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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Link 4-20-2011: Who’s afraid of the Yankees?

Yeah, they’re on top of the division, but looking at the New York Yankees, they’ve got some issues to deal with. Beyond the Box Score sums it up rather well, but here are three bullet points:

The rotating rotation

Even with the solid performance of Ivan Nova, they were already down a rotation spot. Now with Phil Hughes not able to repeat his early success, the Yankees are stuck with some combination of Kevin Millwood, Freddy Garcia, Bartolo Colon, and Andrew Brackman to fill 1.25 slots. Oh, and A.J. Burnett is the other starter. Forgive me for being underwhelmed. I don’t see any of these guys being able to produce a Hughes-like season, apart from Hughes. They need quality innings, and it’s not clear how many they can get out of this group.

Unsustainable offense

The Yankees have been on an offensive tear, thanks to a Major League-leading 29 home runs in 15 games, or a clip of two taters per contest. I know they’ve got firepower, but that’s a lot, even for them. Consider that last year, Toronto hit only 257, or 1.58 per game to lead all of baseball in that category. The Yankees are hitting .256 as a team, but have suffered from some poor BABIP (.256 as a team) so they will stand to get some more hits. But they will experience a power outage at some point, and it’s gonna hurt.

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Spring Training 2010: Considering Josh Beckett

With the leader of the pitching staff entering his contract year in 2010, the Red Sox are said to be broaching extension talks with Josh Beckett this Spring. Entering what will be his age 30 season, Beckett has already compiled quite a resume, including two All-Star appearances, a pretty sterling postseason track record and three World Series rings. He’s also been the World Series MVP. It’s rare to find a player with such command over his whole arsenal – a good fastball, a power curve, a polished changeup and a cutter to boot. He’s the stopper you bring in to silence the other team’s offense, start after start. Not only so, but Beckett is known as a fierce competitor and a driven athlete who sets the tone for the rest of the pitching staff. Let’s examine extending him in a bit more detail.

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Links: Pedroia proves tough, Lowrie bounces back fast, Bartolo MIA again

No, not Dustin. Our support goes out to Kelli Pedroia, who is in the hospital struggling with a very early labor.

Jed Lowrie wasted no time hitting once he reached Portland, going 3-5 with them in his first game.

Remember when Bartolo Colon ran off the the Dominican that year he was supposed to pitch for us? It appears he may have done it again. Is this guy just wacko or what?

2009 Offseason: Arbitration offers, Traber signed

Yesterday was the deadline for teams to offer salary arbitration to their impending free agents. This is important because if the player accepts, the team must go through the arbitration process to hammer out a one-year deal with the player. If he refuses, it means that if/when he signs with another team, the Red Sox will get compensated with draft picks if they are Type A or Type B status.

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2008 Offseason: SP Vazquez as a trade target

The Red Sox rotation features three potential aces, but could benefit from a little bump in terms of stability and performance, I think we can all agree. Instead of sinking tons of money into CC Sabathia or A.J. Burnett, what if we look at trading for someone like Javier Vazquez? The White Sox have basically said that they will be looking to trade his salary elsewhere this offseason, and I propose that we nab him while the nabbing’s good.

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2008 Projections roundup

At the beginning of the year, I said a lot of things. But how right (or wrong) was I?

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