The phones in the Red Sox front office weren’t the only ones burning up on Yawkey Way as Thursday’s trade deadline approached.
While the team was orchestrating the trades of Jon Lester, Jonny Gomes, John Lackey, Andrew Miller, and Stephen Drew, officials at the Yawkey Way Store — the team’s official souvenir shop — were busy contacting representatives at the Majestic Athletic facility in Easton, Pa., to order the jerseys and T-shirts of the players who would be joining the team.
Obtaining merchandise for slugger Yoenis Cespedes, who was coming from Oakland, was the highest priority, said store manager Theo Matt.
T-shirts arrived shortly after 5 p.m. Friday — in time for fans arriving to watch the Red Sox host the Yankees.
“The bigger name in that trade is Cespedes, so we have his shirts coming by about 5 today, hopefully,” Matt said. “Guys like Joe Kelly, Allen Craig, those aren’t as big of names, so we might wait a while to get their merchandise in.”
While Thursday’s trades were developing, store general manager Scott Saklad was monitoring the transactions just as a fan would.
Saklad, who coordinates the orders for new merchandise, said the store does not get any inside information about trades.
“We’re fans just like everyone else,” Saklad said. “We wait, and when news becomes official, it goes through the channels of the clubhouse. The clubhouse is telling players which numbers are available, they make their choice, and once they decide on what number it is, the clubhouse coordinates with Majestic. At that point in time, Majestic contacts the retailers.”
Saklad added that new jerseys take longer to make than T-shirts and would be available next week.
Although Lester, Lackey, Gomes, Miller, and Drew are no longer with Boston, their respective merchandise still line the walls of the store.
Authentic jerseys are priced between $225 and $250, replica jerseys between $100 and $125, and T-shirts at $35. The prices for some shirts have already been reduced as store officials make a mad dash to liquidate the merchandise.
The jerseys of former players are not always wasted, either. The authentic home white jerseys, which include only a player’s number, may be re-purposed.
When Jacoby Ellsbury parted ways with the Red Sox, the store was able to sell his No. 2 jersey as a Xander Bogaerts jersey.
“We mark them down and have to clear it out, but a home jersey that just says 31 on the back, we can save for later — somebody is going to pick up that number eventually,” Matt said.
Matt said the jerseys of Lester and Lackey will be difficult to sell because pitchers’ jerseys are not hot commodities to begin with.
“Lester was obviously a popular player, but you’d be surprised, pitchers in general don’t really sell as well as position players,” Matt said. “Just because with a starter, you only hear their name once every five days so that’s not that big of a hit for us.”
The jerseys of stars like David Ortiz and Dustin Pedroia are the highest sellers, and Lester is among the top pitcher jerseys sold.
Matt said Brock Holt jerseys are wildly popular. Holt has had a breakout season, and his jerseys sold quicker than the veteran Lackey’s.
During Lackey’s up-and-down tenure with the club, his jersey and T-shirt were most popular the October after the infamous 2011 collapse, with many fans hungry for a Halloween costume, according to a store employee.
Come Monday, it is likely that plenty of Lester, Lackey, and Gomes jerseys and T-shirts will be available.
Slowly but surely, they’ll be replaced by the likes of Cespedes, Craig, and Kelly.
“We’ve had phone calls, and people coming in and asking,” Matt said of the new merchandise.
“They’re excited about a big name coming to Boston. Obviously upset about some of the names that left, but they’re excited for the future.”