Schilling says there's 'very realistic chance' he's done in Boston
BOSTON -- Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling is keeping busy this offseason: He wrote goodbye letters to some of his teammates, rode in the parade celebrating the team's second World Series title in four years, and filed for free agency on his first full day back in Boston.
"A one-year deal is all I'm looking for," Schilling said in his weekly radio appearance while driving to Fenway Park for the parade. "If truly, physically, I was at the end of my rope, this would be the ultimate way to walk away. I don't think I'm there."
Schilling, who turns 41 next month, was a key part of both of Boston's World Series championship teams in this century. He said in spring training he would return for one more year at his current salary of $13 million, but the Red Sox wanted to see how he performed this season while adjusting to life without a 90 mph fastball.
Schilling went 9-8 with a 3.87 ERA, and went 3-0 with a 3.00 ERA in the postseason.
Joining him on the market is Bobby Kielty, a backup outfielder who hit what turned out to be the homer that provided the winning margin in the title-clinching game of the World Series. Matt Clement, who didn't pitch at all this season because of a right shoulder injury, and spare outfielder Eric Hinske also filed on Tuesday as the 2007 World Series champions began their transition to 2008.
I actually broke out a pen and paper the last couple days. There's a very realistic chance I won't ever play with them again.
"I actually broke out a pen and paper the last couple days and wrote letters to some people here, just to say goodbye," Schilling said on the radio, apparently before he filed for free agency. "There's a very realistic chance I won't ever play with them again."
The other big Boston player eligible for free agency is third baseman Mike Lowell, who reached career highs with a .324 average and 120 RBIs and then was selected as the World Series MVP.
"Fortunately, he made his worth here extreme," Schilling said. "He'll make the best decision for Mike Lowell and his family. I don't think that Mike will be bought, but at the same time Michael's not going to say, 'Yeah, I love it so much here, whatever you want.' He doesn't have to.
"He deserves everything he gets."
Lowell repeated Tuesday that he enjoyed playing in Boston but said, "Now is not the time. I will think about it in the next couple of days."
Schilling said the only team he would not consider is the Yankees. But he expected Lowell to draw interest from New York, where he started in the minor leagues in 1997.
Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez, the likely regular-season MVP, declared himself a free agent during the final game of the World Series.
"I was actually very surprised that Michael didn't buy his own jet right after the sixth inning when A-Rod announced it and fly home on his own. Because all I heard was cha-ching, right after I heard A-Rod opted out," Schilling joked.
"Let's do the math: When you're a free agent and the Yankees are not only in the mix, but now one of the potentially most interested suitors, the price changes. And that's not a bad thing for him."
Schilling said it did not bother him that Rodriguez's announcement came during Boston's coronation. But he seemed to relish the opportunity to take a shot at the Red Sox rivals' disappointing season.
"It wasn't unexpected," Schilling said. "Between them and the Yankees making sure we were updated every 15 minutes about when they were actually going to name their manager, I didn't give a crap. Bottom line was they're playing golf and making organizational decisions and we're still playing games."
Schilling's comments came on WEEI-AM, which has a promotional arrangement with Schilling's charity, Curt's Pitch for ALS. He also wrote a 2,108-word posting on his blog and promised to update fans on the status of his free agency.
"If October 28, 2007, was the last time I ever wear this uniform, thank you," Schilling wrote. "It was an honor and a privelage [sic] to be allowed to play here."
Catcher Jason Varitek wasn't ready to say goodbye.
"I hope it's not the last time I see these guys," he said at Fenway Park before the parade. "I'd like to see Curt retire in this uniform."
But first baseman Kevin Youkilis wasn't in the mood to think about the future. Asked if any players were saying goodbye in the clubhouse, he said, "Next question."
Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press
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