Last night's midnight deadline came and went with no agreement reached between Mike Lowell and the Red Sox.
That could be a positive or a negative regarding a possible Lowell return. Both sides made it clear that the door has not been closed as far as Lowell resigning in Boston. The sticking point seems to be a fourth year, which the Red Sox seem to be reluctant to give. Lowell will be 37 at the end of a possible four year deal. (Compare this to what the Yankees just gave Jorge Posada. He will be 37 next season, and he just got a four-year deal with them. Giving a catcher a long term deal after the age of 35 is very risky, even if he just came off a great offensive year.)
Lowell and his agents want to see what's out there. There is a sure to be a team that will offer him four years, and the Phillies, Yankees and Angels come to mind.
But if a team makes Lowell "an offer he can't refuse," I'm sure he'll go back to the Sox and report the offer and see what they could do about trying to match it. I'm sure he won't do what Johnny Damon and that slimebag agent Scott Boras did, namely take another team's offer and not even have the decency to go back to their old club and try to see if they could match it. Lowell has far more class than that.
Lowell wants to stay in Boston, and I'm sure that's his first option. Seeing what's out there is a smart move on his part. This will undoubtedly be his last big contract, and he'll try to get whatever he can. Being World Series MVP sent his price up, but I think Lowell wants to stay. I don't really see the Yankees as being a team he'd sign with. Left-center in that park would drop his numbers drastically compared to Fenway, and I'm sure Lowell took note of the reactions Damon got on his return trips to Boston.
Red Sox management has been smart when it came to letting popular free agents walk away. (Damon, Pedro Martinez and Derek Lowe all worked out well for the Red Sox in the final end.) They haven't let sentimentality get in the way of doing the right thing for the team. I really want Lowell to stay, as I value his defense, clutch hitting and overall professionalism. I hope some kind of agreement that would satisfy both sides can be hammered out.
We'll soon find out.