Teixeira as an aborted fetus who becomes a flesh-eating zombie. Brilliant!
Whoops. You meant an actual “Plan B”? Hmmm, I’ll have to think about that one over my month-long vacation to Patagonia. Then again, it will be probably be solved by the time I get back. Thank you recession/depression!
Merry X-Mas to the Steinbrenners and Brian Cashman!
Am I misguided in thinking the Sox should get another starter? Perhaps Sheets or Peavy by trade?
I think the Sox should do what they have been doing in recent years and that’s really strengthen the starting rotation. I’d start by signing Derek Lowe. Beckett, Daisuke, Lester, Lowe, Wakefield: That’s a VERY good rotation. The next thing I’d do is sign either Beimel or Fuentes. Fuentes would be a more difficult sell, but $ and being on a contender could change that. The Yankees have made the biggest noise, but that was only in an effort to CATCH the Sox and Rays, there should be no doom and gloom in RSN. There is no next level guy after Tex, I heard ESPN mention Bobby Abreu and Adam Dunn…I don’t think those guys are fits for the Sox. They have a full time DH and a full OF. Dunn could possibly fit it they were sour on Ellsbury, but I don’t think that’s the case at all. My choice here is Ty Wiggington. Just in case Lowell isn’t 100% and he gives you a legit player off the bench if Lowell is ok. He can play all the IF positions except SS and he hits. If that fails, see if you can swing a trade with the Rangers that would land you BOTH Blalock and a catcher. Blalock is still young enough that he could get back to where he once was. He can play 1B and 3B.
So here’s my Sox plan:
Sign Lowe (Possibly Sheets if the deal is short enough. He can be soooo dominant, but it’s so risky)
Sign Beimel or Fuentes.
Sign Wiggington OR contact the Rangers re: Blalock and a C.
None of these moves are sexy, but they will just continue down the road the Sox have been on for the past 5 years or so and that’s solid pitching and good pen, mixed with versatile, reasonably priced players. (For the most part)
I might also sign Baldelli as Ellsbury-insurance.
John’s right on here.
I would sign Baldelli as the fourth outfielder, without reservation now that his condition is apparently treatable. Wiigginton’s a good choice for infield depth, as well. Lowe’s price seems to be dropping by the day, so signing him would be OK, but I’m not sure if I have the stomach to weather another Boras negotiation. A trade for Peavy would be awesome, but there’s no way the Sox give up the number of prospects needed to get it done — unless the Pads are simply desperate to be rid of the salary and are willing to take cash — so the more realistic option is a two-year, incentive-heavy flyer on Sheets or a one-year deal for Smoltz. Smoltz is probably the more realistic deal here.
So that’s a rotation of Lester-Beckett-Dice-Wake-Smoltz. If Wakefield actually is about to retire, signing Sheets is still a terrific option, with two of Buchholz/Bowden/Masterson able to handle the fifth spot in case of injury to Sheets or someone else.
I say “two of” because one of them is certainly gone for a catcher — whether that’s to Texas for Saltalamacchia, or to Arizona for Montero and Eric Byrnes’ bad contact (which would likely negate any Baldelli signing). In fact, I would probably get back to Arizona quickly. Adding Montero and Byrnes would be a solid move indeed.
My push for Teixeira was partly premised on the fact that if the Sox did not upgrade catcher, he provided enough of an improvement in the lineup that the Sox could absorb the lack of production. Now, it’s much more important for the Sox to climb back to league average at catcher. I would say Teixeira’s signing with the Yankees hurts Varitek’s chances of re-signing with the Red Sox, except at a steep salary cut and as a part-timer only (less than platoon). If the Sox can get a decent increase in production at catcher, that would be as valuable, if not moreso, than Tex’s increase in production over Lowell.
As John says, the Sox are still a good team. It’s reasonable to expect increased production from Ortiz, Ellsbury and Lowrie, more consistency from Lowell (assuming he’s healthy) and better offense from catcher, even if Varitek is the starter again. That would offset likely declines from Pedroia and Youkilis. I think we know what we’re getting with Bay and Drew. A return to any kind of normalcy from Ortiz would be much more important than any offensive acquisition the Sox could make, and I don’t think it’s unreasonable to assume a moderate bounce back from the DH. What hurt the Sox last year wasn’t a bad offense, it was an inconsistent offense that stranded runners all over towards the end of the season and in the playoffs because Ellsbury was inconsistent, Lowrie was playing with one hand, Lowell was either ineffective or out entirely and Ortiz was either hurt or frustrated. With the exception of Lowell (we just have no idea how a 35-yo 3B will respond to hip surgery), an improvement seems likely from all those sectors.
I like the bullpen a lot. You never can tell with relievers, but I think the Sox could end up with one of the best in the league with Papelbon, Okajima, Ramirez (even if he doesn’t keep posting insanely low HR rates and ERAs) and Masterson. And the rotation matches up well with the Yankees’, even with their big acquisitions. People seem to forget that Wakefield has pitched at least 180 innings for the last six seasons as a starter and posted ERA+ of 114-100-109-103-100-112 in that span. That’s not bad from your No. 4 starter. Compare to A.J. Burnett, who has topped 165 innings just twice in that same span with ERA+ of 89-112-115-115-119-105. If the Sox can shore up that fifth spot with a Smoltz or Sheets signing, this will be an extremely deep starting staff.
My plan is pretty similar to Paul’s (not surprising, I tend to think in the same direction he does).
Now that we’re not spending $22M on Tex, I’d like to see the Sox grab Montero by eating some of Eric Byrnes’ contract, which gets us our new catcher and our fourth outfielder (hopefully, not playing full-time, Byrnes’ hamstrings will behave a little better). Tek can come back at a very reduced price and play mentor, but no more than that.
We’ve got a good set of choices to add to the starting rotation now, I think. I would sign Derek Lowe, assuming his price has indeed come down (hopefully a three-year contract). He’d fill in nicely as the fourth starter and I think he’ll do well back in front of Boston’s defense. Even if we get Lowe, I’d still like to get one of Smoltz or Sheets, preferably Sheets, to put in the fifth starting slot when healthy. As Wake’s career winds down, we can rely on him a bit less and he can fill in as our fifth starter and maybe play long man out of the bullpen sometimes. What’s more, I think we’ll get more out of Beckett this year, so even if Dice-K’s tightrope-walking act slips we should still be pretty good for our top three (and Lester will likely keep improving).
If we upgrade from Tek to Montero, get a healthy year out of Lowrie, some improvement from Ellsbury, and some better health from Papi and Lowell (we probably won’t get everything, but these are all fairly likely), that should easily offset the expected slight declines by Youkilis and Pedroia. The offense will be fine. It won’t be great, but it will be fine, and actually should still compare pretty well to New York’s.
Guys, we should remember that Rocco Baldelli’s although diagnosis is now a channelopathy and not a mitochondrial disorder, it’s still a “less severe and more treatable” muscle disorder. It doesn’t necessarily mean that his revised course of treatment will restore him back to 100%, although we all hope so. It might mean that he will live a longer, healthier life, but nothing more.
It’s great news that his condition is less severe than previously thought, but I’d guard against getting your hopes up and penciling him into a future starting OF slot “without reservation” – at least until we learn more about how effective his new treatment for channelopathy will be.
Not sure I’d want Rocco.
My main concern is starting pitching… I like Sheets a lot, Zack Greinke might be another good option. I’m more hesitant about Lowe just because I think it would be awkward, but our infield defense would make him a good fit.
I’m also hoping Theo will be able to trade Lugo for Joe Mauer. Get it done!
Lowe looks to be off the table…Reports have him signing with the Mets for $15M per over 3 seasons. Good for the Mets, they certainly needed that.
Smart signing for the Mets, if that’s the case. If Lowe’s gone, I’d honestly like the Sox to grab both Sheets and Smoltz – with both of them an injury risk, they can serve as a bit of a buffer for each other.
Huge fan of Sheets. Greinke is probably a good risk/reward play depending on the contract.
Good big offseason by the Mets too – Lowe, KRod, Putz. Definitely enough to contend.
Greinke or Sheets or Smoltz or Lowe sounds all right (in about that order). Need some infield and outfield depth, and then I’m content to see it play out and see who has the best team.
I’d guard against getting your hopes up and penciling him into a future starting OF slot “without reservation”
We’re talking fourth OF slot, Doug.
I think this ends up being a very good non-deal for the Sox. They didn’t need Teixeira, so it would have been silly to spend the stupid money on one player when they’ve been very disciplined otherwise. Who makes the most for you guys now? And they were going to blow that away for a guy who maybe would have been the forth or fifth most important player (1. Beckett 2. Pedroia 3. Ortiz 4. Papelbon) on the team?
As for Plan B, I really question the timing of the Baldelli “discovery”. Right when he becomes a free agent all of a sudden the prognosis is much better?
If I’m the Sox, I hold tight. This was a very good team in 2008 when more than a few pieces weren’t firing on all cylinders. No reason to go crazy. Right now a lot of value could be had. I offer a three-year $36-40 million deal to Dunn and see if that’s enough to snag him. If so, he’s the moderately priced insurance on Lowell/Papi. You worry about an abundance only when both those guys are healthy. But you also buy yourself some time in bringing both back. If in May or June Francona is trying to figure out playing time for all three, then Lowell becomes mid-season trade bait.
Can’t do much about SS and CF at this point. So you bite the bullet and hope for the best from the kids.
At catcher, the only real option seems to be bringing Varitek back on a one-year deal. Who else is going to sign him? Heck, give him a second year if he reaches some games played threshold. Then they can bring Kottaras along slowly. His OBP will be decent enough that he won’t be a complete blackhole. And if he hits at all, he takes the job from Varitek. That’s better than trading for someone really weak like Montero, or dealing too much for Mathis or Teagarden.
On the pitching side, it still seems like they need another bullpen arm. There’s value out there if they’re willing to drop a few dollars. With Lowe signed (and at that price it was good to let him go), there’s not much left. Sheets on a one-year ($12 million) plus a team option, might not be bad but any more than that and it’s too much. The Sox have enough pitching in the system that they don’t have to make a move. And with the state of the retreads on the market, they really shouldn’t push anything.
So, in summary, I say make a push for Dunn, a guy that’s 4/5ths of Teixeira’s bat but could come at less than a quarter of the total outlay. Then look for bullpen help and maybe Sheets if the price is right. Otherwise, hold tight. This team is certainly good enough to compete as is and the farm has a lot of talent. Who would have predicted two or three years ago that Pedroia would win an MVP? Worse case it’s a rebuilding year like 2006. That turned out alright. Best case, the kids give you guys something fun to cheer for: Another homegrown star.
I like the thoughts in this thread. Sheets sounds good. As does Dunn.
Sign one or the other and add bullpen help. Seems to me that they’re treating Masterson like they treated Lowe earlier in his career. Better to get the kid into the rotation especially with the cheap bullpen help available. Why not sign Fuentes?
I’d be very pleased if they signed Dunn and Fuentes allowing them to move Masterson to the rotation (where he was masterful last year – 3.67 ERA in 9 starts).
That’s a lineup of:
That’s pretty damn good when the #7 hitter is at 130 OPS+.
And a rotation of:
Also pretty damn good.
Dunn (1B/DH – also protection for Bay wanting big money as a free agent in 2009) and Fuentes could probably be had at the annual cost of Teixeira and for only half the years.
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