Red Sox Offseason discussion

Petagine in a Bottle

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I don’t get your desire to get rid of Houck when inexpensive and productive pitchers are what this team needs more than anything else. I’d be disappointed if the Sox trade Houck and Duran for two Rockies pitchers who aren’t that good and aren’t particularly cheap either, no thanks on that.

I agree that the Sox are likely choosing from a group of flawed starters, but if they only want to hand out short term deals, that’s the available pool of players.
 

chawson

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Colorado elected to do absolutely nothing at the trade deadline. I'm not sure what would motivate them to move Marquez in this sort of deal. Also, Freeland's career WHIP of 1.40 is a bit concerning.
It’s true, there’s no understanding Colorado’s plan. As for Freeland, he added a curveball in 2020 that seemed to help a lot. He’s a former #8 overall pick and has all sorts of bad Coors numbers. Big if you dig into the peripherals, I don’t see that he’s much different than Alex Wood or Steven Matz and probably wouldn’t cost a lot to get.

I don’t get your desire to get rid of Houck when inexpensive and productive pitchers are what this team needs more than anything else. I’d be disappointed if the Sox trade Houck and Duran for two Rockies pitchers who aren’t that good and aren’t particularly cheap either, no thanks on that.

I agree that the Sox are likely choosing from a group of flawed starters, but if they only want to hand out short term deals, that’s the available pool of players.
Germán Márquez is incredibly valuable. He had the same xFIP as Luis Castillo last year and has an extra year of control (FA in ‘25). He has the 11th-best xFIP since 2019, slotting between Walker Buehler and Lucas Giolito. He’s 26.

There’s an interesting story at the Athletic last week about the Rockies’ preference for pitchers with very low-spin fastballs, like Austin Gomber, Jon Gray and Antonio Senzatela, because they’re less vulnerable to the altitude. Houck is in that group. I’m just spitballing, but if they see him as a conventional starter and we see him as a 3-4 inning guy, then I think yeah that’d be a great move to make.
 

Petagine in a Bottle

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Marquez is better than I’m giving him credit for, but he has 3/42 left. Trading Houck, who can’t be a FA until 2028, seems like a bad idea to me. Spend the $42 million on a FA and keep Houck, basically. Even if he’s a 3-4 inning guy, they need that.
 

Sprowl

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There’s an interesting story at the Athletic last week about the Rockies’ preference for pitchers with very low-spin fastballs, like Austin Gomber, Jon Gray and Antonio Senzatela, because they’re less vulnerable to the altitude. Houck is in that group. I’m just spitballing, but if they see him as a conventional starter and we see him as a 3-4 inning guy, then I think yeah that’d be a great move to make.
Houck's splitter was looking more than serviceable as a third pitch at the end of 2021. I would be surprised if the Red Sox see him as limited to 3-4 innings (except perhaps as an opener in the playoffs).
 

Petagine in a Bottle

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Well, Baez can play 2b next year and would be Bogaerts insurance. He’s only 28 and will surely get paid a lot of money for a long time so I doubt the Sox will be the highest bidder, but as a target, he makes sense to inquire about. He’s a really good player; his OPS+ since turning 24 are 102, 129, 115, 59 (CoViD year) and 117.
 

IpswichSox

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Until we know for sure, Baez may be nothing more than the front office doing due diligence on every permutation, which they should do. Like the Pentagon has a plan on how we would invade Chile, but it doesn't mean we're actually going to do it.
 

effectivelywild

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I don’t buy it. Why spend $80 million to add the second-worst chase rate in baseball to an offense that’s already among the very worst at that? He seems like a fun player, but to me, also the likeliest top free agent to turn into a Sandoval situation.
I think the Sox are preaching a new offensive philosophy of trying to take advantage of the "third time through the order" penalty by getting through the order the first two times with a minimum number of pitches, thus enticing opposing managers to leave their starters in.
 

Red(s)HawksFan

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Gee, a free agent is allegedly drawing interest from a bunch of teams, including a big budget team that just happens to maybe have an opening at the player's position. In other news, water is wet.
 

E5 Yaz

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Gee, a free agent is allegedly drawing interest from a bunch of teams, including a big budget team that just happens to maybe have an opening at the player's position. In other news, water is wet.
Not dehydrated water
 

OCD SS

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I don’t buy it. Why spend $80 million to add the second-worst chase rate in baseball to an offense that’s already among the very worst at that? He seems like a fun player, but to me, also the likeliest top free agent to turn into a Sandoval situation.
When I suggested Baez as an option for the Sox, it was with the idea that his market would collapse so he'd be cheaper than other options, but if the market explodes (who saw this much action happening before the new CBA was signed?) he does fit nicely:
  • He's a good defensive SS (as opposed to the incumbent on the Sox)
  • He's flexible enough to play 2B
  • Even with horrid plate discipline and chase rates, he still hits for good power, so his overall offensive value isn't negative.
  • He's not likely going to get as long a deal as some of the other SS options
I think it makes sense to sign a potential X replacement this year when there are lots of options available. Baez can move in and play 2B (where he only has to be better than Arroyo), and then the team is covered if X proves to be too expensive after he opts out. I think ideally you'd swap Baez and X across the keystone to improve the IF defense, with an eye towards Mayer taking over SS from Baez in 3 - 4 years...
 

chawson

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When I suggested Baez as an option for the Sox, it was with the idea that his market would collapse so he'd be cheaper than other options, but if the market explodes (who saw this much action happening before the new CBA was signed?) he does fit nicely:
  • He's a good defensive SS (as opposed to the incumbent on the Sox)
  • He's flexible enough to play 2B
  • Even with horrid plate discipline and chase rates, he still hits for good power, so his overall offensive value isn't negative.
  • He's not likely going to get as long a deal as some of the other SS options
I think it makes sense to sign a potential X replacement this year when there are lots of options available. Baez can move in and play 2B (where he only has to be better than Arroyo), and then the team is covered if X proves to be too expensive after he opts out. I think ideally you'd swap Baez and X across the keystone to improve the IF defense, with an eye towards Mayer taking over SS from Baez in 3 - 4 years...
I agree with all your reasoning, but I’d prefer Semien or any other shortstop even if it costs us $50 to $200m more. Don’t like Baez’s floor.
 

OCD SS

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I agree with all your reasoning, but I’d prefer Semien or any other shortstop even if it costs us $50 to $200m more. Don’t like Baez’s floor.
Part of my reasoning is that I expected Semien’s market to develop faster and him to get a bigger contract, but the whole market seems hot right now.

If the Sox are going into the SS market, I’d rather get a good defensive SS, which Semien is not anymore. I also think we’ve basically seen his peak and he’s more likely to regress (and be that much more overpaid given his market).
 

nvalvo

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I agree with all your reasoning, but I’d prefer Semien or any other shortstop even if it costs us $50 to $200m more. Don’t like Baez’s floor.
Baez seems like he has the widest variance of any of the SS. He's been very good and very mediocre, season to season. Of course, you could say something similar about Semien.
 

Petagine in a Bottle

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Baez seems like he has the widest variance of any of the SS. He's been very good and very mediocre, season to season. Of course, you could say something similar about Semien.
That’s not really true, Baez was lousy in the CoViD year but has otherwise been really good.
 

Adirondack jack

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By FanGraph's defensive scoring, Kiké was the 6th best CF in 2021, just a tick behind a familiar name -- Jackie Bradley Jr.
Over the past three years, he (Kiké) is ranked 4th with a UZR/150 of 15.2; he's up there with Harrison Bader (2), Billy Hamilton (3), Byron Buxton (5), Kevin Kiermaier (6), et al. Kiké is an elite CF. (Btw, Verdugo over that period is 59th of 98 with at least 300 innings, with a UZR/150 of -2.4, and Mark Canha is 73rd with -4.7.)

By contrast, in 2021 Kiké ranked 25th in 2B UZR/150 at -1.3. (BTW, Christian Arroyo ranked 1st, at 7.8.) Over the past three years, Kiké ranks 73rd out of 93 with at least 300 innings, with a -4.2 UZR/150.

The nut: Kiké is an elite CF and a mediocre 2B. I'm optimistic the Sox have the sense to leave him in CF and look for upgrades at other positions.
This to me is interesting.

I yell at the sky when it rains, for reference. I am old and the games are on too late, but in my limited viewership Kike is not an elite CF ,now, or one to be one expected in the future. He had a great year, for the ages really, but I have a hard time seeing him as more than an adequately average center-fielder at Fenway for the most part. For reference JD Drew was a fielder for the ages, made everything look easy, never got dirty. I'm not looking for someone to run through the wall, here etc..

Maybe I should pay attention more.
 

cantor44

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I agree with all your reasoning, but I’d prefer Semien or any other shortstop even if it costs us $50 to $200m more. Don’t like Baez’s floor.
Either player serves this role well, and it makes total sense the Sox do this. It improves the roster, and gives them all kinds of contingency plans, with X leaving, or staying. If Yorke takes the express lane to the majors, folks can switch positions or a trade can be made. I suspect they pull the trigger on one of these two, or possibly Taylor. Unless - unless - they demand too many years. It's that more than the AAV that I think might make the Sox hesitate.
 

Minneapolis Millers

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Everyone knows this, he will likely end up with 2/80 or 3/120 from the Dodgers.
Time will tell, of course, but I'm having a hard time seeing another team force the Dodgers to go 3 years on Scherzer, at that money level. There were a couple of yellow flags at the end of the season (lousy last two reg season starts, dead arm in playoffs). For a guy turning 38 next year, 2 yrs/$75-80M ought to be plenty enough to get 'er done. Maybe you add a 3rd year player option that gets triggered by # of innings pitched in year 2.

I wouldn't want the Sox in at that level, as it would likely put the kibosh on extension talks for Devers or X.
 

chrisfont9

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Marquez is better than I’m giving him credit for, but he has 3/42 left. Trading Houck, who can’t be a FA until 2028, seems like a bad idea to me. Spend the $42 million on a FA and keep Houck, basically. Even if he’s a 3-4 inning guy, they need that.
Houck basically won the Tampa series. Seems like someone worth betting on an incremental improvement rather than just declaring 2021 his ceiling and dealing him for someone who was better this past year and costs far more. Not that you want to bet on every young pitcher getting better, but Houck seems like a good candidate and it won't take much improvement to get him through the order a third time in OK shape.
 

Yo La Tengo

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Either player serves this role well, and it makes total sense the Sox do this. It improves the roster, and gives them all kinds of contingency plans, with X leaving, or staying. If Yorke takes the express lane to the majors, folks can switch positions or a trade can be made. I suspect they pull the trigger on one of these two, or possibly Taylor. Unless - unless - they demand too many years. It's that more than the AAV that I think might make the Sox hesitate.
I agree with targeting one of these players but I lean strongly toward Baez: Semien is 31, Baez will soon turn 29. Semien received a qualifying offer and Baez did not. I'd be interested in a comparison of their defensive skills as my impression is that Baez is stronger defensively.

There was speculation on Fangraphs that we discussed above that Baez would receive a 4 year/$80 million contract. It would be interesting to see if he is trying to get ahead of the SS market by signing first.

EDIT:

Baez seems like he has the widest variance of any of the SS. He's been very good and very mediocre, season to season. Of course, you could say something similar about Semien.
I'd argue that Baez has been quite consistent (including his primary flaw of a low OBP with lots of strikeouts) while Semien has had two outstanding seasons with the remainder being much less impressive. Of course, those two seasons have been over the last 3 years, with both players playing poorly in 2020.
 
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EricFeczko

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According to mlb.com’s Dodgers beat writer, the Red Sox are among a few teams that have shown interest in Chris Taylor. https://www.mlb.com/news/corey-seager-chris-taylor-decline-dodgers-qualifying-offer
Given the QO, I would pay 30 million more to sign Baez over Taylor.

Of course, both being right handed bats, their signings don't make a lot of sense . Someone like Brad Miller on a cheap 2-yr deal (left-handed SS; career 113 wRC+ against righties) makes a lot more sense, but may only happen after the CBA gets ironed out.
 

Yo La Tengo

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https://www.nydailynews.com/sports/baseball/yankees/ny-shortstop-free-agents-correa-seager-20211117-x3aua6xhvjewvfwfnvsar6j7fm-story.html

"With the need to put money aside to invest in Judge, the Yankees are apparently comfortable going with a stopgap defensive shortstop while they wait for Volpe and Peraza to reach the majors. In his virtual media session on Tuesday, manager Aaron Boone specifically mentioned Peraza by name as someone who is “knocking on the door,” and sources have expressed the very real possibility that we see one of the two youngsters wearing pinstripes at some point next year."
. . .
"Industry sources believe center field and pitching will be the Bombers’ top priority in free agency instead."

While I don't necessarily believe the Yankees are going to avoid the pricey shortstops, this posturing might encourage one of the mid-tier options to sign early.
 

RedOctober3829

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https://www.nydailynews.com/sports/baseball/yankees/ny-shortstop-free-agents-correa-seager-20211117-x3aua6xhvjewvfwfnvsar6j7fm-story.html

"With the need to put money aside to invest in Judge, the Yankees are apparently comfortable going with a stopgap defensive shortstop while they wait for Volpe and Peraza to reach the majors. In his virtual media session on Tuesday, manager Aaron Boone specifically mentioned Peraza by name as someone who is “knocking on the door,” and sources have expressed the very real possibility that we see one of the two youngsters wearing pinstripes at some point next year."
. . .
"Industry sources believe center field and pitching will be the Bombers’ top priority in free agency instead."

While I don't necessarily believe the Yankees are going to avoid the pricey shortstops, this posturing might encourage one of the mid-tier options to sign early.
AKA.....We don't like the prices now for the SS we want so we will wait for them to come down.
 

Yo La Tengo

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Someone like Brad Miller on a cheap 2-yr deal (left-handed SS; career 113 wRC+ against righties) makes a lot more sense, but may only happen after the CBA gets ironed out.
It looks like Brad Miller hasn't played SS regularly since 2016 (0 games at short in 2017, 6 in 2018, 1 in 2019, 2 in 2020, 0 in 2021) so he would likely be an emergency backup at that position. Is he considered a strong defensive second baseman? If the Sox are planning on doing whatever is necessary to keep Xander at SS long-term (which would not be my preferred option), Miller might be a good platoon player at second and could fill in at other spots. Notably, he's played more than 110 games just once since 2017 (last year w/ 140 games).
 

RedOctober3829

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Jen McCaffery has an interesting article on some moves the Red Sox could make and the trickle down effect.

--Signing Marcus Semien: adds a ton of offense, much improved infield defense at 2B, can sign a player with a QO and give up a lower pick than usual because of the pick they got back for ERod, provides Bogaerts insurance long-term, and improves the bench by putting Arroyo there.

--Trading JD: after signing Semien, a JD trade could balance out the payroll by dealing him off for something else they need such as a starter or a couple of bullpen arms.

--Signing Kyle Schwarber: replaces a lot of Martinez's offense at a lower price, younger than JD, can play DH/LF/1B.

--Signing Steven Matz: low cost, veteran starter(projected 3/$27 million deal per MLBTR) that could keep Houck and/or Whitlock in the bullpen.

Per her math, these series of moves signed at the projected MLBTR contract totals would put them right up against the $210 million luxury tax threshold.

How would you like if this is how the offseason plays out?

https://theathletic.com/2962452/2021/11/18/mccaffrey-the-case-for-the-red-sox-signing-marcus-semien-and-the-trickle-down-effect-on-the-roster/?source=rss&utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=twitter
 

johnnywayback

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Jen McCaffery has an interesting article on some moves the Red Sox could make and the trickle down effect.

--Signing Marcus Semien: adds a ton of offense, much improved infield defense at 2B, can sign a player with a QO and give up a lower pick than usual because of the pick they got back for ERod, provides Bogaerts insurance long-term, and improves the bench by putting Arroyo there.

--Trading JD: after signing Semien, a JD trade could balance out the payroll by dealing him off for something else they need such as a starter or a couple of bullpen arms.

--Signing Kyle Schwarber: replaces a lot of Martinez's offense at a lower price, younger than JD, can play DH/LF/1B.

--Signing Steven Matz: low cost, veteran starter(projected 3/$27 million deal per MLBTR) that could keep Houck and/or Whitlock in the bullpen.

Per her math, these series of moves signed at the projected MLBTR contract totals would put them right up against the $210 million luxury tax threshold.

How would you like if this is how the offseason plays out?

https://theathletic.com/2962452/2021/11/18/mccaffrey-the-case-for-the-red-sox-signing-marcus-semien-and-the-trickle-down-effect-on-the-roster/?source=rss&utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=twitter
I think a lot hinges there on JD's trade value. It's not clear to me that you'd be able to get one, let alone more than one, major-league pitcher on a cheap deal for a player who is making market price. It's also not clear to me that Schwarber is going to be significantly cheaper than Martinez, but even by McCaffrey's estimates, you don't have much room to add a second starter or a late-inning reliever. And I don't love the idea of banking on a 32-year-old Semien to play SS in a post-Xander era.

So, I guess I would not be thrilled with that outcome, unless Martinez can somehow bring back a cheap, viable starter.
 

PrometheusWakefield

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Jen McCaffery has an interesting article on some moves the Red Sox could make and the trickle down effect.

--Signing Marcus Semien: adds a ton of offense, much improved infield defense at 2B, can sign a player with a QO and give up a lower pick than usual because of the pick they got back for ERod, provides Bogaerts insurance long-term, and improves the bench by putting Arroyo there.

--Trading JD: after signing Semien, a JD trade could balance out the payroll by dealing him off for something else they need such as a starter or a couple of bullpen arms.

--Signing Kyle Schwarber: replaces a lot of Martinez's offense at a lower price, younger than JD, can play DH/LF/1B.

--Signing Steven Matz: low cost, veteran starter(projected 3/$27 million deal per MLBTR) that could keep Houck and/or Whitlock in the bullpen.

Per her math, these series of moves signed at the projected MLBTR contract totals would put them right up against the $210 million luxury tax threshold.

How would you like if this is how the offseason plays out?

https://theathletic.com/2962452/2021/11/18/mccaffrey-the-case-for-the-red-sox-signing-marcus-semien-and-the-trickle-down-effect-on-the-roster/?source=rss&utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=twitter
The idea that we would sign Semien and put him at second base is ridiculous. We don't have anyone on the roster capable of playing acceptable shortstop defense. We need to sign someone to play shortstop. And then we need to think about what to do with second base and Xander Boegarts.
 

RedOctober3829

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The idea that we would sign Semien and put him at second base is ridiculous. We don't have anyone on the roster capable of playing acceptable shortstop defense. We need to sign someone to play shortstop. And then we need to think about what to do with second base and Xander Boegarts.
Bogaerts has to agree to move off of SS though. As the team leader, forcing him off SS this year is a tough ask.
 

Red(s)HawksFan

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Jen McCaffery has an interesting article on some moves the Red Sox could make and the trickle down effect.

--Signing Marcus Semien: adds a ton of offense, much improved infield defense at 2B, can sign a player with a QO and give up a lower pick than usual because of the pick they got back for ERod, provides Bogaerts insurance long-term, and improves the bench by putting Arroyo there.

--Trading JD: after signing Semien, a JD trade could balance out the payroll by dealing him off for something else they need such as a starter or a couple of bullpen arms.

--Signing Kyle Schwarber: replaces a lot of Martinez's offense at a lower price, younger than JD, can play DH/LF/1B.

--Signing Steven Matz: low cost, veteran starter(projected 3/$27 million deal per MLBTR) that could keep Houck and/or Whitlock in the bullpen.

Per her math, these series of moves signed at the projected MLBTR contract totals would put them right up against the $210 million luxury tax threshold.

How would you like if this is how the offseason plays out?

https://theathletic.com/2962452/2021/11/18/mccaffrey-the-case-for-the-red-sox-signing-marcus-semien-and-the-trickle-down-effect-on-the-roster/?source=rss&utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=twitter
While the Sox are not great shakes defensively at a lot of positions, I don't feel like 2B is a weak spot nor is it a place that vitally needs great defense (especially in the shift era). Semien certainly would be an upgrade to the current in-house options, but I'm not sure adding him while subtracting JD is a net gain overall. Or at least enough of an upgrade to justify the added expense. Nor do I think JD brings back a valuable pitcher in trade to offset Semien's extra cost (not to mention if Schwarber is in the equation at an expensive price).

Seems like a lot of deck chair shuffling for the sake of shuffling rather than the best way to improve the roster this winter.
 

Red(s)HawksFan

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Bogaerts has to agree to move off of SS though. As the team leader, forcing him off SS this year is a tough ask.
Forget the team leader part, he's in a walk year with that opt-out. He's going to want to play the more valuable position to maximize his prospects next winter. Bogaerts playing anywhere but shortstop in 2022 is nothing but a fan fever dream.
 

RedOctober3829

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While the Sox are not great shakes defensively at a lot of positions, I don't feel like 2B is a weak spot nor is it a place that vitally needs great defense (especially in the shift era). Semien certainly would be an upgrade to the current in-house options, but I'm not sure adding him while subtracting JD is a net gain overall. Or at least enough of an upgrade to justify the added expense. Nor do I think JD brings back a valuable pitcher in trade to offset Semien's extra cost (not to mention if Schwarber is in the equation at an expensive price).

Seems like a lot of deck chair shuffling for the sake of shuffling rather than the best way to improve the roster this winter.
The thinking from Jen IMO is that Semien is a younger and long-term replacement for JD in the middle of the order while providing insurance in case Bogaerts does bolt. I'm not exactly on board with signing Schwarber as the cost is not going to match the production over the course of his contract, but swapping Semien for JD is something I'd strongly consider.
 

nvalvo

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I think a lot hinges there on JD's trade value. It's not clear to me that you'd be able to get one, let alone more than one, major-league pitcher on a cheap deal for a player who is making market price. It's also not clear to me that Schwarber is going to be significantly cheaper than Martinez, but even by McCaffrey's estimates, you don't have much room to add a second starter or a late-inning reliever. And I don't love the idea of banking on a 32-year-old Semien to play SS in a post-Xander era.

So, I guess I would not be thrilled with that outcome, unless Martinez can somehow bring back a cheap, viable starter.
Yes, exactly. As you note, JD is *worth* his contract, but he's not worth so much more that he would return something substantial.

If we were going to do something like this (pending the new CBA imposing sterner penalties that make first time overages too onerous) it would make more sense to go over the CBA for one year, and deal JD and his paycheck to a low-budget contender — likely Milwaukee — in exchange for something more interesting (like maybe the young SP Eric Lauer or AAA starter Ethan Small, or maybe we could add in a good prospect of our own to get Aaron Ashby).
 

YTF

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Forget the team leader part, he's in a walk year with that opt-out. He's going to want to play the more valuable position to maximize his prospects next winter. Bogaerts playing anywhere but shortstop in 2022 is nothing but a fan fever dream.
And given this, I would be shocked if the team attempted to move him from SS. The optics would be terrible and might cause a rift with players.
 

Petagine in a Bottle

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There seems to be an obsession with bringing Schwarber back even though he really doesn’t address any of the teams needs. Bringing him back and then dumping JD seems inefficient and overly complicated.

Regarding 2b- it’s not necessarily a weakness, if Arroyo is healthy- but that’s rarely been the case. Then you have to either move Kiki (and there’s not a great CF option on the team), or plug in someone like Arauz? So it seems like moving Arroyo to a utility role is not the worst thing in the world.

I maintain that the interest in Semien and any other SS is largely to figure out what it’s going to take to re-up Bogaerts.
 

grimshaw

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I'd prefer Taylor because of the flexibility options if he's open to bouncing around still. He may not be. To me he is the best available FA position player option where you wouldn't have to move anyone.

If you sign Semien to play 2b for a year and then move to SS, it will have been 2+ seasons since he even played at short. It's not easy to go back there. He was also stud last year so he can dictate where he plays. He may not want to play 2b anymore.
 
I think a much more cost-effective alternative to Semien would be Eduardo Escobar. Switch-hitter, has 20-30 HR power, plays plus defense at 2B, and could probably be signed for $10 million AAV for 2 or 3 years. He would shore up the infield defense, wouldn't drag the offense, and is versatile enough to fit almost anywhere on the 2023 or 2024 roster without blocking younger players.

He even has a little experience in the outfield, and would seem to have the baseball acumen to provide defensive value out there if asked.
 

Mugsy's Jock

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I'd prefer Taylor because of the flexibility options if he's open to bouncing around still. He may not be. To me he is the best available FA position player option where you wouldn't have to move anyone.

If you sign Semien to play 2b for a year and then move to SS, it will have been 2+ seasons since he even played at short. It's not easy to go back there. He was also stud last year so he can dictate where he plays. He may not want to play 2b anymore.
Dictating where he plays narrows his options — for instance he can’t insist on playing SS if he wanted to return to Toronto while Bichette is there.

In a lot of ways, Boston is a great option wrt Semien’s personal ambitions — he can join an excellent team in 2022, then be a presumptive strong option at SS in 2023.

I’m also not certain he can’t go home (to SS) again.
 

chawson

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Aug 1, 2006
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I’m aboard with every point in the McCaffrey plan except for Steven Matz, who I don’t think signs here at that price and seems like an iffy bet if he does. I’d do everything else and do something like swap Duran and Jimenez for Montas and Andrus, or absorb Sonny Gray and Moustakas’ contracts from the Reds. I don’t care about the luxury tax threshold this year.

We badly need hitters that work the count and bring plate discipline, and Schwarber and Semien are two of the very best available at that. I have no idea what we’d get for JDM, but the only downside I see for signing Schwarber and trading JDM is that the latter might be hitting in the middle of a competitor’s lineup in August.
 

Yo La Tengo

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Nov 21, 2005
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And given this, I would be shocked if the team attempted to move him from SS. The optics would be terrible and might cause a rift with players.
I think everyone agrees that Xander is playing SS in 2022 and that he is opting out after next season. With the glut of very good SS free agents this offseason, it seems there may be an opportunity to improve 2B for 2022 and then have some flexibility thereafter, depending on whether Xander leaves or stays with an understanding that at some point he will move from SS. Ideally, Xander plays SS this season with Player X at 2B, Player X takes over SS for 2023 and 2024 at which point Mayer would hopefully take over.

Putting aside the Qualifying Offer and likely large/long contract, since I don't think Semien will likely be a significant defensive upgrade at SS in 2023 or 2024 in his age 32 and 33 seasons, after two years away from SS, I'm less enthusiastic about targeting him. (For the record, Semien is more than 2 years older than Xander.)
 

Sandy Leon Trotsky

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Mar 11, 2007
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There seems to be an obsession with bringing Schwarber back even though he really doesn’t address any of the teams needs. Bringing him back and then dumping JD seems inefficient and overly complicated.

Regarding 2b- it’s not necessarily a weakness, if Arroyo is healthy- but that’s rarely been the case. Then you have to either move Kiki (and there’s not a great CF option on the team), or plug in someone like Arauz? So it seems like moving Arroyo to a utility role is not the worst thing in the world.

I maintain that the interest in Semien and any other SS is largely to figure out what it’s going to take to re-up Bogaerts.
Schwarber is a long term replacement for JD's bat in the lineup. Defensively... yeah, he's not much (neither is JD), but he can play 1B and corner OF (RF at Fenway only) possible LF at other parks. We all hope that Casas can be ready to step in as a 1B but maybe he's Wil Middlebrooks after the jump?
He's not truly redundant in '21. More just an excess at a spot unless JDM is moved.
But after '21, he's more essential.
 

curly2

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Jul 8, 2003
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Schwarber is a long term replacement for JD's bat in the lineup. Defensively... yeah, he's not much (neither is JD), but he can play 1B and corner OF (RF at Fenway only) possible LF at other parks.
Do you mean that the other way: LF only and RF at other parks? I want no part of Schwarber in Fenway's right field.
 

snowmanny

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AKA.....We don't like the prices now for the SS we want so we will wait for them to come down.
I read it as “we are going to pretend to have no interest, even though we do plan to sign one of these guys, because we don’t feel like bidding against ourselves.”
 

EricFeczko

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Apr 26, 2014
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It looks like Brad Miller hasn't played SS regularly since 2016 (0 games at short in 2017, 6 in 2018, 1 in 2019, 2 in 2020, 0 in 2021) so he would likely be an emergency backup at that position. Is he considered a strong defensive second baseman? If the Sox are planning on doing whatever is necessary to keep Xander at SS long-term (which would not be my preferred option), Miller might be a good platoon player at second and could fill in at other spots. Notably, he's played more than 110 games just once since 2017 (last year w/ 140 games).
I don't think the red sox need more than a couple of left-handed platoon bats for 2022 that can play multiple spots (like Miller)-- and admittedly I don't even think of him as an SS.


I think everyone agrees that Xander is playing SS in 2022 and that he is opting out after next season. With the glut of very good SS free agents this offseason, it seems there may be an opportunity to improve 2B for 2022 and then have some flexibility thereafter, depending on whether Xander leaves or stays with an understanding that at some point he will move from SS. Ideally, Xander plays SS this season with Player X at 2B, Player X takes over SS for 2023 and 2024 at which point Mayer would hopefully take over.

Putting aside the Qualifying Offer and likely large/long contract, since I don't think Semien will likely be a significant defensive upgrade at SS in 2023 or 2024 in his age 32 and 33 seasons, after two years away from SS, I'm less enthusiastic about targeting him. (For the record, Semien is more than 2 years older than Xander.)
2023 and 2024 are the only gap years for SS, (Marcelo Mayer probably arrives in 2025) -- so signing someone for more than a few years doesn't make sense either -- and both Seager/Baez are probably looking for large multi-year contracts. You also have Jeter Downs, Triston Casas, and Nick Yorke for support, so the infield needs more gap players than all-stars.

Jen McCaffery has an interesting article on some moves the Red Sox could make and the trickle down effect.

--Signing Marcus Semien: adds a ton of offense, much improved infield defense at 2B, can sign a player with a QO and give up a lower pick than usual because of the pick they got back for ERod, provides Bogaerts insurance long-term, and improves the bench by putting Arroyo there.

--Trading JD: after signing Semien, a JD trade could balance out the payroll by dealing him off for something else they need such as a starter or a couple of bullpen arms.

--Signing Kyle Schwarber: replaces a lot of Martinez's offense at a lower price, younger than JD, can play DH/LF/1B.

--Signing Steven Matz: low cost, veteran starter(projected 3/$27 million deal per MLBTR) that could keep Houck and/or Whitlock in the bullpen.

Per her math, these series of moves signed at the projected MLBTR contract totals would put them right up against the $210 million luxury tax threshold.

How would you like if this is how the offseason plays out?

https://theathletic.com/2962452/2021/11/18/mccaffrey-the-case-for-the-red-sox-signing-marcus-semien-and-the-trickle-down-effect-on-the-roster/?source=rss&utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=twitter
Red Sox would set up themselves up for complete failure if they tried this. None of the pitching problems have really been addressed. Boston had very few offensive issues last year -- but the pitching was a mess heading into the playoffs. They need at least two bullpen arms -- and there's zero flexibility going into the season.
 

OCD SS

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It’s too bad the Sox don’t have some sort of precedent for a team leader playing at 2B… Maybe X is just too tall?

If the Sox are signing a SS this off-season, it should be someone who is a plus defender at the position, which Semien is not from the reports I’ve seen. Get a player who can/will play 2B and sub for X on his off days. At a certain point the better defender will be obvious and the hope is that X can switch to 2B with the new SS taking over. The defense is improved and the offense remains the same.

I don’t see the point of sweating X opting out before we see what he does in 2022. He’s a mediocre year or injury away from deciding “I just can’t leave Boston, this is my home and I want to win with this team.”
 

YTF

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I think everyone agrees that Xander is playing SS in 2022 and that he is opting out after next season. With the glut of very good SS free agents this offseason, it seems there may be an opportunity to improve 2B for 2022 and then have some flexibility thereafter, depending on whether Xander leaves or stays with an understanding that at some point he will move from SS. Ideally, Xander plays SS this season with Player X at 2B, Player X takes over SS for 2023 and 2024 at which point Mayer would hopefully take over.

Putting aside the Qualifying Offer and likely large/long contract, since I don't think Semien will likely be a significant defensive upgrade at SS in 2023 or 2024 in his age 32 and 33 seasons, after two years away from SS, I'm less enthusiastic about targeting him. (For the record, Semien is more than 2 years older than Xander.)
I'm curious if 2-2 1/2 seasons in the minors might be enough for Mayer if he's "the real deal". With fewer levels in MiLB now I think we might see some quicker elevations through the ranks and holding back MLB service time for younger players doesn't seem as automatic as it was a few years back. There's no way to reasonably project this because you don't know until you know, but how great would it be if Mayer could make his debut at some point during the '24 season?
 
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