Links 12-1-2010: The plan forming, Victor as a DH, compensation picks, trading Scutaro, Guerrier, Parraz, Spring Training schedule

It’s starting to look like a near certainty that the Red Sox will sign one of either Jayson Werth or Carl Crawford. As I’ve said before, I like the idea of adding Werth as a long-term right-handed bat with some punch, though Crawford would be a good add as well. Werth is pretty good on defense as well, while Crawford is stellar in that category. Signing either would go a long way towards replacing the offense we’ve lost from last year’s team.

Yes, it’s been a slow offseason so far, but before you start complaining about how the Sox never spend money, read this. They are simply waiting it out. Werth is a Boras client, so any offer made now would simply be used as leverage to drive up the price. Werth will almost certainly not sign before Christmas, and may even hold out until late January.

Another reason I think Theo Epstein signs one of these guys is because the market for corner outfielders is rather pleasant this year due to the non-participation of the Yankees. Personally I think not being in on either of these free agents is a mistake by Brian Cashman. One of the reasons he gives for not pursuing the big free agents is the presence of Brett Gardner. Did Gardner have a great season? Yes. He posted a .276/.382/.379 line, is speedy and quite good in left as well. What more could you want? But I think it is far from certain that he will perform to that level again, given his .232/.364/.330 second half. Based on his minor league numbers as well as last year, I have him at around .260/.346/.369 in 2011, which amounts to about a .344 wOBA once you count the steals. Not bad, but he’s no Crawford. Undoubtedly they are saving resources to land Cliff Lee and re-sign both Mariano Rivera and Derek Jeter.

As far as the Victor Martinez signing, Dave Dombrowski did well in getting a high-quality bat to complement Miguel Cabrera in that lineup. However, his announcement that Martinez would serve primarily as a DH is baffling. It’s good to know that Detroit also agrees that Martinez can’t catch full-time for five years, but why pay that kind of premium if you see him as a DH/part-time catcher? I know they didn’t want to block Alex Avila’s development as a backstop, but the Tigers would have been better served by signing Vladimir Guerrero, or even Manny Ramirez. Or trade Avila to get something else. This plan doesn’t make much sense to me.

With Adrian Beltre and Felipe Lopez both declining arbitration this week, the Red Sox now have five compensation picks coming their way in the June draft. This makes it much easier for us to give our pick away by signing someone like Werth or Crawford.

There’s been talk about trading Marco Scutaro in this bull market for shortstops. But considering his injury-riddled 2010 and Jed Lowrie’s history of strange injuries and illnesses, I think it’s best to just squat on our talent. I don’t foresee either of these guys making it the whole way healthy, though Scut could play hurt all year if need be. Yeah, let’s avoid that by having two guys who can play the position and hit.

There have been indications that the Red Sox have interest in free agent Matt Guerrier. That’s a pretty good idea, especially given that Minnesota declined to offer him arbitration; even though he’s a type A free agent, there is no draft pick compensation for him to the Twins. I have Guerrier projected for about 75 innings with a solid 4.10 ERA, but it’s still a good idea to add another quality reliever like Scott Downs. The Rockies are about to cut Manny Delcarmen free, so there’s always that if we decide to pad the back of the bullpen.

The Red Sox claimed Jordan Parraz off waivers this week form the Royals. Parraz has shown a knack for getting on base in the minors, and he plays defense relatively well. Projected for a .245/.318/.377 line, I think they did well to snag some decent centerfield depth, which we’ve been sorely lacking the past few years. Consider him this year’s Eric Patterson.

For you planners out there, the Red Sox have released their Spring Training schedule for 2011.

The Sox added Tom Allison as a “regional cross-checker” for their scouting team. He used to be the director of amateur scouting for the Dbacks, so his experience will come in handy. Who I’d really love to see back in our organization is Josh Byrnes, who was fired by Arizona this year as GM.


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