How would you feel about having another young, left-handed, potential ace in the rotation? if that thought excites you, you're not alone. Ben Cherington and the rest of the Sox front office have been discussing going after the Oakland Athletics' Gio Gonzalez.
At least, according to Gordon Edes at ESPN:
Cherington has acknowledged the Sox aren't expected to enter the bidding for high-end free-agent starters C.J. Wilson or Mark Buehrle, but they are known to be extremely high on Oakland left-hander Gio Gonzalez, who would command a top package of prospects comparable to the one the Chicago Cubs surrendered when they acquired Matt Garza from the Tampa Bay Rays last winter.
Having given up pitcher Casey Kelly and first baseman Anthony Rizzo last December for Adrian Gonzalez, the Sox are likely to proceed cautiously before parting with their best prospects in another deal. But make no mistake, Gio Gonzalez has been a name widely discussed internally by the team.
I don't know that the Sox have what it takes to get Gio. This is a guy that somehow managed to win 16 games in Oakland last season, striking out 197 batters with a 3.12 ERA. But perhaps, if they ever manage to get some compensation from the Cubs, it'll be someone with enough potential to entice the A's.
And if they do have to part with some top-prospects, there is a somewhat silver lining. Maybe more of a grayish lining, really. They will collect 2 first round picks for letting Papelbon walk. And, thanks to the new CBA, whoever signs some Type-A free agents (including closers Heath Bell, Ryan Madson and Francisco Rodriguez) will not have to offer compensation. So we can sign an arguably decent closer (at considerably less than Papelbon's salary) and not have to lose any draft picks over it.
I still don't see Gio pitching at Fenway next season, but it's nice to see Cherington being aggressive.