Riffing on some free agents …
Hideki Matsui: The report, out of Japan, that the Red Sox are considering tendering him a multiyear offer is the craziest yet of this offseason. Maybe the seed of it is the idea that in Fenway Park’s left field he’d have less ground to cover, so his damaged knees would be up for it. But Matsui is the antithesis of the Theo Epstein’s type of player — average on-base percentage, non-versatile. Maybe if David Ortiz gets moved … until then, get real.
Billy Wagner: Agent Brian Stringfellow now says he just might accept an arbitration offer from the Red Sox. Sounds like a warning from this fellow for the Red Sox to not make the arbitration offer. Wagner still wants to close, and Boston still has Jonathan Papelbon. An arbitration offer would be the only way the club could receive compensation if someone signs away Wagner, a Type A free agent — but that price tag would shrink his market.
Bengie Molina: His stock might be higher if there weren’t so many ex-catchers managing around the Majors. His prowess behind the plate doesn’t rate very highly with them. Bruce Bochy, one of those ex-catchers, didn’t think much of his synergy with pitchers.
John Lackey: The Mets are gun-shy about a guy who began the last two seasons on the DL; given their recent hospital tab, understandable. But they shouldn’t be too quick to dismiss the Texan as damaged goods. Only one of their own (Mike Pelfrey, 184) worked more innings than John’s 176.
Rafael Betancourt: Could be the best of the setup relievers flooding the market. The union’s official list of free agents lists more relievers (42) than any other position. Setup guys are the sport’s foot soldiers, the infantry. As a group, they’re the lowest-paid players and seem expendable by comparison. But when your starter is gassed and your closer is several outs away, you’d swap your soul for a reliable seventh- or eighth-inning arm.