There’s no joy in Red Sox Nation based on our mailbag for the week.
The Nation isn’t happy with the offseason acquisitions. No star power. No excitement being generated.
As I write in one of my responses, I think the Red Sox want it that way. They’re trying to fly a bit under the radar. They offer very little public comments on anything. Very quiet. You can hear a pin drop and I think they’d like their offseason work to speak for itself on the field once the season starts.
Perhaps it’s lowering expectations, but I think they feel there’s been too much emphasis on big names and big contracts. They’ve signed good character players, some of whom are coming off subpar seasons who have something to prove. Maybe the Red Sox feel they’ll get the best versions of Stephen Drew, Mike Napoli, Shane Victorino, and Ryan Dempster rather than the versions that showed up last season, though Dempster pitched very well for the Cubs the first half of the season.
The new model seems to be to build around Dustin Pedroia, have good coaching that can improve the pitching that already exists and a new manager in John Farrell who is on board with the way things are done and then hope that Jackie Bradley Jr., Xander Bogaerts, and other prospects become great players.
I call for many of you to calm down and let it play out before passing judgment. Many of you are not listening.
So let’s read what you have to say:
With the recent acquisition of Stephen Drew, how likely is it that the Red Sox will move Jose Iglesias in a trade? They have Salty and some BP arms as well that could be turned into a decent package for a starting pitcher or left fielder.
Kelven, Monterey, Calif.
I think he’s always been available, but nobody has knocked down their door. He seems headed back to Triple A. They have been afraid to commit to him, so they must not think he can hit well enough to take the job.
Would you trade Clay Buchholz for Justin Upton or Mike Trumbo?
Khoren, Cranston, R.I.
Great question. I’ve thought about that from time to time. I would say no. I think Upton’s performance is erratic. I like Trumbo, but he has holes in his swing and defensively. Buchholz is also inconsistent at times, but I think if someone can straighten out the inconsistencies and get him to be a 200-inning pitcher, he’s worth keeping.
The Red Sox had eight outfielders on the disabled list at various times last year, Ryan Kalish and Jacoby Ellsbury are injury prone, Shane Victorino is old, and Jonny Gomes is not used to playing a lot of games. Why not Cody Ross … does he want too many years?
Marco, Austin, Texas
I think they’ll sign another outfielder or two before all is said and done. They also have Jerry Sands from the Dodger deal, Daniel Nava, Ryan Kalish, Shane Victorino, Jonny Gomes, Jacoby Ellsbury, Juan Linares, and other guys who will be in Triple-A. I’m surprised Cody Ross hasn’t signed because he said he wanted everything settled before Christmas this year. He was out there a long time last season. Maybe his price has gone up. Don’t know.
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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 I’m not one of these “record doesn’t matter” disciples, I do believe Dempster has been the type of pitcher you want on your staff. Seven times he’s pitched 200 innings or more. That means he’s 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 that’s his challenge and seems like he’s up for it. Again, I’m 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, they’re all good players. I just don’t think they’re 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 I’m sure it was, but it’s so difficult to obtain that No. 1 guy. Zack Greinke was close to that, but for some reason they didn’t go after him (I guess it’s the anxiety issue, but those who coached him said as long as he’s on his medication he’s fine and maybe he didn’t 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 don’t think they feel have a surplus of relievers. I think they’d 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, he’ll be fine. He’s a stable player when he’s 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.
Don’t 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 don’t hit others. It’s 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 he’s 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 didn’t fit well. The chemistry wasn’t right. I think you’re 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 they’d 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 don’t 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 he’s 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 they’re not willing to risk Iglesias’ 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 don’t think this lineup is awful. Last year’s lineup after the Big Trade was one of the worst lineups I’ve ever seen. I don’t know how they won one game after Aug. 25. I’ve said this the entire offseason, and I may be dead wrong, but if you’re going to have this type of lineup you have to have a great pitching staff. Look at Tampa Bay’s lineup most seasons. Look at it now. I think Boston’s lineup is better. But TB always has outstanding pitching. To me it’s like the Giants or Cardinals. Their lineups aren’t 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 doesn’t play out well, then it’s 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 they’ve set foot on the field? My questions have been why not go after Josh Hamilton, especially when the Angels got him for five years? He’s 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. They’re banking on Middlebrooks getting better and Victorino, Drew and Napoli all rebounding from below-normal seasons. I’m not saying this is going to work. I’m just saying I want to see it and what it looks like when they actually start playing. There’s no “real” assessment. You can have an opinion and indicate they’ll be lousy, but sometimes what we say in the offseason doesn’t always pan out. I know that first hand.