The importance of signing Lowell

by Bryan

Mike Lowell’s a free agent. Normally, I would not care. But this is not a normal year — and that has nothing to do with the World Series title (which they won!). I’m not a fan of re-signing guys based on fan friendliness, likeability or prematurely graying hair, but the Lowell signing makes all the sense in the world for the Red Sox because the Yankees don’t have a third baseman and the market for them is bad. Except that one guy, but we won’t talk about him now. If the Red Sox can sign Lowell, they will block the Yankees from doing the same.

So my next question is, what’s the holdup? It seems like both sides engaged in a little doublespeak, especially Lowell. During and after the World Series, he pledged his commitment to staying in Boston, maybe even for a lower price than he could get on the open (/Yankees) market, but the sides were unable to reach a deal. The Sox proposed three years, Lowell four. I’m not begrudging Lowell for any of this — it’s good business to leverage other offers into more money, unless you’re Stanley on The Office, where it’s just not going to work. But I think there’s a separate point in all this. For all Curt Schilling’s celebrated bluster, he put his money where he mouth is. He said he would stay for less money, and he did. If nothing else, you have to respect the man for that. As someone closer to the end of his career than Lowell, it’s of less importance to squeeze every penny out of his team (or is it the other way around, with the end of the road so close?), whereas Lowell is still in his prime earning years. But still, it’s nice to avoid the drama when you can.

I still believe that Lowell is coming back though, 100 percent. I’m not worried at all. Look at the Sox’ recent history with contracts — the Varitek contract is the best analogy, but the J.D. and Lugo contracts are good indicators as well — and it points toward the Sox throwing on an option year. The money is irrelevant, but I’d guess we’re looking at 4/$50 million.

Sheesh, that is a lot of money.