11/06/07 6:50 PM ET
Schilling inks one-year deal
Veteran righty gets $8 million contract to return to Boston
By Mike Petraglia / Special to MLB.com
The Red Sox and the veteran right-hander have agreed on a one-year, $8 million deal that could be worth as much as $14 million should he reach all the incentives in the package.
The team and Schilling both confirmed the contract on Tuesday afternoon, with Schilling, on his 38pitches.com blog, detailing the pay structure.
The right-hander can earn an additional $2 million in weight incentives (based on six weigh-ins), $3 million based on innings pitched and $1 million if he earns one Cy Young Award vote.
"It was a pretty smooth process," Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein said. "I think both sides wanted to make it happen. The terms were right. It only took a few days to come to fruition. I think Curt wanted to stay here and we wanted him back, as long as we could get some protection in the contract and we were able to accomplish that, so it happened pretty quickly."
"I inserted the weigh-in clause in the second round of offers, counter-offers," added Schilling. "Given the mistakes I made last winter and into Spring Training, I needed to show them I recognized that, and understood the importance of it. Being overweight and out of shape are two different things. I also was completely broadsided by the fact that your body doesn't act/react the same way as you get older. Even after being told that for the first 39 years of my life."
Schilling, who filed for free agency on Oct. 30, returns for a fifth season in Boston after originally being acquired in a trade with Arizona in November 2003. In 2007, the right-hander, who turns 41 on Nov. 14, was 9-8 with a 3.87 ERA in 24 regular-season starts.
"Anytime you can have Curt Schilling as part of your pitching staff, you get a reliable performer, you get one of the most prepared pitchers in baseball, an accomplished big-game pitcher who has a lot to offer to other pitchers on the staff," Epstein said.
It didn't take long for his teammates, especially his colleagues on the pitching staff, to welcome him back for one more run.
"I've already heard from Josh [Beckett] and [Tim Wakefield], and [I] am excited to know that my last year in the game will be with a team that has another legitimate chance to win the World Series," Schilling wrote.
He posted the second lowest ERA among Red Sox starters and finished fourth on the staff in wins, starts, innings (151), and strikeouts (101). Schilling was on the disabled list from June 19 to Aug. 6 with right shoulder tendinitis before returning to post a 3.34 ERA in his final nine regular-season starts. He allowed just 23 walks, an average of 1.37 per nine innings, and came within one out of his first career no-hitter in a 1-0 complete game victory on June 7 in Oakland.
"Did I leave money on the table? Yes. Could I have gotten another year? I think so," Schilling said on his Web site. "Looking at the teams that called, my best guess would be around $14 million-$15 million for a one-year deal with the potential to get $25 million-$30 million for a two-year deal."
"It says a lot about Curt that he was willing to take less to come back here," Epstein said. "It's easy for a player to say, 'It's not about the money,' but it's hard to actually prove it. In Curt's case, he put his money where his mouth was and really made a statement about what's important to him right now and he deserves a lot of credit for that and we benefit from that as an organization and our fans will benefit, as well."
With his family and wife, Shonda, in mind, Schilling was seeking just a one-year pact.
"We got exactly what we wanted, and then some," said Schilling. "This is where we want our career to come to a close. This city, this team. This is where we want to retire, raise our kids and walk away."
In the end, Schilling felt the Red Sox made him a deal he couldn't refuse.
"We got it, all of it, and more," said Schilling.
"Saying it's not about the money is a lie, too," Schilling added. "Both sides have a price. At some number I was not a viable option for the Red Sox, and at another number the Sox might have become a non-contender to us, but we both wanted this to happen, and it did."
Schilling may have helped himself with another stellar postseason, winning three times without a loss and improving his career postseason mark to 11-2.
"Theo and I spoke early in the week about wanting to complete this before the exclusive period ended and the [General Manager] Meetings began, because we both thought there could be a scenario popping up that might make this less desirable," Schilling penned. "He has to run this team, and I needed to do what was best and right for my family. Allowing external influences to change our opinions of each other might have been an unavoidable strain neither side wanted."
For Epstein and the team, this negotiation represented a rare chance to deal with a player more concerned about the overall quality of his playing environment than just a paycheck.
"It's not too common in this day and age that someone who can get a lot more guaranteed money was willing to take the risk associated with performances and other bonuses," Epstein said. "He did a rare thing and we're proud of him."
Mike Petraglia is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.