Sunday, December 5, 2010

The Red Sox are not cheap.

Remember this guy? Proof.

The Marlins are cheap. The Rays are cheap. The Pirates are downright Scrooge-like. If I hear one more Red Sox fan bemoaning the "fact" that the Sox front office is "too cheap" to sign Adrian Gonzalez, I'm going to scream in frustration.

The problem in these talks is not money. It's never money, unless the Yankees are involved, because we all know Midas himself couldn't outbid the Junior Steinbrenners. No, the Red Sox are not afraid to overpay in dollars for talent (for proof, look no further than the draft bonuses that they've given out in recent years), but they are afraid of overpaying in terms of years.

This makes sense. Think back to when the Sox signed Manny Ramirez, way back in December of 2000. The slugging outfielder was given a guaranteed eight years, with two team options for 2009 and 2010, with a total value of $160 million, plus bonuses for the usual things (MVP, ASG, etc.). I think you know where this is going, but the front office had soured on Manny by 2006, and even the fans were tired of his act by 2008. He was shipped off to Mannywood in LA, the Sox got Jason Bay, and the rest is history.

The moral of the story is, of course, that you can never anticipate what a player will look like in three years, let alone eight. I would never venture to guess that Adrian Gonzalez has the kind of ego and make up issues that Ramirez does, but the point stands: the Red Sox are cautious in giving out long contracts, because they've been down that road before, and it doesn't end well.

I know that AGon is crazily consistent (I posted about it yesterday, in fact), but you never know when he'll break a few ribs in a freak accident a la Jeremy Hermida and Jacoby Ellsbury, or foul a ball off his foot like Pedey, and he might never be the same.

I can totally support the front office standing firm on this issue, because they value roster flexibility, and handing out crazy-long deals isn't conducive to that kind of strategy.

All that said, SI's Jon Heyman is reporting that a deal DID get done, and the press conference will be tomorrow. Hopefully, the terms make sense for both sides.

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