Free Agents and Experts

With the Sox off last night, not a whole lot newsworthy in the papers. Michael Silverman continues his look at the Sox free-agents-to-be today with a look at Derek Lowe and Jason Varitek, two clients of Scott Boras, who has a policy of making sure his clients get to the free agent market. The series of articles, yesterday and today has been pretty enlightening by Silverman. He’s gotten quotes from people around baseball regarding these players, and while we don’t know who these sources are, the articles make you at least wonder if the media and fans have overrated the players on the Red Sox and the importance of re-signing them. For instance, about Varitek, the article today says:

"He's the guy I'd let walk,'' said a major-league executive. "People rate his intangibles so highly, he's bound to be overrated. I'm sure he's great in that department but he's got a lot of mileage on those legs, and catchers tend not to age well if they remain catchers. Offensively, he hasn't had that great a career. I think he's a guy who's destined to be overpaid, but not by the Red Sox.''

Interesting. Yeah, there are rumblings about the age of Varitek here and there, but it’s notable to hear it from an outsider. About Lowe, Silverman’s article on him states:

"Lowe's a lot like Millwood -- he's a guy with an ace-type reputation but he's not that good,'' said the executive, comparing Lowe with fellow free agent and Boras client Kevin Millwood of the Phillies. "He's a good No. 2, but nothing more. He does have more market value than (Chicago Cubs' Matt) Clement or (Seattle's Freddy) Garcia, and he's probably looking at three or four years at $9 or $10 million. If he gets four years, $48 million, I'd be floored. That would require an over-reaction on the part of the team, which is something that Boras specializes in.''

There are other quotes in the article which are very supportive of Lowe, but the general feeling seems to be that someone will overpay for his reputation as an ace. So the question is there…do the media and fans over value the players on the Red Sox? I’d say without question. Fans because they’ve rooted for the players and have been through a lot with these guys and the media because Lowe and Varitek are two of the more accommodating and accessible members of the club.

Most “experts” say the Red Sox have been something of a disappointment thus far. I emphasis “experts” because I’m not sure what the definition of an expert is. Just because someone covers the team in some capacity or is on a media outlet that talks about the team, I’m not automatically going to label them an “expert”. That’s where the “fan website” term eats me up. It’s used as a note of dismissal by traditional media members. Yet I would say that some of the people on these sites qualify as “experts” on the Red Sox moreso than some of the “traditional” media members do. Especially radio & TV commentators and personalities. The line between these folks and the average fan is pretty vague. Most of these guys aren’t in the locker room or around the players and management any more than the average fan. So why should their opinion count any more? Just because they have the “credentials” or have attended the Connecticut School of Broadcasting?

I have respect for people like the beat writers. They are around the team everyday. They do the grunt work. Their role is much less glamorous than the talking heads of radio and TV, and they get less recognition. In general, they’re the ones whose information I’m more likely going to trust. Rant over.

Back to links. Sean McAdam is one of the media members whom I’d lean towards putting in the expert category. He does tell us that the Red Sox have been less than advertised this year. He examines the team as we approach the first quarter mark of the season. Bob Hohler and Jeff Horrigan look at the defensive woes of the Sox thus far, noting that this trend could be dangerous over the long haul of the season. Tony Massarotti (Noted Internet hater) says the Sox need to step things up and not use injuries as an excuse. Jeff Sullivan reports that Nomar could be ready to join the PawSox on a rehab assignment as early as Friday. I didn’t see that reported anywhere else. Steve Buckley has a pay column saying that Kevin Youkilis should stay in the majors and develop as a player at this level. Alan Greenberg has a feature length article on Pittsfield’s claim to being the birthplace of baseball. Hohler’s notebook looks at the financial state of the Devil Rays. Horrigan’s notebook has a look at the versatility of Keith Foulke.

Jon Couture takes Jim Donaldson to task for bragging about not watching the NBA, but still having an opinion on it. He says the NBA is getting a raw deal. Peter May looks at the revival of the Lakers, and gets his obligatory shots in at Danny Ainge and the Celtics.

Bob Ryan looks at former BU and Holy Cross football coach Dan Allen, who passed away on Sunday at the age of 48. A truly tragic story since right to the end, the doctors couldn’t fully figure out what was wrong with him. Lenny Megliola and John Connolly also remember Allen. Mark Blaudschun has his obituary for the Globe.

Bill Griffith says that we really didn’t learn much from Steve Burton’s sitdown with the Postons.

Oh yeah, the Spring mini-fund-drive will start tomorrow…

NESN has Red Sox/Devil Rays at 7:00. ESPN has Heat/Pacers at 8:00. ESPN2 has Lightning/Flyers at 7:30.

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