Ben Cherington has a lot to do. We at Ted's Army thought we'd take a shot at giving him some options for a game plan. We'll take turns explaining our steps to righting the proverbial ship. Next up: Nick Karalis.
I'm not a GM and I obviously never will be. Though, I do play a good GM and critic, mostly when I am drunk. After one, two, three, four, five, maybe six very tasty Sam Adams brews, I am the best GM and critic out there. Some of my best ideas come up around 1 am on a Saturday morning, but Ben Cherington never answers my calls at that hour, or any other hour. I decided to scribble some of the ideas down instead, and share them on this neat little site that we have, and have Ben Cherington read it at his convenience.
To begin, we are all in agreement that watching the 2012 Red Sox was probably as bad as following any WNBA team during a season. I am not saying the WNBA is bad or anything, I just can't bring myself to watch any of it yet.
Fixing whatever went wrong to close out the 2011 season never came to be because it continued to go into a free-fall with the hiring of Bobby Valentine. I hated the idea along with 99% of everyone else out there, then, for some reason, I started to come around to it. Bobby had everyone go to away spring training games on a bus and travel as a team and stay together as a team. Changing up the workouts and running bunting drills. Screwing up Carl Crawford's recovery by bunting too much. Change was in the air.
It didn't take long for him to open his mouth and spit out the pure garbage and gossip as we feared he would do. The Sox never got anything going during the season and the free-fall that began in September 2011, continued for the entire 2012 season. The move to get John Farrell is a good start to make things right.
Here are some of my ideas to help fix the situation. I'll start spitting out the nonsense about what I think what needs to be done.
Who the Sox need to keep:
David Ortiz is a must to sign and almost everyone can agree with that. Both sides have talked contract and details have been released but not inked. It looks like the deal will get done.
Cody Ross is another guy that the Red Sox have to pursue and try to get for another good deal. It is obvious that his next contract will be less of a bargain than his last. The Sox had him for $3 million last season, so a two year deal for 5 or 6 million per season would be a good deal to me.
So far, we can all agree that current Red Sox players under contract that must stay are Dustin Pedroia, Clay Buchholz, and Jon Lester. Everyone else is fair game.
The blockbuster trade with LA has freed up a lot of cash, but left a lot of holes. There are also some other positions that need some help that were not caused by the trade. That brings us to...
Where the Sox need help:
Everywhere else would be the easiest way to start and finish this section, but that would be no fun. This is where my drunken thoughts come into play.
Starting pitching is top priority to me. Solid starting pitching will bring this team far if they can get it, just look at the San Francisco Giants. Too bad this is a bad free-agent market, but the Sox have a good base. Especially with John Farrell coming in to set everyone straight.
Here are some names that popped in the old noggin that could be a possibility for the Red Sox. Mostly free agents, because the Sox don't have much trade bait.
Dan Haren: I know some people will not agree with this. Dan Haren was a 200+ inning guy for his first 6 full seasons in the majors and obtained his highest inning total in 2011 with the Angels when he threw 238.1 innings. Haren missed a short period of time in July and finished the 2012 season with a losing record (12-13), only his 3rd losing season in 10 seasons. The Angels have a club option for Haren, but are rumored to not act on it. The Yankees may be interested in him, so the price tag could rise above what many teams, including Boston, will be willing to pay for the 31-year-old. If the Sox can get him at $10 million per season for 2 or 3 years, it might not be a bad signing. Just don't offer him John Lackey money.
Gavin Floyd: Another guy that has a team option for 2013. If he doesn't return to the White Sox, I would only want the Red Sox to pursue him for very little money. By little, I mean 2-3 million per year on a 1, maybe 2 year term. The thought of going after Floyd is primarily for the #5 spot in the rotation, and I am not too sure that will be their best option. Gavin Floyd was one of those names that came to my head when waiting in line for a beer at a Revolution game. Yeah, I go to New England Revolution games, so what? He may not be worth too much trouble, but if he is out there and you can get him cheap without much risk, why not?
Josh Johnson: Scott had mentioned Josh Johnson in his option and I didn't really think much of him. Josh Johnson, not Scott. Don't look at Josh Johnson's record, because he pitches for the Marlins. No one is going to have a good record when pitching in Miami. Similar to that pitcher in Seattle, Felix...something. Johnson's ERA was 3.81 last season, his highest since 2007. Compared to what the Sox had in 2012, that's ace material. The Marlins are well aware of that and will be looking for something good in return to try to save thier own train wreck. Will they be looking for someone like Jacoby Ellsbury? Probably. We know that Ellsbury is set to make a pretty penny in 2014 and the Sox will have other plans rather than resigning him. Trading him for a guy like Josh Johnson is not what I had in mind. That may be what it will take to get Johnson before he hits the free agent market.
I like the thought of Felix Doubront sticking around and possibly improving on his 2012 performance. He finished fairly strong and displayed signs of being a good starting pitcher sometime in the near future. I would like to see him in Boston next season rather than end up on the trading block. Here is what I think the 2012 rotation will look like:
- Haren (maybe Johnson)
Let's move to the bullpen.
The Sox will likely stay with Andrew Bailey as their closer, as long as he stays healthy. He probably won't. Daniel Bard will be back to where he belongs...that still doesn't make me feel good about the 'pen. You know what, I am going to leave that up to Ben and not give him any advice. I just don't know where to start, and thoughts of the 2012 Red Sox bullpen is sending me on an emotional roller coaster.
Let's finish it off with position players.
Catcher: Jarrod Saltalmacchia put up a great power display and that was about it. A terrible average, very long cold streaks, a lot of strikeouts, and many questions surrounding his catching ability. Ryan Lavarnway was not what we expected, looking like he needs another season in Pawtucket. He won't be sent to Pawtucket, because he is first in line as the back-up catcher, or may be the starter, and he will just have to learn in Boston. Plus, there is no one out on the market that is worth bringing in. Pierzynski may have had his last good season, and is too old to gamble on. Plus, he had the best season of his career at the age of 35. I'm not saying he was using any PED's, but he may have been using some PED's.
First Base: Now we move to the big hole at first. I think we can bring back the chant of YYYYOOOUUUKKK! No? Yeah, I guess that might not be a good idea. Or...yeah? I should squash that thought.
Mauro Gomez? I like that better than the Mike Napoli nonsense. Hell, I like Youk better than Napoli, I don't care if Youk is 4 years older. Napoli had one great season in 2011, and that's it. Everyone in Boston loves the idea because Napoli has killed the Sox in his career and has done squat against almost everyone else. The Red Sox will probably pursue him and give him a contract in the $15-20 million per year range. Gomez has the potential, but has not shown it in the big leagues which does not back me up much. I have to admit, I am not 100% on him. The Sox don't need potential, they need someone who has done it at the big league level to right this ship asap. If the Sox are going to throw copious amounts of cash at someone like Napoli, I would rather go with the potential in Gomez.
Second and third base are just fine, bringing us to short stop. Marco Scutaro, anyone? That was mostly a joke, mostly.
Shortstop: Jose Iglesias...how I wish he could hit a baseball. I love what he does in the field, that's about it. I'm going to bring back what I said last season. He is not ready for the majors and needs more time in Pawtucket. Another guy that I am very high on is Xander Bogaerts, but he is not even close to ready. He is the complete opposite of Jose. A little shaky in the field, but a great bat that could outweigh his deficiencies in the field.
The problem is, who is out there? Jhonny Peralta...maybe. Stephen Drew? Please, not another Drew in Boston! So, it brings us right back to Iglesias. As much as I am pulling for him to be in Pawtucket in 2013, he may be the Sox best option at short.
Outfield: If the Sox can re-sign Ross, it will be a good start. Again, there is a good possibility that Ellsbury will be traded before or during the season, so there will be 2 more holes to fill in the outfield. Daniel Nava and Ryan Kalish are not at all in my plan for a starting role on the Red Sox roster. This is where I get stumped no matter the level of my inebriation.
Here are some possibilities: B.J. Upton, Delmon Young, Nick Swisher, and Josh Hamilton. I can't imagine any of those guys making any less than $10 million next season. I can't see Josh Hamilton making any less than $20 million. The outfield could get pricey, but the Sox have a lot of dough to spend. The problem is, I can't be convinced by any of those names other than Hamilton.
We can look to the minors, but no one is ready to make an impact in Boston. Bryce Brentz only played 5 games with the Pawsox and needs some more time to mature. Jackie Bradley is one, maybe two seasons away from being ready. I have already expressed my feelings toward Nava and Kalish, which just brings me back to the free agents listed above. If I had to pick two, I would go with Swisher and Hamilton. No, wait, maybe Upton. Forget it, I give up with the outfield.
Where does that leave us?
CF - Ross/Ellsbury, maybe Upton?
2B - Pedroia
DH - Ortiz
LF - Josh Hamilton
RF - Swisher/ Ross
3B - Middlebrooks
C - Saltalamachhia
1B - Gomez
SS - Iglesias
and the rotation once again...
- Haren (maybe Johnson)
Again, please don't fault me on the outfield. That will likely be a far cry of what it will actually look like. Aaron and Scott went with Kalish, but I am not sure if the Sox are sold on him for 2013. My outfield projection is dependent on the Red Sox getting back to their ridiculous spending habits. The Red Sox would have to sign Upton if they did trade Ellsbury to get a solid centerfielder. If they do trade Ellsbury and don't sign Upton, and are not going with Kalish in center, Cody Ross would be the next best guy for the spot. I'm not too sure that I like the sound of that. Dammit! I'm back to where I started, as confused and scared as a 13 year-old-boy at a Jr. High dance.
No matter if the Red Sox do go with some big signings or not, do not have high hopes for this team. There are a lot of holes to fill with a weak free agent market and with few pieces to use in a trade. To make you feel a little better, we can at least count on a better season than 2012. Hopefully.