Friday, November 09, 2007

Getting nervous about Lowell

I'm beginning to get a little nervous about the Lowell situation. From today's Boston Globe:

Epstein believes daily conversations with Lowell's agents, Sam and Seth Levinson, progressed. Major league sources said the Red Sox could give Lowell a three-year deal, but Lowell's agents believe he can get four years in the $13 million-$14 million annual range on the open market. The Red Sox have wrestled with the length of the deal, and whether Lowell, who turns 34 in February, has peaked offensively. Lowell hit .324 with a career-high 120 RBIs in 2007.

That "four years" dangling out there is what scares me. I believe if he hits the open market Monday at midnight, SOMEONE will offer four years. That puts the whole issue on Mike. Does he take what is probably a $13-15 million deal for three with the Sox - and stay in a city that obviously adores him, with a team he clearly loves playing with? Or sell out for another year, and go someplace without the Fenway atmosphere and championship possibilities?

Face it, if he hadn't been traded with Beckett, today he'd be a free agent after languishing for another two years in the baseball purgatory that is south Florida. From listening to his interviews, it's clear Mike knows what playing in Boston has done to revitalize his career and his marketability. After the WS, he talked about how different it is to play in Fenway on a Tuesday night in mid-July, how with the Marlins such a game would only attract a few thousand fans, and then only because they were offering $1 hot dogs or fireworks. Imagine the difference in your attitude when you're playing before a packed house every night. You're not going to find that in Pittsburgh, Mike, or back with the Marlins. You might find it at Yankee Stadium, but are you willing to sell your soul for that?

I don't begrudge him wanting to get the best deal and to take care of his family when his playing days are over. This will undoubtedly be the last big contract of his career - he's 33, which is getting on in baseball years - but he doesn't strike me as someone who's been blowing his money up to this point. He's made a nice bit of cash off this last contract and, if he's been smart, he's socked away that money. So, it's not like he needs the money that extra year will yield.

Seems like a no-brainer to me. Stay in a place you like working with people you like and with a real chance for that 3rd World Series ring, or take the money and go to yet another new town with a bunch of strangers with not nearly as good a chance of a championship....

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