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Ask Nick: Rebuilding a contender

Posted by Gary Dzen, Boston.com Staff  November 14, 2012 10:51 AM

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Why should I care? Why should I pay attention in 2013? Why should I spend the money for the NESN package? Why should I buy a ticket at Fenway? Why should any sucker if this team won't even reinvest money shed in the Dodgers deal on the short term to make this team a contender? When will this ownership group sell so I can start caring again?
Sean, Miami Beach

I would, first of all, calm down. Long way to go before free-agency is over. Long way to go before you can stop making deals. See how it plays out. Every organization goes through their down periods. I donít think this one is going to last very long. Anyway, you pick up the NESN package so you can watch me on the pregame show.

Maybe it's time for another Hanley Ramirez for Josh Beckett trade. Is there any chance that the Rays would do a blockbuster deal with the Sox? The Rays have a need for position players who can hit and who are far from free agency. Marketing lefty ace David Price would give them the greatest return in a deal and he's exactly what the Sox need to bolster the rotation and to be relevant again.Xander Bogaerts would have to be the prize of the Red Sox bait, and since he won't be ready to help the Rays until late in the season at the very earliest, the Sox would probably have to part with Jacoby Ellsbury, who is expected to play out of his mind in his "walk" year, as well. Ryan Lavarnway would at last provide the Rays with a catcher who can hit, and the Rays could choose between Jerry Sands or Bryce Brentz. They're scouring annually for bullpen help and the Sox could throw Alfredo Aceves or Mark Melanson into the deal. If the Sox don't think they're getting enough in return, they could ask for one of the Rays many minor league pitching prospects. I think there's a matchup there. All that it takes to pull it off is some imagination and audacity. Your thoughts?
Peter Nichols, South Hamilton

I like your thinking and your matchups are great except for the one where Jacoby Ellsbury goes to Tampa Bay. No way the Rays can afford that. I just never believe these two teams would make a deal. I never see Andrew Friedman anyway near Ben Cherington.

What do you think about the likelihood - and the wisdom - of the Sox acquiring Ike Davis to plug the hole at first base?
Derek, Weare, N.H.

Mets people tell me heís not available unless they get blown away. Seems like a good fit for Boston. It would have to be part of a huge prospect type deal where the Sox also take on Johan Santana.

Do you feel that the Evil Empire is today where the Red Sox were in 2011, i.e. with aging players, bloated long term salaries, and developing holes in the pitching staff? What is their strategy for the offseason and do you think they can continue to remain atop of the AL East in the next couple years?
Dave, Concord

Bloated salaries with A-Rod for sure. But CC Sabathia isnít one they regret. Granderson is coming into his last year; Cano is a must to resign long term at big bucks. Teixeira was worth it at the time and heís still productive. They just shed Soriano and Swisher. Jeter is certainly worth it. So I donít think theyíre in as bad of shape as has been thrown out there. Brian Cashman is a pretty smart, successful GM. Heís going to figure it out. I know they say they want to be under the luxury tax threshold, but that thinking could change in a hurry.

Do you think Mauro Gomez deserves a chance to be the number one first baseman?
Kamran Syed, Tampa, Fla.

An interesting player with a power bat, but I canít see the Red Sox committing to him unless other things fall through.

Do you think the Red Sox will sign Mike Napoli?
Tommy Sheehan, Watertown

Heís a guy they needed to strike quickly on. Too much of a market is now building up for him including the Yankees. They could still get him, but Iíll bet Ďya the price has gone up.

I don't think any of the free agents currently on the market is worth giving up a draft pick for. Lack of talent in our farm system and an over reliance on free agency seems to be why we are in the current situation. I would limit my search to free agents that we do not have to give up a pick for. Would you agree?
T.J. Butcher, Salem, Conn.

Nice way to think but I donít think itís realistic. Their first overall pick is protected because they were one of the worst teams. If they are serious about rebuilding this in one year, theyíll have to sacrifice that second overall pick.

Why don't the Red Sox think big? Pay Hamilton $100 million for four years, trade Doubront and Aceves for Trumbo, add Haren and Lohse with Ellsbury, Pedroia, Hamilton, Trumbo, Ortiz batting one through five and a rotation of Lester, Buchholz, Haren, Lohse, Lackey and they should be a contender.
Alejandro, Nuevo Laredo, Mexico

I think they will think big. They were trying to get Jose Reyes and Josh Johnson. I think Hamilton is definitely in the picture and if heís out there for an extended period of time, I think they may circle back to him. I get the feeling that Mark Trumbo, who would be ideal for the Red Sox, is going to be an Angel for a long, long time. But I wouldnít have a problem trading any of the starting pitchers as long as you can replace them in free-agency.

Yikes, isn't anyone better at first than Napoli or LaRoche?
Ed Herring, Dover-Foxcroft, Maine

Look At LaRoche more closely. Heís had more than one good year and heís a Gold Glove first baseman. Sorry, at this stage Mauro Gomez is no Mike Napoli or Laroche.

Why are the Sox always trying to fit a square peg into a round hole? You have a Gold Glove, solid hitting first baseman, so you sign Adrian Gonzalez and move your first baseman to third. You have two decent shortstops (Lowery/Scutaro) and you trade them to insert a journeyman outfielder at short. You have a veteran team captain catcher, so you force him to retire and sign a lousy backup that turns team rebel and gets himself shipped out. You hire a manager that tried to do well, but never fit in and had no support. And Carl Crawford? What was that all about? Now you have three catchers, and looking to sign Napoli and maybe Martin? Are we bankrolling catchers? What's the plan?
Rick, Princeton, N.J.

Kevin Youkilis was declining which is why they made the Adrian Gonzalez deal. Youkilis had played third base his entire career leading up to the pros. The shortstop thing is kind of weird I must admit, and Varitek could easily have stayed on as the backup and the pitchers missed his preparation. At the time the Red Sox thought, OK time to move on with Lavarnway on the verge. I didnít criticize it at the time so I wonít criticize it now. Crawford was a mistake and they fixed it. Now they have flexibility to trade one of their catchers in a bigger deal.

Pedro Ciriaco demonstrated last summer that he can be a regular in the infield...He can hit/run/field...Why is it that no one seems to consider him for shorstop and why is it that Iglasias (good field/no hit) is everyone's choice?
John Oles, Hermon, Maine

I think heís got to be in the equation. Heís a spark plug, a Yankee killer. Heís a good player. Heís not anything more than average at any of the infield position and thatís where he hurts himself. But he doesnít kill you either. His best position is second base, but heís not playing there.

With the Sox coming off a 93-loss season, should ANY of their prospects be considered untouchable?
Dave,Toronto, Canada

I personally donít think so, but they think Boegarts and Bradley could be All-Star players, so theyíll do everything they can to protect them.

Worse signing... Bobby V. to the Sox or Tim Tebow to the NY Jets?
George Samuelson, Bethlehem, Pa.

Interesting comparison -- Bobby V and Tebow. Havenít had time to chew on this one.

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