Sunday, May 06, 2007

Mike Lowell

Mike Lowell is the biggest question mark facing the Red Sox front office. There are three big contracts that are up at the end of the season; Cut Schilling, Matt Clement and Mike Lowell. I'm pretty sure that Curt Schilling will be re-signed for about his current $13 million per year (and I wouldn't be surprised if that happens over the All-Star break); Matt Clement and his $9 million per year finally come off the books; that just leaves Mike Lowell.

Among AL 3rd basemen - Mike Lowell has probably been the 2nd most productive offensively this year. Of course A-Rod has put up monster numbers early in the season but Lowell's .302 average, 4 HR, 21 RBI and 14 runs stack up against anyone else. You also have to take into consideration that Mike Lowell brings Gold Glove caliber defense onto the field every time he plays the position.

Mike Lowell's contract paid him $8 million per year. There doesn't seem to be many (if any) free agent 3rd basemen available this upcoming Hot Stove Season - so all indications seem to point to the Red Sox bringing Mike Lowell back for at least a 3rd season at 3rd. Yes - Mike Lowell does seem to tire late in the season but the devil you know is better than the devil you don't and if the Red Sox let Mike Lowell go via free agency the the chances are they will be looking at a downgrade.

Keep in mind that the Red Sox have players under contract or control at every position for 2008 except 3rd - and I'm not counting Kevin Youkilis as a 3rd base option because if you move Youkilis to 3rd - you open a hole at 1st and the pickens among 2008 free agents at 1st are either not that great or cost prohibative.

One final note - if the Red Sox let Mike Lowell's contract lapse into free agency then they run the risk of being used as a pawn by Scott Boras in his attempt to get A-Rod an even bigger payday. Signing Mike Lowell before the end of the season lets them avoid that circus.

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