Randy Moss is rejoining the NFL and his announcement on Monday has created maximum buzz. It's worth remembering, though, that the last two times Moss was available to the general NFL populace, not a single team really gave a crap. After the Vikings released Moss in 2010, only the Tennessee Titans claimed him. Moss responded with numbers that made Ocho's 2011 Patriots campaign look like a breakout year. Moss caught six balls for 80 yards in eight games. And before the 2011 season began, Moss got nothing from anyone. I'm told the Patriots and Moss were in contact prior to the 2011 season but it was perfunctory and never gained any traction because New England's interest was so tepid. Moss then announced his retirement. Now, quite predictably, he is back on the market. So after the Patriots, Vikings and Titans gave up on Moss and he took a season off, he is going to dominate the conversation for a few news cycles. Fine, but that's what needs to be kept in perspective. Could he have helped the 2011 Patriots more than Ocho? Yes. And he could have done that wearing overalls and sucking on a toothpick while running routes. But do the Patriots want to bring Moss in on the ground floor of their 2011 team-building or make him part of the finish carpentry? My guess is -- and since this is just gathering momentumit is only a guess -- the Patriots will build their team in other ways first and if Moss is still available, then they will talk with him. But the urgency is not on New England.
When it comes to Pablo Sandoval and his weight, a picture is worth a thousand words.
During spring training it wasn’t a good thing. Sandoval made headlines when a number of photos revealed significant weight gain for the Red Sox third baseman.
But the last two images have been more positive for Sandoval.
In October, a noticeably thinner Sandoval was photographed at an FC Barcelona game.
On Monday, Dan Roche of WBZ tweeted a more recent picture of the new-look Sandoval.
Sandoval, 30, is entering the third season of a five-year, $95 million contract. In his lone full season in Boston, 2015, Sandoval hit .245/.292/.366 with 10 homers and 47 RBI.
NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. -- The newly agreed upon Major League Baseball collective bargaining agreement features higher taxes and additional penalties for exceeding the competitive balance threshold -- and don't think the Red Sox haven't noticed.
The Red Sox went over the threshold in both 2015 and 2016, and should they do so again in 2017, they would face their highest tax rate yet at 50 percent. Additionally, there are provisions that could cost a team in such a situation to forfeit draft picks as well as a reduced pool of money to sign its picks.
None of which means that the Red Sox won't definitively stay under the $195 million threshold for the upcoming season. At the same time, however, it remains a consideration, acknowledged Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski.
"You would always like to be under the CBT (competitive balance tax) if you could,'' offered Dombrowski. "And the reason why is that are penalties attached for going over, so nobody likes to (pay) penalties.
"However, the Red Sox, if you follow history, have been up-and-down, right around that number. We were over it last year and the year before that. So I would prefer (to be under in 2017). However, a little bit more driving force in that regard is that there are stricter penalties now attached to going over. And some of them involve, for the first time, differences in draft choices and sacrificing money to sign players and that type of thing. So there's a little bit more drive (to stay under).
"But I can't tell you where we're going to end up. Eventually, does it factor (in)? Yeah. But until we really get into the winter time and see where we are, will I make an unequivocal (statement about staying under the CBT)? Maybe we won't. But there are penalties that I would rather not be in position to incur.''
Dombrowski stressed that he's not under a "mandate'' from ownership to stay under the CBT.
"But I am under an awareness of the penalties,'' he said. "Last year, I would have preferred to be under, too, but it just worked for us to be above it, because we thought that would be the best way to win a championship at the time.''
He added: "I think we're going to have a good club either way.''
But it's clear that the CBT is part of the reason the Red Sox aren't being more aggressive toward some premium free agents such as first baseman/DH Edwin Encarnacion, who is said to be looking for at least a four-year deal at an annual average value of more than $20 million.
Currently, the Red Sox have nearly $150 million in guaranteed contracts for 2017, plus a handful of arbitration-eligible players, some of whom (Drew Pomeranz, Jackie Bradley Jr.) will see significant raises.
Together, with insurance premiums and others costs tallied, the Sox stand at nearly $180 million, just $15 million under the 2017 tax.
"I've said all along I've wanted to stay away from long-term contracts for hitters at this point,'' Dombrowski said of the current free agent class, "(especially) with some of the guys we have in our organization coming. I just haven't felt that that's a wise thing to do.''
The Sox saw two potential DHs come off the board over the weekend, with Carlos Beltran signing a one-year $16 million deal with Houston and Matt Holliday getting $13 million from the Yankees. Either could have filled the vacancy left by David Ortiz's retirement, but Dombrowski would also be taking on another another eight-figure salary, pushing the Sox well past the CBT.
"I figured we would wait to see what ends up taking place later on,'' said Dombrowski, "and see who's out there.''