This Week in Boston Baseballing, Nov. 29 – Dec. 5

A tough week for Boston Red Sox fans. The team signed catching asshole A.J. Pierzynski to a one-year, $8 million contract on the same day that the Yankees inked Jacoby Ellsbury to a seven-year, $153 million deal. Making matters worse, a disappointingly wholesome issue of Improper Bostonian featuring NESN’s Jenny Dell hit newsstands.

Next week, Ben Cherington and Co. fly to Disney World for the Winter Meetings, which run from December 9 – 12.

The Yankees Sign Jacoby Ellsbury
Boston’s homegrown center-fielder Jacoby Ellsbury is heading to the Bronx, signing a seven-year deal. The Red Sox extended an offer that reportedly topped off at six years and $120 million.

Ells has gotten his big payday after helping the Sox to two World Series championships. It seems the majority of fans are happy for him or are at least grateful the Sox held a firm negotiating ceiling. Not surprisingly, Deadspin grabbed at the lower hanging fruit by listing a rundown of the ignorant, vocal minority within Red Sox Nation. As Boston Sports Media Watch noted, a lot of the local media is probably to blame for projecting the opinions of the relatively few “mouthbreathers” on the fanbase at large.

Anyway, the Shane Victorino signing last winter looks even better now, if that’s possible after his 2013 campaign. As Matt Klaassen writes on FanGraphs:

The Victorino contract, however, makes even more sense now that Ellsbury has left. At the moment, Bradley appears to be in line to the be starting center fielder in 2014, with Victorino returning in right field. If Bradley gets hurt or needs to be sent down, the Red Sox have Victorino to take over in center field. If Bradley does well, they still have two center fielders out there, not only providing good defense, but enabling one to have a day off when he needs it.

The Yankees Will Exceed the Luxury Tax Threshold in 2014…
…You know, if that makes Red Sox fans feel any better. As Yankees blog It’s About the Money details in Goodbye Operation 189, Ellsbury’s arrival in New York isn’t exactly a mic-dropping moment in the team’s offseason:

….At this point it’s safe to assume the plan to get under the luxury tax threshold this season is going away. Mathematically it could still be done and still be done with room to spare if A-Rod’s suspension is upheld. But it would come at the expense of filling more than 1 of the remaining roster holes with better players and there’s been nothing to indicate the Yankees have any interest in taking that route. You don’t plunk down $238 million to address a few holes and then call it a day, not when the top free agent on the market who also happens to be your best recent homegrown player is still unsigned and not when your current 3-5 starters have a combined 436.2 career IP.

The Red Sox Sign A.J. Fucking Pierzynski
As detailed in this space on Tuesday, A.J. Pierzynski is hardly the first maligned player to join the Red Sox. Most of these types of guys wind up as journeymen for good reason during the latter stage of their careers because their value is aided by their lack of popularity. Yet somehow Boston shelled out an alarming $8 million for Pierzynski, who joins his third team in as many years and will hopefully be relegated to part-time duty by August. Perhaps the Red Sox could find it in their hearts to introduce Variable Ticket Pricing that includes discounts to fans having to personally witness the sight of Pierzynski in a Red Sox uniform?

Salty Goes to Miami
Jarrod Saltalamacchia’s signing with the Marlins for 3 years, $21 million almost became a footnote within a few hours thanks to the Pierzynski and Ellsbury signings. Deadspin didn’t even bother collecting any related Red Sox fan tweets containing misspellings.

Cherington Adds Reliever Edward Mujica to Arsenal
The Red Sox GM just could not help himself from signing the reliever on the free agent market that most closely resembles Koji Uehara. As his fastball velocity has diminished in recent years, Mujica has remade himself by primarily featuring a breaking ball that is best classified as either a splitter or change-up. When that pitch is on, it is eerily similar to Koji’s shutdown split. At a cost of just under $5 million per year for 2014 and 2015, the move is shrewd and a much better bet for depth than trading for a guy like Joel Hanrahan. Or Andrew Bailey. Or Clay Mortensen…

The Standells’ Dick Dodd Dies
The Red Sox first played “Dirty Water” after every win back in 1997, but the song had been a fan favorite at Fenway Park for years prior. Bet on “Dirty Water” enduring a hell of a lot longer than “Sweet Caroline.”

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