11-19-2010: Crazy offseason scenario number 1

All of this Justin Upton talk has me thinking. The Red Sox need two bats to replace Adrian Beltre and Victor Martinez, and it’s generally thought that we will likely sign a free agent corner outfielder (Jayson Werth or Carl Crawford) and a corner infielder. What if, instead of blowing $100M on two good but aging players, we fill those spots via trade for good young players, utilizing our top prospects? Stay with me here.

Step 1. Send Clay Buchholz, Daniel Bard and Josh Reddick to Arizona for Justin Upton

I know, you’re saying WHAT? But hear me out.

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11-10-2010: Why Justin Duchscherer?

The Red Sox have also expressed interest in free agent pitcher Justin Duchscherer, who is coming off of hip surgery last June which cut short his season. 2011 will be Duchscherer’s age 33 season, and he’s only been able to pitch 28 innings over the past two seasons. Why would the Red Sox, who already feature a “full house” in the rotation, want someone like him?

All the data suggests that if “the Duke” is healthy, he could be a quality starter. That’s a big if for someone who’s suffered as many injuries as he has. My projection says something like a mid-3s ERA with good control is possible, but you just don’t know what you’ll get with someone who hasn’t pitched competitively in two years.

And let’s not forget that Curt Young, our new pitching coach, has a history with Duchscherer from his Oakland days and could lure him here for a Brad Penny/John Smoltz-type of gig (hopefully with better results). I’m all for this gamble, as it seems like it’ll be relatively cheap.

Hot Stove 2010: Options for a SP

I started doing these summaries as one post, and it just got too darn long. I just ad to throw away my shortstop post today. Anyway, on we go to starting pitching.

The Sox rotation is young (apart from Tim Wakefield) and strong, but lacks veteran depth. Behind a budding ace in Jon Lester and a very solid Josh Beckett, we’ve got (at worst) a middle-of-the-rotation filler in Daisuke Matsuzaka and some young talent. The Sox could easily go their typically conservative route, or they can trade away some of those juicy prospects for an upper-tier pitcher:

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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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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):

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31-22: Sox swept out of Oakland

Oakland came into this series struggling of late, and Boston came in on a six-game win streak. But it didn’t matter, as the A’s silenced the Boston bats and got enough offense to win all three games. The Sox are really feast or famine this year; in addition to the extreme home/road splits, they have had winning streaks of 4, 5, 6 and 7 games already. They have lost three in a row twice, and had 4 and 5 game losing streaks as well in this still young season. They have been a part of 9 series sweeps in 2008, winning 5 of them and losing 4. Let’s hope the losing doesn’t continue for long this time.

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