Thursday, July 08, 2004

RJ to Boston?

Ok, the win was sweet last night, but as we said yesterday, we want the sweep. On to some rumor mill fun.

Last night on NESN Boston Globe Sports Final Red Sox Weekly Whatever, Bob Lobel reported that the Red Sox were "heavily involved" in discussions for Arizona's Randy Johnson. Bob Ryan and Nick Cafardo were both in studio, throwing in some cents. Here's a breakdown for those who have lives.

FACTS (as reported):
- Theo Epstein is planning to meet with Randy Johnson several times over the All-Star Break to discuss waiving his no trade clause.

- Shonda Schilling has requested a seat next to Mrs. Johnson (bet she's a looker) during the game itself, ostensibly to promote living and playing in Boston.

- Randy's agent stated he's aware of no objections The Unit might have to playing with the Sox.

Ok, that's pretty much it for that category.

- Lobel suggested that Colangelo has no interest in making any deal with the Yankees as a result of their stealing away David Wells in 2002. Understandable, and was mentioned during the Schilling dealings this offseason, but hard to believe entirely. If the Yankees offered better players, the D-backs wouldn't take it? I could imagine Jerry C going with the Sox if the packages were a wash, but I doubt he'll be shutting the door on Cashman's foot any time soon.

- Ryan and Cafardo both felt that the Red Sox do not currently have the prospects required to get Johnson, and would need to trade big league talent to get them. The name that came up, of course, was Nomar Garciaparra. They had no evidence to support this, but they felt Boston would try to move #5, get youngsters, and turn some or all of them around to Arizona.

- Cafardo suggested he's been thinking this all along. Uh hu. That's why it's in all of your articles, right Nick?


There is some logic here. Theo has shown a great ability in the trade market to get the best player available (Floyd, Schilling, Sauerbeck, Kim), regardless of cost. His moves haven't always worked, but it seems more of his modus to get the big guns and leave the little stuff to others. RJ is, without doubt, the biggest of guns. Were the Red Sox not to make a huge move, it's hard to see how they could make a small one. They have no obvious holes or glaring weaknesses, and unless you can trade for a +10 in playing up to potential, they're basically set. Theo has obviously established a good relationship with Colangelo over the past couple of years, even if the Kim and Schill trades haven't worked out great. It makes sense that Epstein would pursue this angle hard, but who knows if it can actually get done.

The Nomar case is a bit less straightforward. I'm not sure I agree that more prospects would be needed. Boston has one of the top catching prospects, one of the top young third baseman, and a slew of very solid A and AA pitchers. That's more than the Yankees have, for certain. Would a 40 year old starter net much more than Beltran, a 28 year old, 5 tool centerfielder? Maybe a bit, because he has one year left on his contract - but that looks a lot like the package they offered to Kansas City. The Red Sox might very well have enough now, without having to move their shortstop. The question is, would they want to anyway? Hard to say, especially with him tearing the cover off the ball since Saturday. If I had to guess, I'd say Nomar stays and Theo plays with a Youkilis, Shoppach, Alvarez grouping. Might work, might now. But please, whatever happens, no more minute by minute refreshes of Dirt Dogs. Let's keep this one out of the press, ok?