11-9-2011: Other areas of need and available free agents

Ben Cherington came out yesterday and suggested that the Red Sox were not likely to be big players on the free agent market this offseason. I think he’s being genuine, but even if they were, what good would it do them to come out and say that?

Here are the problem areas as I see them, and some free agent projections (all numbers assume a transition to the AL East).

1. Starting pitching

With so much money already committed to the rotation, I would be surprised if the Red Sox continued to throw money at this problem. Adding C.J. Wilson or Yu Darvish would be nice, but can we afford another $100M contract here, while our core players will be earning more and more every season? Signing a big arm to a long-term deal like that might mean saying goodbye to Jon Lester or Clay Buchholz once their current deals expire.

Name Age IP K/9 BB/9 HR/9 ERA WHIP
CJ Wilson 31 182.1 8.2 3.7 0.5 3.42 1.30
Roy Oswalt 34 161.6 7.1 2.4 0.9 3.93 1.30
Erik Bedard 33 64.2 8.7 3.5 1.0 3.94 1.36
Hiroki Kuroda 37 154.8 7.2 2.4 1.0 4.06 1.34
Mark Buehrle 33 189.1 4.9 2.1 0.9 4.10 1.39
Edwin Jackson 28 186.5 7.3 3.3 0.9 4.14 1.45
Freddy Garcia 35 109.2 6.1 2.7 1.0 4.27 1.40
Bartolo Colon 39 93.8 7.0 2.7 1.2 4.28 1.40
Javier Vazquez 35 167.3 8.0 2.7 1.3 4.41 1.33
Jeff Francis 31 123.2 5.6 2.4 0.9 4.58 1.46
Paul Maholm 30 161.2 5.5 3.2 0.9 4.68 1.54
Tim Wakefield 45 118.8 5.8 3.3 1.1 4.92 1.46

As you can see, bringing back Tim Wakefield really shouldn’t be an option; almost any free agent is likely to be better than him going forward. Erik Bedard has huge injury concerns, and that’s not what this staff needs. Hiroki Kuroda doesn’t seem likely to come out east. I think Roy Oswalt could be a fit if he’s willing to take a two-year deal at good money, and Buehrle would be a solid signing if we can get him for fewer than four years. Edwin Jackson scares me a little bit long-term, so I’d avoid offering him more than three years as well.

2. A closer/setup man (or two)

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10-13-2011: Some random thoughts on free agents

I don’t know about you, but I’m ready to leave all this clubhouse talk behind and start thinking about next year. We’ve got a number of decisions to make on our own guys, and I’ve heard lots of names bandied about, which I’d like to weigh in on and discuss.

David Ortiz, DH (age 36 next year)

The guy has been great for us, and he had a wonderful bounceback year. I expect he’ll be wanting a three- or even four-year deal, but I would like to see the Sox spend no more than 2/20 on him if he stays. Is anyone convinced that he will definitely duplicate his numbers next year? How about in two years? Three? Given his age and his recent comments, maybe we SHOULD let him go, take our draft picks and let Kevin Youkilis DH. We can sign a stopgap third sacker and let him compete with Jed Lowrie/Mike Aviles for the job until Will Middlebrooks is ready.

C.J. Wilson, SP (age 31 next year)

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Links 4-22-2010: Sox walk-off again, Scutaro’s gamble, Lowell and Ortiz

Last night’s game was another thriller, and resulted in a second straight walk-off victory for the Red Sox. I still can’t believe Ron Washington’s decision to walk Dustin Pedroia in order to face Kevin Youkilis. That’s another example of typical baseball thinking; Pedroia is “hot” and he’s had success in his career against Dustin Nippert, while Youk was 0-4 against him and currently sports the lower batting average. The truth is, Youkilis is a more dangerous hitter, plain and simple. Unless he’s injured or something, you should rather pitch to Pedey. And Texas found that out last night.

Anybody else’s heart stop when Marco Scutaro tagged up from first base last night in the 12th inning? From the throw it didn’t look like he was going to make it. That’s a big gamble to take for a guy who’s not won over the fans yet, not being the strong fielder at shortstop everyone was expecting thus far. Thank God it turned out okay, but I wouldn’t recommend that again.

Mike Lowell’s success in the DH role last night (2-4 with a HR, a walk and 2 RBI) makes for a very interesting situation: how does Terry Francona handle David Ortiz from here on out? For now, it looks like he’ll stick with Lowell with another lefty, C.J. Wilson, going for Texas tonight. Bravo. I’m not a proponent of giving up on Papi yet, but I’d like him to sit against LHP until he sorts things out.

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13-7: Sox come back yet again, 6-5

Kevin Millwood pitched a gem of a game for the Texas Rangers, holding the Red Sox scoreless through six innings. Meanwhile, the Rangers had scored early on Tim Wakefield (2-0) and Milton Bradley added a mammoth 3-run Monster shot in the 6th to make it 5-0. Everything changed starting in the 7th inning, when the Red Sox scored two runs on RBI singles by David Ortiz and J.D. Drew to make it 5-2. The next inning, Boston made short work of Wes Littleton and closer C.J. Wilson, scoring four runs to take the lead. Wilson ended his outing with three consecutive walks, the last one of Sean Casey which forced in the go-ahead run in an amazing come-from-behind 6-5 victory.

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