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Terry from Seattle and others are wondering that if Giancarlo Stanton is truly available, what would it take to obtain him from the Miami Marlins?
Think Josh Beckett/Mike Lowell for Hanley Ramirez/Anibal Sanchez-and-other-prospects in reverse. The Marlins need to get more than usual for the face of their team. As I reported in last Sundayís Baseball Notes, the Marlins are listening to offers, but arenít necessarily looking to deal Stanton. If a team just blows them away, of course they'd do it.
We know all of the names the Marlins would want. Start with Xander Bogaerts, go to Jackie Bradley Jr. and mix in Matt Barnes and others and you may have yourself a deal. While I would seriously think about this, you have to consider the possible superstars youíre giving up. If Bogaerts and Bradley are the real thing youíre talking about two potential All-Stars at shortstop and centerfield.
With Jacoby Ellsbury in his walk year is it realistic for the Red Sox to give away the guys theyíve protected like their own children? Or is Stanton simply too good to pass up?
Iím sure the Marlins have been hearing some interesting proposals the last couple of weeks. This is one to watch this winter before spring training.
To the mailbag ...
If the Mike Napoli deal falls through why not sign Casey Kotchman and platoon him with Mauro Gomez, the International League Most Valuable Player. Why not give him a shot?
-- Steve, Foster, Rhode Island
Hmm. Not sure thatís the production you want at first base. Gomez has power, but he's 28 and unproven over a full season. Kotchman gives you a good glove and singles. Think they can do better.
The Indians recently claimed Russ Canzler on waivers from the Blue Jays. Canzler is a first baseman and left fielder who had a .697 OPS in 97 plate appearances last year. Granted, Canzler is a mediocre player, but he seems like a good utility bench-warmer. Could the Red Sox look at a similar transaction for the remaining open spots in their bench?
-- Alex, Cambridge
I think they want a lefthanded hitting first baseman/outfielder to platoon. Thatís why theyíre looking at Bobby Abreu and thatís why Lance Berkman would be such a good fit if he wants to play again.
The Sox need a lefty bat for the bench and a backup 1B. What are the chances they work Nava out at 1B in Fort Myers to try to fill those needs in-house? He had a .801 OPS vs. righthanded pitching last year and you know he'd work his tail off learning the position. The other thought I had there was Lance Berkman A backup role might not tempt him but maybe a backup role behind an injury-prone starter would. Nava? Berkman? Someone else besides Abreu (there's a guy in retirement denial)?
-- Max, Sparks, Nevada
Not a bad idea on Nava. I think he could handle first and heís also one of their best outfielders.
Do you think the Sox are done for offseason moves? Could they move Jarrod Saltalamacchia or Andrew Bailey? What else can they possibly do?
-- John, Cranston, Rhode Island
I donít think theyíre done. There are too many catchers and too many closers. There still could be a deal. Sometimes when you try to shift a closer to setup like the Red Sox are about to do with Bailey it doesnít work so well. If you really believe in Ryan Lavarnway as a catcher, I donít see the point of sending him back to Pawtucket. They want him to work with Gary Tuck and they feel David Ross can be a mentor. They have to worry about giving up Saltyís lefthanded power and heís such a great guy to have on a team. Tricky sledding there.
This is the third time I have asked: Where is Dice-K and what is his position.
-- Bob, Lakeland, Florida
Sorry, have no idea where Dice-K is. Trying to find a job whether itís in the majors or in Japan. Heíd prefer to stay in the majors.
I have read many reasons for why the Red Sox seem to be reluctant to sign any long-term deals, and among the most recurrent ones is that they are trying to prevent a logjam once prospects like Bogaerts and Bradley Jr. become major-league-ready. Is it safe to rely so heavily on our prospects to take over, without guaranteeing the presence of any veteran clubhouse leaders (that can still play effectively) as a safety net? What is the likelihood that these much lauded prospects end up being a bust?
-- Alex, Cambridge
Certainly they believe Bogaerts and Bradley will be ready before the three years are up on guys like Napoli (if signed) and Shane Victorino. With Dustin Pedroia there and David Ortiz, thereís plenty of veteran presence. I wouldnít worry about that part. How Bogaerts and Bradley will perform when they get to the majors is anyoneís guess. Iím sure there will be an adaptation to the majors that young players go through. Itíll be interesting to see how Will Middlebrooks looks in his first full season in the majors.
How do you see the Red Sox' starting rotation shaking out from 1 through 5? And do you see any help from the farm system in 2013 regarding the starting rotation?
-- Tim, Indiana
Jury is out for me. So much depends on whether Jon Lester and Clay Buchholz pitch like co-No. 1 starters. If they do, theyíll be fine. I also want to see Felix Doubront take that next step and be that 200-inning guy. This will be the year where he needs to get over the hump. I have no idea what to expect from John Lackey and weíll see what Ryan Dempster brings and whether he can conquer tough American League lineups. As for the farm, the one guy to watch right awayis knuckleballer Steven Wright. Rubby De La Rosa and Allen Webster, acquired in the Dodgers deal, could also be factors.
What would be the odds for a trade for either Ike Davis, Eric Hosmer or Logan Morrison? One of them would make more sense than signing Napoli/Abreu or Adam LaRoche. Believe the Sox also need another starter such as Gavin Floyd as Plan B to Lackey?
-- Jose, Calexico, California
Iím sure theyíre looking into those options and others, but I just get the feeling the longer this goes the more Napili has to agree to whatever Boston wants him to agree on. I was told earlier this offseason that the Mets would probably not move Ike Davis. That may have changed, I donít know. I think KC likes its positional players and team so Iím not sure you can get Hosmer now. Floyd is probably available.
Assuming Napoli signs, it looks like the roster is about complete. The bridge is built. Can this team win 94 games and make the playoffs?
-- TDM, Montgomery, New York
I donít think so, but Iím terrible at predictions. I see about 84 wins, but if everything goes right and Lackey is his Angels self and Lester shows heís a No. 1 and the offense clicks and the bullpen is lights-out and Jupiter is aligned with Mars, then yeah they could win 94. Baltimore went from 69 wins to 93 in one year. So it can happen.
I am a longtime Red Sox fan on the West Coast with Rhode Island roots. Looking at the Giants success it seems to me that a strong bullpen can make up for an average or above-average starting rotation. Now that the Red Sox have a very strong bullpen they can get by with the starters going only 5-plus or 6 innings on most occasions. What if the Red Sox put a package together of Andrew Bailey, Jackie Bradley Jr., Ryan Kalish and Ryan Lavarnway for Giancarlo Stanton of the Marlins. I think he is the last piece that the Red Sox need and he would be a perfect fit in Fenway.
-- Bill, Turlock, California
But the Giants also have strong starting pitching. Very strong. Thatís what makes them so good. Red Sox have to prove they have a strong rotation. They didnít last season.
Is Jacoby Ellsbury tough enough to play a full season of baseball? A big problem for the Sox is conditioning/health. How can management improve this?
-- Dana, Los Angeles
Heís tough enough, but heís just had problems doing it. Itís a real issue for him. Even as he goes out into free agency, people will question durability if theyíre committing big dollars. I think thatís been an issue this offseason on the trade market for him. Conditioning isnít the issue. These guys are well conditioned. One of the problems had been getting them back on the field quicker. I thought they had a terrific medical director in Dr. Thomas Gill, who does a great job with the Patriots. Donít understand why they made that move.