Some Under The Radar Options, or players who have serious untapped potential.
Will Venable. Venable is certainly no monster, but his reputation as an average hitter with some base stealing ability is completely masked by Petco National Park. Venable has surprising power, and a .795 OPS on the road. (.677 at home). If the Sox deal Ellsbury, this is the ideal replacement for CF, although his exposure to LHP has been limited through an ill-conceived platoon. In the right situation, Venable could easily be a 20/20 hitter, maybe with more steals.
Rick Porcello. "People scream Not An Ace- we don’t need him." Porcello is TWENTY THREE. Rookies older than Porcello debuted this year, and Porcello already has 4 years experience under his belt. Remember when Michael Pineda was last years hot rookie pitcher with a future brighter than the sun? Porcello is one month older than Pineda. Got it? Also, his K/9 have increased 3 straight years while his BB/9 remained relatively constant. Admittedly, the K/9 numbers are not exactly improving in leaps and bounds. His real downfall is that he is primarily a sinkerballer, and the weak infield defense in Detroit is absolutely killing him. His GB percentage is seventeenth among MLB starters over the past 3 years, while his BABIP against is fourth. The cheaper, older, and lesser version of Porcello is Charlie Morton, who also is a reasonable target as an underappreciated pitcher, although he has a tendency to get hit harder. Unlike Morton, Porcello has spent his entire career and basically his whole post-high school life pitching in the American League. Think Derek Lowe type upside, especially if the Sox use Pedroia, Iglesias and Middlebrooks in the infield.
Scott Baker. The best of all Hidden Gems, but unfortunately he had his health surgically removed.
Mike Pelfrey. A probable non-tender from the Mets, and likely to miss time post-surgery. Homering off Pelfrey is like homering off God. Pelfrey is a good target for a minor league depth signing.
Josh Willingham. Something no one knows is that Josh Willingham has a higher Win Probability over the last 3 years than Matt Kemp, Evan Longoria, David Wright and Robinson Cano, and many other more famous names. He needs to go to San Diego or Seattle, because they are the only caverns he has not yet conquered. Can you imagine if he EVER got into a hitter-friendly park? Just for one season? 2 yrs and $14mil left, I do think he has the potential to be a top target, despite the fact that he looks like what the late, great Jim Croce would call a "frigerator with a head." Maybe a mini-fridge.
Justin Smoak. Get him out of Safeco, where his power is strictly warning track. He’ll never be Joey Votto anywhere else, but Smoak simply cannot buy a hit. Smoak is baseball’s unluckiest hitter with a .247 BABIP for the last 3 years, despite respectable line drive and ground ball rates. (Rod Barajas and Vernon Wells had lower BABIP, but Barajas has a ludicrous flyball rate, and Wells has a line drive rate below his pop up rate.) Also, unlike Barajas and Wells, Smoak actually has defensive usefulness. He just missed Super Two status, so Seattle might be relucant to deal him, or might actually ask for something of value. But it is probably worth inquiring and some due diligence.
Chase Headley. Although after 2012, his cover has been blown as a Hidden Gem. This is a token mention only, as he will cost thoroughly to acquire, and the Sox really don’t need a 3B anyway. At least not badly enough to break the bank to get Headley.
Chris Johnson. All he does is hit line drives. He was buried in offensive obscurity in Houston, and in the middle of an actual lineup where he won’t be the focus, he should be a much more productive hitter. This dude NEVER hits infield pop ups. He just has some quality bat control. The Sox don’t need a 3B, but most teams could use a hitter like Johnson at some point.
Getting all would be flat out stupid, and relying on more than one or two extremely risky. But the options are out there.