The focus in this week’s mailbag is a Jacoby Ellsbury trade and whether the Red Sox could have made that deal with Kansas City for Will Myers and others.
First Ellsbury. I find it amusing that so many people want Ellsbury traded. I remember suggesting that many times and getting feedback like “Stop picking on Jacoby!” Or, “You’re driving him out of town!”
I was right about him. He’s a tough player to trade because you don’t know if you can sign him long term. He gets hurt a lot and his rehab time is long.
Even after he returned from his injury last season, he wasn’t nearly the player he was in 2011. Why do you think the Red Sox play up Jackie Bradley Jr. so much? They know Ellsbury is gone after this season. If they could trade him, they would.
There were rumors that the Sox could have had a Cliff Lee deal for him, but Philly evidently backed off. Maybe as things shake out in free agency, there’s a team out there who missed out on a center fielder willing to take the chance on him. Scott Boras told me he and Ben Cherington will get together in January to see if there’s a deal to work out.
As for the KC deal, I don’t think Boston has the pitching depth to do what Tampa Bay did. The equivalent of James Shields and Wade Davis was probably Jon Lester and Felix Doubront. But Shields is a better pitcher than Lester, so not sure KC would have done it anyway.
On to the mailbag:
Do you think the Sox could have made a similar deal for Wil Myers as the Rays did? I don’t like the Victorino signing. Do you?
Lennart, Wallingford, Conn.
Well, they’d probably have to deal Lester and Doubront. They don’t have the pitching depth the Rays do. As for Victorino, I’d rather have taken Ichiro for a year.
Why not trade Ellsbury for R.A. Dickey heads up seeing they’re both in their walk year, sign Hamilton for three years and $80 million, and you would have a contender if the three other pitchers pitch up to expectations.
Ralph, Wallingford, Conn.
I don’t think the Mets want a player they can’t sign.
Can we face the fact that 2013 is going to be a nothing year for the Red Sox? I think it will be an extended spring training. With that said, it may be a good time to trade Ellsbury and stock up on young talent (a la Tampa Bay and Myers). What do you think?
I want to see what the rest of the moves are before saying 2013 will be “nothing.” They need pitching and until I see a strong pitcher added to the mix, I can’t see this team making the playoffs. It’s a great time to trade Ellsbury, but it’s tough to do. Teams need to know they can sign him long term. And nobody knows that.
The closer position was horrible. Do the Sox really trust Andrew Bailey? Why not go after Rafael Soriano, a great closer, especially with Mariano Rivera coming back to the Yankees?
Ben, Kensington, Md.
I think one of the reasons they signed Koji Uehara was their concern for late in the game. I think they have the pieces in place. Hard to judge Bailey when he returned from surgery. He’s a two-time All-Star, so he can’t be that bad. Let’s see what happens this year. It would be a shot in the arm if they could straighten out Bard. They do have Andrew Miller, Craig Breslow, Junichi Tazawa, Uehara, Clayton Mortenson, Mark Melancon and Bailey, so I think they have some good arms there.
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If the Yankees are able to file for and collect on the policy they have on A-Rod, does that money count toward the MLB threshold for teams above which a penalty will be incurred? Dom, New York, NY
Whatever his average annual salary is counts toward the threshold.
With Brandon McCarthy signing elsewhere, what free agent pitcher do the Red Sox have the best chance of landing?
Bob, Alexandria, Va.
They’re in on Kyle Lohse, Edwin Jackson. May be in slightly on Anibal Sanchez. They’re running out of names. Maybe have to seek a deal for someone like Matt Garza or Gavin Floyd.
Why don’t we get Youkilis back? After all, he can play first and third.
Tom, Salt Lake City, Utah
They’ve got Middlebrooks and Napoli.
How about trading Ellsbury to the Mariners for lefty pitcher Charlie Furbush? The Mariners are looking for offense, and this kid can pitch.
Steve, Foster, RI
Hmmm. Think they’d need to get more.
As the bullpen shapes up, it looks like Franklin Morales and Alfredo Aceves would serve almost similar roles – someone who could come in and do 3-4 innings when a starter has to go out early and as the first option to move into the rotation for spot starts or more if a starter goes down. At 27 Morales is three years younger than Aceves and seems to be coming into his own as a pitcher. With that plus side and the obvious effort to build chemistry in the clubhouse, it makes sense to trade Aceves and hold onto Morales although I am sure Morales is an excellent trade chip.
Jim, Glen Allen, Va.
Could be similar. Morales is showing up to camp as a starter. Aceves is showing up as a reliever. Aceves could be traded before the season starts.
I’m curious about your thoughts on Shaun Marcum as a possible fit in the rotation? Do you think signing Marcum as a fourth or fifth starter would be a good move?
Joe, Cumberland, Maine
Scouts I speak to think Marcum gets eaten alive in the American League. Doesn’t mean they won’t do it.
With the Red Sox searching for starting pitching, why don’t they consider Andrew Miller for a spot in the rotation? He’s finally living up to his promise, and it seems if he can get guys out if the seventh and eighth innings there’s no reason why he couldn’t do the same in a starting role.
Bill, Fair Haven, NJ
They’ve tried him there before. Seems like a great fit where he is. Sometimes you shouldn’t mess with success.
Are the Red Sox considering Junichi Tazawa as a potential starter, and, if not, why not?
Steve, Washington, DC
H e wants to be a starter, but I’d leave him where he is. I think he’s an excellent late reliever.
Do you believe that a package of Ellsbury, Doubront, Saltalamacchia (or Lavarnway), Iglesias (or Ciriaco), Melancon, maybe some money and another player for Justin Upton or King Felix or Giancarlo Stanton is possible?
Victor, no location given
I suggested Lester, Ellsbury and two prospects for King Felix last May. Can’t get him now. Arizona doesn’t want Ellsbury, Salty, Lavarnway, Iglesias or Melancon. They want Middlebrooks and something else for Upton. I’m sure they’d listen on Doubront. Two years ago, Kevin Towers offered Upton for Clay Buchholz and Sox turned it down.
With the Red Sox strategy of higher priced/short term deals, what is the likely scenario to unfold over the next 2 or 3 seasons?
John, Hermon, Maine
Xander Bogaerts at short, Jackie Bradley in center. Middlebrooks at third. That’s part of the strategy. They’re banking a lot on their prospects.
Do you think the signings of Mike Napoli and Shane Victorino are good?
Evan, Springfield, Mass.
I think they’re fine. They aren’t top end players. They play a role. You can carry these guys, but I really think you need to have an excellent pitching staff to get by with a lineup of these guys (like the Giants) to make it work. Just don’t think Boston’s starting rotation is good enough as currently constituted.
What are your thoughts on the potential of Ryan Kalish? And now that the Red Sox have signed Shane Victorino and Jonny Gomes, where do you see him fitting into the outfield picture for this season?
Derrick, Horseheads, NY
He’ll probably platoon in left with Gomes, but get used all over the outfield. He’ll get the chance to show what he can do and earn himself more playing time as the season progresses or if there’s an injury to Ellsbury.
Given the Sox’s experience with knuckleballers, why is it that they haven’t pushed harder to get R.A. Dickey?
Brian, Alpharetta, Ga.
I think it’s tough to deal for a knuckleballer because they’re so up and down. Do we know Dickey will be the same pitcher next season? Red Sox have their own knuckleballer in Steven Wright. They think he could be up to the big leagues sometime this year. The Sox did inquire, but don’t think it got too far.
With all the free-agent moves that Ben Cherington has made this off-season, there has been relatively little said about which – if any – players currently in the Red Sox minor league system would be able to provide the same type of short-term “bridge” help that these more-expensive free agents are expected to bring. Given that the overall talent in the Sox minor league system is supposedly in the top tier of all MLB, shouldn’t this be a realistic expectation?
Vincent, Quincy, Mass.
Should be, but that’s not the reality. They could have gone with Jerry Sands or Mauro Gomez at first base and Ryan Kalish in right, but they don’t think that would have appeased the fans.
Two questions: 1) with all the talk about the possibility of the Red Sox signing Josh Hamilton, I’m surprised no one has mentioned how he might fit in this market with his religious views (e.g., that God talks directly to him and will dictate where he plays). Given how Adrian Gonzalez’s “God’s will” comment was received, I can’t believe no one has considered this angle with Hamilton. 2) What does Shane Victorino offer that Cody Ross does not? My thought is that if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, and Ross seemed like a natural to return. This seems to be a pattern going back several years, with the Sox signing a player for one year and then letting him go (V. Martinez, Beltre) ostensibly for monetary reasons, only to end up worse off in the long run. What gives?
Victorino is a better outfielder with more speed. He doesn’t have Ross’ power or production ability. As for Hamilton fitting in, whatever his religious beliefs are, Hamilton is a much more hard-nosed player than A-Gon in every phase of the game. I could care less what his religious views are, nor did I care about Adrian’s. Really not important.