Monday, December 21, 2009

Red Sox revamp hits a big wall

The Red Sox have made a number of moves to revamp their ballclub this offseason, something that has not gone unnoticed by the reigning World Series champs. They signed top free-agent pitcher John Lackey to an $82.5 million contract to add to a rotation that already features Josh Beckett and Jon Lester as well as Tim Wakefield, Daisuke Matsuzaka and Clay Buchholz.

As CC Sabathia rightly noted, the three pitchers at the top of the New York Yankees rotation are no chumps, pitching their team to its 27th World Series title. But it's the back-end of the rotation (currently Joba Chamberlain and Phil Hughes) that is a cause for a concern and Brian Cashman's top priority right now.

The Red Sox also signed outfielder Mike Cameron to a two-year deal, saying good-bye to Jason Bay in their quest to become more of a pitching and fielding type of baseball team (unusual in hitter-friendly Fenway Park). But their makeover hit a major snag this week with news that the proposed trade of third baseman Mike Lowell to the Texas Rangers was voided because Lowell will need surgery on his injured right thumb. Now instead of freeing up money to go after Adrian Beltre, the Red Sox will have to hold the position for Lowell until he can prove he is healthy enough to trade or eat his $12 million salary.

Red Sox management's callous treatment of players who played key roles on their 2004 and 2007 championship teams is well-known, but this could represent a new low, particularly if Lowell openly expresses hostility toward club officials. During their title drought, the Red Sox could be counted on for infighting that directly contributed to their downfall. Could a new era of dysfunction be heading the Red Sox way? Yankee fans certainly hope so.

Thanks to Googie Man via en.Wikipedia for the photo.

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