2008 Offseason: Free agents of interest


The Red Sox have some needs to address, but it appears that their roster and stable of near Major League-ready talent doesn’t have a lot of space right now. Thus, it seems that a trade is the most likely route this offseason; nevertheless, here is what is potentially available on the free agent market (links point to all recent MLB Trade Rumors articles tagged to that player). We’ll start with two of the bigger names, then focus on the Red Sox needs for any potential good fits.

The Big Fish

CC Sabathia, LHP. Seems to be playing off all sides in order to maximize his record deal. Hey, the guy eats a lot.

Mark Teixeira, 1B. Wants crazy years, crazy dollars. He’ll be worth it for maybe five years, but not after that.

The Sox could make a big splash with either of these guys, and then deal off either pitching prospects or Mike Lowell for help elsewhere. I don’t see them getting much for Lowell, so I think getting a pitcher is actually more likely.

Catchers

Jason Varitek. Even after a dismal season, Varitek is still option number 1 here.

Ivan Rodriguez. The 37-year old still has something left, though he’s not really an everyday catcher anymore.

Josh Bard. A nice defensive catcher who has hit in the NL. But will he still want to play for Boston?

Rod Barajas. If Toronto doesn’t exercise his option, this 33-year old is seasoned and provides some pop.

Miguel Olivo. Left-handed hitting catcher could make a nice platoon mate for Varitek.

The Sox will need someone with some experience (or possibly a high-ceiling rookie) to come in and split time with Varitek and eventually take over the catching duties. Since Tek is struggling from the left side of the plate, they may go for a platoon partner of sorts. Whoever it is will have to catch a knuckleball, too.

Shortstops

Rafael Furcal. Almost sure to re-sign with the Dodgers, but injury is a concern.

Orlando Cabrera. A lot of people still like Cabrera, though he’s not the type of patient hitter the Sox like. I’m also not sure is defense is still what it was last we saw him.

Cesar Izturis. A good utility glove man who is also a good contact hitter.

Juan Uribe. Can’t hit, but could be a useful defensive sub at 2B, SS or 3B. Apparently the Sox tried to get him around this year’s deadline.

Alex Cora‘s contract is up, and he may just move straight into a coaching role.

Outfielders

Rocco Baldelli. A lot of people like this Rhode Islander as a complement to Jacoby Ellsbury. His physical condition severely limits his playing, however.

Gabe Kapler. Don’t be surprised if Boston’s favorite muscleman comes back for an encore.

In the case that Coco Crisp is dealt, the Sox will need a new centerfielder (who can hit right-handed) to play good defense and spell Ellsbury.

Starters

A.J. Burnett, RHP. This is the offseason to get your initials on, it seems. Burnett can and will opt out of his deal in Toronto to sign something in the range of 4 years, $60M.

Ben Sheets, RHP. An ace-type pitcher when healthy, but will want a multi-year deal.

Derek Lowe, RHP. At 36 years old, I don’t think this is very likely, but there are people reporting interest.

Curt Schilling, RHP. The Sox may give him one more shot at a half-season of glory.

John Smoltz, RHP. I find this to be an intriguing possibility, though I don’t know if Smoltz wants to play here.

Randy Johnson, LHP. When he pitched last year, he showed he can still do it. A one-year deal would be awesome.

Brad Penny, RHP. Just the type of high-ceiling, high injury risk player Theo loves.

Jason Jennings, RHP. Another pretty decent pitcher who might sign a short-term, incentive-driven deal.

The Sox will bring in at least one veteran arm, probably on a short-term contract to help fill out the innings in 2009. As it stands, Clay Buchholz, Justin Masterson and Michael Bowden may be vying for that 5th rotation slot.

Relievers

Trevor Hoffman, RHP. Would he mind setting up for a championship team?

Juan Cruz, RHP. Live arm struck out 12.37 batters per 9 innings last year.

Will Ohman, LHP. Could finally provide an upgrade over Javier Lopez.

Jeremy Affeldt, LHP. Hard thrower could help this bullpen.

There are a number of other decent bullpen options, but these sort of caught my eye. The Cubs will re-sign Kerry Wood, and Brian Fuentes is only interested in closing out games.

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One Response to 2008 Offseason: Free agents of interest

  1. redsoxtalk says:

    Interesting observation on Affeldt here:
    http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/index.php/free-agent-bargain-jeremy-affeldt/

    Dave Cameron sees a big increase in velocity this year, and thinks he could be a top lefty reliever as a result.

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