Trades: Replacing Wily Mo

I think most people will agree, Wily Mo Pena is physically gifted and can hit a baseball a mile. He’s a pretty good teammate, and has a good attitude. He provides right-handed power off the bench. But I think we can also agree that he is no longer a good fit for our club. Pena’s bat and his defense need some serious work, but he is out of minor league options. Pena is downright scary in right field, and not much better in center, and we already have a DH, thank you very much. He’s not much use as a pinch-hitter, as he strikes out every third at-bat.

Personally, I think Theo picked him up thinking he could possibly replace Manny someday in left. Or maybe he thought he’d blossom into an Adam Dunn-type hitter. I was all for the trade when we got him, but it seems that the scouting reports failed to mention a few things. I expected the strikeouts, but no one really knew how bad this guy was with the glove.

Ideally, a fourth outfielder should be able to play two, if not three, outfield positions well and not be terrible at the plate. They would probably see a lot of action as a late-inning defensive replacement and as a pinch hitter/pinch runner. Anyone who has watched J.D. Drew flail against lefties (.263/.387/.427 in 354 AB from 2004-2006) and is familiar with his history of injuries knows we could use someone to spell him. So we want someone who could play right field and hit left-handed pitching.

Actually Coco Crisp could fill this position if we traded for a marquee centerfielder like Ichiro Suzuki or Andruw Jones, but the asking price for those names includes names like Lester and Buchholz, so let’s hold off on that option for now.

So what have we got for options?

Some people have mentioned Ken Griffey Jr., but at 37 years old, I’m not so sure I like him as a defender anymore. Yes, he’s having a great season statistically, but he’s a lefty and a .232/.300/.461 hitter against lefties the previous three years. I’m just not sold that he’s a great fit for us.

Pat Burrell, recently benched in Philadelphia, has been and continues to be available. He is a right-handed bat with power, and he’s hit lefties well the past three years (.296/.432/.526). However, he’s making $13 million this year and $14 million in 2008, and is having a miserable year at the plate. He’s also not impressive defensively, though he does have a good arm.

Xavier Nady could be an option, as he has hit left-handed pitching at a .331/.409/.506 pace the last three years. He can play either corner, but has a noodle of an arm and is more of a 1B/DH type. The Pirates are always eager to take on prospects, so might do a deal. He’s playing on a 1-year, $2.2 million contract.

Kevin Mench of the Brewers is a 29-year old veteran who is currently riding the pine but has a pretty good bat. He’s a right-handed hitter with some decent power (lifetime .467 SLG), and has experience playing in the AL with Texas. From 2004-2006, he hit .307/.379/.590 in 398 AB against lefties. Despite being a biggish guy, he is not bad defensively at the corners and won’t clog up the basepaths. Mench is on a 1-year contract worth $3.4 million, and I can’t imagine the Brewers demanding a king’s ransom for him.

I know that these are not as exciting as getting, say, Mark Buehrle or Mark Teixeira, but I think one key role player could help us a lot the rest of the way and in a seven-game series. Wily Mo Pena is not that player. Any other suggestions? Please comment!

3 Responses to Trades: Replacing Wily Mo

  1. BigShrek3382 says:

    Great ideas, and they are realistic. I’ve heard that they are looking for a bat but where will the bat they acquire play? Who do the Red Sox move to create a spot for the new guy? Coco? It would seem he is one of the only guys that plays everyday they can move. (I’m assuming Youk isn’t going to be moved b/c he is arbitration eligible). I don’t like the thought of them picking up another one-dimensional guy like Dunn (can only hit for power) or Pat Burrell who is making a ton of money through next year.

    This blog has a rumor that they are interested in acquiring Omar Vizquel and somehow??? moving Lugo to the white sox. It’s a good new blog that I just found this morning. Can you post any links of where you find your info? Or are you an insider?

    Keep the info coming.

    Go Sox!

  2. donchoi says:

    Hey, thanks for stopping by my blog.

    If the Sox acquire a bat, I think that guy will likely platoon with and be insurance for J.D. Drew. Everybody would like to replace Lugo at shortstop, but I don’t see that happening. I don’t think that Theo would move another shortstop and pay more money. Besides, Lugo’s actually starting to hit now.

    There is absolutely no way the Red Sox should move Youkie, though they could put him back at third if they get a big time guy at first and trade Mike Lowell. I’m not in favor of trading Lowell, but this would fit Epstein’s blueprint of getting younger while staying competitive. I’d be interested in this if they could land, say, Mark Teixiera?

    As for sources, I read a lot of Red Sox news, listen to sports radio here and do some of my own research into numbers, etc. I am not an insider.

  3. Pingback: Trades: We need a shakeup « Red Sox Talk

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