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(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.

  • Justin

    Hey Bill!

    I too have been mulling over this question. I love Mike Lowell as the 3rd baseman on this team & want to have him here for a few more years! However, there are many factors to whether or not the sox resign Lowell.

    1) If they decide to take a run at A-Rod & I believe they will. Despite what people say about his ability “in-the-clutch” without A-rod, the Yankee’s wouldn’t have a chance in hell at the Wild Card this year! I think the (sox) Front Office has an A-Rod hard rod and they will go after him w/ $32mil a year!

    2) Who is this prospect they received for Wily Mo ??? Didn’t i read that he’s a 1st baseman with potential power threat? Is he ready for the big leagues or a few years away? If they feel he’s their first baseman of the future, perhaps they do sign Lowell, and as you mentioned, he’d be a great mentor.

    3) What is the extent of Ortiz’s injury? Will he miss a portion of next season? If Ortiz will be out for any of next year it will cause them to go after A-Rod for the power alone.

    4) If they don’t sign Shilling it will free up $$$ for A-rod. (i do have a Shilling Signing Idea that i will bring up tomorrow – but it won’t be popular!)

    Overall, I feel that the Sox will run at A-Rod and misss out on resigning Lowell. The problem is if A-rod doesn’t accept Boston’s offer – who would be go after then? I think the “Safe” choice would be to resign Lowell!

    -J

  • Colin

    For $30 million over three years, they should keep him. He’s a great hitter and fielder with an even better clubhouse presence. The first two will decline over time, but the last won’t. Plus, it seems like the Red Sox undergo a major overhaul every year, and it would be nice for a change to have the same starting infield next year.

    But I don’t think $30 million over three years will get it done. This is Lowell’s last chance to cash in, and he’ll be one of the best players available in a weak free agent market, so teams will overpay for him. The Red Sox have other options at third base and won’t be one of those teams. My guess is that next year we’ll either see A-Rod at third (hopefully not) or Youk at third and Chris “The Player To Be Named Later” Carter at first.

  • http://blogs.eagletribune.com/sports/ Bill Burt

    Collin
    I can’t see anyone paying him more than $10 million a season. Again, he looks older than he is. I would have guessed 35.
    That being said, I believe the length of deal might be stumbling block. Maybe there is a team that would give him four years. Then I would bow out.
    But at $30 million over three years, get his signature on it.

  • Mike

    I like Lowell at 3-years, $30 million. Then you sign A-Rod as your shortstop and do something with Lugo. You could potentially have a lineup that looks like this next season (I am subtracting Crips and Lugo)

    1) Ellsbury – CF
    2) Youkilis – 1B
    3) Rodriguez – SS
    4) Ortiz – DH
    5) Ramirez – LF
    6) Lowell – 3B
    7) Drew – RF 8) Varitek – C
    9) Pedroia – 2B

  • mr joshua

    I don’t see how arod would ever come to Boston, all the negatives of NY, the worst “sports journalists” in the business and an ownership that personifies stingy.

    Cashman also has him in a box. If he breaks his contract and forces the Yankees to lose 30 mil from Tom Hicks and the Rangers, then he has no intention to sign with the Yanks and they won’t be in the hunt for him. No Yankees in the hunt = no Scott Boras playing them off the Angels etc.

    So he almost has to sign with the Yanks OR choose someplace else he wants to go. The only other market big enough for him is Los Angeles. But signing there would cause chaos with the halos. Are you going to sign arod for 30 + mil a year and expect Vlad to have less?

    So the Yanks give him what he wants, he goes to a new stadium, “the house that arod built” and proceeds to pack them in as he ends the bonds steroid-tainted era with 800+ HRs. Seems to be a no brainer.

    We lost arod when that shithead Lucky Larry Luccino balked at the extra change needed to sign him. We DON’T NEED HIM.

    Youkilis is a .260 post all star hitter. They’ve had him for years now and have not altered his hitting style, which is a disaster. He needs to go. Of course you sign Lowell. JD Drew, you’re keeping JD Drew????!!! What kind of masochistic nitwit are you? Cap’n Tek is spent. We need his successor playing for us next year 50-50. He’s not in the our system but they better find someone fast.

    We need to replace Schilling next year. I don’t know where all these players come from next year. We have so many holes up and down this lineup. This is not a playoff team. We might get by the Indians but never the Angels nor the Yankees for that matter.

    I’ d rather 3 and out and get rid of Theo and Lucky Larry. Change the ownership group.

  • http://plls.blogspot.com s1c

    Mr. Joshua – How is the weather in NYC.

    If three years at 30 million will get Lowell’s signature you do it. I think the Sox will go after A-Rod because they do like him, but I think they will balk at the 32 mil needed to sign him.

    Remember it was not Luccino that screwed up the A-rod deal, but the players association. They felt that the opt out clause that A-rod will use this year would never be a factor and that was the point that finally killed that deal.

    As for this team not being a play off team? I suggest you check the standings and you might want to look at how this team plays the Angels and Yankees. Starting pitching is the key to the play offs and the Sox are better than any team in the play off hunt.

  • mr joshua

    a playoff team has three pitchers, we only have two — Beckett and wake.

    matsuzaka is spent, done for the year. have you seen the last three outings, mr expert? He’s been great but he only has pitched in a 132 game season till now. Take him out befroe he hurts himself. He’ll be great next year. He’s done his job.

    the players association wanted an extra 10 mill or so and larry blinked. You’re making my point about the worst sports writers in baseball; you’re not even an informed fan, dickweed.

    the yanks can’t get by the halos but even if they did, they have pettite, wang and hughes. so they will do all right.

    we need a change, a major change to get back in this. jacoby and brandon moss: good bye crisp and drew. bundle a few of these losers together and get a catcher. Yanks will cut damon, get kevin from the O’s.

    just because i watch my sawks with both eyes open doesn’t mean I’m a yankees fan — better than nitwits like you who pony up these outragous prices and serve as butt boys for Lucky Larry, Mr. Katie Couric and that other asshole. They make me sick.

  • mr joshua

    add okajima to that list of japanese pitchers who can’t carry a major league season to the end.

    we’re screwed.

  • http://plls.blogspot.com s1c

    Mr. Joshua – from feeding the monster
    “No one had signed a contract for as much as $20 million in years, Orza said. The made the offer of free agency essentially worthless — there was no way Rodriguez would ever sign a more lucrative contract again. ”

    Orza made a counter-proposal he said the union would be able to accept, in which the Red Sox would save a total of about $12 million instead of $28 million. The Red Sox initially rejected Orza’s figure…

    16 million is not 10 million, and neither is 132 games equal to 140 of course since I am an uninformed fan that means I can’t do math either I suppose. As for being someone who pony’s up these outrageous prices, if going to one game in the last 20 years makes me a butt boy, well I just consider the source as in donkey. As for Drew, I suggest you look at other places besides just J.D. to address your ire like Tek and Youkilis who are both doing worse than Drew since the All star game.

    While Daisuke has not pitched well in his last three games, I am not ready to throw him to the wolves just yet. Besides, last time I looked there are three pitchers on this team, maybe you have heard of them Beckett, Wakefield and I will take Schillings 3.79 Era (not counting last night) in his last three games. Maybe you should watch a game with one eye since having both open doesn’t seem to help you.

  • Sheryl

    I agree with Mike’s comment and LOVE the lineup he put together. That would be an incredible line up if all of that could pan out. Mike Lowell has been huge for us since he has been here. I didn’t think anyone could win me over after Bill Mueller left but Mike Lowell came in and filled some big shoes at third base. He is good in the clutch, he has a great glove, he seems to be a very respectable guy who can play in Boston. As we have seen throughout the years the best of athletes can make a stop in Boston and have a horrible season because of the pressure of the big dance here. Mike Lowell has not only been successful here he has gone above and beyond his expectations here. Lowell, being a cancer survivor, also shows how tough he truely is!! To beat a disease like that and to excel in baseball afterwards is incredible!! WE NEED TO RE-SIGN THIS MAN ASAP!! :)

  • http://daybreak1012.blogspot.com Dawn

    We’re freeing up some money with Clement’s contract expiring after this season. I say add that to what they might be willing to pay Lowell and that would surely meet the 3 years for 30 million. Not like we’ve gotten anything out of that investment in Clement for the last two seasons anyway.

    Lowell is a valuable part of the Red Sox, any way you look at it. He provides experience, both in years played, as well as post season. He’s had a tougher year with his glove but has more than made up for it at the plate. He came back from a slumping season to only get better. He’s stepped in handily as the clean up hitter with Manny out. He’s leading the team in RBI & hits. Third in homers. He’s a great presence among his teammates. You never hear anything negative about him that provides distractions.

    So maybe we only get two more solid years out of him. That wouldn’t be so terrible. That last year could be a transition year, platoon Mike with a rookie perhaps. I love Youk, but I am not in agreement that third base is his natural environment. He plays a mean first base, and doesn’t look nearly as comfortable when he covers third. And I don’t remember being impressed with his third base abilities when he was up in 2005. I would much rather see him stay at first, where his third baseman instincts serve him well.

    Keep Mike Lowell!!

  • http://blogs.eagletribune.com/sports/ Bill Burt

    Dawn
    Unless A-Rod is coming, which would be six or seven years of 45 homers and 140 RBI, you are right. This has no-brainer written all over it. I forgot about Clement’s cash, too. Nice post.

  • David

    You suggest sending Youkilis back to third because it’s his natural position. Well considering he just set the American League record for consecutive games with out an error while as a first baseman, I think he may have found a more natural spot.

  • Nashua

    Just wanted you to keep this in mind: (your fan minds)

    Lowell is in a “Contract Year”

    Granted, I admire Lowell as much as the rest of you folks. Last year I felt that he should have won the Gold Glove for 3rd base, yet again it went to Chavez of Oakland. (G. Glove awards mean nothing to me these days, especially since that year when Rafael “Steroid” Palmeiro won the Gold Glove for 1st base after playing only 11 games (more or less) at 1st base. What a Joke!)

    Anyway, players in a contract year, how many times have you seen them play their A$$ off, run like crazy, score runs, produce RBIs, Homers, Batting Avg, OBP (sox brass ooze over that), field like never before and then hit Free Orgyncy, get the inflated (Borass) contract and in the first year of the NEW Contract it’s sit back time, be Fat, Happy and Live On The FAT of the FANS? How many times have you seen that? I’ve seen it a whole lot over the years and it’s discerning, to say the least! Nancy Drew is a prime example. I’m not saying that the ‘Sainted’ M. Lowell is like that, but…. “Just wanted you to keep this in mind.”

  • http://blogs.eagletribune.com/sports/ Bill Burt

    Nashua
    I agree. But Lowell has proven to be a pro’s pro. Theo & Co. will have to decide what expectations are over next two or three years. That’s where dollars and sense come in.
    We have to start appreciating his worth to the team. I believe with in the influx of so many young guys, and the possibility that Schilling, a father figure, might be gone, then Lowell’s importance grows.
    It is not an easy decision, but might be the right one.
    The one thing we can’t discount here in Boston is ability to perform under extreme pressure. Maybe this October will be time to see.
    The Sox have Jason Varitek, too, to consider. He is in the Lowell category, but another year remaining.
    Good post. Thanks.

  • mr joshua

    schilling a father figure??? only if your dad was hitting on your prom date…

  • Nashua

    You’re so right Mr. Burt (ouch?). Not really an ouch, as reading your articles and listening to you on the TV and airwaves, I find myself agreeing with you or damning you for stealing my thoughts. Naw, you just stated what I already felt, must be a Merrimack Valley thing. All too true, “…Lowell has proven to be a pro’s pro.” Lowell is definitely that and more. I haven’t seen a player of his caliber, character and presence since the days of, (fill in the blank), Dwight Evans, Bob Stanley, Don Baylor (kangaroo court days), Tek, Tom Brady, Dennis Johnson and Tedy Bruschi. These guys are the team leaders, are the team and exude a quite countenance about themselves that you just have to respect and admire no matter what faction you’re in. Be it a fan, media, teammate, administrator or owner. It’s really cool when you first recognize it or the scribes fill you in on it. Most times we fans can see it on camera during the sport shorts on TV. How they exhibit the composure, leadership and the good words expressed after a bad game. That is invaluable in this highly intense sports town and, also, in any endeavor of the work world, be it office, restaurant, DMV or ‘newspaper office.’ Yea, I’d like to see Lowell back in crimson hose, but with the market these days, who knows. I’ve long forgotten the days of a player being with the same team long term. Oh well….

    On the Lighter Side: Hey Bill, regarding your line about, “The one thing we can’t discount here in Boston is ability to perform under extreme pressure.”, can we have some Fun on this? We all know what a pressure cooker of an environment it is here to play on the Red Sox, could we have a play on words section on your site for something like, (stolen from SNL), “Not Ready for Prime Time Players” or “Not Ready for Prime Time Players in a Big Market” where folks could plug in their favorite ‘dogs’ just for fun? Or is that just a bit to mean? Think of it, break it up into years and you could have Lugo and maybe Drew for this year, Jack Clark for another year (or he doesn’t count because of treadwear), maybe Matt Clement, Mike Young or the lovable Jay Payton. All in fun, as always It’s your call. Perhaps give it a try, might be fun and an angst relief for Sox fans and fans of “BURT TALKS SPORTS”

    To The End of Night
    Nashua

    “Not Ready for Prime Time Players” and “Not Ready for Prime Time Players in a Big Market” Are Registered TradeMarks of submit comment participant Nashua, LLC. All rights and Registrations are reserved solely for the use of Nashua, LLC and the “BURT TALKS SPORTS” website. Any use, misuse or description impinged without the written consent of Nashua, LLC and “BURT TALKS SPORTS” is illegal and will be punished to the full exent of copyright laws. US P.L. 108-482

  • Jordan

    If Lowell is making $9 million right now, I doubt that he’ll take $10 million a year after the year he had. I think he could get about $15 million a year.

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