Links 12-15-2009: The other shoe, the 4th outfielder, Aroldis

As I’ve detailed here, we have a pretty strong team as currently constituted. But this early in the offseason, could Theo Epstein already be done? We’ve improved the pitching and the defense, and filled the LF vacancy, but are we going to trade Mike Lowell and just stand pat? Will we really move Kevin Youkilis to third base in order to start Casey Kotchman at first? I’m waiting for the other shoe to drop.

Buster Olney tweets that the Sox are now looking into signing a right-handed outfielder “such as Xavier Nady”. Isn’t the fourth outfielder usually the kind of thing you deal with after everything else is set? Or maybe Nady is not a fourth outfielder at all, and this is setting up a trade of Jacoby Ellsbury, with Cameron moving to CF (Cameron has stated that he wants to play centerfield). Scutaro’s .360 OBP is good enough to bat leadoff, and he and Dustin Pedroia would give pitchers fits with their long at-bats.

Cuban free agent Aroldis Chapman will toss a bullpen today which will be well-attended by MLB teams. The Red Sox will be among the scouts there.

Dan Szymborski provides ZiPS projections for John Lackey and Mike Cameron over the lives of their respective contracts. Pretty similar 2010 numbers to what I have as well.

Gordon Edes is surprised the by the aggressive deal to Lackey, and suggests that the Red Sox must have “boatloads of cash” or else they wouldn’t offer this kind of deal.


12 Responses to Links 12-15-2009: The other shoe, the 4th outfielder, Aroldis

  1. Pat says:

    The contract Lackey got does seem fishy. I had wrongly assumed that Lackey wasn’t on the radar at all, because he is 31, and Theo doesn’t like to pay for the waning side of a pitcher’s career.

    Boat loads of cash? The rest of this off season may shed light on that.

    Continuing on to other assumptions, I assume we are looking to get a third or first baseman. The front office may pull something out of left field (metaphorically) and surprise us again. Another catcher, V-Mart to first?

    Keep it coming, Theo, this is fun.

  2. redsoxtalk says:

    Both the Cameron (11:30AM) and Lackey deals (1:30PM) will be officially announced today.

  3. Tim Wright says:

    wow, an Ellsbury trade would be an EPIC mistake (in my opinion). I’d like to see the Sox lock him up long term.

  4. Tim says:

    I’ve been thinking about this since the signing. It doesn’t make sense to sign a great defensive player that doesn’t hit for average or power to play the smallest left field in baseball (a spot taylor-made for a power bat with moderate defense). I originally thought the Cameron signing would lower the asking price for Holliday, after leaving St. Louis as the only remaining bidder, but after there latest offer that is looking like more of a long shot. Regardless though, even if they signed a ‘Nady’ type left fielder it leaves Ellsbury open for a blockbuster for a big bat/corner infielder and may save them, if not Buckholz, a slew highly rated prospects. Esp. if they think that Reymond Fuentes or one of the other prospects will be ready to step into center field when Cameron’s contract expires. It will definitely be interesting to see how this one unfolds.

    • redsoxtalk says:

      I totally agree with you here, Tim. From where I stand, Cameron is a perfect “bridge” to Ryan Kalish in 2012. That’s the only reason the Sox even entertain trading Ellsbury. Fuentes could challenge for the job shortly after that, but I think Kalish is the odd-on favorite for now. He doesn’t have quite the electricity on the basepaths as Mr. O-Water, but he’s plenty athletic, can get on base, and profiles for more power than Ells.

  5. Jeff Carini says:

    I will not be surprised to see Ellsbury and Buchholz traded to San Diego for Adrian Gonzalez. If this happens, a right handed hitting outfielder would make sense to platoon with Hermida in left. A guy they might target is Reed Johnson. He kills left handed pitching(.903 OPS v Lefties in 2009) and can play all three outfield positions. I can envision a lineup of:

    Drew RF
    Pedroia 2B
    Martinez C
    Gonzalez 1B
    Youkilis 3B
    Ortiz DH
    Cameron CF
    Hermida/Johnson LF
    Scutaro SS

    • redsoxtalk says:

      Jeff, I love your out-of-the-box thinking. Three years ago, I’d have loved to get Reed Johnson. But that was three years ago. He does hit lefties consistently well, but his defense profiles as pretty much a LF only (maybe some RF too), from what I can gather. That’s pretty much an end-of-the-bench player in the AL East, and he can likely get more playing time (and a better contract) elsewhere. But maybe he’d be a good fit and could start for Hermida or Drew when we face Sabathia or Cliff Lee and the Mariners.

  6. Pat says:

    More intrigue into this other shoe:

    It will be interesting to see if they extend Beckett this winter. Someone mentioned trading Beckett for prospects in a three way for A. Gon. I would be sad to see Josh go, but I’d rather keep Buchholz, honestly.

    • redsoxtalk says:

      Wow – Beckett in a three-way deal? I would be totally shocked to see that happen. Trading a proven top pitcher in the AL East, even to get Adrian Gonzalez seems like a hugely risky move. Unless Theo sees lack of HRs as a potentially “fatal flaw” I don’t see it. More likely, if we can’t land him now, we go into the season more or less as is and see how it goes.

      Before anyone falls in love with the idea of moving Beckett, imagine throwing Beckett-Lester-Lackey at any team in the playoffs. I’d go buy more furniture at Jordan’s if we go into the postseason with that rotation.

      • Pat says:

        With Buchholz and Daisuke as your back up for any of those three, the post season would look promising (especially with elite defense!).

        I’m not on board with trading for Adrian Gonzalez. If we could get Beltre for 3, and a 4thOF/1B type player like Nady, I am feeling very good about this team.

  7. redsoxtalk says:

    Well, my problem is I’m not on board about Beltre. I just don’t think it’s worth paying $9M to ship Lowell, then pay him $12M/year for him to hit what Lowell hit and play good defense. In two years, we have another 3B to dump again, but probably his bat slips more than his defense.

    Perhaps more importantly, signing Beltre seems short-sighted to me. With a deep class of 1B free agents next year, any multi-year deal at the corners this year makes it that much harder to upgrade next offseason.

  8. redsoxtalk says:

    The Pads are talking to Coco Crisp to fill their CF vacancy:

    If he signs with them, you can bet that means they don’t want Ellsbury back in any deal for Adrian Gonzalez.

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