|12.30.09 at 9:48 pm ET|
(WEEI.com is counting down the “Top 10 Things We Couldn’t Shut Up About In 2009,” with
the steroids controversies involving Manny Ramirez and Alex Rodriguez coming in at No. 5. Here is a written, visual and audio look at the situation that resulted in a 50-game suspension for Ramirez and a national TV confession from A-Rod.)
No. 10: Bruins getting bounced by the Hurricanes
No. 9: Garnett’s knee injury alters Celtics’ fate
No. 8: The drama between Crowley and Gates Jr. and No. 7: The downfall of Steve Phillips
No. 6: The Red Sox reshape at the trade deadline
No. 5: The Manny/A-Rod steroid controversies
Manny Ramirez and Alex Rodriguez were no strangers to controversy heading into 2009. But the firestorm of criticism that hit the two superstars after it was revealed that both players used banned substances was at a new level.
Rodriguez was the first chip to fall. On the heels of a Sports Illustrated report that he had tested positive for testosterone and Primobolan, an anabolic steroid, in 2003, the Yankees third baseman participated in an emotional, sit-down interview Feb. 9 with ESPN’s Peter Gammons to confess — at least partly — two years after famously denying he ever used steroids in a “60 Minutes” interview with Katie Couric.
“When I arrived in Texas in 2001, I felt an enormous amount of pressure. I felt like I had all the weight of the world on top of me and I needed to perform, and perform at a high level every day,” Ramirez said of his stint with the Rangers.
“Back then, [baseball] was a different culture. It was very loose. I was young. I was stupid. I was naive. And I wanted to prove to everyone that I was worth being one of the greatest players of all time.
“I did take a banned substance. And for that, I am very sorry and deeply regretful.”
Rangers owner Tom Hicks said he felt “personally betrayed” and “deceived by Alex.” Even Barack Obama weighed in, calling the revelation “depressing.”
Unfortunately for Red Sox fans, the situation didn’t slow down the slugger. In fact, Rodriguez indicated to Gammons after the interview that finally telling the truth made him feel more at ease. Rodriguez missed spring training and the first month of the season with a hip injury. When he returned, he homered on the first pitch he saw and proceeded to help lift New York out of an early season funk. And while his regular-season stats were slightly below his normal standards (.286 BA, 30 HR, 100 RBI), Rodriguez came up big in October, ending a long run of postseason failure with a number of clutch hits while helping the Yankees win the World Series, his first championship.
Ramirez’ situation came to light a month into the season, when he received a 50-game ban after allegedly testing positive during spring training for the female fertility drug human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG), which is taken by steroid users to restart their bodies’ natural testosterone production as they come off a steroid cycle. Reports indicated that Ramirez also tested positive for artificial testosterone, but facing a challenge from the player on that charge, the league did not pursue it as it already had enough to hand out a harsh punishment.
In a statement issued by the MLB players’ union, Ramirez said: “Recently, I saw a physician for a personal health issue. He gave me a medication, not a steroid, which he thought was OK to give me. Unfortunately, the medication was banned under our drug policy. Under the policy that mistake is now my responsibility. I have been advised not to say anything more for now. I do want to say one other thing; I’ve taken and passed about 15 drug tests over the past five seasons.”
While the general reaction was condemnation of the former Red Sox slugger, his current team and fans offered support.
“It’s a dark day for baseball and certainly for this organization,” Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti said. “But people do make mistakes.”
Ramirez was welcomed back to “Mannywood” on July 3 and finished the season with a .290 average, 19 home runs and 63 RBI, helping the Dodgers win the NL West.
Ken Rosenthal, Fox Sports: Ken joined the show to help break down the entire A-Rod steroid story Audio|Mon, 9 Feb 2009: http://audio.weei.com/m/21848035/ken-rosenthal-fox-sports.htm
Mike Lupica, NY Daily News: Mike Lupica joins D&C to talk A-Rod Audio|Tue, 17 Feb 2009: http://audio.weei.com/m/21884959/mike-lupica-ny-daily-news.htm
Curt Schilling: Curt calls in to talk A-Rod, A-Rod and more A-Rod Audio|Tue, 10 Feb 200: http://audio.weei.com/m/21851766/curt-schilling.htm
D&C Opening Segment – 2-9-09: Dino and Gerry open the show with A-Rod talk: http://audio.weei.com/m/21847476/d-c-opening-segment-2-9-09.htm
Joel Sherman, NY Post: Joel Sherman joins Dennis and Callahan to talk A-Rod Audio|Mon, 9 Feb 2009: http://audio.weei.com/m/21847477/joel-sherman-ny-post.htm
Will Carroll, Baseball Prospectus: Will said there is no good explanation on why Manny took HCG and that Ramirez needs to come out and tell his side of the story right now Audio|Fri, 8 May 2009: http://audio.weei.com/m/22254122/will-carroll-baseball-prospectus.htm
Curt Schilling, Former Sox Pitcher: Schilling joins Dino and Gerry to talk Mannywood Audio|Fri, 8 May 2009: http://audio.weei.com/m/22254719/curt-schilling-former-sox-pitcher.htm
Sean Casey, MLB Network: Casey joins Dennis & Callahan to recap Mannygate Audio|Fri, 8 May 2009: http://audio.weei.com/m/22254724/sean-casey-mlb-network.htm
Ken Rosenthal, Fox Sports: Ken talked about what the Red Sox could do if David Ortiz continues his hitting funk and also what he thought about the Manny Ramirez suspension Audio|Tue, 12 May 2009: http://audio.weei.com/m/22275884/ken-rosenthal-fox-sports.htm
Terry Francona, Red Sox Manager: Terry talked about the Sox battling through some injuries and if he has ever had to deal with any players who have used PEDs Audio|Wed, 13 May 2009: http://audio.weei.com/m/22285354/terry-francona-red-sox-manager.htm
|12.30.09 at 7:11 am ET|
(WEEI.com is counting down the “Top 10 Things We Couldn’t Shut Up About In 2009,” with the trade deadline deal for Victor Martinez — and efforts to acquire Roy Halladay, Adrian Gonzalez and Felix Hernandez — checking in at No. 6. Here is a written, visual and audio look at a frenzied midsummer trade market that resulted in the Sox acquiring an All-Star catcher/first baseman.)
No. 10: Bruins getting bounced by the Hurricanes
No. 9: Garnett’s knee injury alters Celtics’ fate
No. 8: The drama between Crowley and Gates Jr. and No. 7: The downfall of Steve Phillips
No. 6: The Red Sox reshape at the trade deadline
The names that surfaced in the days leading up to the July 31 trade deadline were enough to leave the heads of Red Sox players and followers alike spinning. The Sox proved singularly ambitious in the trade market, exploring deals for seemingly every star-caliber player in the majors.
That was a reflection, in part, of the fact that the Sox commenced the second half of the season with a thud. The team went 4-8 at the start of the second half, with culprits to be found all over the field. The pitching rotation was a mess, thanks to the injury to Tim Wakefield, the banishment of Daisuke Matsuzaka to Fort Myers to work his way back into shape, and the completely ineffectual performances of John Smoltz and Brad Penny. The offense, meanwhile, was in a miserable state, with Jason Varitek, Jason Bay and J.D. Drew all amidst dreadful slumps, Mike Lowell playing irregularly while recovering from a D.L. stint for hip maintenance, David Ortiz amidst a season of both struggle and suspicion thanks to the revelation about his positive test for use of a performance-enhancing substance… The wheels were coming off the season at a startling pace, resulting in the Sox going from three games up in the A.L. East at the All-Star break to 3.5 games back of the Yankees less than two weeks into the start of the second half.
The Red Sox front office made no effort to hide from its struggles. And so, the team pursued answers on any number of fronts.
The Sox pushed hard to acquire 2003 Cy Young winner Roy Halladay from the Blue Jays. They tried to convince the Padres to relinquish slugging first baseman Adrian Gonzalez. The team made an empty-the-pantry effort to acquire starter Felix Hernandez from the Mariners.
In order to acquire any of those three players, the Sox were prepared to part with the cream of their prospect crop. A deal for any of those three players would have required the inclusion of right-hander Clay Buchholz, along with several other top minor-league arms. The Sox were willing to engage in such franchise-altering moves in order to salvage a season for a team that had shown immense promise before sinking into immense struggle.
But ultimately, the Sox could not wrangle any of those top players from those clubs. Instead, hours before the trade deadline, Boston consummated a deal that represented an apparent fallback plan, acquiring Cleveland catcher/first baseman Victor Martinez in exchange for swing-man Justin Masterson and minor-league pitching prospects Nick Hagadone and Bryan Price. In many respects, it ended up being the perfect deal for the Sox.
The Sox needed insurance both at catcher (in case Varitek never emerged from his injury-riddled slump) and at a corner infield spot (given the uncertainty of Lowell’s health). Martinez’ versatility addressed both concerns.
Moreover, because the Sox were able to part with very good pitching prospects who nonetheless ranked in their second tier (or, in the case of Price, perhaps a bit lower) of developing hurlers, they were also able to upgrade their rotation significantly thanks to the breakout second-half performance by Clay Buchholz, whom the Sox were able to retain (something that would have been impossible had the Sox dealt for Halladay, Hernandez or Gonzalez).
Martinez not only performed brilliantly down the stretch — hitting .336 with a .405 OBP, .507 slugging mark and .912 OPS with the Sox — but he also remains a critical (and inexpensive) part of the 2010 team thanks to the contract that he signed with the Indians. (Martinez will receive a base salary of $7.7 million in 2010.) In his short time in Boston, he emerged as a team leader, clutch contributor and undeniable presence. He has already been declared the everyday Red Sox catcher for next season, and Martinez has made no secret of his interest in staying with the Sox beyond next season.
Victor Martinez, Red Sox Pregame: Joe Castiglione talks with the new Sox C/1B http://audio.weei.com/m/25588250/victor-martinez-red-sox-pregame.htm
Victor Martinez, Postgame Guest: Joe & Dave talk to the new Sox slugger http://audio.weei.com/m/25599050/victor-martinez-postgame-guest.htm
Victor Martinez: Victor Martinez joins The Big Show to discuss playing time and the big series with the Yankees. http://audio.weei.com/m/25990910/victor-martinez.htm
|12.29.09 at 9:30 pm ET|
LOWELL — On the same day that news broke of Jason Bay’s departure to New York, reporters caught up with an unsurprised Kevin Youkilis prior to his receiving the Dick Berardino Distinguished Alumni Award at the Lowell Spinners Alumni Dinner.
Asked whether he had previously thought Bay would return to the Sox, Youkilis said he “didn’t” and added that he had a better idea of the negotiations from staying in contact with the left fielder.
“I knew what was going on just by talking to him,” Youkilis said. “You’re never surprised in this game.”
Addressing the offense as is currently constituted, the corner infielder expressed that while it will be different with the loss of their RBI leader, there is still potential for the “thunder” of previous seasons.
“I think [the offense] will be fine,” Youkilis said. “We’re definitely [going to miss] Jason Bay driving in all those runs, but the luxury we have with our team is if you hit in the seventh hole, like Mike Lowell was last year, he was hitting seventh a bunch and he was at the top of the RBIs most of the year until the injuries.
“I think in this lineup it doesn’t matter where you hit,” added Youkilis. “If you have guys like Mike Cameron down at the bottom of the order, you can drive in just as many runs as the guys hitting three and four. It just depends on how all the guys adapt to it, but I still think there’s a lot of thunder there.”
“Picking up John Lackey was huge, where you don’t allow as many runs,” Youkilis added. “The offense doesn’t have to be as great when you have great pitching. Great pitching always wins championships. We’ve got six starting pitchers again, so if they all can stay healthy, who knows what’s going to happen?”
As for the looming possibility of Mike Lowell being out of the picture come April, Youkilis noted that players are commonly shopped in the final year of the contract and that he would be ready to enter 2010 as either the team’s regular first or third baseman.
“Going into spring training, I get in shape just to play baseball,” Youkilis said. “I don’t get in shape for a position. I just take ground balls once I get there. There’s nothing I can do in the weight room that would be more beneficial for third or first, so I just go and do all the running and training and all the lifting that I can do just to try to be healthy all year.”
Youkilis, a third baseman by trade, started a career-high 56 games at the hot corner and 77 games at first base in 2009. Considering that he started 110 games at first a year prior, Youkilis felt the effects of constantly swtiching sides of the infield and expressed a desire to have a primary position in 2010.
“You definitely get a little more aches and pains moving back and forth,” Youkilis said. “For me last year, it worked out fine and I had a good season. I don’t think that’s the plan for me to switch back and forth like I did towards the end of the year.”
“For me, sticking at one spot would be nice,” Youkilis added. “That would be a cool thing. It probably won’t happen– I might have to play a little bit of first, I might have to play a little bit of third– but wherever they want me to play, we’ll see.”
The 2007 Gold Glove winner attributed much of his success to the fact that his natural position was occupied in 2006, his first full year in the majors. Now that the position may be freed, Youkilis is prepared to return to third.
“I got moved to first base when because Mike Lowell got traded over here, [Boston] got a Gold Glove third baseman,” Youkilis said. “I’ve always said I’m a third baseman playing first base, so I never lost that feeling of playing third base.”
The 30-year old had a fielding percentage of .974 at third base in the 2009, which would have led the American League had he qualified.
|12.29.09 at 2:24 pm ET|
WEEI.com’s Alex Speier has confirmed via a major league baseball source that free agent outfielder Jason Bay has agreed to a four-year deal with the New York Mets worth $66 million. The deal also includes a vesting option for a fifth year that could bring the worth of the package over $80 million. According to the source, the fifth-year option was part of the original proposal presented by the Mets. The deal won’t be finalized until early next week, as Bay still has to pass the physical administered by the Mets.
WFAN’s Mike Francesa was first to report the agreement. Although the Red Sox were talking internally about adjusting their organizational budget to potentially make another run at Bay, it has been believed that the Mets were the only team with an offer in vicinity of what Bay was looking for.
If Bay does land with the Mets, the Red Sox will receive New York’s second-round pick in the 2010 amateur draft along with a supplemental pick as NY’s first-round pick (No. 7 overall) is protected since no team with a pick within the draft’s top 15 selections is subject to losing it via the signing of a Type A free agent.
Check back later for more …
|12.28.09 at 11:21 pm ET|
Jeff Bailey, who spent the last six years in the Red Sox organization, signed a minor-league contract with the Arizona Diamondbacks,according to MLB.com’s Steve Gilbert ( via Twitter). Bailey, 31, had spent most of the past five years in Triple A Pawtucket, and was named 2008 International League Player of the Year when he hit .301 with a .405 OBP, .562 slugging and .967 OPS while clubbing 25 homers.
Bailey played in 56 games in the majors for the Sox, hitting .228/.340/.434/.773 with six homers as a first baseman and outfielder. Bailey had been a catcher in his early career, but throwing issues sabotaged his work there, and he stopped catching during the 2005 season. Sox manager Terry Francona would often lament Bailey’s inability to stay behind the plate, since his bat likely would have ensured a sustained big-league career at that position, at least as a backup.
Now, Bailey will try to forge a big-league spot with the Diamondbacks, who, according to Gilbert, have offered him an invitation to major-league camp.
|12.28.09 at 6:35 pm ET|
A number of major annual Red Sox-related events — featuring current, future and former Red Sox — will take place over the coming weeks. For those looking for belated gift ideas, here are a few:
Lowell Spinners Annual Alumni Dinner – Dec. 29, 2009
The Lowell Spinners, Class-A Affiliate of the Boston Red Sox, will welcome Red Sox star and 2001 Spinner Kevin Youkilis back to Lowell for the Eighth Annual Lowell Spinners Alumni Dinner, Tuesday, December 29 at the Lowell Memorial Auditorium in downtown Lowell to raise money for the Joann Weber Charitable Fund.
The highlight of the Spinners off-season, the evening will begin at 5:30 with an autograph session and silent auction before dinner, provided by Outback Steakhouse. The dinner debuts this year at the Lowell Memorial Auditorium for the first time after many years at the DoubleTree Hotel.
The still growing guest list is highlighted by Red Sox All-Star infielder Kevin Youkilis, making his return to the Merrimack Valley to be honored as the Dick Berardino Lowell Spinners Alumni Award winner.
The award, named after the former Red Sox coach, instructor and Spinners manager, is given annually to a Lowell Spinners alumnus who has displayed tremendous coachability, dedication, a passionate work ethic, determination and the heart to make it to the Major League level.
Youkilis has been one of the most successful former Spinners at the Major League level, continuing the success he found in Lowell where he reached base in every game he wore a Spinners uniform. A two-time World Champion, two-time All-Star, Gold Glove winner, member of Team USA in the 2009 World Baseball Classic and 2008 Hank Aaron Award winner, Youkilis has a full resume at the age of 30.
The evening will also feature several former Spinners: Jeff Natale, a 2005 Lowell Spinner and Trinity ( Conn. ) College alumni; 2001 Lowell Spinner and Youkilis teammate, Dan Generelli; 2005 Lowell Spinners catcher and current head baseball coach of Elms College Mike Leonard; and 1999 Lowell Spinners pitcher Cory Spencer.
Local baseball legends set to attend include: former Spinners manager and Red Sox third base coach Dick Berardino; former Red Sox pitcher Bill Monboquette; and NESN Red Sox post game host Tom Caron.
More guests are expected to be confirmed in the coming weeks.
The dinner will also feature the presentation of the Peter Gammons Lowell Spinners Media Award to 980 WCAP?s Teddy Panos and the first ever Greg Montalbano Award, given to a local baseball ambassador who has gone above and beyond being a leader in the community and in the game of baseball. Montalbano, a guest at the Spinners 2008 Dinner and a former Spinner himself, passed away in August after a lengthy and courageous battle with cancer.
The 2009 award winner will be Patrick Mason, currently an assistant coach at Northeastern, who served as Montalbano?s catcher during his tenure at Northeastern.
Serving as special guest emcee is local comedian Dave Rattigan.
There will also be a silent and live auction. The silent auction will run from 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. with the program to follow.
A very limited amount of tickets were recently made available and can be purchased for $55.00 which includes a dinner and autograph session from 5:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m by calling 978-459-2255 or click here. All tickets must be purchased in advance and will not be available the date of the dinner. Please note Kevin Youkilis will not be signing autographs during the autograph session.
Hot Stove Cool Music – Jan. 9, 2009
The 10th anniversary of this staple January activity will feature a pair of popular events:
–The Hot Stove Cool Music Roundtable: Hall of Fame writer Peter Gammons will moderate a candid discussion between fans and Red Sox GM Theo Epstein, Red Sox Manager Terry Francona, Tampa Bay Rays First Baseman Carlos Pena, New York Mets General Manager Omar Minaya, Cincinnati Reds Pitcher Bronson Arroyo and other special guests.
–The Hot Stove Cool Music Concert: Music and baseball collide to hit a grand slam for local children’s charities with performances and appearances by a host of sports, music and entertainment all-stars including Epstein; Indie rockers State Radio; pop supergroup Tinted Windows (comprised of Hanson’s Taylor Hanson, Fountains of Wayne’s Adam Schlesinger, Smashing Pumpkin’s James Iha and Cheap Trick’s Bun E. Carlos); Americana band The Low Anthem; the Hot Stove All-Stars featuring Gammons, Buffalo Tom’s Bill Janovitz and former Red Sox star pitcher Bronson Arroyo; Dropkick Murphy’s Ken Casey; Letters To Cleo’s Kay Hanley; special guest MC actor/comedian Mike O’Malley and more.
For details and to purchase tickets, click here.
New Stars for Young Stars – Jan. 9, 2010
Boston Red Sox players and up-and-coming minor leaguers will sign autographs to benefit the Jimmy Fund at the fifth annual “New Stars for Young Stars” event. New Stars for Young Stars will be held on Saturday, Jan. 9, from 11:15 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. at Jillian’s Boston.
The lineup includes Red Sox players Manny Delcarmen, Jeremy Hermida, Josh Reddick, and minor league players, Ryan Kalish, Casey Kelly, Ryan Westmoreland (ranked # 2 by SoxProspects.com), as well as fan favorite Trot Nixon.
Two types of tickets are available. An MVP ticket at $250 includes an official MLB jersey, plus one of the first 30 spots in line. Regular admission tickets are $150 each. All ticket holders can bring one guest, but only the ticket holder may receive autographs. A buffet lunch will be served and sports memorabilia will be on sale. In addition, there will be an opportunity drawing, silent auction and bowling to help strike out cancer.
New Stars for Young Stars is hosted by the Jimmy Fund Council of Greater Boston and has quickly become a popular event for Red Sox fans, already having raised nearly $100,000 since its inception in 2006.
Founded in 1948, the Jimmy Fund is an official charity of the Boston Red Sox. It supports the fight against cancer at Boston’s Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, which is a leading cancer research and care center for adults and children, and a National Cancer Institute designated comprehensive cancer center.
For more information and to buy tickets go to www.jimmyfund.org/new-stars or call 617-632-3613.
Boston Baseball Writers Dinner – Jan. 14, 2010
Terry Francona, Theo Epstein, Nick Green, John Farrell, Lou Merloni, Bill James and Jim Tracy will be at the Boston BBWAA awards dinner. Tickets are still available for the 71st annual Boston Chapter of the BBWAA’s Awards Dinner, to be held on Thursday, January 14, 2010 at the Westin Waterfront Hotel in Boston.
Among the award recipients announced so far:
* Boston Red Sox infielder Kevin Youkilis — Thomas A. Yawkey Memorial Award
* Boston Red Sox pitcher Jon Lester — Red Sox Pitcher of the Year
* Boston Red Sox pitcher Jonathan Papelbon — Red Sox Fireman of the Year
* Boston Red Sox pitcher Daniel Bard — Red Sox Rookie of the Year
* Boston Red Sox infielder Nick Green — Jackie Jensen Award
* Boston Red Sox senior advisor/baseball operations Bill James — Judge Emil Fuchs Memorial Award
* Boston Red Sox pitching coach John Farrell — Good Guy Award
* Boston Red Sox pitcher Casey Kelly — Greg Montalbano Award
* Tampa Bay Rays first baseman Carlos Pena — New England Player of the Year
* Minnesota Twins catcher Joe Mauer — Ted Williams Award
* New York Yankees general manager Brian Cashman — Major League Executive of the Year
* Colorado Rockies manager Jim Tracy — Manager of the Year
* Lou Merloni — Former Boston Red Sox Award
* Boston Red Sox first base coach Ron Johnson — Unsung Hero
* Providence Journal Red Sox beat writer Steve Krasner — Dave O’Hara Award
Tickets are available by sending a check to Boston Chapter BBWAA, PO Box 7346, Nashua, NH 03060. The price per ticket is $150.
Each ticket includes admittance to:
* A cocktail hour beginning at 6 PM
* Silent memoriabilia auction presented by the Ted Williams Museum
* Autograph session with former Red Sox players (open to all)
* Full dinner beginning at 7 PM
* Autograph session with awards winners (for children age 16 and under only)
For more information and updates, click here.
Portland Sea Dogs Annual Hot Stove Dinner – Jan. 15, 2010
Jed Lowrie and Josh Reddick are among the players scheduled to take part in the Sea Dogs Annual Hot Stove Dinner and Silent Auction on Friday, January 15th at 5:30 PM at the Wyndham Hotel in South Portland. All proceeds from the dinner and silent auction will benefit the Strike Out Cancer in Kids Program.
Tickets for the event are now on sale. Tickets can be purchased in person at the Hadlock Field Ticket Office, by phone at 207-879-9500 or online at www.seadogs.com. Only 300 tickets are available for this event, tickets cost $50 each. Everyone who attends will receive a signed 8 X 10 photo of Jed Lowrie.
Additional guests include Sea Dogs’ pitcher Ryne Lawson, Sea Dogs’ Manager Arnie Beyeler, Red Sox Director of Player Development Mike Hazen, and other Red Sox minor league prospects (personalities will be announced at a later date). Reddick and the other minor league prospects in attendance will be available for autographs.
|12.28.09 at 12:26 pm ET|
There is little question that the five-year, $82.5 million deal signed a year ago by A.J. Burnett was used as the basis of comparison for the deal of the same guaranteed length and dollar figure signed earlier this month between John Lackey and the Boston Red Sox. Burnett’s contract made clear to the market that a deal for Lackey likewise meant a commitment of five years, and set the rough parameters for the new Sox pitcher’s discussions with clubs as a free agent.
Given some of the similarities between the pitchers, that comparison comes as little surprise. At the time that he signed with the Yankees, Burnett owned an 87-76 record and 3.81 career ERA. Lackey, who is almost a year younger than was Burnett at the time he signed his deal, likewise owns a 3.81 career ERA, along with a superior 102-71 record.
In negotiations between Lackey and Boston, the Sox made clear that they would not go past five years and $82.5 million – precisely the length and dollars given to Burnett. But, there were relevant structural differences in Lackey’s contract and Burnett’s.
Foremost was the potential for a conditional club option, which was reported by the Boston Globe. According to the report, if Lackey – who missed time at the start of 2008 with a strained triceps, and who likewise missed the first month of 2009 with an elbow strain – misses significant time due to surgery on a pre-existing elbow condition, the Sox would have a team option on Lackey for the major-league minimum in 2015. That gives the Sox a possibility of recouping their investment in case of a significant injury, something that the Yankees did not receive with Burnett.
At the same time, other parts of the contract will result in Lackey getting more guaranteed money than Burnett, whose contract called for five annual salaries of $16.5 million each. Burnett received no signing bonus. Moreover, his contract offered no opportunities to earn awards-based bonuses.
Lackey, on the other hand, received a $3.5 million signing bonus and will have an $18 million salary in the first year, followed by annual salaries of $15.25 million in the next four seasons. The front-loaded structure of Lackey’s contract is interpreted by the Players Association, according to a baseball source, as being worth more than $500,000.
Lackey has the chance to earn awards-based bonuses for a number of accomplishments, including making the All-Star team, finishing in the top five for Cy Young voting, regular and postseason MVP awards and Gold Gloves.
He also received the right to the best available no-trade protection afforded under team policy (in Lackey’s case, that would give him the right to veto deals to three teams; Daisuke Matsuzaka’s blanket no-trade protection was tailored very specifically to avoid implicating the status of any other member of the roster). Should Lackey be dealt, he would receive an assignment bonus of $500,000. Burnett did not receive an assignment bonus in case of a trade, though he did receive more extensive no-trade protection (according to Cot’s Contracts, Burnett can block a trade to up to 10 teams).
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