Hot Stove

While bemoaning the loss of Alex Hassan and Carlos Rivero to waivers recently (ummmm, yup, sarcasm here), I have some other thoughts on how the Red Sox can improve their team over the winter:

*The Fat Panda is apparently in town.  Pablo Sandoval is a good player.  Not sure he is a great one.  Certainly a clutch postseason performer.  The Sox have a huge hole at 3rd.  Will Middlebrooks is a stiff (more on him later).  Garin Cecchini is probably not ready, and the jury is still out on whether he can even play the position.  Xander Bogaerts should stay at SS.  Brock Holt seems to be best suited as a utility man with his ability to play just about anywhere.  And on and on…

Panda and the Sox have been linked for some time, even before he was officially a free agent.  I can’t say that I have ever really been in favor of it from the get-go.  But I’m starting to be talked into it a little bit.  The money being talked about is silly.  But as a baseball move it makes sense.  Switch hitter at a position of need.  Player is in prime of career.  Some power, though not as much as people are talking him up as.  But 6 years for 120 mil?  Yikes.  Maybe be better off with Holt/Cecchini instead.

*Give Jon Lester his dough.  As I’ve stated before, I have never considered Lester an “ace”.  I have never been in favor in dropping a long-term, zillion dollar deal on a pitcher, especially when he is over 30.  But I feel like this is an exception.  Lester has proven he can pitch in the pressure of Boston.  Durable.  Big-game pitcher.  Not to mention that right now the Red Sox’ number one starter is Clay Buchholz.  Enough said.  I’m dubious about the prospect of him actually coming back here.  But until he is elsewhere, of course there is always a chance.

*Trade some of these pitching prospects the Sox allegedly have (Rubby de la Rosa, Allen Webster, Anthony Ranaudo, Matt Barnes, etc.) for a proven major league stud pitcher…at least a #2.  If you can of course.  The Sox supposedly have like 10 prospects that some people like…to varying degrees.  Can’t fit all of them on the major league staff.  Can’t fit all of them on the 40-man roster.  Figure out who you like best, keep them and deal the rest.  Henry Owens and Eddy Rodriguez are supposedly the best of the crop.  But now you hear some doubts about Owens now because he doesn’t throw hard enough.  But the Sox know.  It’s time to move some of these guys.  Before they continue to fail in the majors, like most did in 2014.

*Sign another #2-#3 starter in free agency.  Ok, there may not be one out there other than James Shields.  If it’s him, go get him.  Overpay if you have to.  I’m just not sold on any of these kids, based on what I saw last year.  I could be wrong, but that’s what I’m feeling.  Then this leaves Buchholz and Joe Kelly as your back end starters.  Works for me.

*Get another late inning reliever, preferably a power arm, but someone with late inning experience regardless.  Along with Koji, Junichi and I guess Mujica (he did pitch better in the 2nd half, mind you!), this gives the team 4 guys at the back end.  Then the rest of the bullpen can be comprised of guys like Tommy Layne and Alex Wilson and some combination of the kids that are left.  Throw in a couple of guys like Burke Badenhop if you want too…hell, make it Badenhop himself.  Gonna need like 20 arms out there during the season anyway.

*Yoenis Cespedes.  A lot of negative buzz about this dude this offseason.  I’d prefer to keep him and see what he could do with a full year in Fenway.  Love to see him and his arm in right field as well.  But if all the talk is true about him not wanting to play right, not being “coachable” and all stuff, they may want to consider dealing him.  Especially considering the whole signability thing, as this is the last year of his contract.  Not sure if the Sox even want him long term, but that factors in as well.  I will say that I would absolutely deal him if someone wildly overpays for him.  But that goes for just about anyone on the roster.

*Allen Craig.  If Cespedes stays and plays right, that opens up left field, and I would consider playing Craig there.  Daniel Nava could get some ABs there as well.  Craig was absolutely atrocious last year, and that is being kind.  But that’s why I wouldn’t try to trade him.  His value is too low.  Play him in left or at first (consider a Mike Napoli deal, with only one year left on his contract) and see if he can rebuild any value.

*Will Middlebrooks/Jackie Bradley Jr..  I would bury these guys in Pawtucket the entire year.  Their value is so low now, maybe if they dominate AAA again, the Sox could get something for them next offseason.  Wouldn’t even get a bag of baseballs for them now.  I personally don’t want to see them in a Red Sox uni ever again actually.

*Backup catcher.  Who cares?  Christian Vazquez can catch most games.  Then bring Blake Swihart up mid-season or so.  Then have them do the catching for like the next decade.  So if you want to bring David Ross back, fine with me.  Or if you love yourself some Dan Butler, probably no harm done there either.  What I wouldn’t do is give Russell Martin 5 years and over 80 mil.  Thank God the Blue Jays already did.

*Shane Victorino and Mookie Betts?  Thanks for 2013 Shane, but doesn’t look like we need you anymore bud.  Just too unreliable from an injury standpoint.  Give him away if you have to, sorry to say.  Not sure what to do with Betts at this point.  Loved what I saw from him last year.  But if it is Craig/Nava, Rusney Castillo and Cespedes, left to right, then where does he play?  Not 2B, with Dustin Pedroia back.  And who knows if Betts’ 2015 looks like Bogaerts’ 2014 (after X had shown so much promise when he came up in 2013)?  If I had to guess though, I’d say it is Cespedes/Castillo/Betts left to right next year, with Craig and Nava as bench guys.  I could probably live with that.

In summary…pitching, pitching, pitching.  Go get it.  The offense should improve simply from a healthy Pedroia and Napoli, full seasons from Cespedes and Castillo (and Betts?), a healthier and better adjusted Craig and continued growth from X and Vasky.  And what the hell, overpay the Fat Panda a smidge (and that doesn’t mean the aforementioned 6/120) and add him to the mix.  But focus on the pitching.  That’s going to get you back to contention.




About mpdenton

I am a passionate and life long fan of the local teams...and by local I mean New England. I remember the days of Ray Bourque, Larry Bird, Steve Grogan and Wade Boggs...meaning I have lived the highs and lows of the Boston sports scene. With all this pent up Boston sports emotion, I clearly have a lot to say about the local teams and sometimes about sports in general. Maybe even the Revolution... I appreciate you reading my blog and hope you enjoy my rants.

Posted on November 17, 2014, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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