Boston Wrap: Ray Allen an All-Star, Pats Franchise Cassel, Sox Sign Wilkerson

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Boston Wrap: Ray Allen an All-Star, Pats Franchise Cassel, Sox Sign Wilkerson

Boston Celtics guard Ray Allen was added to the Eastern Conference All-Star roster Thursday, replacing injured Orlando Magic guard Jameer Nelson. It is Allen's ninth selection to the NBA All-Star Game. The twelve-year pro is averaging 18.1 ppg and is hitting 41 percent of his shots from behind the three-point arc.

In an era where getting elected to an All-Star game seems like more of an albatross than honor, Allen said he was, "elated and ecstatic" to get the nod.

"It's a team game, so to be recognized as one of the best nine times, I'm always overjoyed," Allen told the media prior to Boston's game against the L.A. Lakers Thursday night. "Regardless of what team I'm playing for, who my teammates are, it's always an honor and, in my time here, it's a privilege to represent this franchise as it's been one of the best."

- The New England Patriots franchised quarterback Matt Cassel Thursday, a move that seemed highly improbable just a few months ago. So what does this mean?

He is still a free agent, but the Patriots can match any offer made by another team, or receive two first round draft picks if they allow him to sign. If they keep him, Cassel will make the average of the top five paid NFL'ers at the quarterback position—good for $14.65 million if they keep him.

Whether they will keep him depends on the progress of star QB and 2007 NFL MVP Tom Brady, of which progress reports have ranged from terrific to terrible. Not surprisingly, the Patriots—and for the most part, Brady—have remained mum on his progress and how they see Cassel playing into the '09 plans.

In near full-season relief duty, Cassel finished with a 63.4 completion percentage (third best in team history) on 327 completions in 516 attempts. He threw for 3,693 yards (fourth-best in the AFC) and 21 touchdowns to go with 11 interceptions. Surprisingly, he was not elected to the Pro Bowl even though Brett Favre and Kerry Collins were. Strange.

- But did Cassel get urinated on? The USC grad was a visitor in Tampa Bay last week for the Super Bowl and attended ESPN's Friday night party. According to reports, he was in line to take a leak and some drunk guy kept attempting to cut in line. Cassel told him to wait his turn, but the guy didn't like this too much. A few minutes later, the guy decided to piss on Cassel as he was draining out fluids as a means of revenge. He was tossed out, but Cassel didn't swing a punch or even leave the party.

Now that's a franchise player.

- Red Sox ink Brad Wilkerson, Mark Kotsay out for month:
For some reason, outfielder/first baseman Mark Kotsay decided to wait until January 29th to remove a displaced disk fragment in his back and will now be out until mid-April or early-May. Kotsay resigned with the Red Sox on January 15.

This may sounds like a stupid question, but wouldn't surgery like this would seem to be something Kotsay would have taken care of months ago? It's a freaking displaced disk fragment! That sounds painful! I need clarification on this type of stuff as it seems to happen a lot. If I were a pro athlete and had to get surgery, why wouldn't I do this the day after the season ended? Someone help me here.

So the injury would explain the team's move to sign outfielder/first baseman Brad Wilkerson Tuesday, as he is expected to fill in while Kotsay is out. In 2008, Wilkerson hit just .220 with four homers and 28 RBI in 264 at-bats for Seattle and Toronto. The 31-year-old left-handed hitter is a year removed from hitting 20 bombs in 338 at-bats with Texas, and hit a career-best 32 homers in 2004 for Montreal.

His base is $400k and he could earn as much as $2.5 million in performance bonuses.

Josh Nason - josh [at] smallwhiteball [com] - is the publisher and main writer of New England-based Small White Ball, an all-encompassing sports blog that began in 2007. If you're using any part of this post, please link back to www.smallwhiteball.com. Thank you!

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