Concerns at 3b. Beyond Pablo...

jasvlm

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I realize there is another thread dedicated to Pablo Sandoval and his ability to hold down at least 65% of the ABs at 3b, but I am wondering if this position needs to be bumped up the list in terms of Red Sox priorities heading into the 2017 season.
The Red Sox have at least 2 lefties locked into the rotation in Sale and Price, and 2 of the 3 primary candidates to fill the 4th and 5th starter roles are lefties (Pomeranz, EdRod). It would surprise nobody to have 4 lefties in the rotation for much of the early part of the season. Given the likelihood of lots of RHB facing those lefties, shouldn't 3b defense be a significant priority, over even the need to have a great bat there to lengthen the lineup? In my opinion, upgrading the defense they can put on the field at 3b would have a greater impact on their team success than just about any other single position upgrade, and the front office should be scouring the league to see if such a solution is available in trade.
This is perhaps something that has already been considered (and maybe budgeted for), given the Sox are 15 mil under the luxury tax threshold. It seems to me that someone like Chase Headley or Todd Frazier would be worthy additions, and both could be had for very little, assuming the Sox are willing to pick up what's left on their contracts. Both Frazier and Headley are superior fielders to anyone the Sox have in their system, and are capable of holding up over the course of a long season. Neither is all that skilled at the plate, but either would be an upgrade over what Sandoval is likely to feature for the Red Sox this year.
I'm just throwing the idea out there that a defensively skilled 3b solution should be something the front office looks into as the season draws closer.
 

Red(s)HawksFan

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They're not signing or trading for another 3B before season begins. They're just not. Dombrowski has essentially said the roster is set (barring some more minor league deals with STIs) and the gap between current salary and the luxury tax cap is going to be for addressing in-season needs should they arise.

At least to start the season, they're going to ride or die with Panda.
 

OptimusPapi

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The first step is admitting that Pablo Sandoval is the Red Sox starting third baseman to begin the year. Admittedly the first step can be the hardest.
 

jasvlm

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I understand that Sandoval is being given the first shot at the 3b job, and I've come to terms with that situation. Sandoval's contract has more to do with his current rank in the pecking order at 3b, but that does not mean he's going to be the best option for the team. I continue to stipulate that the Red Sox should seek an upgrade, especially defensively, at 3b at some point in the season. If that's June, I'd be OK with it, because I do agree that the Red Sox have already decided that Panda will open the season as the primary 3b option. His performance will dictate how quickly the Red Sox pursue an upgrade at 3b. I contend that they should begin doing so with purpose sooner rather than later.
 

Cesar Crespo

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I think part of the reason they haven't brought anyone in is because they want to see where Devers is by the time June/July rolls around if indeed Pablo is finished. If he's floundering in AA, you make a trade. The problem isn't so much Pablo that there is no depth at all behind Pablo. I'm not sold on Holt or Rutledge being our FT 3b for any longer than a couple weeks.
 

jasvlm

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I understand that they feel Devers is their future at 3b, but it is probably asking too much to expect a guy who finished the year in High A ball to be a major league option this season. I wholeheartedly agree that Devers is viewed as the future at 3b, but I doubt the front office is counting on him to be in the majors by July. A single year option (Frazier is an excellent fit) would improve the team significantly in 2017, and that has to be the entire focus of the effort to manage this roster going forward. They've pushed all their chips into the middle for the 2017-2019 seasons, and it would be a huge mistake to gamble on Panda being a fielder or a hitter worthy of holding down such an important part of their team.
Devers should not be part of the consideration in this equation, other than to avoid being tied to a contract on a player beyond 2017.
Frazier's contract is up after 2017 (12 mil), Headley after 2018 (13 mil in 2017, 13 mil in 2018). I'd be looking in those directions very early in the season.
 

Plympton91

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I understand that they feel Devers is their future at 3b, but it is probably asking too much to expect a guy who finished the year in High A ball to be a major league option this season. I wholeheartedly agree that Devers is viewed as the future at 3b, but I doubt the front office is counting on him to be in the majors by July. A single year option (Frazier is an excellent fit) would improve the team significantly in 2017, and that has to be the entire focus of the effort to manage this roster going forward. They've pushed all their chips into the middle for the 2017-2019 seasons, and it would be a huge mistake to gamble on Panda being a fielder or a hitter worthy of holding down such an important part of their team.
Devers should not be part of the consideration in this equation, other than to avoid being tied to a contract on a player beyond 2017.
Frazier's contract is up after 2017 (12 mil), Headley after 2018 (13 mil in 2017, 13 mil in 2018). I'd be looking in those directions very early in the season.
I completely agree with this. They just took out a 125% LTV mortgage on the 2017-2019 seasons, and sticking with Panda at 3B (and Moreland at 1B) is like holding that mortgage while keeping a termite colony in the attic as your pets. If you're going for it, then go for it. Don't trade 10 top prospects and 12 overall for four pitchers and then try to stay under the luxury tax with has been's and never were's at the corners.
 

Cesar Crespo

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What would you trade for Frazier or Headley? I guess Headley could be had for nothing but then you are stuck with him him in 2018. There isn't much left to trade. Plouffe would've been nice. Every move they've made suggest the Sox have faith in Sandoval though.
 

jasvlm

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I think Frazier is the more attractive option for a few reasons, mostly because he's only signed for 2017, but also because he's been a power hitter, something the Sox lack beyond Hanley and Betts. His OB% is terrible, but he's still a dependable fielder. The White Sox have zero reason to hold onto him, so I believe he could be had for a lottery ticket or a higher level contributor. Perhaps someone like Marerro could be of interest as a glove first utility guy, or perhaps Dan Butler, as Chicago needs a catching solution. If the Sox take on all the salary, it should be a pretty marginal type of talent.
 

Cesar Crespo

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I'd guess the price starts at Dalbec and that Frazier has a lot more value than you think he does. I could be wrong but I don't see why they would be eager to dump him. Moncada may end up in the OF or 2b.
 

ellis28

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Love the terminite colonies and all...reasonable... but it seems Pablo has the job locked down until it's stolen in ST. And if it's stolen it's probably for the better, Devers et. el.. though I doubt it. I see Panda starting opening day.
 

MikeM

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I completely agree with this. They just took out a 125% LTV mortgage on the 2017-2019 seasons, and sticking with Panda at 3B (and Moreland at 1B) is like holding that mortgage while keeping a termite colony in the attic as your pets. If you're going for it, then go for it. Don't trade 10 top prospects and 12 overall for four pitchers and then try to stay under the luxury tax with has been's and never were's at the corners.
With Plouffe off the table there really just isn't any easily accessible options out there that fit the bill here. For now it's just that simple imo.

Acquiring Frazier atm all but pulls the plug on Panda, which DD just isn't going to do yet. The potential LT hit has absolutely nothing to do with it. The Sox look to be in good enough financial shape where if Panda craps the bed early and Frazier is still out there, picking up the remainder of his $12m certainly isn't going to be an issue. If that ends up putting us over the threshold so be it.
 

jon abbey

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FWIW, the Yankees probably don't have someone ready to replace Headley (unless Miguel Andujar looks awesome early on), so I highly doubt Cashman will give Headley away without getting prospect talent in return, especially within the division.
 

Papelbon's Poutine

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I think Frazier is the more attractive option for a few reasons, mostly because he's only signed for 2017, but also because he's been a power hitter, something the Sox lack beyond Hanley and Betts. His OB% is terrible, but he's still a dependable fielder. The White Sox have zero reason to hold onto him, so I believe he could be had for a lottery ticket or a higher level contributor. Perhaps someone like Marerro could be of interest as a glove first utility guy, or perhaps Dan Butler, as Chicago needs a catching solution. If the Sox take on all the salary, it should be a pretty marginal type of talent.
Dan Butler? As in, 30 year old non prospect that the Sox resigned as a MiL free agent last season? Or Deven Marrero? A poor man's Adam Everett who sported a .487 ops in aaa last year?

These are what you're suggesting Todd Frazier can be acquired for?

It's bad enough you started this thread. Try not to further puke on your shoes. 3-4 WAR players don't get traded for organizational filler. The White Sox should absolutely move him, but one year of salary isn't dropping their price to guys you can pick up on the waiver wire. If they're rebuilding, what do they need future journeymen bench players for?
 

Buzzkill Pauley

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What if we add Peter Hissey and Justin Henry?
Frazier is a past All-Star and Home Run Derby winner.

You'd have to add in not only a full bag of balls but also a JUGS machine.

And that's after Massey and Henry are included.

I draw the line at the JUGS machine. If its service time is carefully monitored, it may become a valuable asset to the 2021 team.
 

Soxfan in Fla

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Frazier is a past All-Star and Home Run Derby winner.

You'd have to add in not only a full bag of balls but also a JUGS machine.

And that's after Massey and Henry are included.

I draw the line at the JUGS machine. If its service time is carefully monitored, it may become a valuable asset to the 2021 team.
I include the JUGS machine but only go half bag of balls.
 

Minneapolis Millers

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Are we talking a new JUGS machine? It's hard to determine how realistic these proposals are without more detail, guys...

Frazier's the type of guy we'll target mid-season if/after Panda proves inadequate. Then we'll have to get serious with our JUGS machine-based offers.
 

Cesar Crespo

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Dan Butler? As in, 30 year old non prospect that the Sox resigned as a MiL free agent last season? Or Deven Marrero? A poor man's Adam Everett who sported a .487 ops in aaa last year?

These are what you're suggesting Todd Frazier can be acquired for?

It's bad enough you started this thread. Try not to further puke on your shoes. 3-4 WAR players don't get traded for organizational filler. The White Sox should absolutely move him, but one year of salary isn't dropping their price to guys you can pick up on the waiver wire. If they're rebuilding, what do they need future journeymen bench players for?
Snark aside, we really don't have the assets to trade for him. Marrero makes no sense, not only because he sucks, but the Sox have Andersen and Saladino. Maybe they would bite at something centered around Vazquez and Chris Young. They wouldn't need Sam Travis. The Sox aren't moving Devers or Groome. Dalbec or Swihart may get it done. The minor league cupboard is pretty empty.

We'd all like them to have a better back up plan than Holt/Rutledge/Devers, but it looks like Pablo is going to get some wiggle room.
 

jasvlm

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You may well be right in thinking someone like Frazier would cost more than organizational filler, but making a move to get him (or someone they view as similar) shouldn't cost more top 10 prospect capital. If the White Sox deem Frazier so valuable that it would cost a Groome/Devers level player, they move on to look elsewhere. Headley is also a difficult acquisition given that the Yankees don't have a ready made replacement and they are likely to contend, but it is that type of player and contract that I thought should be targeted, which is why I threw them out there.
Frazier is 31 this season. He posted a 2.4 WAR in 2016. He's been very durable, and has been a good defensive player (although the metrics saw his fielding decline in 2016. His .225/.302/.464 slash line doesn't scream elite player. He's useful, and he's certainly worth the 12 mil the White Sox will pay him in 2016, but he's not a franchise changing asset. Most projection systems peg him as a 2.5 WAR player for 2017, and given that a win usually runs about 8 mil or so per WAR, he's worth 20 mil in productivity, meaning that he's an $8 mil dollar surplus value over his contract for 2017. That type of value is worth something, but not more than a good (not great) prospect or near major league player.
Someone suggested a deal centered around Vazquez or Swihart in the case of Frazier, and that may well be the cost. Given that they seem to believe Leon has turned a corner and is worthy of the starting job, Vazquez or Swihart will be back up players, and one is likely headed to AAA. I actually like both Vazquez (defense/pitch framing) and Swihart (switch hitting, contact, athleticism) as possible future starters behind the dish, but if it took one of those assets plus perhaps a lesser prospect from the system to get a guy who helps the Red Sox to the World Series, I would think it would be worth it. If a single young catching asset isn't enough, I could see the Sox being willing to include Owens or Johnson to push the deal forward, but that may well be the price of doing business.
 

MikeM

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Frazier is 31 this season. He posted a 2.4 WAR in 2016. He's been very durable, and has been a good defensive player (although the metrics saw his fielding decline in 2016. His .225/.302/.464 slash line doesn't scream elite player. He's useful, and he's certainly worth the 12 mil the White Sox will pay him in 2016, but he's not a franchise changing asset. Most projection systems peg him as a 2.5 WAR player for 2017, and given that a win usually runs about 8 mil or so per WAR, he's worth 20 mil in productivity, meaning that he's an $8 mil dollar surplus value over his contract for 2017. That type of value is worth something, but not more than a good (not great) prospect or near major league player.
Frazier is another case where that WAR Math value isn't really adding up in reality terms. The current market is hardly looking friendly towards low obp HR hitters atm, and least to an extent where Frazier certainly isn't getting $20m/per out of it. Leaving the actual "surplus" value in question there at less then that $8m, and probably closer to the current $12m he's already signed at.

I do agree with PP that Frazier isn't getting traded for filler though. A deal centered around Swihart maybe, but Vazquez+ likely isn't getting it done. I'd actually go as far as to speculate that Chicago might even be in a weird spot with him atm and post new CBA. Where the value of keeping Frazier (I generally don't buy into the notion that rebuilding teams stop caring about their on field product altogether) or at least waiting until latter in the season to make the flip ultimately outweighs the potential value in trading him away right now.

But again, that all skips the part where none of it really makes any ideal sense until the plug is being pulled on Panda. Which isn't going to happen just yet.
 

jasvlm

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Frazier is another case where that WAR Math value isn't really adding up in reality terms. The current market is hardly looking friendly towards low obp HR hitters atm, and least to an extent where Frazier certainly isn't getting $20m/per out of it. Leaving the actual "surplus" value in question there at less then that $8m, and probably closer to the current $12m he's already signed at.

I do agree with PP that Frazier isn't getting traded for filler though. A deal centered around Swihart maybe, but Vazquez+ likely isn't getting it done. I'd actually go as far as to speculate that Chicago might even be in a weird spot with him atm and post new CBA. Where the value of keeping Frazier (I generally don't buy into the notion that rebuilding teams stop caring about their on field product altogether) or at least waiting until latter in the season to make the flip ultimately outweighs the potential value in trading him away right now.

But again, that all skips the part where none of it really makes any ideal sense until the plug is being pulled on Panda. Which isn't going to happen just yet.
Unfortunately, I agree that the Red Sox appear prepared to soldier on through the spring and into the season with Panda as their primary 3b option. I believe it will work out poorly for them, both offensively and defensively. That being said, the point of this thread was to illustrate that the position of 3b is a vital one, primarily from a defensive standpoint, given that the Sox figure to feature a rotation of 4 lefties. Finding a defensive upgrade over Panda at some point this summer would seem to be a relatively inexpensive way to upgrade the team performance in a meaningful fashion. Which player that might be is a matter of debate and opinion, but it shouldn't be difficult to find a glove that exceeds Panda's, which should be the focus.
 

Cesar Crespo

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A slimmed down Pablo Sandoval may very well be a good defensive 3b though. He was before. If it is something that will be easy to do, why do it before you even know you have to? We got Aaron Hill for a bag of balls last year.
 

E5 Yaz

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If a single young catching asset isn't enough, I could see the Sox being willing to include Owens or Johnson to push the deal forward, but that may well be the price of doing business.
I thought your plan was to make Chicago more interested in a deal?
 
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Just late-night, post-multiple-martini spitballin' here, but Stephen Oris Drew (with 16 MLB games at 3B on his resume) might make for an affordable (albeit injury-prone) option as a 3B/SS/2B backup option. Realistically, his asking price should not be prohibitive. Thoughts?

Emphasis added for the benefit of those with less-than-stellar reading comprehension skills.
 
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Buzzkill Pauley

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Just late-night, post-multiple-martini spitballin' here, but Stephen Oris Drew (with 16 MLB games at 3B on his resume) might make for an affordable (albeit injury-prone) option as a 3B/SS/2B backup option. Realistically, his asking price should not be prohibitive. Thoughts?
That's such a great idea. But he should play SS, since he has more experience there.

Bogaerts just shifts over to 3b.

Problem solved!
 

Plympton91

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Stephen Drew seemed to be figuring out how to hit again last year with Dusty Baker working his magic. Then he got an incurable case of vertigo or something. If he could give them 140 at bats like he gave the Nats last season it would be well worth it.

I'd be thrilled to have him come to camp. Whose spot would he take though? Backup C, Holt, Young, and ... Drew vs. Hernandez; no brainer that you go with Drew, as Hernandez has plenty to still work on at AAA. The other option would be to keep a 3rd catcher? But unless Swihart wins the starting job he should be catching at AAA and not wasting away on a major league bench.
 

Cesar Crespo

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Probably Drew vs Rutledge. Rutledge has the advantage of being able to platoon with Pablo. Rutledge's career splits are misleading due to a terrible 2013 vs L.

edit: They have Junior Lake and Matt Dominguez too. The latter being a 3b who hits from the right side and has a plus glove.
 

pjr

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Stephen Drew seemed to be figuring out how to hit again last year with Dusty Baker working his magic. Then he got an incurable case of vertigo or something. If he could give them 140 at bats like he gave the Nats last season it would be well worth it.

I'd be thrilled to have him come to camp. Whose spot would he take though? Backup C, Holt, Young, and ... Drew vs. Hernandez; no brainer that you go with Drew, as Hernandez has plenty to still work on at AAA. The other option would be to keep a 3rd catcher? But unless Swihart wins the starting job he should be catching at AAA and not wasting away on a major league bench.
Drew is going back to the Nats per Heyman .