(Editor’s note: This is the first of many posts this month looking at key Red Sox player in this playoff drive and do it in the form of a queston.)
This is a loaded question. Should the Red Sox re-sign Mike Lowell?
The obvious answer, especially when you’re the Red Sox with $150 million in loose change hanging around each winter, is yes.
But that’s not the issue at hand. Everyone with eyes and/or ears can see or hear about Lowell’s contributions this spring and summer.
He was someone the Red Sox were forced to take in the Josh Beckett for Hanley Ramirez deal because of his high salary ($18 million over two years). But you know what? He’s turned out to be a bargain.
Lowell could not have contributed any more unless he was Alex Rodriguez. You could argue that Lowell’s grit, professionalism and private life give him a big edge over A-Rod off the field.
Through the 5-3 win over Toronto, Lowell is hitting .333 with 18 HRs and 101 RBI. FYI, he leads the team in average and RBI. And remember, he was an All-Star.
A year ago he was as steady as they come: .284, 20 HRs, 80 RBI while playing a Gold Glove third base.
Now, let’s ask this question so it really is a tad tough to answer:
Would you sign Lowell, now 33, to a three-year, $30 million deal? What’s wrong, the cat got your tongue?
That’s what he will be looking for, and he just might get it or some facsimile thereof. Even if it is $27 million or, at worst $24 million, it is a signficant investment.
The positives: He is getting better, not worse, as people expected in August and September … At 33, he still as least two more productive years ahead … He is a great guy and a great influence in the clubhouse … A pro’s pro, don’t you want the twentysomethings to see this guy on and off the field for six months? … He’s a great third baseman and Kevin Youkilis has turned into a great first baseman … When J.D. Drew went in the tank, his stats covered for him … He can play in Boston, which can’t be said for many players.
The negatives: Three years appears to be one too many, as he looks like he could fall off quickly … Maybe it’s time to find a younger, 30 HR first baseman in his prime and move Youkilis to his natural position … Would Sox be paying for 2007 for three years rather than paying for what they expect out of him … Other than that, not many.
My view: Ideally, two years would be the right move, but probably not practical in this marketplace. Sign him to three-year, $30 million deal and realize he may be a seventh hitter in 2010. This guy is tough. He will always be good defensively. It will also be good for the Pedroia’s, Ellsbury’s and Buchholz’s to have this guy within an earshot while they continue to grow.
What do you think?
Coming tomorrow: Curt Schilling.