Friday, January 20, 2006

It's hard to miss somebody who didn't even really leave.

Prince Theo of Boston has shedded his gorilla suit and returned to preside over his loyal subjects. His retirement was short-lived and by many accounts, wasn't even all that retired, as he was reportedly still making phone calls on their behalf. Still, while this is certainly good news for the front office, it's not like they were in the shambles that many believed it to be and they weren't worse off without him. In his kinda-sorta absence, co-GMs Ben Cherington and Jed Hoyer snagged Josh Beckett, Mike Lowell and Guillermo Mota for prospects they were never really going to use, fleeced an All-Star second baseman for a back-up catcher and cut their losses on Edgar Renteria by trading him for grade-A prospect Andy Marte. They have no center fielder or regular shortstop, though I think the latter can be filled with a creative platooning of Loretta, Tony Graffanino and Alex Cora until Dustin Pedroia is ready, which could be much sooner than everyone expects. Still, I can't imagine them doing things much different than Theo would've done; for all his boyish charm and people skills, even he wouldn't have kept Johnny Damon from bolting. At any rate, a formal announcement to his official title is expected in a few days and in the meantime, I have complete faith of their ability to replace their old caveman-turned-metrosexual center fielder.

In other Boston news, Bronson Arroyo signed for the low, low price of approximately 3 years, $12 million. Considering what the Mr. Anna Bensons and Alyssa Milano's Ex-Boyfriends of the world are making, this is a terrific deal for Boston. On the other hand, Arroyo's agent is right in thinking that this is somewhat naive of the guy named after one-seventh of The Magnificent Seven. It's one thing to pledge your allegiance to Red Sox Nation but it can be another thing to make yourself cheap enough so you'll be more vulnerable to be traded to a crappy team. In terms of dollars versus performance, Bronson is one of the better values around and could find himself on a crappy non-contender if the right deal presents itself. If I were his agent, I would've told him the same thing. But I also would've advise him to keep the white-boy cornrows and to not put out shitty cover albums of shittier mid-90s grunge songs, so I might not be the best guy to ask.

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