With this season becoming a lost cause now is the time to look to the future. The one spot that has been looked at since 2005 is shortstop. Ever since the Nomar trade everyone has wondered when we will get another quality shortstop. After Nomar the likes of Orlando Cabrera, Edgar Renteria, Julio Lugo, Alex Cora, Alex Gonzalez, Marco Scutaro, Jed Lowrie, Yamaico Navarro, Mike Aviles, Jose Igelsias, Pedro Ciriaco, Nick Punto, and others whose names aren’t coming to mind at the moment. Now you look at that list and are you impressed? Probably not. The Red Sox have been unable to develop or acquire a quality shortstop after they traded away the greatest shortstop in team history. No answers have been present over the past eight years, but the answer may come soon. Here’s a look at some guys who could be the next great Red Sox shortstop.
Mike Aviles: Aviles has been with the Red Sox since last season’s trade deadline and proven to be a fairly mediocre shortstop. So why is considered part the future? The answer is simple, he’s still young and has a lot to learn. He has decent power and if he becomes more disciplined hitter he could raise his OBP to one that is considered adequate for a shortstop. Now I don’t truly believe that Aviles is the answer, but you never know.
Pedro Ciriaco: He’s a long shot at best, but like I said with Aviles you never know. Ciriaco has been a bright spot in this tough season, but I don’t see him as an everyday player. He’s fast, he can hit, he plays solid defense but I don’t think he can pull it all together and become one of the top shortstops in the league. His biggest issue is his pitch recognition. He’ll swing at just about anything with one or two strikes on him and teams are starting to notice. If he doesn’t get a fastball to hit, odds are he’s striking out. Another issue is he treats every play like Usain Bolt is running down the line. Everything he does seems rushed and it hurts him sometimes. With all that said, he could magically reinvent himself into a disciplined player, but I doubt it.
Jose Iglesias: Iglesias was said to be the future of this team. Not just the next shortstop, but the next face of the franchise. He’s always just needed to learn to hit and then he’d be ready. The problem is he hasn’t learned yet. Could he become a perennial gold glove winner by next year? Yes. But can hit above .200 has an everyday player? I have my doubts. In 18 major league at bats he’s recorded just 2 hits. Now some would say he just needs to adapt to big league pitching, but if you look at his minor league numbers you wouldn’t be surprised by his major league struggles. In three minor league seasons his posted a slash line of .264/..313/.314 two homers and just thirty-nine extra base hits. That isn’t impressive at all. Without being able to put it together at the plate in the minors, what makes anyone think he can do it in the majors. I have no faith in Igelsias and I believe that it is warranted.
Xander Bogaerts: Widely considered to be the Sox top hitting prospect, Bogaerts figures to be an ideal candidate for the shortstop of the future. He’s just 19 years old, but he’s already tearing the cover off the ball in AA. In his three minor league seasons he has a slash line of .295/.366/.495 with 39 homers and 168 RBI. Those numbers are very good, but they don’t truly reflect Bogaerts. He struggled last year, but has bounced back in a huge way this year. He’s become a much more disciplined hitter this year and it has shown in his numbers. Despite moving up in the minors his numbers have improved which speaks volumes about his adaptability. The only issue with him being the shortstop of the future is that he’s said to have to big of a body for shortstop. He may be better suited to play third base or even left field according to some scouts. Overall I really like Bogaerts, but he might not work out as a shortstop.
Devin Marrero: Marreo was the Sox first round draft choice this year and could become the great shortstop for the Red Sox. He was just drafted so there isn’t much to go on as far as numbers go besides his college numbers, which probably don’t translate well. Over his three college seasons his numbers steadily got worse which is scary. He also has very little power, he had just 10 homers in college, and his fielding isn’t the greatest either. These concern me as well. The good thing is that with the right coaching he could fix theses flaws. Another good thing is that he can hit. He projects as a Dustin Pedroia kind of hitter which isn’t bad at all, but he isn’t expected quite as good as Pedroia. Pedroia has more power and is an all around better hitter. Marrero is a project, but it could be worthwhile in the end.
Elvis Andrus: This might seem crazy and it probably is, but I like it. Today, the Rangers called up their top prospect Jurickson Profar. He is the future shortstop of the Rangers, but where does that leave their current shortstop, Elvis Andrus. He’s an All Star with two more years of team control, but he’s being pushed out. He’s become expendable, so that’s where the Sox come in. He’s a dynamic player who brings quality defense, speed, and the ability to get on base. With a career .346 OBP we know he can get on base. With three 30+ stolen base seasons we know he can run. He’s the kind of guy this team needs. There guys in the Sox lineup who can drive in runs, so a guy who can get on base is a huge plus. He may have little to no power, but if he can score runs it’ll make up for that. If your still not sold on this move, here’s something that may get you on board. As I said earlier, he has two years remaining of team control. Now you may think this is irrelevant, but Xander Bogaerts will be ready in 2014. Now after one year of Andrus he can be traded away for around what we gave up for him, or he can be used as an insurance policy for Bogaerts, if he’s not quite ready for the big leagues in 2014. Either way I really like the idea of the Sox getting Andrus, and I believe that it’s something Ben should seriously look into this offseason if he wants to continue to be bold.
Now none of these may be the answer, but eventually they’ll have to be someone who can be a great for the Sox once again.
Today is one of my favorite days of the year, the MLB non-waiver trade deadline. Today many deals will be made, one was already done, but I’m here to discuss what the Boston Red Sox may do before 4 P.M. today.
Now the Sox are stuck in the in between spot where it could be buy or sell. Someone who could very likely go is backup catcher Kelly Shoppach. Shoppach has blocked Ryan Lavarnway all year, but he’s said to be ready and they want him up now. The Mets and Nationals have been most involved in talks for Shoppach, but other teams could take a shot a great defensive back up catcher. The only problem is that the Sox value his defense, and Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Lavarnway being far behind Shoppach defensivelly Salty could be the catcher that’s moved. If Salty is shopped I think they’ll be more interest and a greater return. Either way I expect one of them to be moved and Lavrnway to be recalled today.
Now the biggest name that the Red Sox have shopped around is Josh Beckett. It was said that the Sox called the Texas Rangers and Atlanta Braves about Beckett, but the Braves weren’t a fit due to salary concerns and talks with Texas are said to be dead. The odds are he’s moved today are very, very small, but trades can still be made in August and Beckett will pass through waivers so watch out for a deal around mid to late August.
Outfielders could be on the market too. Ryan Sweeney, Cody Ross, and Scott Podsednik could all be in play today. Last night Sweeney likely took himself off the market by injuring his hand by punching a door which will hold him out for 8 weeks so he’ll likely stay put. Ross is also unlikely to stay as well, because of his huge contributions and he’s also a great clubhouse guy. Now Podsednik is the most likely to be moved, but interest is minimal so he may also stay as a depth guy. Any of the 3 have a chance to go, but I’m not expecting anything. Like Beckett, they may be moved in August especially if the Sox fall completly out of contention for the final wild card spot.
Now on to the fun part, what the Sox could acquire. The biggest need is starting pitching and there’s plenty of it. Matt Garza, Ryan Dempster, and Josh Johnson are the best pitchers available, but I don’t think the Sox are in on any of them. But the Cubs say the Dodgers are out on Dempster and the Yankees and a mystery team which could be the Red Sox. Another guy who could be picked up is Joe Blanton, but it looks like the Orioels may have him. Now two guys who I really like for the Sox are Jason Vargas and former Boston Red Sox Justin Masterson. Both are young controllable arms who post quality numbers. They’d both provide a huge boost to the rotation which is desperately needed. The difference between the two is just that Vargas is a lefty and Masterson is a righty. Vargas has been the better of the two this year but Masterson is having a down year, but he could get a boost from a change of sceenary. The Sox have been higher on Masterson probably because he came up through the Sox’s system, but either guy would be huge.
Now this part is pure speculation at this point, but I love this idea. Stephen Drew to the Red Sox. It had been discussed, but nothing has really come together, yet. Drew would be a great piece to add to the lineup which would help propel this team forward. Plus the Diamondbacks are shopping him so something could go down.
So I know I’ve been away for a little while, but I’m back, for now anyways. Since I last wrote a lot has happened, so here’s a condensed version of what I planned on writing about, but never did.
First off, a couple of key guys have landed on the DL. Scott Atchison and David Ortiz have been placed on the 15 day DL for a sore wrist and heel respectively. Atchison (my favorite Sox) was huge for the team out of the bullpen this year. He assumed the role vacated by Alfredo Aceves. He’s thrived in the role, but hasn’t got the praise that Aceves did last year. That hasn’t bothered him though, as he has been one of, if not the most, consistent reliever. Many people believe that the increase in workload is the cause of the injury and he just needs some rest. Ortiz was injured in a much stranger way. On Monday night Papi injured his heel rounding the bases on Adrian Gonzalez’s home run. To replace them the Red Sox called up Junichi Tazawa and Mauro Gomez. Both these guys have played in the big leagues this year, so this isn’t new to them. Tazawa has been excellent this year while Gomez’s bat has outshined his glove by far. They both are depth moves and both will help.
Another big headline is that the Red Sox are aggressively pursuing Ryan Dempster. Although the Red Sox front office denied the rumor it doesn’t surprise me that they are making a push for a quality starting pitcher. The downside to this is that Dempster might not be all he’s cracked up to be. He’s having a career year, but his numbers could revert back to the Dempster of old. Now Dempster has always been a quality starter, but they’d have to pay the price of a top tier starter. Also they’d be negotiating with Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer, two guys who know the Sox’s farm system very well. The price would be steeper than normal, because neither guy could be tricked. I like Dempster, but I’m not sure how much.
Brent Lillibridge was designated for assignment on Monday. To be honest this move shocked me, because despite his near terrible performance (but a small sample size) he was just acquired and it seems strange that they just gave up on him. I expected them to option Nava, because he doesn’t fit in with the team anymore. At least Lillibridge would provide outfield and infield depth rather than just left field. It makes more sense to me, but Bobby does love Nava so I’m sure it’ll work out somehow.
Darnell McDonald was DFA’d by the Yankees. He’ll likely be released later this week.
Carl Crawford and Jacoby Ellsbury both have returned and are fitting in quite nicely. It’s like they’ve never missed a game. Sadly, Crawford has got his name in the headlines for the wrong reasons. He made some comments on how he and Terry Francona never really got along. He thought he was too quick to drop him in the lineup which frustrated him and impacted his entire season. He also has had his name floated around in trade talks including a blockbuster with the Marlins, which I’ll talk about in a full post.
So that’s all I got for you even though I’m sure I missed something, but whatever it doesn’t matter I’ll find out and somehow fit it in somewhere eventually, but if I don’t I’m sorry.
It seems like we may have found a winner in the starting shortstop race. Mike Aviles has had a terrific spring and based off of recent reports it seems like he’s won the job. So far this spring he’s batting .333/.333./.468 in 14 games. Evne though Bobby V said he thinks Jose Iglesias is ready for the big leagues, Cherington and Co. want him to get a little more seasoning in the minors before they hand over the starting job. Despite Iglesias’ improved hitting, I think Aviles is the right call. If he can translate his spring average into the regular season he’ll be a force at the bottom of the lineup. so far it’s looking like this season is going to be a good one.
Since I have nothing better to do I thought I might as well do a quick post.
The Sox are off to a great start, and are up 2-0 in the Mayor’s Cup. So far in the race for shortstop I think Aviles has the lead with Iglesias in second and until Punto can get a hit he’ll be in last. Also Clay Bucholz looked great today. Despite the pair of walks and the HBP he was great not allowing a hit. Hopefully everyone on the Sox has a healthy and successful spring.
Lastly I was asked to mention the Celtics in this post so I’ll give them a shoutout. They’re coming up on a key strech of games as they try to move in and capture the Atlantic divison title from the 76ers.
Today the Red Sox traded Marco Scutaro to the Colorado Rockies for RHP Clayton Mortensen. This is a complete salary dump as the Sox search for more pitching. Mortensen has been a failed prospect as the former first rounder hasn’t been effective since he was in AA. I don’t see him making the big league roster unless he has an amazing spring.
As for Scutaro’s replacement, Nick Punto, Mike Aviles, and Jose Iglesias are the options for the Sox. Don’t expect much from offense from the SS position this year unless another move is made.
I’m a bit puzzled by the Red Sox moves at the deadline. They acquired Mike Aviles, Erik Bedard, and Josh Fields. Bedard is the only one I see having any impact this year. He’ll start until Buchholz is healthy, and then I don’t know what the Sox will do with him then. He might keep his spot in the rotation if he pitches better than Tim Wakefield, but if that’s not the case there isn’t really much room for him on the roster except as a possible second lefty out of the bullpen.
Fields is said to be just a throw in so is impact, if any, will be minimal. He can play both corner outfield positions and both corner infield positions, so he may be of some value to the Sox.
Aviles is the most perplexing move. To give away too players with tremendous upside for a utility infielder seems a bit strange. The only possible move I see for Aviles with the Sox is potentially competing for the starting shortstops job next year with Jed Lowrie and possible Marco Scutaro. Aviles has proven he can be an effective starter at the big league level, so that may of been Theo’s thinking as he made that deal.