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Boston Red Sox Roster Projection…Pt III…

…wrapping things up…

Bullpen:

The gasoline club:  Brandon Workman, Matt Barnes, Heath Hembree, Ryan Brasier, Marcus Walden, Josh Taylor, Darwinzon Hernandez, Austin Brice

DL:  None

Actual prospects that may contribute this season:  I’d normally say Bryan Mata (#4), perhaps with a cup of coffee to give him a brief taste, but with the state of the world, the uncertain status of the season and the fact that he is not on the 40-man roster at the current time, the chances are probably slim.  No other prospects will be up this year.  Even if you are rooting for Jay Groome (#7) to make it up.  Sorry.

Additional flotsam likely to make an appearance or twenty this season:  Check this list out:  Colten Brewer, Matt Hall, Chris Mazza, Josh Osich, Mike Shawaryn, Jeffrey Springs, Phillips Valdez, Trevor Hildenberger, Mike Kickham, Bobby Poyner…and just about anyone else off the scrap heap.  Luminaries.

Comments:  It would be one thing entering the season with a rotation like they are if they had a bunch of good bullpen arms.

But guess what?  No can do with that.

Who in the world expects Workman to duplicate last season?  Or even approach it?  Barnes is useful, especially if not overworked.  But what are the chances that doesn’t happen again with this motley crew?  Plus, he’s nowhere near a closer.  So if Workman returns to Earth, who’s next?  Brasier?  We’ve seen that movie before.  There’s simply no one else capable of closing on the staff.

Hernandez should be in the rotation, as referred to in the starters’ analysis, despite being fairly electric out of the ‘pen last season in his stint with the club.  Of course, he walked way too many guys, so there’s still some work to be done.  Perhaps he should be starting games in Pawtucket this year instead of pitching the 5th-6th inning once a week in Boston.  Maybe he can close?  But again…the walks…

Walden had a nice run until late last year.  There are reasons why guys like him and Brasier spend a decade in the minors.  We are likely to see why with Marcus this year.  And started to late last season.  Hembree is a great 4th-6th inning guy.  Taylor was a surprise and I’d like to see more.  But I said that about Travis Lakins too…and Lakins is long gone.  Brice?  Whatever.

The last group of names starting with Brewer?  Yuck.  But they will all pitch innings for the big club this year.  Provided there is some sort of length to the season.  Actually, even with a half a season they all should make an appearance.

That should excite no one.

This entire staff is kind of putrid.  And any kind of injury to one or two of the “better” arms would be an even bigger nightmare.  The team is not going to trade any prospects to get better arms, so forget about that.  Not sure I want them doing that anyway.

So what you see is what you will get.  Once again, brace yourself…

Outfield:

Unquestioned starters:  Andrew Benintendi (LF), Jackie Bradley Jr. (CF), Kevin Pillar (RF), J.D. Martinez (DH)

Bench:  None

DL:  Alex Verdugo (LF/CF/RF)

Actual prospects that may contribute this season:  Marcus Wilson (#21)

Additional flotsam possibly seeing major league time this season:  None

Comments:  Yup, no Mookie Betts here…so I guess it is official.  I suppose it truly won’t be official until we see Pillar in his spot on Opening Day.  But still…and I guess by then it could still be Verdugo in right instead.  Methinks that with Alex’s back injury and he being young and a big part of the Mookie deal, that the Sox will be overly cautious with him, maybe even throughout the entire season.  Especially with MLB likely trying to stuff as many games as they can on the schedule.

My bigger hope is that we see Pillar in center and Verdugo in right on Opening Day, with Bradley being on a completely different team.  But that’s been my hope for several years now, the latter part anyway.  With any luck, he will start off hot, and at some point in the middle of that, before the trading deadline (whenever that will be), the Sox can pawn him off for something useful.  Probably wishful thinking there as well.  I’m still at the very least praying that the Sox let him leave when he becomes a free agent after the 2020 season.

Ok, enough about JBJ.

But speaking of the trading deadline, don’t be shocked if J.D. is moved then.  I don’t believe the Sox wanted him to opt-in to his contract this past offseason.  No one believes the team wanted him to opt-in.  And that’s even if they were “able to keep” Mookie by cutting Martinez’ costs.

I think the Sox wanted both of them gone.  For “payroll flexibility”.  Along with David Price.  And maybe even Nathan Eovaldi.

That’s how I see it anyway.

As for J.D., let’s hope he is able to start the year out well.  I mean, he made a big deal about not being able to see video between each at bat.  Does that really matter?  Can’t he watch tape AFTER every game to analyze?  Doesn’t matter if we think it matters.  HE thinks it matters.  So let’s just hope that this doesn’t get into his head and he sucks this year.  Don’t ever rule this kind of stuff out with the way professional athletes are so fragile these days.

As for the actual on field product, it’s not horrible.  Especially if Verdugo can pan out.  Not to mention if Benintendi can actually get back on the upward trajectory again.  Pillar was a great signing for the cost, positional flexibility, speed and defense.  JBJ has his moments.  And honestly, J.D should be fine.

Yeah, there will be no Mookie.  And none of these guys will be him either.  Nor will Marcus Wilson, if you were wondering.  Or any other prospects…this season anyway.

With all the salary paring, will this be the year Rusney Castillo makes it back to the majors?  Unlikely.  Unfortunately, while he made a ton of dough on the deal, he likely cost himself a major league career at the same time.

Sure, he gets to play baseball every day for a living, albeit in the minors.  But wouldn’t he have preferred to take a little less to actually see time in the majors?

Maybe he wasn’t good enough for the majors.  But with the amount of stiffs floating around the major leagues, my guess is that he could have been a 4th outfielder somewhere.  For some time anyway.  Maybe he gets a starting gig on a bad team.

But we will never know.  And for all we know, he is just counting his money and doesn’t give a rat’s arse.

There doesn’t appear to be anyone else that should see time in the outfield for the Sox this season, unless they come from outside the organization.

So if you were hoping to see #8 prospect Jarren Duran (Colby??!), you’ll have to wait at least another year or two.

Even without Mookie and with JBJ, I am not going to lose a whole lot of sleep over the outfield, or even the offense in general.  It’s the pitchers that scare the bejesus out of me.  Either way, here’s hoping the season will get off the ground in the first place…and soon!

Chaim Bloom??!!

Been about six weeks since we last wrote about the Boston Red Sox.  But why would we?  The season ended with a whimper, so there was nothing really worth talking about, to be honest.

What went wrong?  Whether it was the babying of pitchers during the spring, no closer, awful bullpen, expensive and mediocre (bad?) starters, bringing back basically the whole team from last season, therefore being complacent (though they will never admit it), questionable managing at times, a noncommital President of Baseball Operations at the trading deadline, etc…well, we’ve been through all of this before.  MANY times.

There was no joy in following this team last season.  We never felt good about the squad, right from the beginning.  So there is really no need to rehash it at this point.  In my opinion anyway.

Time to move on.

So where does the team go from here?

By the way, it feels like a good time to talk about next season, what with it being about the one year anniversary of their 2018 World Series win…and with the 2019 World Series just wrapping up the other night.  Nationals…wow!  But good for them.  Also, any year the Yankees don’t win makes it a good year for the Sox anyway.

But no need to talk about the Nats.  Or the Yanks.  As Bill would say, we are on to 2020!!  And a year after winning the World Series, now we are possibly talking about tearing the Red Sox team apart.

Seriously?

Well, that’s not my call.  Ownership has already said that they want to (read:  WILL) be under the luxury tax number of 208 million next season.

Being north of 240 mil last year will make that a pretty good challenge.  And tells me we could be looking at significant turnover.

Sure, contracts such as Rick Porcello’s 21+ mil, Steve Pearce’s 6.25, Mitch Moreland’s 6.5, Eduardo Nunez’ 5, Brock Holts’ 3.6 and Pablo Sandovals’ 18+ (??!!) are coming off the books.  Maybe even J.D. Martinez’ 23+, which by the way is not necessarily a good thing.  Wait, Panda will still be on the books for 5 million next year…SMH…

But then you factor in Xander Bogaerts going from 12 mil to 20.  Chris Sale going from 15 to 30 mil.  Certain significant arbitration raises for Mookie Betts (if he is still here), Jackie Bradley Jr. (ditto), Eduardo Rodriguez, Andrew Benintendi and perhaps even Brandon Workman.

Ssssssoooo…there is some work to be done.

Which brings us to…Chaim Bloom!

Bloom is the Red Sox’ new “Chief Baseball Officer”.  A nice new title…whatever that means.  The degree in classics I particularly love.  I know, Yale.  But still an interesting nugget.

Bloom comes from the Tampa Bay Rays.  So he has experience with shaving significant payroll…or not having any payroll in the first place, more accurately.  Let’s hope John Henry doesn’t plan on matching that Ray budget of like 50 million or whatever minuscule figure that may be.  Red Sox Nation would not stand for that.

But no, I don’t believe Bloom will slash that much.  But there will be significant changes.  How can there not be?

Senior advisor Bill James is gone.  Is that good?  Perhaps.  But I am sure Bloom will continue to carry his torch.  You know, the “nerd” torch.  Which is not a good thing, again, my opinion.  But this is the era we live in…

In any event, what will the team look like next year?

Not sure.  But here’s what I think they will do…with the current roster anyway.  I’ll, of course, be adding some colorful commentary on whether I think what they will do is something I would do.  In typical fashion, let’s take a look by positional group.

40 men on the 40-man roster at the end of the year (go figure!).  Plus 4 on the 60 day injured list (sigh…I will finally cave on calling it this instead of “disabled list”, as Major League Baseball did to start the 2018 season).  So we will look at 44 players.  Invariably, the Sox will have to add some players to the 40-man roster to protect them from the Rule V draft this winter.  But we don’t know who those guys are at this point, so we will leave them out for now.  And I am not anticipating any of them, or any other minor leaguers, making an impact with the major league club next season.  And yup, that includes outfielder Rusney Castillo, who will likely be buried in AAA again next year.  There has already been some roster movement as well.

So let’s get to it:

Catcher:  Christian Vazquez, Sandy Leon, Juan Centeno

Free Agents:  None

Already Gone:  None

Comments:  Vazquez is the unquestioned starter.  Had a great offensive year (for a catcher anyway), including a career high (by far) 23 homers.  His salary bumps up about 3 mil.  Speaking of 3 mil, Leon could get that in arbitration, amazingly enough.  Centeno had 15 at bats as the third guy in September.  He really doesn’t count.

The pitchers love throwing to Leon.  But when the team panicked early and got rid of Blake Swihart in order to bring Leon back up from the minors, Sandy sure as heck didn’t help the staff ERA.  And he can’t hit.  You can pay a guy like that the league minimum.  And I suspect that they will.

By the way, Arizona dumped Swihart too, after playing him like once every ten days…and maybe that once was a pinch hit at bat.  So maybe I was wrong about him too.  But it’s not like anyone has exactly given him a chance though.  And that ship may have sailed.  That is too bad.  I always thought he could at least hit.  But who knows?

It would not shock me at all if the Sox tried to capitalize on Vasky’s career year and tried to move him.  This position could be completely different next season.  And…would it matter?  But I am going to assume that Vazquez will be back with another random backup.

Infield:  Bogaerts (SS), Rafael Devers (3B), Michael Chavis (INF), Dustin Pedroia (2B), Marco Hernandez (INF), Sam Travis (1B/LF), Tzu-Wei Lin (INF).

Free Agents:  Holt (INF/OF), Pearce (1B/OF), Moreland (1B)

Already Gone:  Chris Owings (INF)

Comments:  This one may be easier than we think.  Bogey and Raffy will man the left side of the infield.  Chavis will probably play first, with Pearce and Moreland likely gone…unless Mitch comes back on some sort of really discounted deal.  Then Chavis would presumably play 2nd.  But…

…are we ready for another spring of Pedroia nonsense?  Sigh…

I really think that Pedey had that late season surgery to be able to play next season.  As silly as that sounds.  So I am expecting him to report to Spring Training to try to play.  Ugh.

Hernandez would be the utility guy in this scenario.  If Pedey truly is done, Marco will be given a chance to win the 2B job.  At a salary of less than 1 mil, it would fit with the plan.

Believe it or not, I honestly expect someone to give Holt decent dough.  And therefore not be back.  Travis and Lin aren’t really worth spending any time here…or real life playing time on.  Same is true for Owings, who was a waste of time last year already.

Outfield:  Mookie Betts (RF), Andrew Benintendi (LF), Jackie Bradley Jr. (CF), J.D. Martinez (DH)

Free Agents:  None

Already Gone:  Gorkys Hernandez

Comments:  Quite the opposite of the infield.  We could be looking at three of these four being gone.  Well, not counting Gorkys here.  Along with Owings, he was a complete waste of time in September.

Mookie.  What’s going to happen?  Your guess is as good as mine.  Well actually, I think he is gone this offseason.  He wants to test free agency after next season.  Has no interest in re-signing here beforehand.  We have no idea if he even would WANT to re-sign here when he goes through the free agency process.  Even if the Sox back up the Isaiah Thomas Brinks truck.

If that is the case, don’t you HAVE to deal him this offseason?  And get some sort of decent return?  I think it’s a no-brainer.

Some may argue that the team should keep Betts and trade him at the trading deadline next season.  But what if the Sox are in the race?  They are going to give up their best player at that point in the year?  Doubtful.

Dealing him with one year of arbitration left you would think would get the best package from another team.  Without dealing with a sticky situation at the trading deadline.  And also without losing him for nothing at the end of the season.

Again, hate to say it, but I think Betts is gone.  And I think that was one of the reasons the Sox moved on from Dave Dombrowski.  Get someone in here that SHOULD be a better fit for planning for the future that includes rebuilding the farm system.  DD did what he had to do here.  But he was probably not the right guy to move the team to the next stage.

As for J.D., I feel like the team wants him to opt out and move on.  Reports indicate that the Sox have not approached him about anything.  J.D. didn’t have as good a year in 2019 as he did in 2018, but he still had a damn good year.

But as pretty much a DH only and having assorted minor injuries throughout the year and at 32 years of age…you wonder if they hope he leaves.

They would miss his bat, but you’d have to imagine that there will be some other options available for cheaper dough on the free agent market?  I have not studied any prospective free agent lists.  But that line of thinking would not surprise me.  Oh wait, Edwin Encarnacion’s 2020 option was just declined by the Yanks.  So he may fit in nicely on a shorter deal…at smaller dollars.

Bradley?  You all know how I feel about him.  I HOPE he is gone.  His salary will reach 8 figures next season.  No thanks.  But what is the market for him?

I think they will try to move him.  But unfortunately for me, I am thinking he will be back after all the other salary is cleared and then his new salary all of a sudden looks “reasonable” and fits in the budget.

Benny ain’t going nowhere.  He will get a nice raise in his first year of arbitration, despite his very average year.  They’d be presumably selling low on him.  Hopefully, he can bounce back at least a little next year.

Starting pitchers:  Chris Sale, David Price, Nathan Eovaldi, Eduardo Rodriguez

Free Agents:  Rick Porcello

Already Gone:  None

Comments:  Welp, everyone wanted to blame the bullpen last year.  No doubt about it, they played a huge role in the teams’ struggles.  But we may want to point the fingers squarely at the starters instead.  Sale, Price and Eovaldi gave them 59 starts.  And a mere 322 1/3 innings.  Oh…and a 15-17 record.  Awesome return for 63 million…roughly a quarter of the payroll.  Porcello did give them his usual 32 starts.  And actually was 14-12…I didn’t remember that.  What I did remember was a bunch of those starts being horrendous, leading to his 5.52 ERA.  E-Rod was the saving grace here.  200 plus innings and 200 plus strikeouts to go with his 19-6 record…which would have been 20-6 if Matt Barnes didn’t blow the lead in the 162nd game of the season.  But we will get to him.

So between giving the likes of Hector Velasquez, Brian Johnson, Ryan Weber, etc 37 starts and having the bullpen have to regularly pitch 4-6 innings a night…it’s no surprise the bullpen struggled.

So what do we do here?  Sale’s ridiculous 5 year, 145 million dollar extension kicks in next year, with what appears to be a no-trade clause.  Combine that with the uncertainty of his elbow, he ain’t going anywhere.  (Editor’s note: please remember, we had no problem with AN extension for Sale, despite his fragility.  BUT the one he GOT was silly.  3/80-90 would have worked for us.  But 5 years?).

Would not be shocked if the team tried to deal Price or Eovaldi.  Perhaps both.  They will have to eat some salary.  But it still wouldn’t surprise me.  3/96 left for Price, 3/51 for Nate.  If they could unload that colossal baby Price, I think Sox fans would rejoice.  All the goodwill earned by Price after the 2018 World Series, where he should have been MVP, was lost during the 2019 season.  He reverted to his previous Red Sox form in so many ways.  It’s exhausting to even think about it.  Too bad he opted in, but you knew he would.  You would have to for that dough.  I hope he’s gone, but I honestly don’t expect it.

Porcello will undoubtedly be gone.  He actually wants to stay.  And I’ll be honest.  If they can get rid of Price, I would take Rick back.  Something like 1 year, 10 mil or less would be a no-brainer in my opinion.  But no more than that.  I don’t know what other options will be out there.  And there will no question be better ones.  But at least we know Porcello can handle the environment.  And usually can give you 200 innings.  Worth considering anyway.

In any event, there will have to be some additions here.  Innings guys for sure.  I know Bloom comes from Tampa.  Birthplace of the “bullpen game”.  But for these to take a regular turn in the rotation in this market?  I can’t see how that would go over well.

Bullpen:  Brandon Workman, Matt Barnes, Heath Hembree, Josh Taylor, Marcus Walden, Ryan Brasier, Colton Brewer, Travis Lakins, Darwinzon Hernandez, Bobby Poyner, Brian Johnson, Hector Velasquez, Ryan Weber, Jhoulys Chacin, Trevor Kelley, Mike Shawaryn, Denyi Reyes

Free Agents: Andrew Cashner (Not a free agent yet, but he has a 10 mil club option, so he will be one soon)

Already Gone:  Steven Wright, Josh A. Smith

Comments:  Just a colossal bag of garbage.  There needs to be some huge turnover here in the offseason.

Workman had an excellent year, ending it as the closer.  But I’m not sure anyone wants to see him close games next year.  Barnes and Hembree are major league pitchers, but likely more suited for the 6th & 7th innings.  Barnes maybe the 8th, but I’ve honestly seen enough of him there.  Walden had a pretty good year, but like Brasier in 2018, can we depend on him in 2020?  There’s a reason guys are in the minors for over 10 years.  You can’t count on relievers from year to year in a general sense.  Less so for guys of Walden’s and Brasier’s ilk.

Darwinzon flashed some stuff at the end of the year.  But walked way too many dudes.  He’s 22 years old though, so let’s get him back in the rotation next year in the minors and continue to develop him.  Reyes will be 23 tomorrow and he hasn’t been up yet, but let’s see about him in the minors too.

Taylor is lefty and throws high 90’s.  So he’s worth keeping around.  I don’t know if Lakins will be any good.  But he got some hype at the end of 2018.  I’d like to see more.  Kelley was unhittable in the minors.  But sidewinders that make it are few and far between.  Poyner?  Whatever.

Pretty much no use for the rest of the lot.  But the reality is, some of those dudes will be back.  Some will take the shuttle between Pawtucket and Boston regularly.  There will be a handful of more arms with similar talent that will be added.

But I think we all hope they add a couple of quality arms over the winter.  Quality bullpen arms will cost money…but when they shave all that money we talked about above, there should be some room.

Whew…that was quite a bit of words there.  Sorry about that.  But I think we covered everything?

It’ll be an interesting offseason, any way you slice it.  Can’t wait!!

SELL!!

So, that London series was fun, eh?!

29 runs given up, 21 by that vaunted bullpen that we’ve already covered ad nauseam…sweet.  Well, the Boston Red Sox DID score 21 themselves.  Of course, after they got down big in both games.  Then couldn’t get a key hit to actually come all the way back in either.

Where does this leave the team?  I say it’s time to sell off parts.

84 games in and now 11 games behind the division leading New York Yankees.  Sure, they are only 2 games out of the second wild card (4 out of the top spot).  But does this feel like a team that can make some noise come playoff time?

No F’n way.  Not to me anyway.  And I think to most of us.

We are not even at the All-Star break quite yet, why am I so ready to throw in the towel?

It’s pretty easy to understand actually.  I mean, you have seen how listless they have appeared for most of the year, right?

The players (and the manager, and the front office, and the rest of the organization…) will undoubtedly blame the long 2018 season for the way they came out of the gate for this current season…and how they have kind of sleepwalked since then.  And maybe that is a factor…though it really should be a small one.

The Red Sox brought 21 of the 25 guys back who were on the World Series roster last season.  And one of the departed, Drew Pomeranz, doesn’t even count since he didn’t even pitch for several weeks down the stretch, including the playoffs.  Ian Kinsler, Joe Kelly and Craig Kimbrel were essentially the only departures.  Most of the guys on the current roster were here last year as well, although not active for the World Series, or the playoffs for that matter.  But here nonetheless.

Really, when you think about it, the only two players that have played more than a minor role on this years’ team that was not involved in any way last year at all are Michael Chavis and Colton Brewer.  I’ll give you Marcus Walden too if you like.  Since he pitched a few innings early in the year and then was never to be heard from again.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again:  that is not enough player turnover.  You need new blood every year, but especially after winning it all.  Keeps the fire burning and everyone is presumably still hungry.

Add this to the fact that Manager Alex Cora simply did not have the team ready to go right out of Spring Training, another colossal mistake.  “We did the same thing last year…” he liked to say in April.  Welp, every year is different, so they need to be treated differently.  Even I know that.

With this, the wretched bullpen that is like FOUR arms away from being useful, four arms that aren’t anywhere near the organization at this time and everything else, my recommendation is that they make some deals at the trade deadline.  Sending guys out that is.

The team has already made it clear that they do not want to go over the luxury tax limit.  So where are they going to acquire good bullpen arms, to start?  They have no real prospects to give up, ones that other teams want anyway.  So how do they fix things?

They don’t.

Since the farm system is so barren, maybe it’s time to see what some of these players can get you?  Granted, most of these guys won’t fetch much.  But you never know.

There is one trade deadline this year, on July 31st.  No more “waiver” deadline on August 31st.  Is this a good thing?  I don’t know.  At first blush, I say no.  Some decent deals can happen in August.  There are two full months to go after the deadline as it stands this year.  That is a long time.  Still a lot of clubs that think they have a chance.  That number dwindles in August and makes things ripe for more deals.  I don’t think I like it, but let’s see how it plays out this first year in existence.

So if the Sox are going to make moves, they have to happen sooner rather than later.  And, as stated above, how can one be confident in this team as currently constituted going forward?

Not to mention that stretch in late July/early August with the 14 games in 15 days against only the Yanks and Tampa Bay.  8 of them against the Yankees, what is that 2-6 maybe?

So this will never happen at all, I will guarantee it.  The Sox have spent too much money and there is too much talent on the roster for the organization to wave the white flag.  They all will think they can turn that proverbial switch when it matters too.  But let’s take a quick look below at specific things I would do, or at least consider doing, before July 31st, by positional group:

Catcher:  No need to do anything here.  Christian Vazquez and Sandy Leon are good enough.  But maybe they can get Blake Swihart back?  (I may never give this up!).  Although Blake has been even more atrocious in Arizona than he was in Boston.  That’s what happens when you play once every 10-15 days or so I guess.

Infield:  Mitch Moreland and Steven Pearce seemed like a GREAT idea to platoon at first base for the 2019 season when it started.  Unfortunately, it hasn’t exactly worked out that way.  Both of these contracts will expire at seasons end and it seems that Chavis has kind of locked in that first base role at this point anyway.  If healthy, both Moreland and Pearce can provide some value to a (real) contending team.  They won’t fetch a ton, but it should be considered.

Brock Holt and Eduardo Nunez also are up at the end of the season.  These guys won’t get you anything so I guess I probably wouldn’t bother.  I don’t think I don’t want either of these dudes back next year, so maybe they can explore it.  I’d actually take Holt back, but he may be up for a decent raise…and he can never stay healthy either.  And I don’t want to see him every day at second base next year anyway.

Outfield:  Here’s the big one.  To start, let’s ship Jackie Bradley Jr. out of town as soon as possible.  He hit .315 with 5 homers and 14 RBIs in June.  .992 OPS.  There is his hot month.  He is making 8.5 mil this year, with one more year of arbitration next year.  Probably get 10-12 mil or so.  For 5 bad months and one good one.  Let’s sell high now and hope some team is dumb enough to give them something good for him.

The elephant in the room?  Mookie Betts.  I am not in favor of moving him just to move him.  But if he is really not going to sign here long term, then the reality is the Sox need to shop him.  I have no idea if he wants to re-sign here.  But it sure as hell doesn’t feel like it.  And that is the popular opinion.  The Red Sox HAVE to know how he feels, way better then Joe Fan does.  If he is truly a flight risk, the Sox need to take action.  Don’t be rash, but it has to be a real option.  Although I will take a proven Major League player over prospects 100 times out of a 100, this may be an opportunity to do some replenishing on the farm.

J.D. Martinez has to be a consideration to move too.  I believe there is a pretty good chance he opts out after this year and tries to secure that one last guaranteed contract…for more than he is supposed to get the next three years.  Again, the team has to have a better idea of his feelings on opting in or out after the season.  If the sense is that he will opt out, trades would have to be explored here.

Pitching staff:  I don’t have the stomach to split out the bullpen and no one wants any of those guys anyway.  The one starter that should have some value is Rick Porcello.  Seeing he’s up after this year and the signing of Nathan Eovaldi basically ensured the Sox wouldn’t re-sign him, Porcello should be shopped.  Sure, he’s not the “Cy Young Rick Porcello” this season, but he can eat innings and contribute to a contender.  No doubt about it.

Once again, none of this will happen.  Then the Sox will squeak into the playoffs and lose in the first round.

But think about it, even if the Sox were able to unload most of the players with expiring contracts (or close to it) talked about above, they would still have a nice core of Xander Bogaerts, Rafael Devers, Andrew Benintendi, Chris Sale, David Price, Eovaldi, Eduardo Rodriguez (I guess), Vazquez, Chavis and I suppose a couple of bullpen arms that can work the 6th and 7th.  Maybe some decent major league players coming back in trades.  Perhaps a top (real) prospect or three.  And all of a sudden some money to spend, being not right up against the luxury tax anyway.

A World Series winning team?  Unlikely.  But making the best of a bad situation?  Perhaps…It COULD be an interesting few weeks for the Red Sox.  If they want it to be…

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