"It was like somebody threw a firecracker on the table." Plenty of buzz around the hot stove today. The big log that will burn for the rest of the week is Curtis Montague Schilling (Stats). Discussion: SoSH (& here), Royal Rooters and Your Turn.
Schilling pitched only 168 innings last season: he missed two weeks after an April appendectomy, six more weeks with broken bones in his right hand in late May, and starts in August and September because of a sore left knee and a stiff neck. He still posted his lowest ERA in 11 years (2.95) and had a nice K/BB ratio of 194 to 32. ... The Red Sox's window for talking with Schilling expires Friday at 5:00 p.m. Terry Francona is back in the Hub today and I assume he'll be named manager before the Schilling deadline. And it sounds like Theo and Keith Foulke enjoyed the Celtics game.
One interesting note is a follow-up to Schilling's comments a couple of weeks ago. He told a Philadelphia writer that because he is a right-handed fly-ball pitcher, Fenway Park wouldn't be a good place for him to pitch. I disagreed at the time and it looks like Curt checked out the stats because he is admitting he was mistaken. "I found out that Fenway Park is a worse home run park than the BOB is." ... "It was a lot harder to homer there than Bank One." (Fenway surrendered the 12th fewest homers in 2003). ... "I looked at the numbers. It's harder to hit a home run there than I thought. Pedro ran a 2.30 (ERA) up there. So I know it can be done."
Two stories from the Arizona Republic; the first link contains this doozy of a sentence: "Schilling, 37, a devout student of baseball history, might also relish the possibility of helping Boston win its first World Series since 1903." ... And in New York, there is the Post, Daily News, Times, Newsday and Newark Star-Ledger. The Post notes: "This deal also points out how nice it would be if the Yankees still had lefty Brandon Claussen around to deal, instead of having shipped him off to the Reds for third baseman Aaron Boone." One official at the Yankees organizational meetings in Tampa said that when the news came in, "It was like somebody threw a firecracker on the table." Bill Madden of the Daily News raises something that had crossed my mind yesterday: "Colangelo certainly hasn't forgotten how the Boss lured David Wells from a verbal agreement with Arizona before the 2002 season, and this recent sequence of events - asking for the moon and stars from the Yankees and then likely trading Schilling for four unproven players to their biggest rival - could be seen as tasty revenge." Madden also quotes one source claiming Schilling and his wife are apparently "thrilled" about the possibility of moving to Boston. However, the quotes from Schilling himself do not hint at this at all.
Elsewhere: Ed Cossette likes the disorienting effect of having Wakefield between Schilling and Pedro in the rotation. ... Aaron Gleeman debuts a new stat that improves on OPS: "((OBP*1.8) + SLG) / 4"; he also has a great piece on Nolan Ryan's 1987 season which should be required reading for Joe Morgan. ... Bob Hohler on baseball's information age.
When I think of the possible Red Sox pitching staff
SP: Pedro, Schilling, Lowe, Wakefield, Kim
RP: Foulke, Williamson, Timlin, Embree, Sauerbeck, Arroyo
I get weak in the knees. Let's get this winter over with and head to Ft. Myers!