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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Links 7-22-2010: Trade outlook, getting healthy is painful

There is about a week and a half left before this year’s non-waiver trade deadline, and it appears that the Sox are trying to upgrade their bullpen, outfield and catcher. To me, this year has been all about health, and it may not make sense to pull the trigger on a big trade at this point; Sox Therapy agrees.

According to various reports, the Sox have shown interest in the following players:

Relievers: Scott Downs (TOR), Leo Nunez (FLA)
Outfielders: David DeJesus (KC) , Cody Ross (FLA), Corey Hart (MIL)
Catchers: Chris Iannetta (COL), Chris Snyder (ARI)

That doesn’t mean much in July, however. Everyone’s calling around about options, but that doesn’t mean something’s necessarily going to happen. The market for relievers is notably bad this year – Blue Jays initially asked for Jose Iglesias in exchange for Downs. That shows you how tough it is to actually get a deal done as a buyer. I’m on board with the names on this list, but not so big on spending a lot to get Ross or Hart, not when we already have Jeremy Hermida, Darnell McDonald and Daniel Nava. With Jacoby Ellsbury out until God knows when and Mike Cameron being slow to heal, I’m convinced we need someone who can play a passable center field, and DeJesus fits that the best.

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7-13-2010: All-Star second-guessing, trade candidates

Congrats to David Ortiz, who took the Home Run Derby crown last night. Too bad he can’t face BP pitchers all the time. Heckuva time to ask for a contract extension, though I doubt this will factor too much into the calculation.

The All-Star rosters and starting lineups are out. Ubaldo Jimenez and David Price will get the ball first. Not terrible choices, but Jon Lester is more experienced, plays in a home park that inflates runs, and is just better. People point to the ERA gap, but our numbers suggest that Lester’s ERA should be at 2.58 (2.21 FIP) in a “neutral” AL run environment. Price would be at 2.48 (3.40 FIP); the ERA is better, but not by much at all. Price would have 89 Ks and 41 walks, while Lester would have 119 Ks and 43 walks. Not much of a contest here.

In another ballpark-unadjusted injustice, Paul Konerko was selected over Kevin Youkilis because he had “better numbers”. Not sure which numbers Joe Girardi is looking at, since Youk owns a .421 wOBA and Konerko is at .401. But if you mean the traditional stats, let’s adjust those for home park and league:

Youkilis: .292/.411/.572 with 17 HR and 54 RBI
Konerko: .298/.380/.544 with 19 HR and 56 RBI

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Hot Stove 2010: Options to fill LF

The offseason is all about choices, especially for a big market team like the Red Sox. What choices give you the best chance of winning, while preserving value and organizational depth? Filling a hole by getting the best available player now may not be the best move, because it could leave you hamstrung somewhere else. As a team with a number of needs this offseason, let’s take a look at some of the options to fill left-field and compare them.

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2009-11-16 Links: Free agents and defensive evaluations, Sox top prospects, Varitek

Matt Holliday will likely get the biggest deal this offseason, but he’s no Mark Teixeira.

John Lackey might not be as good a signing as some think, warns FanGraphs.

FanGraphs gives an argument as to why trading for David DeJesus might be a better move than overpaying for a top free agent left fielder this offseason. Xavier Nady could be average with the bat, but don’t expect his arm to be what it used to be.

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Post-2009: Potential free agents

The best way for me to get my mind off the fact that the Red Sox are no longer in the hunt while the Yankees are is to get thinking on the 2010 season before the corpse of 2009 gets too cold. It’s good to know that Epstein sees this team’s core as having one more year left to contend; could that mean we’ll have a bit more of a “win now” approach this offseason?

Bring ’em back?

First we should address the expiring contracts. The Red Sox need to decide whether they want to re-sign these players or let them go to free agency. Then we can examine what to do about any holes.

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2009 Offseason: Crisp traded to Kansas City

ESPN 810 in Kansas City was the first to report today that the Red Sox have traded Coco Crisp to the Royals in return for Ramon Santos Ramirez, a 27-year old right-handed reliever.

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