It appears the Red Sox have just begun their off-season. Yes, they were one of the first teams to make a move when Epstein traded Coco for Ramon. But a lot of time passed between this move and their next. During this hiatus, the Sox swung and missed at Teixeira (aka "Plan A") and watched as the Yanks spent gazillions, thereby rebranding the Bombers as the team to hate (and this is different from before how?) and the team to beat (but not really). The Sox signed Brad Penny to what appears to be a low-risk high-upside deal. This in itself is not enough. It's simply not enough. Just think for a second. The Yanks added freaking CC Sabathia, Mark Teixeira, AJ Burnett and Nick Swisher (Nick Friggin' Swisher!) and the Sox counter by adding Brad Penny?! Red Sox Nation, sit down for a minute and internalize that. Stop what you're doing. Breathe. Now is a time for you to act. Theo and John Henry have spent but a penny of all the money you have given them in ticket purchases and costs of Nation membership. They have so much more money to spend. Shouldn't they actually spend it?!
Here's what I want you to do. Take out a pen and a blank piece of paper. At the top of it, put the words "Red Sox Nation's Wishlist for the 2008-2009 off-season. Make it Happen!"
Now take down these names and the arguments in their favor. You will mail this list to Red Sox headquarters to Theo Epstein's attention.
Zap, there goes your center field problem. "What center field problem?" The one that will exist after you trade Jacoby Ellsbury for Jeff Suppan. But we'll talk about that later. So Taguchi is 39 and he makes contact with the bat against the ball. So So's a valuable veteran who can get the runner over. There 's the added benefit that the market for him is small for some odd reason. The Sox should take advantage of this market inneficiency and blow him away with an offer he can't refuse. Yes, it will take some cajoling since Taguchi is said to prefer the midwest. So pay him a little extra, Theo, and make it happen.
There's an old RBI Baseball saying: You can never have too many speedy outfielders on a team. Podsednik is blidingly fast. You want to know how valuable he is? He was once traded for Carlos Lee. Double zap! There goes your center field problem again.
Let's face it. David Ortiz is likely finished. Cue the sad musical montage on the big screen for the big guy. Give him a day at Fenway. Heck, he probably deserves a tribute. But he's finito. Obviously. There's a rule in RBI Baseball: Slow does not pay. So Vidro is a neccessity. The best thing about him is he can't play the field at this point in his career, so he's the perfect candidate to DH. Sign him to a four-year deal. He's not going to come cheap, but he can hit.
The Sox have gone down this road before and it sort of worked in a counter-intuitive way. Well, it's a fact they need pitching, and So Taguchi and Scott Podsednik have wiped away that center field problem, so Ellsbury is expendable. Nine times out of ten, you trade potential for established pitching. This is a no-brainer. Suppan is like half of the Brewers payroll, so they'll likely want to make this move. That's great. A willing trade partner is a lucky coincidence.
In case Taguchi or Podsednik don't work out, this is admittedly a very sentimental choice. It's a good will gesture that I think, let's all agree, probably should have been made in 2006 when he was available. I'm not sure he's a free agent or even in baseball. But if you need to trade for him, Daniel Bard seems like fair value. The guy knows Boston and he's hit there before as well.
So good. He has the longest save streak in the history of the game. Saves are one of the most important statistical discoveries of the least 50 years and streaks are amazing. He should be a Red Sock. He knows Boston and he's pitched there as well.
Hey, unless you've been living under a stone, you realize there's a bit of a catching void in Boston. I'm surprised his name has not come up more. One of the most valuable things about a player is whether or not he knows the Rivalry. Sal Fasano not only knows the Rivalry, he's played in it. Here's a quote I imagine he could have said while he was playing in the Rivalry. "It's really special. The fans on both sides are really into it. It makes you, as a player, really into it." Your catching problem is gone.
Stock up on these valuable properties. Overpay if you have to. Elmer Dessans, Scott Elarton, Casey Fossum, Luis Ayala, these guys stand out above the other options. Make room on the roster by trading some staring pitching. It is widely known here that the eight inning is the most important inning in the history of baseball, so you're going to need a survival of the fittest audition for that all-important inning. Ayala might pick up where Fossum has failed. You can never have too many 8th inning guys.
So there it is, guys. This should be Plan B. Send it to the Red Sox. Sign it from the Nation.