It’s no secret that the Red Sox bullpen has been bad. They need some type of quick fix to save the pen. As promised here’s my list of guys who can help save the bullpen by the end of May.
Huston Street RHP-SDP: I mentioned Street in my article yesterday. He’s currently the closer for the San Diego Padres. He doesn’t appear to be a trade candidate, because they just traded for him, but I’ve heard that they only got him to spin him off to another team, when his value got higher, for more. At this point the Sox may be reluctant to add a pricey closer, but at the same time you look at the problems with the bullpen you have to expand what you call too expensive. He can save the pen by bringing his closer experience along with some leadership. With a win-loss record of 30-21 with 179 saves and a career ERA of 3.09 he’s proven to be a quality arm over the past 8 years.
Jeff Gray RHP-MIN: Gray isn’t a name known by many and perhaps that benefits the Sox. Gray is a reliever for the Twins currently and has played for 5 different teams in his 4 year career. He hasn’t had too many chances to prove himself, but he ended last year strong and has started off this where he left off. The Twins don’t appear to be contenders this year and the asking price for Gray would likely be low and they might be able to get a quick and painless deal done.
Brandon Leauge RHP-SEA: Last year League established himself as an elite closer. Their Mariners were thrilled with his ability to step into the closer role in their time of need, but as a rebuilding team they entertained the idea of trading him this offseason. Hopefully the market for League is still open. It’s highly unlikely they’ll deal their closer within the first two months of the season, but everyone has their price. He’d be very valuable to the Sox, because of his AL East experience and his closer experience as well.
John Lannan LHP-WSH(AAA): Lannan’s situation in Washington is getting worse and worse and he wants out. Yes, Lannan is a starter, but he gives the Red Sox the option to send Bard back to bullpen which would obviously help the pen. Lannan would add a third lefty to the rotation which isn’t a bad thing, but it could lead to some match up problems with right-handed heavy lineups. I like the idea of adding Lannan, but I like the idea of putting Bard back into the pen a lot more.
Juan Carlos Oviedo RHP-MIA: I know the Red Sox don’t want another troubled reliever (Bobby Jenks) but Oviedo was pretty special when he was Leo Nunez. The Marlins considered non-tendering him in the winter, so we know they’ll be willing to part with him. Oviedo can still close games and a deal could be made.
Roberto Hernandez RHP-CLE: He’s a cross between Oviedo and Lannan a troubled starter. Formerly known as Fausto Carmona, Hernandez has had an up and down career. The Sox did make a push for him at the deadline and can rekindle talks at a lower price. He also gives them the option to move Bard back into the pen and he could pitch pretty well in the rotation. If the price is right the Sox can’t pass up this oppertunity.
Junichi Tazawa RHP-BOS: I know he’s already part of the pen, but he hasn’t pitched yet, so he’s still got a clean slate. In 2009 he was able to showcase his ability and he had some pretty good stuff. He was fantastic in his short stay. I saw his start against the Yankees and that’s when I was sold that he was going to be good. Lately he’s been sidelined with injuries, but now he has his chance to establish himself as a big leaguer.
Brandon Duckworth RHP-BOS (AAA): Duckworth is currently a righty pitching for the PawSox. He has some major league experience, and he could end up being a quality reliever in the pen. Key word is could though.
Clayton Mortenson RHP-BOS (AAA): We dealt Marco Scutaro for him so the former starter turned reliever can have an impact on this team. He’s not always dominate, so he might not be a quick fix, but he has potential and I can only hope he’ll live up to it.
This list isn’t really a star-studded list, but that’s not the point of it. These are guys who can be acquired (or called up) and have an impact. There are other guys out there, but I complied this list based off of a little research and my own personal knowledge. Feel free to add names or pick apart this list. If you want, send me a tweet @thebestsoxblog (or at least follow me). Personally I like all of these guys, some more than others, and I’d be thrilled in the Sox got any of the 6 not on the team.
Since the end of the season the Sox right field picture has looked hazy. With several options no one knows where Bobby, Ben, and the Sox will go.
Ryan Kalish: Kalish was the favorite to land the opening day nod until today. Today he annoucced he had surgery on his throwing (left) shoulder. Once he’s fully healthy which, will be in May or July, he’ll most likely start a rehab stint in Pawtucket then platoon in right.
Ryan Sweeney: Sweeney was part of yesterday’s Andrew Bailey trade. Sweeney is an average outfielder, but don’t expect to see him out there opening day. The reason I say that is because he’s a lefty who can’t hit lefties, the oposite of what the Red Sox need. I expect him to be an effective fourth outfielder.
Darnell Mcdonald: Mcdonald is a longshot, and even that’s an understatment. He’s just not good enough to start everyday. Maybe Bobby will surprise us, but I doubt it.
Johnny Damon: How crazy would it be if Johnny Damon came back. He’s not a horrible fit, but he still doesn’t work well. If he comes back he’ll recive mixed review and heavy scrutiny from the fans. I’m not a Damon hater anymore, but he’s a questionable fit.
Coco Crisp: Here’s another former Sox who could return. I loved Coco when he was Sox. He brings a great attitude and a quality bat to the team I wouldn’t mind seeing him back in Boston.
Ryan Spilborghs: Spilborghs is a great fit in Boston. He’s a cheap effective outfielder. I really wanted the Sox to get him at the deadline, but now they can get him to play everyday in 2012. He’d make an excellent right fielder.
Cody Ross: Ross had huge expectations for a contract only to have them shattered. This is where the Sox come in. Once his asking price is reasonable they could pick him up. Ross is a guy with warning track power so he’d benefit from playing at Fenway. I’m not a huge fan but if he produces I won’t complain.
Seth Smith: I like Smith. He’s a lot like his former teammate Ryan Spilborghs. A cheap effective outfielder. Smith is a better player then most of the guys above, but he’d cost prospects which isn’t ideal.
Carlos Quentin: Quentin is the best player on this list without a doubt. He’s a fantastic hitter who brings a lot to a club. He’s a perfect fit, provided that he can handle the strange right field corner. The only stipulation is it’s via trade so it takes something to get something. I’d like to see him playing for the BoSox, but I don’t see it happening anytime soon.
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Yesterday the Red Sox acquired Andrew Bailey from the Oakland A’s. The Sox gave up Josh Reddick, Miles Head, and Raul Alcantara for Ryan Sweeney and Andrew Bailey. Although I wasn’t a huge fan of Bailey, I like this deal. Reddick won’t be much more than a fourth outfielder despite what many fans believe. Head and Alcantara are both at least 3 years away from playing in the big leauges. Also Head isn’t projected to be much. He’s an undersized out of shape first baseman. Alcantara, is expected to be the real prize. He could become a top level reliever one day.
The reason I like this deal so much is not because of Bailey, but Sweeney. Ryan Sweeney is nothing more than an average corner outfielder, but what makes him special is power to the opposite field. He’s a terrible pull hitter, but he becomes great when he hits out to left field. He’s a lot like Adrian Gonzalez except Gonzalez has the ability to be a pull hitter. Sweeney will thrive at Fenway and is a fantastic throw in. Bailey on the other hand is a great closer. They’re questions about his health, but even when he’s not healthy he puts up great numbers. Overall this is great deal because of what they gave up for the two of them.
Why it Would Work: It’s no secret the Sox need pitching and Youk can be used as trade bait. Gonzalez is a great , young lefty who could turn out to be a superstar. He was an All-Star this year and looks like he will be for years to come. The Sox only have one lefty starter in the rotation so adding another wouldn’t hurt. Another reason would be that an unhealthy Youk can be more harm than help so trading him now while he still has a high value might be the best idea for the Sox. Billy Beane loves Youk, so the second his name is mentioned he’ll listen to anything. Also dumping Andrew Miller wouldn’t be a bad thing, plus he helps fill the spot left be Gonzalez so the A’s still have a serviceable lefty to start aside from Brett Anderson. Also the prospect would just be a throw in hit or miss guy.
Why it Wouldn’t Work: The A’s are struggling to get a winning team in Oakland. Their pitching is what has been carrying them. Would the A’s be willing to give up their best pitcher for some offence? They’ve been hurting at the corner infield spots by a series of failed prospects and bad trades. Youk could fill that spot, but are the A’s willing to sacrifice that much for an injury prone, early thirty’s corner infielder?
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Most Red Sox fans, myself included, are saddened by Theo Epstein‘s looming departure, but it does have some positives. Theo has made some great moves throughout his career. He made fantastic trades and found some great under valued players. But in recent years he’s slipped up on one thing. He has read the free agent market terribly. He has also taken advantage of John Henry’s wallet by overspending on just about everyone of the free agents he’s picked up. He just struggles with making an adequate contract offer that meets both sides needs. He’s always gone way over the top for veterans services. He should know that their near decline, and if they want more years than their bodies are going to give them than just stay away. Theo was never able to stay away. He was so overly aggressive that it hurt the Sox rather than helped them. The only time he’s backed off a contract for health is with Jason Bay, and it proved to be an excellent idea. Didn’t anybody learn from that, or is everyone still upset we lost a guy whose hit .251 the past two years? The Mets are just as upset as we are with the contracts of Carl Crawford, John Lackey, J.D. Drew, and Mike Cameron. If Theo takes this approach in Chicago, the Cubs will be buried in debt due to terrible contracts. Another problem I’ve had with Theo is his protection of the farm system. Guys like Lars Anderson whose value was sky high a few years ago and the Sox had no use for him, but Theo had some sort of plan for him. Now he’s not even worth an unhealthy Rich Harden. Years ago he could of been used as guy in a Adrian Gonzalez type trade, but now that will never happen, except as a throw in. I’m not saying toss away all homegrown guys, because that would be insanity, but guys who aren’t going to serve a purpose when their value is at his highest needs to be moved if the right deal is made. Another good example is Josh Reddick. Right now, other teams are admiring the fantastic job he’s done this year, but he still wasn’t the most consistent guy. The Sox can sell high with him, because they have a plethora of internal and external options in the outfield. Hopefully, Cherrington will realize everything Theo did wrong and do them right.
After Terry Francona left the Boston Red Sox, as expected, there was a lot of fall out. Many fans are upset with his departure, but in reality it’s a good thing. Since the Sox 2007 World Series Championship they haven’t done much in the postseason. Although Tito has a 28-20 postseason record, in the past for years its been 6-8 with only two appearances. He hasn’t been able to get this team to win key games. I will admit this isn’t completely his fault, but he was known for finding ways to win even with some what dysfunctional parts. I’m not sure if he’s losing some skill or if it’s just the pressure getting to him. Either way change is needed. When a manager isn’t performing at the level your used to you have to bring in someone new to see if they can make a difference. If the new manager can’t get this team to the playoffs then it’s time for a complete over haul, but for now this has to fall mostly on Tito.
Today the Red Sox ownership announced that they have no problems with General Manager Theo Epstein interviewing for the Chicago Cubs open GM spot contrary to what they said when the spot first opened up. This shows the waning faith of Sox ownership with Theo due to the collapse. He’s been a great GM and Boston and sees the Cubs curse as new challenge to conquer so the two sides shouldn’t have a hard time making a deal. Over the years he has done great things in here, but recently he’s slipped a little. The bad contacts of John Lackey, Carl Crawford, Mike Cameron, and Julio Lugo hurt the Red Sox, and also not being able to retain Victor Martinez last off season was a huge blow. Overall though he’s done a great job bringing in quality players, and making good decisions with the teams best interest in mind. I believe that Theo will go to the Cubs and the Sox will be left with another huge void to fill.