Curt Schilling might be one of the best pitchers to ever have played the game.
He might be close to a shoe in for the Hall of Fame.
And yes, he might even go down as a legend in Boston sports history for his "Bloody Sock" performance in the '04 playoffs.
But he's certainly nothing like what he used to be, and even Schilling is starting to come to terms with it.
After 216 wins (53 with Boston) and 3,116 strikeouts, this looks like the end of the road for Schilling—at least as a member of the Red Sox. Sources reported Thursday that Schilling would most likely miss the start of the '08 Spring Training season due to a pain in his shoulder. Stuck in a catch-22, Schilling could avoid surgery on it and risk damaging it even worse or get the surgery and possible miss the entire '08 season.
At the ripe old age of 41, Schilling doesn't quite have the time to rehab or take a season off. Boston doesn't seem to think so either.
The Red Sox have also announced that, due to friction between Schilling and the club over whether or not to operate on Schilling's arm, they are considering voiding his contract for 2008.
And honestly, why not?
Schilling has had one decent year in his past three with Boston in '06, going 15-7 with an ERA up around 4.00. Although we all have plenty of respect for Curt, even the best have to know when the tank's running dry.
With Schilling off the starting rotation roster, the problem between starting Lester or Bucholtz would be solved by giving them both a starting spot, giving Lester time to grow into his own as a dominant southpaw and Bucholtz the seasoning he needs to grow into another power arm for years to come. Schilling could also be used on the trading block if his contract is not voided and, along with Coco Crisp, the two could add a solid bullpen member or a catcher to possibly follow Varitek, who is getting up there in years as well.
Either way, the loss of Schilling could be much better a situation for the Sox then people think.