I listened to the conference call this afternoon following the Garland extension. Still in a little bit of shock from the whole thing, I came away with the following impressions:
- It seems to me that Garland spent the holiday with his family, talked over his contract situation, and decided the south side was where he wanted to be. -- Earlier this month, we were told that after Garland's camp declined the Sox initial offer, neither side intended to talk about a long-term deal. Garland seemed intent to test the free agent market. Something changed since then. -- I got the impression that Garland called his agent the day after Christmas and told him to get a deal done with the Sox.
- Kenny Williams indicated that the 2006 payroll would be in the $95M range. That feels about right. I remember having an argument at another site about what the '06 payroll would be. -- The only thing I could find on the matter around here was my assertion that the '06 payroll would start at $90M.
- That $95M figure seems to indicate that the Sox will indeed be keeping all 6 starters, (Buehrle, Garcia, Garland, Contreras, Vazquez, and McCarthy) with McCarthy likely headed to the pen. Williams spouted some platitudes about McCarthy "strengthening his core" and "adding some more mass" before he hits the major league rotation. This could, of course, all be lip service, with Contreras being dangled under the radar to every team in baseball. Though, I now feel that is unlikely.
- Williams also said something about having 14 pitchers penciled in on his board fighting for the 11 or 12 roster spots. The first 10 are easy to figure out; the six starters I just mentioned plus Hermanson, Jenks, Politte, and Cotts. That leaves 4 names to be speculated on. Just for fun, I've got Jeff Bajenaru, Arnie Munoz, Sean Tracey, and Tim Redding. -- Josh Fields (the pitcher) and Paulino Reynoso both have outside shots, though I seem to recall Fields having surgery and Reynoso really needs to refine his control.