Thursday, December 20, 2012

State of the Red Sox

This blog will from time to time give to his readers information on the state of the Red Sox. Today is one of those times.

I've been trying to make sense out of the moves the Red Sox have been making in the off-season. When you look at the moves as a whole then only one thing makes sense - there's another shoe (or shoes) to drop. Let me explain.

Shane Victorino? This signing makes no sense except in the light that the signing allows the Red Sox to trade Jacoby Ellsbury. Torii Hunter would have been a much better fit for Fenway's right field but Victorino is a better fit in center. For the record - I would have preferred to milk Ellsbury for one last year and then let him walk as a free agent and pocket the draft pick compensation. Ellsbury has Scott Boras as an agent is is almost a certainty to sign elsewhere next winter so the Red Sox may think getting out from under a potential over-bidding war now would be the best move.

Keep in mind that Ellsbury was originally drafted with the pick the Red Sox got for losing Orlando Cabrera to the Angels and that his eventual replacement - Jackie Bradley Jr. was a compensation pick for the Red Sox losing Adrian Beltre. So they must know the value of these compensation picks but have decided to trade Ellsbury anyway. (All the recent articles saying Ellsbury isn't on the trading block probably means that Ellsbury is on the trading block.)

Stephen Drew makes Jose Iglesias expendable. The Red Sox top prospect is SS Xander Bogaerts who is probably a year or two away from the bigs. Iglesias has unbelievable fielding ability but very little in the bat department. Still he has trade value and signing Drew will allow them to move Iglesias.

Signing catcher David Ross makes Jarrod Saltalamacchia a trade chip. Pairing Ross with Ryan Lavarnway makes the most sense. Waiting to see where AJ Pierzynski signs to maximize Salty's trade value also makes sense.

I see the signing of Ryan Dempster as the replacement of Josh Beckett's innings and productivity at about half the cost. Good move (would have preferred Dan Haren but who am I?). The signing gives the Red Sox a rotation of Jon Lester, Clay Buchholz, Ryan Dempster, John Lackey and either Franklin Morales or Felix Doubront. Either Franklin or Felix easily could be turned into a trade chip.

To a lesser degree the signing of Koji Uehara also makes Daniel Bard expendable.

What could be holding up any moves is the signing of Mike Napoli. With Napoli in the fold the Red Sox would be able to take calls on Ellsbury with Iglesias, Saltalamacchia, Franklin Morales, and Daniel Bard as additional chips. It should be noted that the Red Sox have a pretty stocked bullpen and this is the time of year when teams start looking to fill holes in theirs.

Just throwing this out there but how about a trade that sends Andre Ethier and Chris Capuano from the Dodgers for Saltalamachia, Franklin Morales and a top prospect or two?

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