Hot Stove Rumors - The Fenway Edition

Puffy

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If Will Middlebrooks repeats his struggles or if Bogaerts experiences growing pains or if either Middlebrooks, Bogaerts, or Pedrioa are injured, the current fallback options are essentially Brandon Snyder and Brock Holt (and maybe Mike McCoy). They don't have Iglesias this year and neither Marrero nor Cecchini can be counted on at this stage.
 
The front office may be experiencing difficulty finding adequate personnel for deep depth (major league ready, can cover 2b/SS, better than Holt/Snyder, but not starter).  If Drew's price is low enough, I can imagine a situation that it may be preferable to sign Drew and make it all work out, rather than sift through a weak pool of potential utility infielders.
 
In a world where guys like Punto, Furcal, and Bloomquist are making around $3 million annually (some on multiyear deals), a deal for Stephen Drew may look attractive by comparison. There's also the option of trading Drew at the deadline if the youngsters are solid and Cecchini and Marrero (or Holt) take a step forward.
 

Snodgrass'Muff

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Reverend said:
 
There's a weird "They should move their young cost controlled guys for more expensive older guys!" vibe going on in this forum lately. Well, I think it's weird, anyway. I think people just like thinking about action, activity.
 
Yeah, I find myself waking up and logging into sosh as part of my morning ritual, almost hoping to see news of a big move.  I don't think about what that move might be, just that it would be exciting if the Red Sox made a big signing or trade.  The Hot Stove has conditioned me to be more interested in the Hot Stove than what the Red Sox should be doing during Hot Stove season.  It's definitely an interesting phenomenon.
 

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soxhop411 said:
 
Peter Gammons ‏@pgammo6m
GM:"Red Sox prepping for what they may need by one front office exec canvassing other teams on interest in starting pitching.
 
Does this mean moving a starter?
 
 
I think that's been the case all along. They might wait until Garza lands -- since, unlike Jimenez and Santana, he won't cost the signing team a draft pick -- and then see if teams that lost out would be interested in a deal. Or they could wait until all three of them are signed, which might be a Lohse-ian timetable and make a deal then.
 

jimbobim

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You could argue the whether it's better to have middlebrooks or owings/gregorious. I'd rather slice some salary and have them eat the Dempster contract but I don't think thats possible. 
 

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soxhop411 said:
 
Peter Gammons ‏@pgammo6m
GM:"Red Sox prepping for what they may need by one front office exec canvassing other teams on interest in starting pitching.
 
Does this mean moving a starter?
 
 
I think that's been pretty much an inevitability since they acquired Peavy in July...that a starter is going to be moved at some point this winter or spring.  They've got 6 guys for 5 spots right now.  Blahblahblah can't have too much pitching, yadayadayada, but the fact remains that they can't send any of them down and none of them are much of a fit in the bullpen (presuming any of them would be willing to make that move in the first place).  If they're all healthy, they've got a bit of a roster issue.  With the depth of starting pitching at AAA right now, they can afford to trade off what amounts to a $13-14M insurance policy against one of the starters getting hurt so they can re-allocate that money elsewhere on the roster.
 
Makes all the sense in the world to at the very least get an idea of who might be interested once all the desirable free agents find their spots.
 

DennyDoyle'sBoil

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soxhop411 said:
 
Peter Gammons ‏@pgammo6m
GM:"Red Sox prepping for what they may need by one front office exec canvassing other teams on interest in starting pitching.
 
Does this mean moving a starter?
 
 
I think it's just a reflection of the fact that Peavy and Dempster are taking up $28 million and the Sox are getting close to the cap.
 
For all the details in various threads there is a fundamental threshold question:  Are the Sox comfortable with an every day starting lineup with three very young players in WMB, JBJ, and Xander, or do they want to replace/platoon one of these positions with a major piece?  If they are happy with that situation, they are in good shape.  Spend what they have left on a UI and maybe a little more bullpen, and start the year.  If they want to acquire another piece, they need to get rid of Dempster or Peavy.  
 
We don't really know the answer to this question.  Most of the rumor talk on the board assumes the answer is that they are not prepared to stand pat, and so I guess we've honed in on the most likely piece to be replaced being WMB.  But I do think that fundamental question still is the one that needs an answer and that it is very possible Ben has already essentially answered it to himself as "we're good," and the rest is just noise.
 

soxfan121

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curly2 said:
Nicolino's numbers were very underwhelming as a 21-year-old last year. I would rather they really work with Middlebrooks to improve his approach than trade him for a lefty who seems more of a "pitchability" guy then a pitcher with great stuff.
 
Middlebrooks has been in the Sox system for (what will be) 8 seasons in 2014. I think they've really worked to improve his approach - which has been an issue from day one - for a long time without the breakthrough that some seem to think is right around the corner. 
 
He's not going to get a better approach or improve his pitch recognition and plate discipline skills by a significant amount. He's a low-OBP, high-K guy who with power. He's from the Dave Kingman Family of hitters. I've never believed he would make enough contact to be as good a power hitter as some other think. 30 homers are great but a sub-.300 OBP is very, very bad.
 

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You are indeed correct -- a sub .300 OBP is awful. 
 
Let's be glad we're not talking about Middlebrooks.
 
If we use the logic of career, as you do, he has been under .300 exactly twice: in Lowell, in his first season in pro ball, and in 2013 MLB, when he was both hurt and confused, in his first "full" season of MLB.  
 
Let's not go calling him Kingman or Rob Deer. He's not even close to that kind of player, or hitter. We can disagree whether he will "ever" significantly improve his approach. If you go by his career, he doesn't need "significant" improvement. He needs progression, sure, but if he progresses according to his most similar comp at his age, he progresses like Frank Thomas. 
 
Now that's B-Ref talking, and that seems quite optimistic (especially since one of the other comps on there is Mark Reynolds). But I only bring it out to say that the Kingman comp is simply not even an approximation. 
 

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swingin val said:
Just so we are clear, the B-Ref comp of Frank Thomas is not the Frank Thomas we are all thinking of. It is the guy from the '50s
 
Yes, thanks, I should have made that clear. The point: you're looking at a fairly productive slash line indeed in the pre-arb and arb years, which I think is all anyone really needs to worry with in today's game -- and bearing in mind that power is at a premium in today's game. 
 

Savin Hillbilly

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If he turns out to be from the Dave Kingman family of hitters, we could do a lot worse. I would take a career wRC+ of 113, especially if it's coupled with average-ish 3B defense rather than atrocious LF defense, and average rather than well-below-average baserunning.
 
Kingman was a solid offensive player who played in the wrong era. Nowadays his skill set would be appreciated for what it was--basically a poor man's Adam Dunn--but he played in a BA-obsessed era that downplayed power and was entirely oblivious to walk rate.
 

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Harry Hooper said:
The (unknown to us) condition/prognosis for Will's back also lurks behind any talk of him getting moved by the Sox.
 
This is the biggest factor that we can't gauge at all, IMO, because that's what would completely negate what potential he has, if it might be another year or more before he's healthy enough to actually continue progressing towards whatever that potential is.  Trading him for some non-exciting pitching prospect might be better than getting nothing out of him at all.  
 

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JMDurron said:
 
This is the biggest factor that we can't gauge at all, IMO, because that's what would completely negate what potential he has, if it might be another year or more before he's healthy enough to actually continue progressing towards whatever that potential is.  Trading him for some non-exciting pitching prospect might be better than getting nothing out of him at all.  
If his back problems are that bad, it would show up on a physical wouldn't it?
 

JMDurron

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MakMan44 said:
If his back problems are that bad, it would show up on a physical wouldn't it?
 
If his back problems are of the "not bad enough to keep him from playing, but bad enough to mess with his mechanics just enough to keep him from performing well" variety, I have no idea whether they'd show up on a physical.  If the status of his health is in the gray "dependent on the player fighting to stay at the MLB level to report his honest level of physical discomfort" area, I'm not sure what the physical would tell us.  Unless one of the resident medical experts can shed some light on what we think we know about WMB's back, I have no idea how to judge how likely it is for the physical to give his current or potentially acquiring team enough information to project his health in the near term.  
 

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Deal Dempster and sign Drew for 2 years. 
 
That's a 95 win team.
 
vs RHP
Victorino 
Nava       
Pedroia  
Ortiz       
Napoli
Drew
AJ
X
JBJ
 
vs LHP
Victorino
X
Pedroia
Ortiz
Napoli
Gomes
WMB
Ross
JBJ
 

Sandy Leon Trotsky

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Drew is not going to sign a contract and be a platoon player.  
The Sox aren't going to sign and pay ANY player more than 5-7 million a season and platoon them.  
 

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Drew is not going to sign a contract and be a platoon player.  
The Sox aren't going to sign and pay ANY player more than 5-7 million a season and platoon them.  
Exactly.  As much as I dislike the current version of the guy (liked him years ago), he's too good to platoon but not nearly good enough imho to block Xander.  ONLY reason to resign him is if you think WMB can't play or you plan to trade Wombat.  Then you could put Xander at 3B (I guess?) and have Drew start at SS.  There aren't many other options for us if we need such a player nor are there many options left for him as all of the other teams in need seem to be filling that void.
 

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Trotsky said:
Drew is not going to sign a contract and be a platoon player.  
The Sox aren't going to sign and pay ANY player more than 5-7 million a season and platoon them.  
 
I understand your larger point but they signed Gomes at $5 mil last year and platooned him (yes you said "more than 5-7" but given the contracts being thrown around this offseason it's close enough).  I don't think it's unreasonable to entertain the idea of Drew re-signing and splitting some of the ABs against LHP with Middlebrooks. Neither guy is an iron man out there and WMB can be a significant power threat.
 
Obviously a partial platoon would not be attractive to Drew so it's probably a moot point unless his market completely fails to materialize but it wouldn't be an awful problem for the team to have in 2014.
 

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He does seem to be running out of options, but I would never bet against Boras.  I think one of his problems in the market, in addition to the qualifying offer, is his hitting against LHP.  He is too good to platoon, and his numbers overall probably do warrant a multi-year seven figure per year deal.  But if you're going to commit Jimmy Rollins or Jhonyy Peralta money to him, you need the right line up and bench I think.  You have to be able to carry a guy that will have a sub-.600 OPS for 200 ABs of the season.  I think your lineup needs to be constructed to give him some reasonably proficient right-handed protection so that, at a minimum, you can increase the chances of burning a left-handed reliever on just one batter if they are facing him a high leverage situation.  You also want back up options at SS that makes it easy to give him his occasional off days against LH starters.  
 
This is a little point, not a big one.  It's merely that the number of teams out there who (1) need a SS, (2) have $12 million plus a year to spend for one, (3) are willing to give up the draft pick, and (4) have a line up that can weather a very poor LHP hitter at some point in their lineup may not be that high.
 
He may be at a point where he might need to exhibit a little flexibility in what he's willing to do or try to get the deal he wants.
 

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The splits are a problem, but overall he was arguably a top 10 performing shortstop last year both in terms of offense and defense. He turned down an offer of $12 million last year coming off of an injury, which obviously gives some indication of his valuation; he had at least two offers of $9.5m or above.
 
On one hand, given all the action, in many ways I'm surprised Drew hasn't already signed a solid deal. On the other hand, Boras often encourages his clients to sign late, so it might not make sense to read too much into things right now. I can't imagine the Red Sox could get him for less than $10m whereupon you have to consider where else that money might have more impact in terms of upgrading the team--I mean, WMB makes $500k--and I wouldn't be surprised if years are more of an issue with Drew than AAV.
 

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I don't think Drew is really running out of options, unless he insists on having a deal done by some arbitrary, upcoming deadline (e.g. Christmas).  Most teams operate with a budget and so have to set priorities.  Many teams are still looking for and prioritizing starting pitchers.  There are still some expensive ones out there, but the Tanaka domino has yet to fall, so some big financial commitments have yet to be made or not made.  If Team X misses on Tanaka, and then on Garza, it could easily decide that the next best place to spend its available money is on Drew at SS.
 
Boras knows this, which is why it's highly likely that Drew will wait until some of those decisions get made.  At that point, he just needs one team with money to turn to him, or a couple of teams with money and an opening, and that 4 year, $10M plus per season deal will "magically" materialize.  
 

Puffy

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Minneapolis Millers said:
I don't think Drew is really running out of options, unless he insists on having a deal done by some arbitrary, upcoming deadline (e.g. Christmas).  Most teams operate with a budget and so have to set priorities.  Many teams are still looking for and prioritizing starting pitchers.  There are still some expensive ones out there, but the Tanaka domino has yet to fall, so some big financial commitments have yet to be made or not made.  If Team X misses on Tanaka, and then on Garza, it could easily decide that the next best place to spend its available money is on Drew at SS.
 
Boras knows this, which is why it's highly likely that Drew will wait until some of those decisions get made.  At that point, he just needs one team with money to turn to him, or a couple of teams with money and an opening, and that 4 year, $10M plus per season deal will "magically" materialize.  
 
I agree with this.  I think Drew can be patient and wait for some of the other dominoes to fall.  I think there are actually a handful of teams that could talk themselves into an upgrade up the middle, and I think a contract like that 4 years / $10 million per is not a bad deal at all.  In a world where Juan Uribe gets $7.5 million annually for multiple years, there should be a market for Drew, a 30-year old SS with above average skills on both offense/defense.  I mean, I don't think it's outrageous to project 2 - 3 WAR annually for Drew (he was 3.4 fWAR last year even though the first part of the season was a struggle).
 
The mystery right now is whether it's the draft pick that's impacting his market (or something else, like his injury history or the poor postseason performance) or perhaps just Boras playing things close to his chest. 
 

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Puffy said:
The mystery right now is whether it's the draft pick that's impacting his market (or something else, like his injury history or the poor postseason performance) or perhaps just Boras playing things close to his chest. 
 
I think surplus talent at his position, something that would have been difficult to anticipate last year, is suppressing his market some. 
 

Puffy

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Devizier said:
 
I think surplus talent at his position, something that would have been difficult to anticipate last year, is suppressing his market some. 
 
It's amazing that we are talking about SS as an area where there is ample ML talent across the league. I also wonder if his market would be different if he had a little more positional flexibility, like Jhonny Peralta (who got $53M/4 years) who can cover SS and 3B. I have a hard time seeing that Drew is worth that much less than Peralta.
 

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Puffy said:
 
It's amazing that we are talking about SS as an area where there is ample ML talent across the league. I also wonder if his market would be different if he had a little more positional flexibility, like Jhonny Peralta (who got $53M/4 years) who can cover SS and 3B. I have a hard time seeing that Drew is worth that much less than Peralta.
 
He isn't worth that much less than Peralta.  I believe the Cardinals admitted that they went with Peralta because he would not cost them a pick.  The pick is what is dampening Drew's market more so than his lack of diversity/flexibility.
 
I've said it before, but it's worth saying again.  I think Drew is this year's version of Michael Bourne.  He's a guy who a lot of teams would love to have at a position that is not easy to fill, but they hesitate at the thought of giving up a pick for him.  Come late January or early February when most of the free agent landscape is settled, Drew is going to find a place to land on a multi-year deal that is right in line with most early winter projections (3-4 years, $10-12M AAV) and it won't be in Boston.
 

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Michael Bourn signed in mid-February.  I wouldn't underestimate Boras.  I expect a 4yr, 48 mil contract before all is said and done.
 

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Michael Bourn signed in mid-February.  I wouldn't underestimate Boras.  I expect a 4yr, 48 mil contract before all is said and done.
I could see NYY possibly doing this if they miss out on Tanaka (assuming he posts).  If not them, who else would?  Not being argumentative, just don't see him getting that long nor that AAV.
 

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Yaz4Ever said:
I could see NYY possibly doing this if they miss out on Tanaka (assuming he posts).  If not them, who else would?  Not being argumentative, just don't see him getting that long nor that AAV.
 
The same things were asked/said about Bourn last year...who's going to sign him, no one's going to give him the years he wants, team X is the only one that might make sense, etc, etc.  I don't think anyone was thinking Cleveland on a 4-year deal, but that's what it ended up being.  There was a whole thread on it here last year (though it was started in February and about two days later, Bourn signed) where Boras was pilloried and Bourn/Lohse were mourned for being victims of the compensation pick.  In the end, Boras was a genius who pulled off the miracle of getting them multi-year deals in a "non-existent market".
 

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In the end, Boras was a genius who pulled off the miracle of getting them multi-year deals in a "non-existent market".


Boras doesn't bat 1.000 though. Just ask Ryan Madson.
 

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I could see NYY possibly doing this if they miss out on Tanaka (assuming he posts). If not them, who else would? Not being argumentative, just don't see him getting that long nor that AAV.


I get what you're saying but believe in Boras more than anything. I posted the Yanks scenario in that forum and think tat if ARod doesn't get a full year suspension that it's likely Drew goes there.

IMO Boras will get it done somehow. The Mets could use a SS and they wouldn't lose a first rounder if they signed Drew.
 

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Will the sox bid on Tanaka? Obviously, he will command a hefty deal, however if the sox do trade out Dempter, Peavy or both they do free up some money. Is it worth the upgrade in the rotation?
 

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Will the sox bid on Tanaka? Obviously, he will command a hefty deal, however if the sox do trade out Dempter, Peavy or both they do free up some money. Is it worth the upgrade in the rotation?
I'm fairly certain that with the new $20M posting scenario all MLB teams will bid (just in case) and then he'll wind up with a big market team.  BOS, NYY, LAD, LAAAAA would all certainly be in the running.  Would anyone be shocked if Seattle went balls to the wall and vastly overpaid for him?  Signing FA after that would become much easier, I'd think, so long as there was still money in their account.
 

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Why not? For a $20m posting fee, which they would get back if unsuccessful, they could compete directly with New York and drive up the Yankees' ultimate cost.  Worst-case scenario, we land Tanaka, trade Dempster and probably Peavy and don't re-sign Drew to stay under the $189m. Though I'm fine with just driving up the price tag for the Yankees.
 

BeantownIdaho

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The Sox have not been too connected with Tanaka (from what I have read)....however I would love to see them get him. I am hoping with the success of Uehara (and a phone call) would increase the Sox chances of landing him.
 

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BeantownIdaho said:
The Sox have not been too connected with Tanaka (from what I have read)....however I would love to see them get him. I am hoping with the success of Uehara (and a phone call) would increase the Sox chances of landing him.
There's never enough pitching but there's such a thing as focusing your resources on your real needs. Unfortunately, we just can't have every shiny bauble we see on the shelf.
 

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BeantownIdaho said:
The Sox have not been too connected with Tanaka (from what I have read)....however I would love to see them get him. I am hoping with the success of Uehara (and a phone call) would increase the Sox chances of landing him.
 
This is precisely why the Sox are in on Tanaka.  Cherington keeps his true intentions under the radar until he lands his man.  This doesn't mean that he will get who he targets.  However, he surely recognizes that he has no chance to get Tanaka whatsoever if he is in a bidding war against the Yankees.
 

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IpswichSox said:
Why not? For a $20m posting fee, which they would get back if unsuccessful, they could
compete directly with New York and drive up the Yankees' ultimate cost.  Worst-case scenario, we land Tanaka, trade Dempster and probably Peavy and don't re-sign Drew to stay under the
$189m. Though I'm fine with just driving up the price tag for the Yankees.
1. I would consider that a best-case scenario.
2. Driving up the price tag for the Yankees seems inconsequential as all indications are that they only have an imaginary budget that they fantasize about when they are pretending to have a plan.
 

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I meant to put "worst-case scenario" in quotes, as it obviously would not be a bad outcome IMO.  For a posting fee of less than half of Dice-K's, I think also think Tanaka is exactly the kind of player that Ben would target (assuming the FO's player evaluations track).  Signing Tanaka would not cost a draft pick or prospects.  The only issue is would whatever the AAV he commands crowd out other needs or in-season flexibility? I'm assuming not if they trade one of Dempster or Peavy.  After the dust settles on Tanaka, then Garza, Santana et al are next -- one year of Dempster or Peavy might look very attractive to a GM who doesn't want to add multiple years and exponentially more dollars for Garza and Santana.
 

moondog80

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That would have happened with or without Boras.

The injury probably would have happened, but IIRC, Madson/Boras turned down some multi year deals in search of a Paplebon-like deal, and then took a one year deal figuring they'd score big the following year, only to have Madson blow his arm out. Boras can operate like this because who cares about the losses when you win 99% of the time. Sucks to be that 1% though .
 

k-factory

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ArgentinaSOXfan said:
Sorry if it sounds bad, but IMO it would be stupid if the Sox dont bid 20M for him. 
Im almost certain they will. I dont see a reason why they wouldnt. 
 
I'm sure they would. And they won't be on the hook for that unless they sign him. With Koji on a world series winner there likely is a healthy respect for the sox brand from the NPB. But i have no doubt the contract will get too rich for their blood.
 

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k-factory said:
 
With Koji on a world series winner there likely is a healthy respect for the sox brand from the NPB. 
 
As the third (or fourth) Japanese pitcher on a Red Sox World Series winner?
 

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The Red Sox have the financial might to bring Tanaka to town if they want. It's up to baseball ops if this is how they want to use some of their cherished flexibility and resources. Should be interesting.  
 

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E5 Yaz said:
 
As the third (or fourth) Japanese pitcher on a Red Sox World Series winner?
Good point. Is it really fair to keep adding Japanese pitchers to the roster, thus confusing the national broadcasters?
 

alydar

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Speculate wildly as to what it means (likely nothing) but Hideki Okajima was in town this weekend, as he made a guest appearance at the Holiday Pops.  He's currently a free agent and will turn 38 on Dec. 25.   
 

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Not sure where to ask this; perhaps it deserves its own thread, but can someone explain to me why the Sox are so intent on staying under the $189 threshold this year?  They did it last season (13), so the tax has been reset.  Shouldn't a team with their resources and recent success be willing to go over it?
 
I'm not saying they should plan to go over, or that they should go over at all costs, but if re-signing Drew and signing Tannaka are conceivable, should the luxury tax be a reason not to?  The same could be said of other potential signings as well.
 

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Sox and Rocks said:
Not sure where to ask this; perhaps it deserves its own thread, but can someone explain to me why the Sox are so intent on staying under the $189 threshold this year?  They did it last season (13), so the tax has been reset.  Shouldn't a team with their resources and recent success be willing to go over it?
 
I'm not saying they should plan to go over, or that they should go over at all costs, but if re-signing Drew and signing Tannaka are conceivable, should the luxury tax be a reason not to?  The same could be said of other potential signings as well.
 
It's not just the tax that they are trying to avoid by staying under $189M.  If they stay under the tax limit, they are also eligible for revenue sharing refunds.  Basically, of the money they have to give away for being a top revenue generating team, they get a portion of it back.  The longer they remain under the cap, the bigger portion of their revenue gets refunded to them until they're essentially not paying anything at all.  The 100% threshold can be reached by staying under the cap through at least 2016.
 
For a team like the Red Sox, that could amount to tens of millions in savings.  That savings is also the reason the Yankees are supposed to be so motivated to get under the cap...not only do they reset their tax rate, but also potentially make themselves eligible for those revenue refunds.