Things have been rather quiet this winter for the Red Sox, and it's probably been the most stress-free off-season for them that I can ever remember. (Winning World Series and signing your key free agents can do that.) There are a few questions still to be answered, and most are concerning the bench.
Lord knows if they will be swinging a deal for Johan Santana. My guess now is that it won't be happening (and I'd love to see the Mets get him). If he doesn't come to Boston, the Sox have to decide what to do with Coco Crisp. Do they use him as a fourth outfielder, or do they deal him anyway? That decision also impacts Bobby Kielty, who is a free agent and wants to come back to the Red Sox, but not as a fifth outfielder. The Red Sox are also looking for another bat off the bench, and the most prominent name mentioned is Sean Casey. I've always liked Casey, but he doesn't have much power, and is just an average first baseman. Casey would fill the spot left by Eric Hinske, who doesn't figure to be back. The Red Sox did add veteran relief pitchers Dan Miceli and Dan Kolb to minor-league deals yesterday, and will have a chance to make the big club next season.
I saw an interesting headline the other day in the Boston Globe:
Youkilis and Snyder Exchange Numbers
When I first saw it the first thing that hit me was that Kevin Youkilis will be wearing 39 and Kyle Snyder 20 in 2008. Then I thought they might have been exchanging phone numbers. But is that really news? As it turns out, it was neither, as both Youk and Snyder were exchanging arbitration numbers with the Sox front office. Actually, it will be interesting if either player reaches an arbitration hearing with the Red Sox, as Theo Epstein has never had one since becoming general manager and usually signs the player before it reaches the hearing.
I also read today that another "One of the 25" from 2004 will be coming out of retirement next season. First Gabe Kapler unretired and signed a contract with the Milwaukee Brewers, and now Keith Foulke will play next season also. The 2004 postseason hero took a year off with all the injuries he had over the last few years, and is healthy again. Many teams have looked at him, but it appears he is close to a one-year deal with the Arizona Diamondbacks, as Foulke wants to play close to his home near Phoenix. All the best to him on his comeback attempt.
And I'm sure most of you heard about this. Johnny Damon (you remember him) endorsed Rudy Giuliani for president earlier this week, as the Florida primary is next week and Damon lives in Orlando. I have no problem with Judas doing this, as politicians like to get the endorsements of all kinds of celebrities on the campaign trail. Damon's an American and can come out and support whomever he likes. (Keith Olbermann had a great line about this: "Giuliani gets the endorsement of the third best centerfielder in New York City.")
Giuliani said that as president he hopes to host the Yankees at the White House when they next win the World Series. Why do I have a feeling the only time that Rudy and the Yankees will be at the White House anytime soon is when any of them buy a ticket for the tour?