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11/04/10: Cookie Monster Madness - The Boston Red Sox have made undoubtedly the most surprising pre-free agency move in the league today: They exercised their $12.5 million option on David Ortiz, an option which contained no buyout clause. Ortiz turns 35 this month, and have an RSL of .257/.356/.498 over the past three seasons, averaging 28 homers and 97 RBI per year. The move was likely made based on Papi's popularity and the fact that he went .286/.385/.558 this season after April ended.

In a free agent class that will include Lance Berkman, Adam Dunn, Paul Konerko, Derrek Lee, Troy Glaus, Vladamir Guerrero, Hideki Matsui, Pat Burrell, Marcus Thames, Aubrey Huff, Russell Branyan, Adam LaRoche, Lyle Overbay, Carlos Pena, Manny Ramirez, and Jim Thome among first base/designated hitter types, it is very odd that the Red Sox would pay such a premium to keep a player who is barely in the upper echelon of that group. There will be some fantastic designated hitter bargains come January, and while the Sox certainly aren't penny-pinchers, they do need to spend money to fill other voids on their team.

3/13/10: Shadows of Greg Harris - Between 1988 and 1995, there were two relievers named Greg Harris in Major League Baseball: Greg A Harris and Greg W Harris. Greg A was ambidextrous and led the AL with 80 appearances with the Red Sox in 1993 (he was 37 and had a 7.99 ERA the following season). Today, there are two relievers named Ramon Ramirez playing Major League Baseball, and both pitch for the Red Sox. Ramon S has been one of the more underrated relievers in baseball over the past few seasons, while Ramon A was a middling prospect for the Reds before joining Boston this winter.   --KG

6/1/09: Contract Extensions Revisited - Derrek Lee and David Ortiz each signed contract extensions worth $13 M per season on the same Monday in April over three years ago. Here's what we wrote about it at the time:

"It looks pretty even right now. Ask us in four years which team got the best deal here."

Well, it's been just under four years and it still looks pretty even, although it hasn't turned out as well for either the Cubs or the Red Sox as we would have figured. In Chicago, Lee only had one good season since the extension, and currently blocks the path of superior hitters Jake Fox and Micah Hoffpauir with his no-trade clause through 2010. Ortiz had two monster seasons since his extension, but he is currently even more of a burden than Lee, batting .185 with just one homer in 178 at-bats. Ortiz does not have the no-trade clause that Lee's contract contains, but on whom could Boston possibly dump his massive contract?

We'll give the edge to Papi and the Red Sox, since they wouldn't have even advanced to the World Series in 2007 without the aid of the Cookie Monster. But it might be difficult to convince frustrated Red Sox fans of that conclusion right now.   --KG

3/16/09: Less is More - The Red Sox signed Jon Lester to a 5-year, $30 million contract extension with a $14 M option for 2014. Lester would have been free agent-eligible in 2013. This is a foolhardy move by Theo Epstein. Lester has a career strikeout-to-walk ratio of less than 2:1 and is a huge injury risk as a 25-year old coming off an innings jump of 75 between 2007 and 2008. Whether Epstein got fooled by Epstein's heartwarming battle back from cancer or his 27-8 big league record (he went 29-27 in the minors), he made a mistake, though Boston's incredible resources will likely mask its severity. nbsp; --KG

12/25/08: To Lose Is To Win - The Red Sox lost the Mark Teixeira sweepstakes… or did they? The team currently owns David Ortiz, Kevin Youkilis, and Mike Lowell through the 2010 season at least. Had they signed Teixeira, they would not only have paid him around $180 million, but they would have also needed to eat some portion of Lowell’s remaining $24 million in a trade, even while Lowell had no-trade protection. Most likely, Theo Epstein’s interest in Teixeira was only manufactured to drive his price up and give the Yankees less money with which to sign other free agents. nbsp; --KG

12/16/08: Seattle Mariners East - So far, Boston's biggest move of the offseason has been to sign Junichi Tazawa, a 22-year old Japanese pitcher.  While this is likely a good move for the future, it is a bit surprising that they have not made additional short-term moves to match the Division Champion Rays or the spend-happy Yankees. Stay tuned.  --KG

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