Boston-bound? Schilling to decide today

Originally Published: November 28, 2003
ESPN.com news services

It likely will go right down to the wire.

Curt Schilling does not expect to decide whether to join the Red Sox much before today's 5 p.m. ET deadline.

The Red Sox delegation met with Schilling and his wife, Shonda, in Arizona at the Schilling's home on Wednesday. General manager Theo Epstein had Thanksgiving dinner with the Schilling family, and talks were expected to continue today.

Although there has been speculation that the Red Sox had hoped to wrap up the negotiations quickly, friends who have spoken with Schilling told ESPN.com's Jayson Stark that the pitcher didn't expect to make a quick decision.

Much of Wednesday was spent discussing the team. The Red Sox were also planning to give Schilling the hard sell on moving to Boston; the former Philadelphia Phillies ace has expressed a desire to get back to the more intense, East Coast style of baseball, but he has also spoken fondly of his time in Arizona.

"I'm not going to lean one way or the other. It's neither good nor bad. We're working on things to see if it's possible this can work out," Schilling told the East Valley (Ariz.) Tribune. "The Red Sox understand my (issues) and I understand theirs, and that's what we're discussing."

Schilling was tentatively traded to the Red Sox on Monday, but the deal becomes official only if he waives his no-trade clause with the Diamondbacks. The window the Red Sox have to negotiate with Schilling ends today at 5 p.m. ET.

"There were two sessions at his house. We made a proposal," Red Sox president Larry Lucchino said Wednesday night after meeting with the Schillings. "The process will continue."

Schilling is scheduled to make $12 million next season with the chance to earn almost $2 million more in performance bonuses, but he wants an extension before agreeing to a trade.

Current Boston ace Pedro Martinez wants to add Schilling to the rotation, saying it would instantly make Boston a favorite to end the New York Yankees' streak of six AL East titles.

"With Schilling, Derek Lowe and me in the rotation, it would be tough on our rivals," Martinez told The Associated Press from the Dominican Republic earlier in the week.

The trade with Boston would send Schilling back to an organization that traded him away as a prospect, along with Brady Anderson, for Mike Boddicker as the Red Sox geared up for the 1988 pennant race. The Red Sox were swept by the Oakland Athletics, and Schilling developed into one of the game's top pitchers.

He has a 163-117 career record with a 3.33 ERA and 2,542 strikeouts. He went 22-6 with 293 strikeouts in and a 2.98 ERA in 2001 as the Diamondbacks won the World Series, then followed that up with a 23-7 record and 316 strikeouts and 3.23 ERA the next year.

Both years, he finished second to Johnson in the NL Cy Young Award voting. The two were co-MVPs of the 2001 Series.

But last season, Schilling made just 24 starts and missed six weeks after breaking a bone in his right hand. He went 8-9 with a 2.95 ERA and struck out 194 batters in 168 innings.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.