Yesterday, more than half of the eligible players jumped into the magic waters of free agency, like a horde of shoppers barreling down the halls of WalMart on Black Friday to grab the last Tickle Me Jim Croce.

Not surprising to anyone, Jason Bay was among the first into the pool, looking to improve on the four years and 60 million clams we offered him. Theo has characterized negotiations thus far with Bay as “weird”, which is never a good sign. But when the player you covet admits to dressing up as a hula girl in college, well, that’s what you’re gonna get.

While I think offering Bay anything over four years would be crazy, letting him go creates a whole new slew of problems, especially if Ortiz v2009 was the harbinger of declines to come. Bay brings some intangibles along with his 36 home runs and 119 RBIs; he’s a good clubhouse guy, reps himself well in the harsh glow of the spotlight, and has never–to the best of my knowledge–been caught pantsless outside Riley’s Roast Beef. In the end, I’m guessing we overpay for four years of his services, but I’ve been drinking since Wednesday so take that as you will.

In other news, the Sox picked up Jeremy Hermida from the Marlins for Kraven the Hunter Jones and Jose Alvarez. Said Theo:

“Hermida is a player who hasn’t fulfilled his potential yet and we acquired him today for a reasonable cost to see if he might be able to fulfill that potential with us. He’s somebody who has positive indicators that future performance might be better than his past performance. His Minor League track record, his age, draft pedigree, our scouting reports over the years, indicate that there’s a chance he can turn into the player that he was once thought to be.”

Not sure whether Theo wants Hermida to spell or replace Rocco or plans on flipping him somewhere else, but the guy’s best year at the plate was 2007 when he hit .296 with 18 home runs and 63 RBIs. Also, he’s a nice guy, his mom loves him and he once co-signed an auto loan for a friend struggling to get back on his feet.