Re: How aggressive does Ben go to keep Ells, Nap, And Drew
posted at 9/13/2013 4:54 PM EDT
The way I look at it we have 4 big FA this year: Mike Napoli, Jacoby Ellsbury, Jarrod Saltalamacchia, and Stephen Drew. The question is who do we offer a contract and who do we offer a qualifying offer to.
Jacoby Ellsbury - he gets a QO, that is a no brainer because there is about a 99% chance he nets us a draft pick. He gets a contract offer because he would fill a serious need, but the Sox should be prepared to let him walk and take the pick if the cost is too higher. We have our #2 ranked prospect and a top 50 in all of baseball who is borderline MLB ready and presumably ready by next year. Prediction: Ellsbury finds more money elsewhere, turns down a QO and the Sox pick up a draft pick.
Stephen Drew - Drew has some fans, and some detractors but the facts remain. He's been an above average ss before and the argument was that a clean bill of health would once again make him one of the leagues top SS. He's not Troy Tulowitski good, but he's 8th in WAR among MLB SS, and he has less at bats than 6 of the 7 above him. He also 16th in UZR/150 which puts him in the middle of the pack. SO he's an above average offensive SS and an average defensive SS. So I would take a gamble on giving him a Qualifying offer and him declining it, because with the season he's had if he does accept it and the Sox are adamant about starting Bogaerts he's easily tradeable. Prediction: A QO is made and declined, the Red Sox net a Draft pick and start Bogaerts in 2014.
Jarrod Saltalamacchia - catching is hard to find, even an average catcher is really hard to find. A lot of people might cite some flaws in Saltalamacchia's game and while their convictions would probably be well justified Salty would still be a highly coveted and hard to replace FA. The only catcher better on the market is Brain McCann, who could represent an upgrade defensively and offensively but that may come at a steep price. The Sox have some nice prospects in the minors behind the Dish in Blake Swihart, Christain Vasquez, and John Denney, but none of them have stood out as either a clear cut MLB starter or they are further than a year away to project as thus. Prediction: Salty gets offered a QO, turns it down and is resigned on a 4 year deal.
Mike Napoli - He's a streaky hitter and he's been subject of praise and ridicule this season. the reality is the Sox have no one coming in behind Napoli who could put up similiar production. There are some in house options in Carp, possibly Lava or even Nava has taken some innings in there. But none of those guys have shown to be productive vs. both LHP and RHP on a regular basis and offer a significant downgrade on Defense. While the FA market isn't flooded with 1bman there are a lot of players who could fill a need for a year or two if Napoli walks but his services would help out the Sox a lot in 2014. Prediction: The Sox offer Mike Napoli a qualifying offer, while teams would love to have Mike Napoli in their lineup his hip coupled with the loss of a draft pick may deter many of them away. In the absence of a team with a protected pick having an obvious need at 1st base Napoli may like to come back to Boston for one more year. Napli accepts.
The Sox sign Salty, replace Ellsbury and Drew with Bogaerts and JBJ, and bring Mike Napoli back on a one year deal (they very well could just offer him 2 years here, the more I thnk about it the more probable I thnk that may be.) In the process the Sox net 2 picks in at the end of the first round in what is assumed to be the strongest draft in 3 years.