We’ve covered the pitching, let’s move on to the rest of the roster. I promise, this one will be a lot shorter!
Here: Sandy Leon, Blake Swihart, Christian Vazquez
None of these guys hit a lick this past season. I think Swihart can hit a little, but it’s unlikely he will ever get enough at-bats here to prove it. Leon was particularly putrid this year. .177 average with a .511 OPS. Wow. That’s hard to do. In almost 300 plate appearances no less.
But you know what? I completely expect Vazquez and Leon to be the catching tandem next season. They are good defensively, the pitchers love them, the manager loves them and with this overall lineup, the catchers do not really have to hit.
Swihart will most assuredly be dangled in trade talks once again. But also once again there will likely be tepid interest. I’m not sure the Sox will keep trying to groom him on the “super utility role”. I suppose we will find out this winter. If they want to truly make him that versatile, wouldn’t he play winter ball and play all over the diamond? That would make too much sense though.
Here: Xander Bogaerts (SS), Rafael Devers (3B), Marco Hernandez (UT), Brock Holt (UT), Tzu-Wei Lin (UT), Mitch Moreland (1B), Eduardo Nunez (UT), Dustin Pedroia (2B), Sam Travis (1B/LF)
Free agents: Ian Kinsler (2B), Steve Pearce (1B), Brandon Phillips (2B)
Minors: Tony Renda (UT)
The last of the World Series “heroes” to talk about? Steve Pearce. Love what he did. But he’s Steve Pearce. There are 1,000 guys that could play his role next year. If he wants a one year deal for short money to match the one year left on Moreland’s contract, I would do it. Then in 2020 maybe the team can get a real first baseman that can play every day instead of this platoon nonsense.
Who really thinks Dustin Pedroia will be ready to go Opening Day 2019? Besides Dustin Pedroia, that is. Pedey, you may be done. That knee injury is supposed to be no joke. He’s 35 years old. At this point, I’d cut him loose. But with 41 mil and 3 years left on his deal, that ain’t happening. Not to mention that the manager loves him. And he has some sort of untouchable status in the organization for whatever reason. So he’s here…unless he really cannot play. We will see. At least Holt will be here to back him up, for whatever that is worth.
Hopefully Devers takes another step forward next year, especially defensively. Nunez locked in his 5 mil player option, so he ain’t going anywhere and will likely take at-bats away from Raffy at third.
Marco missed the whole year and hopefully, he has minor league options so that he can get himself back up to speed and be organizational depth, along with Lin. I can’t imagine Kinsler will be back, but congrats to him on the Gold Glove! His career could be done, along with Phillips’. I think we’ve seen the last of Sammy Travis. Still only 25 years old, but had a poor year at AAA and his prospect days are essentially over. Renda? He was on the roster a few days this summer, scored the winning run as a pinch runner in a Sunday Night game against the Yankees as his only major league action this season. And got himself a ring because of it. Not bad. But all of this and then being outrighted to the minors after the World Series does not bode well for any future major league prospects in Boston.
I’d say that a right-handed bat for first base, either Pearce or someone else, would be the only thing the Sox address this offseason.
Here’s another thing to consider as well: Bogaerts is a free agent after the 2019 season. He is coming off his best season. 26 years old, right in his prime. He is going to want to get paid, Several other Red Sox will want to get paid. Scott Boras is his agent, so that means X will want to be unreasonably paid.
Would it shock anyone if Bogaerts is dangled in trade talks?
Here: Andrew Benintendi (LF), Mookie Betts (RF), Jackie Bradley (CF), J.D. Martinez (OF/DH)
Speaking of guys that want to get paid, J.D. can opt out after 2019 and Mookie is a free agent after 2020. So you have these two, Bogaerts, Sale and I suppose Porcello all looking for big money within the next two years. Again, the Sox can pay them all if they want. But they won’t. So are there some trade talks this offseason? I think there might be.
And out of all these guys, I’d start with…Bradley. Jackie has two arbitration years left before free agency. He will be looking for over 10 mil in arbitration this year for sure. I’d try to snow some dumb teams into overvaluing the Gold Glove and the ALCS MVP. If you don’t want to play Benny or Betts in center on a regular basis, you can find some other guy that can’t hit and play a decent center field for a fraction of the cost.
Sure, if we want the Sox to spend 500 mil on their payroll, we keep JBJ. And everyone else. But you know that just isn’t happening.
Good thing that they did win the World Series this year. Because there’s going to be some tough decisions made over the next couple of years whether they have the money to spend or not or whether we like it or not. Be ready for some of those decisions to be made as soon as this winter. And when you have a barren farm system, letting some good players go at the major league level because of money and contracts…well, that might not be a good combination.
Rest assured, the Sox will remain competitive, maybe even for championships. As noted previously, they have plenty of money to spend and will spend a great deal of it. But there could be more bodies going out the door over the next few years than we care to accept…
…NBA AND NHL! Nice…although is there really a ton of interest in the NHL draft? I don’t know…
But since the NBA draft is like an hour away, let’s start there.
The Boston Celtics have the 27th pick. Quite a change from previous years where they had the #3, #3 and #6 picks in three of the last four years. #16 in the other still is better than #27. The players? Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, Marcus Smart and Terry Rozier, respectively, in the order of the above list. Not a bad haul.
#27 doesn’t really excite me…or anyone else really. But hey, Kyle Kuzma went #27 last year. So maybe there is hope.
In any event, what do I expect “Trader Danny” Ainge to do?
I know, there have been a gazillion rumors out there the past couple of weeks. Ranging from Danny moving up in the draft by “only” giving up Rozier, Marcus Morris and all 4 (potential) first round picks in 2019. To involving Jaylen Brown in a trade to move up. To moving Brown as part of a package to San Antonio for Kawhi Leonard. To trading Kyrie Irving to just about anywhere because of questions of Kyrie’s commitment to re-signing in Boston after next season. And many more.
So I expect the C’s to stand pat at #27, or even possibly trade down and get more picks. Gotta love second rounders!!
BUT…what do I WANT them to do? Not exactly sure. We here at the Blowhard love a good “splash”. But I don’t want that “splash” to involve Tatum, Brown or Gordon Hayward. Although, despite Danny’s reputation on trading anyone if the deal is right, I wouldn’t expect him to do so with Hayward regardless. Gordo signed here the last offseason as a free agent, more than likely in large part due to his college coach, Brad Stevens, being in charge here. Then he plays 5 minutes the whole year while suffering a major injury and then Ainge deals him? I doubt it. Then again, Danny traded Isaiah Thomas with his bum hip, after IT helped breathe some life back into basketball in the city and had a LARGE fan base. Though…different circumstances, I will allow.
I would be ecstatic if someone overpaid for Rozier. I like the guy, but we’ve been through this before. I look at Terry as no more than a third guard. He probably looks at himself as a max contract player. This will eventually be a problem. Not to mention that if Kyrie does indeed play for the C’s next season and then Smart also comes back, how many minutes is Rozier going to get? That could be a problem as well. Trade him while the value is high…and maybe highest it will ever be. Here, for sure anyway.
I wouldn’t mind trading Morris either. Not sure you will get much for him. And although he will be cheap next year at 5.375 mil, what happens when he doesn’t get his minutes next season as well? This guy is liable to go off the deep end. Never know with him.
Now, I am not packaging Morris and Rozier to move up from #27 to say, #15. But I am sure Ainge has investigated some options.
And I don’t necessarily want to trade them regardless either. Especially since Rozier is cheap too, at a shade over 3 mil for next season. But I am investigating realistic options for trades. And also considering that these two players are going into the last season of their respective contracts. And if everyone comes back, their minutes (and therefore, their value) will markedly decrease. And you ain’t re-signing either after next year to a fat contract that they will likely demand…unless some things change (ie: Kyrie actually does leave).
That being said, I am not opposed to bringing the whole gang back next season. With everyone healthy, can they compete for a title? I think so, while also adding a few minor bench tweaks.
The problem is, I strongly believe there is another shoe to drop with Ainge. I really do think he has one more big move up his sleeve. It may not be tonight. But I believe it is coming.
Kyrie? Sure, if he says he is taking off somewhere after this season. Absolutely in that case. We all understand why he isn’t re-upping this offseason. But he is noncommittal on his future. Now, that could be because he has a few screws loose (the Earth is flat?). No one knows what he is saying privately. Hopefully, Danny does know.
Kawhi? I don’t know. He has the one year left on his contract too. How last year went down with him individually seems a little mysterious. I doubt he would re-sign here, but I guess I don’t know. Worth the risk? Not sure for me.
As usual, I think Danny’s big move will come out of nowhere. Guess we just have to wait.
So please stay tuned…
As for the Boston Bruins, not sure the draft is anything exciting to talk about. I mean, they don’t have a first-round pick. And who knows anything about hockey first rounders anyway?
It’s not like the B’s have the #13, #14 & #15 picks like they had in the 2015 NHL draft. Where they took D Jakub Zboril, LW Jake DeBrusk and RW Zachary Senyshyn. Although DeBrusk may become a stud, that haul may end up being somewhat underwhelming. Ok, the other two are still developing. But let’s consider they are 2 of only 3 first rounders from that year that have yet to log a single minute of NHL action. Let’s also consider that the dude that went #16, Mathew Barzal, just won the Calder Trophy last night as NHL Rookie of the Year. Sigh…
In any event, rumors are that Don Sweeney wants to perhaps trade back up into the first round. I don’t know. They have enough kids in the pipeline, do they need to give up assets to get another? Maybe if that prospect is in the top-5 and is a potential first pairing defenseman. But otherwise, I am not sure it’s worth it. And I don’t even think that the above scenario is realistic anyway. Allegedly, the B’s had tried to trade those aforementioned 2015 picks into the top-5 that year and nab defenseman Noah Hanifan. That clearly didn’t work.
What can Donnie Hockey do? He can certainly trade some veteran assets, as discussed in the last Blowhard piece. But good luck with that. They all have some sort of no movement clauses it appears.
Heard a great rumor today. Unload David Krejci and David Backes. Then sign John Tavares to a mega deal. And either Ilya Kovalchuk or Rick Nash to a shorter, but likely still lucrative, deal.
Pipe dream? I think so. Who is going to take Backes’ and Krejci’s salaries? And they have no-movements. They can be convinced to waive those? Maybe there are certain teams they can be moved to, I honestly don’t know the details. But getting rid of those two contracts would seem to be far-fetched.
Another popular one is now moving Torey Krug because the team just re-signed Matt Grzelcyk to a new deal and the two of them have similar skill sets. Let’s not forget Krug has a full no-trade clause. So how is that all going to work?
Sweeney should do something…even involving the draft. But I simply do not see how he can pull it off. We’ve been through all this in detail before too.
I’d be shocked to see anything come of certainly draft night for the B’s. And even through free agency, other than losing some pieces and signing some small pieces to replace those players.
But then again, I don’t work in the front office for the B’s…there’s probably a good reason for that, I guess…