If I am Kevin Youkilis or Jonathan Paplebon, who have been
told by Theo Epstein that it is an organizational philosophy to take players to
arbitration year-by-year, I am looking at Dustin Pedroia’s contract and
privately seething. And if they are, credit both players for not going public
with their feelings, but it is something worth keeping in mind.

Dustin Pedroia’s contract scares me. I understand it is
comparable to a lot of the other young guys who have been locked up lately, but
for someone who strives being doubted, what does Dustin have left to prove? His
2008 season has gotten more attention than Jennifer Aniston’s 2009 calendar; he
has a MVP, a big contract, etc. Word is he is working his tail off in Arizona
this off-season, but six years is a long time.

To that point, if this contract extension is a mistake, can
we please take Theo off the pedestal the Nation tends to keep him on? The best
deal since he took over the club was made when he was still itchy from wearing
a gorilla suit. Theo reminds me of AIG, no matter how many mistakes he makes,
more money pours in to help cover them up.

Edgar Rent-a-wreck’s deal with San Francisco was surprising,
but his best years have come in the National League. If San Francisco can land
a slugger like Manny or Tex yet, they have the pitching to win the NL West and
contend for the pennant. The weirdest rumor is they are preparing to make a
competitive offer for CC Sabathia. Imagine if his weight goes out of control,
or his arm gives out after the Brewers Josef Fritzeled him; could the team
survive paying Zito and CC $200 million plus for basically nothing? Wow.

What are the current odds of the Dominican Republic winning
the next World Baseball Classic? Do they significantly increase if A-Rod
decides to play for them? What is more embarrassing: Rodriguez’s record in the post-season,
or his alleged relationship with a 50-year old pop singer currently going
through a divorce with so many embarrassing details it’d make Charlie Sheen

Am I the only one hoping Tazawa lights up Double A and makes
a significant impact as a September call-up? If for no other reason because I
know a Yankee-fan friend of mine who thinks of Kei Igawa and/or Hideki Irabu everytime
he sees Dice-K pitch well for the Sox. A complete game combined no-hitter from
Dice-K, Taz, and Oki might have him looking for a length of rope.

There are two things that could happen from having the
winter meetings in Vegas. First, the GMs spend too much time at the casinos to
actually care about making deals or signings. Or, conversely, GMs spend too
much time at the casinos together and end up pulling a Heathcliff Slocumb trade
off. As a fan of anything noteworthy in a offseason that focuses way too much
on speculation, I’m rooting for the latter.

Finally, let’s all hope this is the year for Jim Rice. He
should find the few extra votes he needs to make it into baseball’s most sacred
club; however, it could be tough with such big names as Greg Vaughn and Jay
Bell being added to the mix for 2009. I’ve already read some blogs that are
making arguments for Mo Vaughn, but let’s be real here. Rice deserves to be
inducted before anyone even tries to discuss the Foxy Lady.  And for the record, no, MVP Mo is not a hall
of famer, so stop wasting your time.