, dropping Ortiz to second-tier payroll status in his own clubhouse. As it stands now, he will make less in 2014 than John Lackey and Mike Napoli.
Don’t compare the money with what normal folks make. Compare it with other players. That is the scoreboard Ortiz sees.
Ortiz needs a lesson in public relations but his point is a sound one. Carlos Beltran, who turns 36 in April, landed a three-year deal worth $45 million from the Yankees. If that is the standard for aging hitters, Ortiz deserves another year added to his deal.
In the end, this is a lot of smoke. Ortiz will retire with the Red Sox unless his production dramatically declines and he goes elsewhere as a part-time player. He can be “Big Papi” in Boston and that has value to him.
• Is there a right answer for Jerry Remy and NESN? That’s a matter of personal opinion for everybody. Remy felt he wanted to return to work and the network granted that wish with the approval of the Red Sox.
It will be awkward, perhaps, to hear Remy joking around with Don Orsillo during games. But Remy didn’t lose his right to earn a living because his adult son is accused of a terrible crime. The issue is having a job that is so public.
Orsillo has a fine line to walk here because there is sure to be an emotional toll on Remy. The Martel family, of course, suffers more than anybody.
• The Grady Sizemore Experiment will be a daily story in spring training. Jonny Gomes, who has been working out with Sizemore in Arizona, believes there will be a payoff for the Red Sox.
“It’s a lottery ticket,” Gomes said. “Small cost, big reward.”
Sizemore has supporters throughout the organization. John Farrell, assistant general manager Mike Hazen, bench coach Torey Lovullo, and even head athletic trainer Rick Jameyson all worked for the Indians when Sizemore was there, and they know him well.
The question with Sizemore is not whether he can run again and play. It’s whether he can play 75 games or 125. If he’s a bench player, the Red Sox will have some moves to make in their outfield.
• It’s Jan. 28 and Stephen Drew is still a free agent. The latest from Scott Boras is that Drew would be willing to play second base or third base. He has played only shortstop in his career.
If Drew seeks a return to Boston, the Sox could offer him short money knowing he has little leverage. The Sox are butting up against the luxury tax limit, so adding Drew would likely require trading another player at some point.
• The Red Sox have the same coaching staff coming back for the first time since the 2007-08 seasons.
• John McDonald wants to continue playing and signed a minor league deal with the Angels. If that doesn’t work out, the Red Sox could be waiting with a job in their organization.
McDonald mentored several young players last season, most notably Xander Bogaerts, and would be a terrific coach or player development executive.
• A reader emailed to ask if Jon Lester was foolish to announce he would sign with the Red Sox at a hometown discount.
That’s a great question, because he certainly gave away some negotiating leverage. But Lester succeeded in placing the onus squarely on the Red Sox.
Lester stood up and said he wanted to stay in Boston and would sacrifice to do so. Now the fans are on his side and it puts the pressure on the organization to make a deal.
Lester is no fool. He just turned 30 and has thrown 1,299.1 innings the last six seasons, counting the postseason. That’s a lot of wear and tear on his left arm. If he can land a long-term deal to play for a manager he trusts in a city he likes, that’s a victory for him.
• The Yankees are better with Masahiro Tanaka. But which rotation would you take?
Red Sox: Lester, Buchholz, Lackey, Doubront, Peavy (or Dempster).
Yankees: Sabathia, Tanaka, Kuroda, Nova, TBA.
Rays: Price, Hellickson, Moore, Archer, Cobb.
The Yankees spent a ton of money to get better. But their rotation remains an issue when compared with the Rays and Red Sox.
• Have any good story ideas for spring training beyond the obvious ones? Drop me an email.
As always, thanks for reading.