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.
Yesterday I wrote a post talking about how the Red Sox can turn it around this year. Today I’m going to look at the negative side to it. It’s obvious that there are problems with this team, but can they be fixed is the question. If the answer is no then it would be time to say goodbye to some of your favorite Red Sox players. Now Ben Cherrington has not been one to make a huge move so far, so whether or not he’s ready to do something like this remains to be seen.
To start off this wonderful rebuilding process, you begin with the obvious. Dump off Kevin Youkilis somewhere. There would be a lot of salary eaten and there wouldn’t be a very large return, but it would at least take Gonzalez out of right and get Middlebrooks in everyday. Now this would be a simple trade and could get done really quickly and should be done regardless of where they stand.
The next guy I would move may surprise you, but it would be the best thing the team could do. Trade Jacoby Ellsbury. Now that seems radical, but in reality it would be great. Everyone wants Ellsbury locked up after one good year, but why not trade him when his values at an all time high. When his value is this high GMs will turn a blind eye towards his injury history which has cost the Red Sox a lot of games. Also his attitude and commitment to the team have been put into to question before, so there’s also a clubhouse factor in play as well. I good match up would be the Washington Nationals with their search for a center fielder and plethora of prospects would work perfectly.
The next guy yo go would have to be Jon Lester. Lester has been a huge part of the Red Sox ever since he took the mound for the first time at Fenway, but it might be time to say goodbye. He’s a guy who could produce a very nice return and could help almost any contender. There isn’t a true perfect trade partner for him, because he can go almost anywhere.
With a complete rebuild, David Ortiz would have to go too. An impact bat whose off to a scorching start is sure to generate some interest. I don’t think he’d get a huge return, I’m sure at least one impact prospect would be part of the deal. Papi’s loved in Boston, but Boston loves the team itself more, and in a few years they’d be happy with who they got.
Catchers Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Kelly Shoppach are nice trade chips as well. Salty’s off to an amazing start to what could be a career year for him. That just makes him more valuable. Shoppach has been screwed out of playing time and could be traded for a hit or miss guy which wouldn’t be bad. All in all these 2 guys could pick up 3 or 4 prospects.
Daisuke Matsuzaka could be a name floated around as well. It could be a similar trade with what the Sox got with Erik Bedard. Nothing spectacular, but enough to say you got something worthwhile. He, like Lester could help almost any contender.
Many other guys could sent out also, like Alfredo Aceves, Mike Aviles, Nick Punto, Matt Albers, Vincente Padilla, Cody Ross, and Josh Beckett. Come August Bobby V might be throwing out a line up looking something like this.
DH Daniel Nava
2B Dustin Pedroia
1B Adrian Gonzalez
C Ryan Lavarnway
3B Will Middlebrooks
LF Carl Crawford
RF Ryan Kalish
CF Ryan Sweeney
SS Jose Iglesias
All in all it doesn’t look too bad of a lineup. I had to stick Nava at DH, because with a full outfield and no DH he fit in right there and Bobby V always finds a spot for him. Rebuilding could be good or it could be bad we just have to trust Ben to make the right choices.
Today Daisuke Matsuzaka returned to the mound for the first time in over a year. He faced Gio Gonzalez and the Washington Nationals, and he picked up his first loss of 2012 and put the Sox back under .500. Now that sounds terrible, but it wasn’t all bad. Dice-K hadn’t seen big league hitters in over a year so you have to cut him some slack, but the most encouraging sign was his strikeout to walk rate. He struck out 8 and walked only one batter in just 5 innings. Dice-K’s biggest problem has always been walks. In the past would always walk himself into trouble, but find a way to Houdini his way out of it, sometimes. Everyone knew Jonathon Papelbon as a heart attack closer, well Dice-K is a heart attack starter. He was difficult to watch, but I’m not here to talk about his inconsistent past, I’m here to talk about his bright future. Like I mentioned earlier, his 8:1 strikeout to walk ratio was amazing. Hitters have always had trouble hitting Matsuzaka, but he’s struggled because of his control problems.Now if he can duplicate his low walk, high strikeout performance and go even deeper into games, he can become the ace of this staff.
IN OTHER NEWS: To make room for Daisuke Matsuzaka on the roster the Red Sox designated Marlon Byrd for assignment. The Sox now have 10 days to decide whether they want to release him, trade him, or place him on optional waivers to try to send him to Pawtucket. My guess is they’ll try to trade him and see what they can get, and if there’s nothing good they’ll option him where he’ll likely be claimed. Byrd filled in nicely in his short time up in Boston as the team’s primary center fielder. The Sox got him from the Cubs in April trading Michael Bowden and a player to be named later who eventually became Hunter Cervenka. He was just 3 for 47 with a walk for the Cubs, but had a .273/.288/.333 line in Boston. He’s likely done for good in Boston and I’m sure he’ll be missed for about a week and then be forgotten about forever.
FINAL NOTE: Go Celtics! They lead by 5 with about 30 seconds to go in the first half with the season on the line.
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.