Did people forget that all year, as well as all last year, the consensus was that the American League had the 4 or 5 best teams in baseball? I guess last year's World Series confused us, but we all knew the Tigers weren't one of the three best teams in baseball; they just happened to win enough games at the right time to make it to the World Series. But the Red Sox were one of the top 3 teams in baseball, and they proved it by rolling over the Rockies.
The Rockies had a very nice lineup, but the Sox pitchers shut them down mostly. The Rockies had a staunch bullpen, but the Sox got to 'em. The Rockies were hot, but the Sox cooled 'em down (it's up to you to decide if the 8-day layoff caused that). While I was very disappointed with both the outcome and the lack of competitiveness throughout, there can be no doubt that the better team won.
Is there any doubt anymore, though, that the Red Sox are simply a hairier version of the Yankees? While the Yankees have the highest payroll, a staggering $52 million higher than Boston, the Red Sox' payroll is another $26 million higher than the #3 team, the Mets. Any time you can fit another team's payroll (even if it's just the lowly Devil Rays) between yours and the next one behind you, you're paying some outrageous salaries. And remember, Alex Rodriguez just declared that he'll be opting out, so that salary and Roger Clemens' salary come off the books for the Bronx Bombers, as well as potentially Jorge Posada's, Mariano Rivera's, and Bobby Abreu's. There's a distinct chance, though probably still less than 50%, that the team with the highest payroll next year is in fact the Red Sox. They're no longer the "idiots" or what-have-you.
I'll still root for them against the Yankees, but that's it. They're the baby Evil Empire, like the Olmec when compared to the Mayans.
Alex Rodriguez Opts Out
How exciting is this? The best player in baseball (try to look at Rodriguez's numbers and argue that) is suddenly on the free market, barring some radical change in his intentions. It's such big news that, on ESPNews tonight, it co-owned the "Breaking News" headline on the bottom line, along with "Red Sox win World Series." That's big.
I'd make guesses as to where he'll end up, etc, but I really need to be hitting the hay. So I'll just give you one intriguing idea: the Philadelphia Phillies. Nobody's talked about them being a big spending team, but certainly a team in Philadelphia has got plenty of money. Howard, Utley, and Hamels should still be in their arbitration periods, which will keep their salaries in check. With Rowand likely departing due to free agency, the Phillies will be in the market for some kind of bat. Obviously Rodriguez is a little bigger bat than Rowand, but I think he'd fit great. Plus, with someone like A-Rod in the fold, you have to think that Utley, Howard, and Hamels are more enticed to stick around; you know the offense is going to have some juice to it. I'm not a Phillies fan, nor am I an A-Rod fan, but I think it's a good fit.
Feel free to share your thoughts or guesses as well.
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