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)

Read more of this post

4-21-2010: Two callups provide the spark over Rangers, 7-6

Wow. If anyone had told me the player of the game would be Darnell McDonald, I would’ve placed as big a bet as they would have taken. But exactly that happened last night, as McDonald hit a tying 2-run Monster Shot off of Darren Oliver, and then a walkoff single off the wall in the bottom of the 9th off Frank Francisco. Two at-bats, two critical hits. Meet the new Mr. Clutch. (I’m joking here, of course). At 31 years old, McDonald has bounced around and toiled in the minor leagues (all of them) his whole career. And don’t forget that Josh Reddick stroked a key two-run double before that, too. These guys were called up on a day when both Mike Cameron and Jacoby Ellsbury went on the DL, and a day when everyone expected them to lose. Turns out they were just what the doctor ordered to break out of this losing streak.

Read more of this post

Hot Stove 2010: Trading for Felix Hernandez

Look, you’re being too short-sighted here. Getting a big bat would be great, but this is a contract year for Josh Beckett and we don’t know what we’ll have in Daisuke Matsuzaka. Jon Lester and Clay Buchholz are great, but two guys does not a rotation make. What are we gonna do if Beckett flies the coop for a deal near $20M/year? What we really should be doing is trading to ensure our future. Solidify the rotation, then you you can go and build the rest of the squad. And there’s no better building block out there than 24-year old Felix Hernandez. Here’s fantasy off-season option B:

Read more of this post

Hot Stove 2010: Trading for Adrian Gonzalez

It seems that an Adrian Gonzalez trade is drumming up the most excitement in Red Sox Nation so far, so let’s formulate an off-season plan revolving around acquiring him from Jed Hoyer’s Padres. Hoyer has noted that a contract extension with Gonzalez is “definitely on the docket”, and he would like to keep him playing for his native San Diego; however with A-Gonz in line for a major free agent deal after 2011, it makes you wonder if the Padres and their $40M payroll will be able to hang on to him much longer (former Padres GM Kevin Towers agrees). Okay, so here’s fantasy off-season plan A (for Adrian):

Read more of this post

2008 ALDS Game 1: Lester shines, 4-1

It was a well-pitched game by John Lackey, but a 2-run home run by Jason Bay would put the Sox ahead to stay. Welcome to the playoffs, Jason. Jon Lester settled down to throw seven strong innings, and the Sox pushed across two more runs against Scot Shields in the 9th to seal the deal. 1 game to none, Red Sox.

Read more of this post

Linkage: 2008 ALDS Previews

Alright, time to get your postseason on. I won’t give a full treatment here, since there are already so many excellent previews out there. Here are a few of my favorites:

Rich Lederer and Patrick Sullivan talk Boston-Los Angeles ALDS at Baseball Analysts.

Another article on key players and matchups over at Baseball Digest Daily Blog.

David Pinto looks at how this season’s games between the two clubs turned out.

If you’re looking for reasons to be optimistic as a Red Sox fan, there are a few over at The Hardball Times.

Baseball Think Factory’s got a good summary paragraph or two.

As for my thoughts: If we had a healthy Sox team, I’d say we win in 4. You can’t ignore the best run differential in baseball (by a big margin). But there are other factors. The latest I have heard is that J.D. Drew feels “100% ready” to go, while Mike Lowell can hit but is still hobbling a bit in the field. Add in Josh Beckett’s oblique strain and pitching just once in the 5-game series, and suddenly things aren’t so clear any more. The health of these three is critical to the outcome of this series. Read more of this post

15-7: Ellsbury, Pedroia lead in comeback win against the Halos, 7-6

On the first warm night in Fenway, David Pauley was called in to make an emergency start for Josh Beckett, who was pulled for “neck stiffness”. There isn’t much detail about how serious the injury is, but it is being said that Beckett has the flu bug that’s been going around. On a night when the Sox offense generated 7 runs on 16 hits and a walk, he was good enough that the Sox pulled it out yet again for their 6th straight win, 7-6.

Read more of this post