When I heard the Sox had declined Alex Gonzalez’ option for 2010, I’ll admit to being a little surprised. I figgered we’d do what we needed to do to keep the guy around another year, then let him slowly fade into the sunlight next autumn, like David Banner at the end of every episode of The Incredible Hulk. I was impressed with his 2009 glove work, though it may have just been the fact that he wasn’t Julio Lugo or Jed Lowrie. And for a guy who’s known to be “all glove, no offense love,” A-Gon always seemed to nail a hit when we needed one.
Of course, there’s still a chance that we can work something out with Gonzo at a little less than $6 million a year. Or maybe the front office is working on some ultra-secret long-term shortstop solution that none of us can see coming.
But if not, let me suggest another option: Rick Burleson.
Think about it; The Rooster could prove Theo’s greatest reclamation project ever. Sure, the guy’s 58 years old and hasn’t played pro ball since Manny Ramirez was born, but that’s part of the fun. America’s love of old people and our inherent desire to root for the underdog would make this the story of the season (and think of the potential revenue generation from a Tom Werner-produced reality series charting the Rooster’s return to the bigs).
Let’s also not forget that Burleson’s a four-time All Star and Gold Glover who threw leather like some of today’s shortstops can only dream about (“Rooster jumps for rope!” was a familiar cry during Sox radio broadcasts back in the day, or so my great uncle Pietro insists). He’s also a moustache-sportin’ tough guy who would give us a little bit of that thug cred we’ve been missing since Trot Nixon and Mike Timlin left town. More importantly, with his pension soon to kick in, we could certainly get him on the cheap; hell, if his only options at his age are starting shortstop for the Boston Red Sox or Wal-Mart greeter, what do you think he’d choose?
Last but not least, can we even begin to imagine what a boost it would give Tim Wakefield to throw someone roughly 18 years his senior on the roster?
Like I said, I’m sure Theo’s got something in the works. But if not, let’s get the Rooster on the horn.