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