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 4-27-2010: Dice-K Saturday, Lowell cleanup, Atchison demoted, Westmoreland out of the hospital

Daisuke Matsuzaka threw 69 pitches in a simulated game yesterday, and made a good impression on both Terry Francona and pitching coach John Farrell. Matsuzaka is expected to take the ball Saturday in Baltimore. He seems motivated to pitch well again, and that can only be a good thing.

David Ortiz sat again last night with lefty Dana Eveland on the mound, and Mike Lowell was inserted as the DH, batting cleanup in yesterday’s lineup. It’s becoming a very good thing that he wasn’t traded this offseason – it’s hard to argue with the production we’ve been getting out of him as a part-time player, and his numbers are simply increasing his trade value.

Scott Atchison knew that it was coming, but it happened a little sooner than we anticipated. After blowing through the bullpen in yesterday’s slugfest, the Sox sent him down and recalled LHP Fabio Castro. We’d expect Castro to be returned to Pawtucket once Matsuzaka is added to the active roster.

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2010 AL East Preview: Sox, Yankees reloaded

As Spring Training finally dawns, we are looking at two teams at the top of the division with significant turnover from this offseason. The Yankees have shed several older, oft-injured players and added a powerful left-handed bat in OF Curtis Granderson. For their part, Boston has decided to focus on run prevention with the signing of John Lackey and even sacrificed OBP in order to improve their team defense in this “bridge year”. The Tampa Rays have another year of development and polish on their young and talented core. Meanwhile, Toronto has gone into rebuilding mode with the trade of Roy Halladay to the Phillies, and the Orioles’ youth movement is on the cusp of paying dividends. What can we expect to see in 2010? Read more of this post

Hot Stove 2010: Sign Matt Holliday

You’re going about this all wrong. Would it be nice to get an elite slugger or a young ace this offseason? Of course! But at what price? Despite how it looked at times, the lineup is strong, and finished 3rd in runs scored, despite playing Nick Green and Jason Varitek as much as we did. And the rotation already has four strong pitchers if Daisuke Matsuzaka can come back. Trading Clay Buchholz now is the wrong move; he will give you 80-90% of what Hernandez will over the next four years at a bargain price. The Red Sox have talent and should continue to build from within. We certainly need to address that left field vacancy, as well as the lack of pop in the lineup; signing Matt Holliday should be enough on both counts, and we can fill in as needed around these guys. Here’s how to approach the off-season with measured restraint:

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2009 Offseason: Profiling A.J. Burnett

The Red Sox are said to have serious interest in free agent pitcher A.J. Burnett, who is also being pursued by the New York Yankees and Toronto Blue Jays, among others. A.J. opted out of $12M/year in Toronto, so we are looking at a big financial commitment here. Should Boston blow away the righty and ink him to a 5-year deal in the $75-85M range?

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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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Beckett scratched again, Dice-K takes the ball today

Oh no. Josh Beckett has been scratched from his start today, and will go see Dr. James “Tommy John” Andrews, the preeminent elbow specialist for pitchers. In his place, Daisuke Matsuzaka will start tonight against Javier Vazquez as the Sox open up against the Chicago White Sox. The last rotation spot will go to David Pauley for now.

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