The Red Sox will pay Ryan Dempster, a .500 pitcher, $1.5 million more than the reigning NL Cy Young Award winner, R.A. Dickey. Do you agree with these moves, do you think there's justification in overpaying players for playoff contention?
Well, the Red Sox definitely overpaid to get some of these guys, but while Iím not one of these ďrecord doesnít matterĒ disciples, I do believe Dempster has been the type of pitcher you want on your staff. Seven times heís pitched 200 innings or more. That means heís kept his team in games enough to stay in games and save his bullpen. They need that type of pitcher. My concern is what good American league lineups will do to him, but I think thatís his challenge and seems like heís up for it. Again, Iím not sold on any of these moves because some of these guys are coming off subpar seasons, but if they all play up to their true levels, theyíre all good players. I just donít think theyíre game-changers.
Does MLB have any rules/regulations that prohibit teams for simply buying prospects from each other? For example, would it be permissible for the Red Sox to offer the Pirates $45 million spread over the next 3 years in exchange for Gregory Polanco and Luis Heredia?
Anything involving that type of money has to be approved by the Commissioner. I doubt it would be approved.
Do you think if the Red Sox could add a stud No. 1 starter, like a Pedro or Schilling, that would make everyone else better in the rotation?
Rick, Rochester, NY
I think the major focus should have been pitching and Iím sure it was, but itís so difficult to obtain that No. 1 guy. Zack Greinke was close to that, but for some reason they didnít go after him (I guess itís the anxiety issue, but those who coached him said as long as heís on his medication heís fine and maybe he didnít want to pitch in Boston). They were trying to stay away from long term deals, but not sure you can do that in the pitching market.
What will the Sox do with a surplus of catchers and relief pitchers? Do they start the season as is and then see what develops, or is there one more off season move brewing?
Bill, Bronx, NY
I donít think they feel have a surplus of relievers. I think theyíd love to have them all in camp competing and you know someone or more than one will get hurt. I thought they had a surplus of catchers, but if Napoli becomes really limited behind the plate because of whatever ailment they have found, then it may behoove them to keep them all. As for Drew, heíll be fine. Heís a stable player when heís on the field.
Overall, Ben Cherington has signed better first year players, in my opinion, than Theo Epstein did. But we have few prospects at Double A and Triple A. I'm not sold on Bradley -- I hope he is rookie of the year -- but I think he is like Daniel Nava at best.
Tom, Leeds, Ala.
Donít forget that Theo signed players like Todd Walker, Bill Mueller, David Ortiz, Kevin Millar, and Adrian Beltre, who worked out very well too. Those guys helped win championships and/or a lot of games. Ben signed Cody Ross for one year at $3 million. Pretty good deal. So you hit some and you donít hit others. Itís never been a perfect science even with the sabermetrics the Sox are using to compile these acquisitions.
Do you agree that with John Farrell as a no-nonsense manager, had the Red Sox kept Beckett, Crawford, and Gonzalez, they would now be a true contender? To have dumped them to save money now being spent on mediocrity makes no sense whatsoever.
Gerald, Brookline, Mass.
I think John Farrell has to prove that heís a no nonsense manager. Not sure where that notion comes from. He won 73 games in Toronto last season and there were issues. I think they did the right thing dumping those guys because they didnít fit well. The chemistry wasnít right. I think youíre kidding about Beckett. The karma with him was terrible.
Do you think the Red Sox will be competitive next year or finish in last place?
Juan, Caracas, Venezuela
Asking the wrong guy. I thought theyíd be first at this time last year.
Who is the No. 6 starter?
Jim, Holliston, Mass.
I think the Cubs' Matt Garza is in play still. The Sox probably donít want to give up prospects Theo or Jed Hoyer would want, but I could see that happening. Frankling Morales would be a sixth starter, but heís likely going back to the bullpen or traded.
Any chance the Sox make a run at Rafael Soriano for a closer and package Andrew Bailey in a trade?
Jeff, North Reading, Mass.
I think Soriano is on their radar.
What does signing Stephen Drew for one year accomplish for this team? The moves the Red Sox have not made are more telling than the ones they actually have. This team will have to play so far beyond expectations to even sniff the playoffs this season, so why spend the money here? This looks like a waste of $9 million, and it hinders the development (and market value) of Jose Iglesias.
Bill, South Boston
Wish I had an answer. I guess they feel Drew is a bridge to Bogaerts. I guess theyíre not willing to risk Iglesiasí weak bat in the lineup. They paid Iglesias more than $8 million too. I would have thought he would have got a shot.
The more we see, the more disgusted I am. I hope that ticket buyers are either not buying or asking for steep discounts. How can they pass this for a ML team?
TDM, Montgomery, NY
All I can say is look at some other lineups around the league. I donít think this lineup is awful. Last yearís lineup after the Big Trade was one of the worst lineups Iíve ever seen. I donít know how they won one game after Aug. 25. Iíve said this the entire offseason, and I may be dead wrong, but if youíre going to have this type of lineup you have to have a great pitching staff. Look at Tampa Bayís lineup most seasons. Look at it now. I think Bostonís lineup is better. But TB always has outstanding pitching. To me itís like the Giants or Cardinals. Their lineups arenít great, but their pitching is.
What on earth are the Red Sox doing signing all these injured, rehabbing and over-the-hill guys to outlandish money?
David, Surry, Maine
I spot a trend. Be patient and let is play out. If it doesnít play out well, then itís fair to be critical.
Will the Sox do anything more than show up? Can we get a honest thumbs up or thumbs down on the Red Sox this season?
How can there be a thumbs up or thumbs down before theyíve set foot on the field? My questions have been why not go after Josh Hamilton, especially when the Angels got him for five years? Heís a superstar, core player and while there are readers out there who want to stay away from him because of his addiction, the last six years have been tremendous even with time missed for injuries and a couple of times when he fell. They decided to change course and go with role-playing/B-type free agents to build around Pedroia, who has had injury concerns of his own and a 37-year-old David Ortiz. Theyíre banking on Middlebrooks getting better and Victorino, Drew and Napoli all rebounding from below-normal seasons. Iím not saying this is going to work. Iím just saying I want to see it and what it looks like when they actually start playing. Thereís no ďrealĒ assessment. You can have an opinion and indicate theyíll be lousy, but sometimes what we say in the offseason doesnít always pan out. I know that first hand.