Sons of Bill Simmons

Rumors involving Boston Sports, Celebrity Gossip, and Humor

Whose Next ?

Posted by Mike on December 4, 2008

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With the re-signing of Dustin Pedroia, the inevitable question comes who do the Red Sox re-sign next ? Kevin Youkilis ? Jonathan Papelbon ? Jason Bay ? Youkilis and Papelbon are among the young core of Red Sox players who become arbitration-eligible this offseason. With arbitration brings the potential for huge raises for these players from a year-to-year basis. The Sox don’t have too worry just yet about Jon Lester he isn’t arbitration-eligible until next season. But, the payroll flexibility that the Red Sox have had over the past couple seasons because of their young players, is about to end. Last season, Youkilis made $3 Million dollars, and if he hits arbitration he could get a raise to $8 or $9 Million dollar range for next season. And Papelbon only took home $775,000 last season, with his 41 saves will bring a pretty hefty raise, possibilty into the $7 or $8 Million dollar range. Not quite the bargain he used too be. So, an effective way for the Red Sox to keep these salary numbers down and keep these two players here long-term might be to sign to an extension just like they did with Pedroia. But, these two might not be as easy to sign as Pedroia was. The 2008 MVP signed what looks like to everyone as a fair deal that worked out very well for the Red Sox, but they can’t expect to get Youkilis and Papelbon signed to deals like that. The barometer for Papelbon is going to be Yankees reliever Mariano Rivera. In 2007 Rivera took home $10.5 Million, and last season he made a whopping $15 Million. Papelbon considers himself in the elite status that Rivera is in, and he will want a deal somewhere around $10 or $12 Million a season, if he is to sign an extension. Otherwise, Papelbon and his agent will be happy to go to arbitration every year until he hits free-agency. Last season, K-Rod was awarded $10 Million in arbitration, and Papelbon will be well on his way to earning those type of numbers, something the Red Sox don’t want to see. As for Youkilis, who brought home $3 Million last season, he is due for a big raise as well, after he had a career year, batting .321 with 29 HR’s and 115 RBI’s, he will want to sign a deal somewhere around $10 to $12 Million dollars a season. He definitely put himself into the elite level of first basemen this year. So, he might want to base his contract numbers off of what free-agent Mark Teixeira made over the last couple seasons. For the past two seasons, Teixeira brought home $9 Million and $12.5 Million dollars, Youkilis’s arbitration numbers will very likely fall somewhere in between those two numbers. And if his numbers keep getting progressively getting better, he could make a wind fall in arbitration. So, if the Red Sox don’t want to worry on a year in-and-out basis about these two players arbitration figures, they may be better off served signing them to extensions this offseasons when they do have the money too spend. Otherwise, it could effect how they approach each offseason. Then again, maybe the Sox feel that Youkilis will never have a season like he did this year, and for now maybe better off going to arbitration with him. As for Papelbon, closers come at a premium, but don’t hold your breath on the Sox signing him to an extension. From all indications, Papelbon wants to break the bank, and for a deal to make sense for the Red Sox it will take a six-year deal, something their not comfortable giving pitchers, especially ones who have already had shoulder issues. Red Sox GM, Theo Epstein, has an excellent history of not allowing his players to go to arbitration, let’s see if he can keep up that track record.

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