Contrary to the Yankee method of landing the biggest free agents on the market and signing them to hideously long and bloated contracts, the Red Sox have made small moves to fill up the bench and bolster the bullpen.
Replacing the role of grizzled, God-fearing, geriatric pitcher played by Mike Timlin is John Smoltz. Smoltz will eventually be in the Hall of Fame because it has no rule against having homphobes enshrined. In 2004 when asked about gay marriage the pitcher said, “What’s next? Marrying an animal?” Hopefully one of the incentives in Smoltz’s $5.5 million, one-year deal is that he demonstrate some tolerance in a state that grants gays and lesbians the right to marry.
Moving on to better things, it is fitting that the newest member of the Red Sox outfield dons the number five. Rocco Baldelli signed a one-year deal for $500,000 with a chance to earn up to $7.5M if he meets roster and performance requisites. Fans cheered for the Cumberland, Rhode Island native when he played on (Devil) Rays, so he will be as warmly welcomed as Mark Teixeira will be lustily booed.
Lastly, Mark Kotsay has a return engagement at a $1.5M price tag. Say, say, say what you want, but don’t play games with my affection. Take, take, take what you need, but don’t leave me with no direction.
Aside from the signing of a fundamentalist kook, I like the direction the Red Sox are taking for 2009. It’s difficult enough to find things to cheer for in this economy, so rooting for guys who make seven figures rather than eight helps a tad.