Apparently, consensus is that Michael Cuddyer is the perfect RF for the Red Sox, presumably based on the fact that he bats right-handed and is available. No one is overly concerned that overall, he is a horrific defensive player. Fangraphs rates him the second worst defensive RF over the last 3 years, ahead of only Carlos Quentin. So the fact that he can swing a bat from the desired side of the plate should outweigh putting him in charge of defending arguably the toughest RF in the majors? Hopefully before the contract gts drawn up, the team explores a few other options.
Including, but not limited to:
David DeJesus – A free agent the Sox have tried to get before. He does lack power number and hits left-handed, but has the range and arm to handle RF at Fenway.
Cody Ross – Free agent who kills LHP and makes for a good platoon partner. Ross plays all 3 OF positions, although his CF is nothing to get excited about. He probably won’t command elite money, either.
Franklin Gutierrez – Seattle has been stocking up on OF the past few months, and might make Gutierrez expendable. He has not hit much the last 2 years as he has battled some injuries and ailments. He is an outstanding defender whose skills earned him the best nickname in baseball – “Death to Flying Things.” He would need to bounce back offensively, and I have no idea what Seattle would want in return, although we can assume it is offense in some form.
Michael Morse – He does bring RHH power to the table, although little else. Washington might move him in the right deal. His defense as an OF certainly won’t earn him any awards and may not be the best fit, although he probably works over Cuddyer, potentially both offensively and defensively. His two minor league suspensions for steroids should not be forgotten.
Corey Hart – It’s unlikely the Brewers destroy and rebuild in the very likely event Fielder plays elsewhere, but Hart could probably be had in the right deal. Not a great defender despite his surprising speed, but does have decent power from right side. Think of him as Hunter Pence-Lite.
Will Venable – Surprisingly undervalued player for San Diego. He does bolster his offensive stats by only hitting primarily against RHP in a platoon, but is a very good all-around OF. He might not be the best fit, given he is a LHH speed-oriented player and the Sox already have 2 of those in the OF, but Venable is most definitely a contributor when he plays.
Melky Cabrera – Don’t laugh. Cabrera slugged .518 from the right side this year, and had a surprising year at the plate. Fast enough to cover RF at Fenway and has a spectacular throwing arm. The Royals won’t give him away, but might be willing to move him given the presence of Lorenzo Cain.
Aaron Rowand – Certainly not the top choice, but obviously can be had quickly. More of a lost ditch effort, but might be capable of turning it all around.
Ryan Ludwick – Has shown some offensive ability in the past, but has recently returned to injury-prone origins. But is a free agent for the taking.
Xavier Paul – Expendable in Pittsiburgh due to their talented young OF. Paul is one of those all-tools guys who has just never put it all together. A lot of raw potential that would not surprise anyone if it remained untapped. Might not be a bad option to platoon with Kalish or Reddick.
Kendry Morales – Would the Angels move him and let Trumbo take over first base? What would it take to acquire him? Probably not the best defensive fit for RF at Fenway, and there are very significant durability concerns, but the upside is too tempting to ignore.