By Brett Malamud
MLB free agency is upon us. Over the next couple of weeks, I’ll preview teams around the Major Leagues, and give you a look at what to expect. We started off with the New York Yankees, so it makes sense that our next team is the Boston Red Sox.
The Red Sox only lose Craig Breslow and Rich Hill this offseason.
The infield is basically set. Dustin Pedroia, Xander Bogaerts, Hanley Ramirez and Pablo Sandoval are lined up across the diamond. Blake Swihart will be behind the plate next season after he made a nice impact during his rookie season. If Hanley Ramirez plays first base, as is being reported by multiple outlets, it’ll block 25-year old Travis Shaw who finished off a stellar rookie season. There is the possibility that the Sox trade Ramirez and/or Sandoval, but right now, neither player’s value is high so I’m not sure that dealing either right now is best for the team. I’d look to sign some backups to accompany Brock Holt. David Ortiz will enter what should be his final season, so maybe the Sox sign a player that will eventually fill that role.
There aren’t many holes in the outfield either. Jackie Bradley Jr., Rusney Castillo and Mookie Betts will be in the outfield this upcoming season, with appearances by Brock Holt. So now what? Well the Red Sox do have room to back these players up, and have been linked to former Yankees outfielder Chris Young. Signing Young would be a good move for the Sox, and would bring them added depth.
This is where the focus of the offseason should be for Boston. They will be in the market for the top arms out there. That is no secret. Other than their 2013 World Series title, Boston has experienced three last-place finishes in the last four seasons. It all starts with the pitching. Dave Dombrowski acquired David Price back when he was with the Detroit Tigers. What makes you think he wouldn’t want to get him again? They won’t have to surrender a draft pick to get him, which makes Price the most likely offseason free agent to turn contract talks into a bidding war. Zack Greinke, Jordan Zimmerman and Johnny Cueto are other candidates to sign with Boston, and would turn the Red Sox from zeros to heroes. There are always trade opportunities too. The Sox talked to the Cleveland Indians over the summer regarding Carlos Carrasco, and so there could be an avenue there. There is also the possibility that was raised in my Yankees preview, that the Washington Nationals could look to deal Stephen Strasburg. The Red Sox have six prospects in the MLB.com Top 100 Minor Leaguers list, and a group of starters that could be dealt for better arms. In the bullpen, I’m looking for the Red Sox to do what they do best, and race the Yankees in gaining assets. They’ve already done that in trading for closer Craig Kimbrel, and may have overpaid for him. My feeling is that he’s only going to be in there when the team is up by three or less, and they haven’t been in that situation lately. But while I would’ve tried to build up the rest of the team first, Kimbrel is a great addition to Boston. Now the Sox need to build up the rest of their pitching staff this offseason.
Brett Malamud is an English Rhetoric Major at Binghamton University. He is the co-founder of dabuzzza.com. His favorite athletes are Derek Jeter and Todd Bertuzzi. You can follow him on twitter at @brettnyy
By Brett Malamud
The Red Sox broke the bank on Monday when multiple news outlets reported that the team came to terms with shortstop Hanley Ramirez on a four-year, $88 million deal with a fifth year option for an additional $22 million. Ramirez now heads back to the team that drafted him, before Boston traded him and four other players to the Marlins for a three player package highlighted by pitcher Josh Beckett.
Earlier in the offseason, it was reported that the 30-year-old Ramirez would be the Red Sox’s backup plan, had they failed to sign third baseman Pablo Sandoval. However, Monday afternoon brought an important announcement from Sandoval’s agent.
The man they call the Kung Fu Panda is expected to ink a deal with the Red Sox worth at least $90 million over five years. Sandoval’s agent informed the San Francisco Giants that the switch hitting slugger had chosen to play for Boston. Sandoval was believed to have been choosing between San Francisco, Boston, and the San Diego Padres.
Ramirez isn’t expected to play shortstop for Boston due to the presence of the 22-year-old Xander Bogaerts. The Red Sox wouldn’t replace Bogaerts, would they? It would be more likely to see Sandoval at third and Ramirez in the outfield. With six other potential outfielders, the signing could lead to the Red Sox dealing one of their current outfielders in a trade. Many will speculate that the odd man out will be the recently acquired outfielder Yoenis Cespedes, simply because of his value. Cespedes will be a free agent at the end of the 2015 season, so he seems like a likely candidate. At the end of the day, the Red Sox improved and that’s what matters most to the fans of Boston. They’re sure to make some noise this season.
Brett Malamud is a Computer Science Major at Binghamton University. He is the co-founder of dabuzzza.com. His favorite athletes are Derek Jeter and Todd Bertuzzi. You can follow him on twitter at @brettnyy
By Sam Breiter
If you did not get the chance to hear yet, Jacoby Ellsbury signed a multi million-dollar contract last night. No, he won’t go for a second straight title with the Boston Red Sox, but rather he has decided to sign with their number one rival. Yes, Ellsbury is a member of the Evil Empire and will be wearing pinstripes next year, and with the money he now making, I think he will survive shaving off his beard. Ellsbury over the next seven years will be making $153-million and will be making well over $20-million per season. This was after he denied Boston’s $14.1-million qualifying offer, so he obviously made a good financial choice. So the question lies, was he worth the deal? Ellsbury, who is now 30 years old, will be playing in the Bronx most likely until he is 37. Ellsbury is known for his quickness, great fielding ability, and contact at the plate. Although, his power, and on base percentage has been inconsistent. Some people may call Ellsbury a five-tool player, but besides 2011, he has never really been known for hitting the long ball. Ellsbury, who has been playing for seven seasons, has found himself getting substantial injuries in two seasons. In 2013, Ellsbury was healthy for much of the season, and had a batting average of .298, with 52 stolen bases.
Even though he has proved to still have potential to be an MVP candidate, I don’t not believe this was a smart contract. By the middle of his contract, it’s doubtful Ellsbury will be able to steal 50 plus bases, as he does so well. Additionally, he has proven to be an injury threat, and it just isn’t worth it to pay a guy $20 million in a season who has battled injuries, and is running out of his prime. The Yankees signed Ellsbury to make a statement, they wanted to prove to the fan that we have money, and we will spend it. They already made a statement signing McCann to his overpriced deal, and it is no surprise that Ellsbury got equal treatment. Congratulations Yankees, you have achieved what you have always done best, spending money for current talent. In four years from now when Ellsbury is 34, batting .270, and stealing 15 bases at most, all were going to hear about is what a terrible deal this was. These big $100 million dollar deals for veteran stars always ends in terrible fashion especially when they come from another team. Don’t forget A.J Burnett, and Carl Pavano, and Alex Rodriguez. The Yankees have a history of these disastrous contracts, and Ellsbury will soon be added to this list.
Sam Breiter is a high school senior at Plainview- Old Bethpage JFK High School. Sam is looking to major in sports management, with a minor in communications next year. He is the co-founder of dabuzzza.com. His favorite teams are the Mets, Giants, and Knicks. You can follow him on twitter at @baseballbreiter
By Mike Basile
The Monday Matinee between the Bruins and the Lightning ended in a 3-0 loss for the Lightning. The real loss today took place in the second period of the game when Boston’s Dougie Hamilton sent Steven Stamkos stumbling into the net. Even the Boston crowd froze as they watched as Stamkos’ leg bent awkwardly and he laid on the ice, riving in pain. The unimaginable for Stamkos and the Lightning became a harsh reality when the stretcher was brought out onto the ice, and he was taken off. The question is: can this team carry on with the loss of their superstar?
Now with Stamkos out indefinitely, this team needs to find a way to cope without him. This is not going to be an easy task, and they may need some time to adjust. They just lost their scorer, and a player who was on his way to an MVP caliber season. Stamkos had 23 points in 17 games and was a great plus 11. Realistically, you can’t just go out and find another Stamkos. Right now, the Lightning are leading the Atlantic Division with 24 points. With the Lightning playing great hockey, I think they will continue their winning ways without their leader in uniform.
When you lose a guy like Stamkos, you would think that the key is to go and find someone to replace him. However, I disagree. I think that now with Stamkos out, Ben Bishop will be the key for this team. The 26-year-old Bishop has been great this season in net, with a 2.12 goals against average. He will have to be the backbone of this team. His 92.7 % save percentage also tells me that he really could be the best option between the pipes. If Lindback does not step up when he plays, Bishop will have a heavy load to carry the rest of the way.
I know you guys probably hear veteran leadership all the time, but this Lightning team really needs that now. When you lose a superstar like Stamkos, you have to keep the team at high hopes, and that will be the job of Martin St. Louis. Not only is he the second leading scorer on the team, he has to be a vocal leader in the locker room. Matt Carle will also have to step up as a defensive leader for this Lightning team. A little bit of leadership to keep this team on its high horse is very important.
Finally, the young guns are going to have to play a big role and it starts on defense with Victor Hedman. Already a plus seven on the season, he needs to keep that up and step up in the scoring category. Alex Killorn will also need to step up his offensive gameplay, as he has played well early. If he keeps this up, the team will be A-Okay.
At the end of the day, I think the Tampa Bay Lightning will be able to win without Steven Stamkos. I do not think that they will finish first in the Atlantic, but I do think they will end up in the playoffs. This team has solid goaltending and great veteran leadership. If the young guns can play mistake free hockey, Tampa Bay will show everyone they are not a one-man show!
Mike Basile is a sophomore at York College Of Pennsylvania. He is a huge sports fan, and when it comes to hockey maybe considered a little obsessive. Giving insight on the Islanders and all things hockey. You can follow him on twitter at @mikeybasile1