Red Sox Offseason discussion

Petagine in a Bottle

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The price of the kind of SP the Sox are in the market for seems to be established in the $12M range, with top non-closing relievers around $8M. Despite speculation that the Sox would have a ton of money to spend, they’ve been in on guys but haven’t landed one yet.

I don’t think it’s necessarily a bad thing but like lays what they do seem to be letting the market come to them a bit. Do we think they are just not willing to go more than a year or two on any player, similar to last season?
 

chawson

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There was almost too much smoke around Matz for us to have actually been in the lead there. I think we have a decent shot at Stroman and I’m encouraged that we’ve heard almost nothing there. Then maybe can snag McHugh back or another multi-inning guy like Wacha, but otherwise I think we’re getting our arms through trade.
 
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Sandy Leon Trotsky

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I suspect, because the Sox have 6 “starters” that Bloom will move towards a high risk high rewards guy. Won’t hurt the team if it’s a failure- Kershaw. Two years…. One year opt-out at $18M each.
And a deal for a reliever-JDM trade after Schwarber signing.
Ink long term deal with Devers.
 

Red(s)HawksFan

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I suspect, because the Sox have 6 “starters” that Bloom will move towards a high risk high rewards guy. Won’t hurt the team if it’s a failure- Kershaw. Two years…. One year opt-out at $18M each.
And a deal for a reliever-JDM trade after Schwarber signing.
Ink long term deal with Devers.
I can see that as well, but to me, that target is Rodon. Younger and obviously a shorter track record than someone like Kershaw, but a first round draft pick talent who's only really been held back by health. He showed this year that he can be an ace-level guy when healthy. And we know all 30 teams in the league like to think that they have the staff and known-how to keep a guy healthy where other teams have not, so it's just a matter of whether the Sox have the most confidence (i.e. the most money to risk) in "fixing" Rodon.
 

Petagine in a Bottle

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Stroman seems likely to get $100M+ deal, though, no? Will be a lot of money for a guy his age and of his build. I am thinking that the Sox are in on guys but only offering 1-2 year deals and hoping someone bites (so far, we’ve heard that they’ve made offers to Matz and Heaney, right?) Eventually someone will, but the approach to the off-season seems very similar to last year.

FA SP remaining who seem most likely to take a one year deal include Alex Cobb, Danny Duffy, Corey Kluber, Michael Pineda, Dylan Bundy, Jon Gray, Julio Teheran, Michael Wacha, Rich Hill, Mike Fiers, Matt Moore, Lester…

Rodon does seem like the best target on a guy who may take a short term deal but have to think there will be a lot of guys in on him and someone will be more desperate than the Sox.
 
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Sandy Leon Trotsky

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I can see that as well, but to me, that target is Rodon. Younger and obviously a shorter track record than someone like Kershaw, but a first round draft pick talent who's only really been held back by health. He showed this year that he can be an ace-level guy when healthy. And we know all 30 teams in the league like to think that they have the staff and known-how to keep a guy healthy where other teams have not, so it's just a matter of whether the Sox have the most confidence (i.e. the most money to risk) in "fixing" Rodon.
Agree that Rodon would be the better target, but like Petagine in a Bottle says above, I suspect some other team will be a little more desperate and offer more than the Sox would. I don't think Kershaw will have that same attraction, and I suspect he wants to get another ring so will be looking at the major teams- Houston, White Sox, Red Sox, Yankees, Dodgers, etc.... that can help him out there. Houston is out. I think the Dodgers have said their goodbyes. So I'm thinking it'll come down to what color Sox he wants to wear.
 

Petagine in a Bottle

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Speculation with Kershaw is that he goes back to LA or home to Texas. That the Dodgers didn’t offer him a QO doesn’t bode well for him being ready to pitch any time soon, does it? I don’t see him as a realistic option. If he’s heathy, he should get a ton of money. But he’s probably not and should be avoided.
 

RIrooter09

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After Scherzer (unlikely), Rodon is the FA starter I'm most interested in. I hope ownership would be willing to overpay on a one or two year deal to bring him onboard.
 

chawson

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Stroman seems likely to get $100M+ deal, though, no? Will be a lot of money for a guy his age and of his build. I am thinking that the Sox are in on guys but only offering 1-2 year deals and hoping someone bites (so far, we’ve heard that they’ve made offers to Matz and Heaney, right?) Eventually someone will, but the approach to the off-season seems very similar to last year.

FA SP remaining who seem most likely to take a one year deal include Alex Cobb, Danny Duffy, Corey Kluber, Michael Pineda, Dylan Bundy, Jon Gray, Julio Teheran, Michael Wacha, Rich Hill, Mike Fiers, Matt Moore…

Rodon does seem like the best target on a guy who may take a short term deal but have to think there will be a lot of guys in on him and someone will be more desperate than the Sox.
Many of those guys (Bundy, Duffy, Tyler Anderson) will be looking to rebuild their value on a one-year deal, so pitching in Fenway/the AL East isn’t likely to help them do it.

Bloom may be able to grab a guy like Pineda or Kluber, but we probably shouldn’t expect results any better than Richards there. Cobb already signed with the Giants. Another multi-inning guy like McHugh or Daniel Norris could fit too.

Stroman is looking a bit underrated here. He gets a ton of soft-contact grounders and is an excellent fielder/athlete in his own right. I wouldn’t be surprised if that mitigates the BABIP hit he’d take playing in front of our defense (the Mets defense pre-Lindor was also terrible, and he did fine), and we’re almost certainly getting another middle infielder to complement Arroyo if not Bogaerts. Stroman added a new split-change to his repertoire in 2021 that turned out to be a fantastic pitch. He’s not a spider tack guy like Gausman, and there’s no QO like Scherzer or Ray.
 

Petagine in a Bottle

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I agree that Stroman would be great, it just seems like he’s looking for a lot more than the Sox seem to be offering. It’s possible the Sox are willing to offer long term, high aav value deals and are going to dramatically increase payroll…there’s just no evidence of that the way they’ve approached the market so far. They’ve shown interest / made offers to E-Rod (although maybe just the QO), Heaney, and Matz- that we know of, going hard after Stroman would represent quite a pivot.

It looks like the Sox only want to hand out deals of 2 years or less, at this point, which suggests they may not be making any moves for a bit. Which may be the best approach anyways.

(Now that I write this, they will probably sign Freeman and Stroman tomorrow).
 

BringBackMo

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Given the way baseball is evolving, I’m not so sure that divining the Res Sox pitching plans/options is as simple as looking at the starters who are available via free agency or trade. My guess is that the Sox will weigh those acquisition costs versus adding a collection of good-to-excellent relievers capable of pitching in bulk innings. More and more, as this interesting article highlights, pitching is becoming pitching and you build a staff based not on how many starters comprise your rotation and how many relievers make up your bullpen, but on what collection of arms can best throw nine innings each night—and more and more that means good bulk relievers. Can you guess which teams were best in baseball last year when it came to ERA in seven-to-twelve-out appearances? The Rays and the Dodgers. Also in that article: the Rays were among the league leaders of number of bulk relief appearances, but were also best in baseball at avoiding back-to-back such appearances for their pitchers. In other words, these two successful teams—run by Bloom brothers-in-arms—planned their staffs to be used this way.

I am NOT suggesting that Bloom will necessarily follow this model in 2022. As the article makes clear, the Rays’ pitching approach last season was one part overarching strategy and one part reaction to situational challenges that arose in the prior offseason. So what I do believe is that Bloom will look hard at good starting pitchers this off-season, but if he decides that there’s more value to be found in filling innings with good relievers than good starters, we could very well see bulk relievers play a planned and bigger role for the Sox this year.

One related thought: it could be that this kind of approach obviates questions about whether Houck is a starter or a reliever long term. Perhaps he will continue to be both.
 

Petagine in a Bottle

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Good points- but have they been rumored to have been in on any of the relievers who have signed yet? It seems like the market has been fairly well established, with the types of SP the Sox seem to be in on getting ~$12M per and the top non closing relievers ~$8M. It’s not an incredibly inspiring list - Corey Knebel, Andrew Chafin, Ryan Tepera, Daniel Hudson still out there as well as old friends McHugh, Kelly, Ottavino, Robles. But guess the key with bullpens is finding a guy before he comes one worth paying $8M for.
 

geoduck no quahog

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Given the way baseball is evolving, I’m not so sure that divining the Res Sox pitching plans/options is as simple as looking at the starters who are available via free agency or trade. My guess is that the Sox will weigh those acquisition costs versus adding a collection of good-to-excellent relievers capable of pitching in bulk innings. More and more, as this interesting article highlights, pitching is becoming pitching and you build a staff based not on how many starters comprise your rotation and how many relievers make up your bullpen, but on what collection of arms can best throw nine innings each night—and more and more that means good bulk relievers. Can you guess which teams were best in baseball last year when it came to ERA in seven-to-twelve-out appearances? The Rays and the Dodgers. Also in that article: the Rays were among the league leaders of number of bulk relief appearances, but were also best in baseball at avoiding back-to-back such appearances for their pitchers. In other words, these two successful teams—run by Bloom brothers-in-arms—planned their staffs to be used this way.

I am NOT suggesting that Bloom will necessarily follow this model in 2022. As the article makes clear, the Rays’ pitching approach last season was one part overarching strategy and one part reaction to situational challenges that arose in the prior offseason. So what I do believe is that Bloom will look hard at good starting pitchers this off-season, but if he decides that there’s more value to be found in filling innings with good relievers than good starters, we could very well see bulk relievers play a planned and bigger role for the Sox this year.

One related thought: it could be that this kind of approach obviates questions about whether Houck is a starter or a reliever long term. Perhaps he will continue to be both.
I'm saddened that you're no doubt correct. The day when "Openers" replace "Starters" is fast approaching, if only to allow owners to spend less money by not blowing up payroll on the legendary horses that carry you through the playoffs. I'm fairly certain the Tampa model is finance driven while that article implies the Dodgers strategy is results-driven. I guess that kind of nails both as being a trend for the future.

I still don't fully understand the "third time through" data. First of all, it seems like an arbitrary data point. Pitchers get tired...or run out of "looks"...and hitters capitalize. I find it hard to believe that a particular batter is so much better picking up the ball after seeing, say, 10 pitches over two appearances - or that intellgence gathered by the team after 18 outs is so critical. It seems more likely that modern day starters just don't mix things up enough to retain precious bullets and looks for later in the game. These days that may be by design since managers are so hung up on "third time through" .

I'm saddened because I'm nostalgic. Future basesball might employ 9 pitchers a game as a routine...and to save money.
 

curly2

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Siebold should be on the shuttle as the first option.
No offense to you (or Seabold) but with his lack of track record and his injury history, he should be no better than No. 8 on the Opening Day depth chart.


Ian Cundall @IanCundall

Red Sox RHP Connor Seabold's struggles in the AFL make sense given what I'm hearing on how he looks. His velo is still down & stuff isn't back to where it was pre-injury. He was 88-93 in a recent outing & delivery was out of sync. He had 30 command & stuff just wasn't doing much.

To be fair to Seabold, this tweet was made before his last AFL start, which was good.
 

Cesar Crespo

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No offense to you (or Seabold) but with his lack of track record and his injury history, he should be no better than No. 8 on the Opening Day depth chart.


Ian Cundall @IanCundall

Red Sox RHP Connor Seabold's struggles in the AFL make sense given what I'm hearing on how he looks. His velo is still down & stuff isn't back to where it was pre-injury. He was 88-93 in a recent outing & delivery was out of sync. He had 30 command & stuff just wasn't doing much.

To be fair to Seabold, this tweet was made before his last AFL start, which was good.
I wouldn't be surprised if Kutter is ahead of him on the depth chart.
 

BringBackMo

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No offense to you (or Seabold) but with his lack of track record and his injury history, he should be no better than No. 8 on the Opening Day depth chart.


Ian Cundall @IanCundall

Red Sox RHP Connor Seabold's struggles in the AFL make sense given what I'm hearing on how he looks. His velo is still down & stuff isn't back to where it was pre-injury. He was 88-93 in a recent outing & delivery was out of sync. He had 30 command & stuff just wasn't doing much.

To be fair to Seabold, this tweet was made before his last AFL start, which was good.
Cundall has been saying for some time that Seabold is not back to full strength after the injury that cost him a couple of months. I’ve posted it elsewhere but even though we definitely shouldn’t be counting on him to play a big role in ‘22, there still seems to be plenty of reason to believe that he still has the potential to become a good starter.
 

BringBackMo

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Good points- but have they been rumored to have been in on any of the relievers who have signed yet? It seems like the market has been fairly well established, with the types of SP the Sox seem to be in on getting ~$12M per and the top non closing relievers ~$8M. It’s not an incredibly inspiring list - Corey Knebel, Andrew Chafin, Ryan Tepera, Daniel Hudson still out there as well as old friends McHugh, Kelly, Ottavino, Robles. But guess the key with bullpens is finding a guy before he comes one worth paying $8M for.
You’re right, we haven’t heard too much on the Sox and the reliever front. I wonder if that could simply be a byproduct of the fact that agents are more actively pushing their starters right now ahead of the lockout—and they’re the ones who more often spread rumors of the Sox interest in various players in order to drive up the price. But who knows?

EDIT: I also wonder whether agents prefer to have their starters sign first, establishing the pitching market, and then open the negotiations on their non-closer relievers? Just speculating here, as I honestly don’t know all that much about these things.
 
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thehitcat

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Cundall has been saying for some time that Seabold is not back to full strength after the injury that cost him a couple of months. I’ve posted it elsewhere but even though we definitely shouldn’t be counting on him to play a big role in ‘22, there still seems to be plenty of reason to believe that he still has the potential to become a good starter.
He was great when I saw him on my one trip to Worcester. One hit ball through 7. When was the injury because that was fairly late in the season (last week of August.)
 

Cesar Crespo

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You’re right, we haven’t heard too much on the Sox and the reliever front. I wonder if that could simply be a byproduct of the fact that agents are more actively pushing their starters right now ahead of the lockout—and they’re the ones who more often spread rumors of the Sox interest in various players in order to drive up the price. But who knows?

EDIT: I also wonder whether agents prefer to have their starters sign first, establishing the pitching market, and then open the negotiations on their non-closer relievers? Just speculating here, as I honestly don’t know all that much about these things.
Or they think they have MR covered in house.
 

Cesar Crespo

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Petagine in a Bottle

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Or they think they have MR covered in house.
That seems only possible if they believe Houck and Whitlock to be relievers. Which leaves a lot of work to be done in the rotation.

It seems reasonable to me that they are interested in lots of players, but at only their terms. They don’t seem likely to be signing any pitchers to a deal longer than two years, and no one is going to be accepting deals like that for a bit.
 

Cesar Crespo

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That seems only possible if they believe Houck and Whitlock to be relievers. Which leaves a lot of work to be done in the rotation.

It seems reasonable to me that they are interested in lots of players, but at only their terms. They don’t seem likely to be signing any pitchers to a deal longer than two years, and no one is going to be accepting deals like that for a bit.
Or they are really high on Kutter Crawford and their farmhands in general. I'm sure they will bring in some MR in on cheap money, I just don't see them spending big there regardless of how they feel about their in house options.
 

Sandy Leon Trotsky

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Eovaldi, Sale, Pivetta, Whitlock, Houck. Who are you counting as No. 6?
Yes, I meant Seabold. Now I'm not so sure after reading about his continued decline in velocity and effectiveness. But yeah, I figured that Bloom had/has him figured in as either a "ride the train" no. 6 starter, or a long reliever/spot starter on the 25 man roster.
 

Sandy Leon Trotsky

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https://www.cbssports.com/fantasy/baseball/news/red-soxs-connor-seabold-exits-with-apparent-injury/

September. He pitched 3 games after that. 2.92 era, 12.1 ip, 12 hits, 4r/4er, 6bb/8k, 1 HRA. 53 batters faced. Yuck.

edit: I always though Seabold had much higher k% rates.
Good results or not... or even good looking effective performance or not.... I don't think we should be reading almost anything into his stat line at this point. Isn't it pretty standard for pitchers at his level to often have starts in which they will shelve their "good pitches" for results and work on their secondary and tertiary stuff? It's likely that he's under a directive of some sort to experiment with pitches.
I suspect we'll only really get a vague sense of how Bloom feels about him during Spring Training and final 25 man rosters are set.
 

moondog80

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Bradford Doolittle mentions Duran for Byron Buxton. It's something he totally made up, but fun nonetheless. I'm not sold on Duran. But Buxton has had more than 300 plate appearances once, even in the COVID year he missed 21 games, and he has only one more year before FA.

I think I'd stick with Duran. Even if Buxton stays healthy and puts up a 5.0 WAR season (he was a ridiculous 4.5 this year in 61 games), the Michael Porter Jr. situation would scare me away form signing him long term.

Unless they think Duran just doesn't have it. Then roll the dice on a one year breakout from Buxton and offer him the QO.


https://www.espn.com/mlb/insider/story/_/id/32698041/one-bold-offseason-move-every-mlb-team-make
 

Cesar Crespo

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Good results or not... or even good looking effective performance or not.... I don't think we should be reading almost anything into his stat line at this point. Isn't it pretty standard for pitchers at his level to often have starts in which they will shelve their "good pitches" for results and work on their secondary and tertiary stuff? It's likely that he's under a directive of some sort to experiment with pitches.
I suspect we'll only really get a vague sense of how Bloom feels about him during Spring Training and final 25 man rosters are set.
That's fair. I only said yuck because it was coupled with the injury. The good news is he actually pitched and 1 (or even 2) of the games he was good.
5 ip, 5 hits, 0r, 1bb/5k,
2.1ip, 3 hits, 3r/er, 3bb/3k, 1HRA
5 ip, 4 hits, 1r/1er, 2bb/0k.

My "yuck" was very overstated.

He was just coming into his own before that. He was also jerked around and missed a start or two in case Boston needed him.

The 6 starts before all that: 2.70 era, 33.1ip, 20 hits, 10r/10er, 9bb/38k, 3HRA.

It's all SSS but with developing players/players returning from injury and limited information, who knows if it's noise, injury or improvement.
 

chawson

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Anyone we get for bullpen help is going to need to be adept at getting right-handed batters out. We’re losing three guys who did that pretty well in Ottavino, Robles and Richards and have huge question marks in Barnes, Sawamura, Brasier, Bazardo and Valdez. Houck and Whitlock should be be ticketed for the rotation because that’s where they’re most valuable, but that makes the need even more urgent. I doubt both will.

A lot of under-the-radar FA arms pitched well against RHB last year, like Hunter Strickland, Ian Kennedy, Joe Smith, Nick Vincent, Alex Colomé, Michael Lorenzen, Jose Ureña, Chris Martin, Hector Néris, Brad Boxberger, Jimmy Nelson, Steve Cishek and Sergio Romo would all be decent adds at short money. Collin McHugh, Yimi Garcia, Mychal Givens, Archie Bradley, Andrew Chafin, Ryan Tepera, Luis Garcia, Joe Kelly and Corey Knebel are the high profile ones who might get multi-year deals.

Here are the best FA relievers organized by how well they fared against RHB after the spider tack crackdown on 6/21/21 (by wOBA):

L. Garcia - .168
Watson - .199
Chavez - .210
Strickland - .218
Yacksel Rios - .219
Kelly - .222
Kennedy - .222
Gant - .226
McHugh - .257
Clippard - .261
Chafin - .263
Y. Garcia - .265
Chacin - .267
Colomé - .274
Petit - .279
Neris - .284
Tepera - .287
J. Smith - .287

Whitlock and Yacksel Rios were the only Sox relievers to appear in that range (from 6/21 on). Luis Garcia (not that Luis Garcia) is a 34-year-old journeyman who the Cards picked up mid season, and he was unbelievable for them.
 

chawson

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Bradford Doolittle mentions Duran for Byron Buxton. It's something he totally made up, but fun nonetheless. I'm not sold on Duran. But Buxton has had more than 300 plate appearances once, even in the COVID year he missed 21 games, and he has only one more year before FA.

I think I'd stick with Duran. Even if Buxton stays healthy and puts up a 5.0 WAR season (he was a ridiculous 4.5 this year in 61 games), the Michael Porter Jr. situation would scare me away form signing him long term.

Unless they think Duran just doesn't have it. Then roll the dice on a one year breakout from Buxton and offer him the QO.


https://www.espn.com/mlb/insider/story/_/id/32698041/one-bold-offseason-move-every-mlb-team-make
Duran for Buxton is a good deal for us, assuming we can extend him, but I don’t see how the Twins go for it. Seems like a lot of redundancy with two LHH prospect outfielders in Kirilloff and Larnach, and Kepler’s still in the fold for now too. Dalbec on the other hand…
 

Minneapolis Millers

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Duran for Buxton is a good deal for us, assuming we can extend him, but I don’t see how the Twins go for it. Seems like a lot of redundancy with two LHH prospect outfielders in Kirilloff and Larnach, and Kepler’s still in the fold for now too. Dalbec on the other hand…
I don't care what the trade simulator says, there's no way the Twins deal Buxton for either Duran or Dalbec. Dalbec and Houck? That call might last a little longer...

And this is because the Twins fully believe that if Buxton stays healthy, he's not a 5 WAR guy, he's a 10 WAR MVP-caliber player.
 
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chawson

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I don't care what the trade simulator says, there's no way the Twins deal Buxton for either Duran or Dalbec. Dalbec and Houck? That call might last a little longer...
Agreed. I don’t think any potential Sox/Twins trade looks like a 1-for-1, and I don’t think anyone’s trading for Buxton without a good idea that he’d sign an extension with them at a sum greater than $100 million.

Gaming it out a little bit, there aren’t a lot of teams who give out those kinds of deals AND need a center fielder. The Jays (Springer), White Sox (Robert), Angels (Trout), Mariners (Kelenic), Braves (Pache, Acuña), Dodgers (Bellinger), Cardinals (Bader), Padres (Grisham), Rangers (Garcia, Taveras), Mets (Nimmo) all seem to have theirs. The Giants, Phillies and Marlins have big holes in center, and the Astros may want an upgrade. Marte, Chris Taylor, Canha, Herrera and Leury Garcia will sign somewhere too.

We obviously don’t need a center fielder, but adding Buxton solves our 2B issue, and gives us an in-house back up (Kiké) in case Buxton goes to the NL. I think the Phillies or Giants probably go for it, but it may be a niftier solution for filling out immediate 2B hole than paying for Semien, Baez, Taylor or the other middle infielders.
 

Cesar Crespo

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Agreed. I don’t think any potential Sox/Twins trade looks like a 1-for-1, and I don’t think anyone’s trading for Buxton without a good idea that he’d sign an extension with them at a sum greater than $100 million.

Gaming it out a little bit, there aren’t a lot of teams who give out those kinds of deals AND need a center fielder. The Jays (Springer), White Sox (Robert), Angels (Trout), Mariners (Kelenic), Braves (Pache, Acuña), Dodgers (Bellinger), Cardinals (Bader), Padres (Grisham), Rangers (Garcia, Taveras), Mets (Nimmo) all seem to have theirs. The Giants, Phillies and Marlins have big holes in center, and the Astros may want an upgrade. Marte, Chris Taylor, Canha, Herrera and Leury Garcia will sign somewhere too.

We obviously don’t need a center fielder, but adding Buxton solves our 2B issue, and gives us an in-house back up (Kiké) in case Buxton goes to the NL. I think the Phillies or Giants probably go for it, but it may be a niftier solution for filling out immediate 2B hole than paying for Semien, Baez, Taylor or the other middle infielders.
I just mentioned how letting Mayer impact decision making at SS seemed bullish, and now I'm going to mention that there's a chance Nick Yorke starts in Portland next year. Though if Buxton was coming here, Yorke could as easily be part of the trade.

Yeah, I'm a hypocrite. Yorke is a bit further along though.
 

Petagine in a Bottle

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Giving up controllable assets for Buxton, or any player on a one year deal, has long term implications. Are the Sox in GFIN mode? It seems that the answer is no- but if you give up some combo of Dalbec, Duran, and Houck for Buxton- you’ve lost some pre arb players and added another FA to be to a list that already includes Hernandez, Bogaerts, and Eovaldi. Maybe this works if you have internal replacements ready, but the Sox aren’t really in that spot. I don’t think a deal for a CF with a year left makes any sense; it’s not a position of need and the guys the Sox would have to move are not positions of surplus. That’s kind of the problem with any trade rumors- where exactly do the Sox have surplus players, guys they don’t really need now or in the next year or two? Since they have so few players locked up long term, they don’t really have anyone blocked…and the lack of highly touted pitching talent is going to make deals like this very challenging to pull off.
 

YTF

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Agreed. I don’t think any potential Sox/Twins trade looks like a 1-for-1, and I don’t think anyone’s trading for Buxton without a good idea that he’d sign an extension with them at a sum greater than $100 million.

Gaming it out a little bit, there aren’t a lot of teams who give out those kinds of deals AND need a center fielder. The Jays (Springer), White Sox (Robert), Angels (Trout), Mariners (Kelenic), Braves (Pache, Acuña), Dodgers (Bellinger), Cardinals (Bader), Padres (Grisham), Rangers (Garcia, Taveras), Mets (Nimmo) all seem to have theirs. The Giants, Phillies and Marlins have big holes in center, and the Astros may want an upgrade. Marte, Chris Taylor, Canha, Herrera and Leury Garcia will sign somewhere too.

We obviously don’t need a center fielder, but adding Buxton solves our 2B issue, and gives us an in-house back up (Kiké) in case Buxton goes to the NL. I think the Phillies or Giants probably go for it, but it may be a niftier solution for filling out immediate 2B hole than paying for Semien, Baez, Taylor or the other middle infielders.
If the Sox decide to pursue an outfielder there's a CF out there that I wouldn't mind seeing the Sox pick up. I'm wondering what it takes to sign Starling Marte. Four man rotation with Kike', Verdugo and Renfroe. Marte's a good on base guy, has some speed, 3x GG OF and has played nearly 600 games in LF. This also lengthens the bench with one of these guys or Arroyo available off the bench everyday.
 

chawson

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Giving up controllable assets for Buxton, or any player on a one year deal, has long term implications. Are the Sox in GFIN mode? It seems that the answer is no- but if you give up some combo of Dalbec, Duran, and Houck for Buxton- you’ve lost some pre arb players and added another FA to be to a list that already includes Hernandez, Bogaerts, and Eovaldi. Maybe this works if you have internal replacements ready, but the Sox aren’t really in that spot. I don’t think a deal for a CF with a year left makes any sense; it’s not a position of need and the guys the Sox would have to move are not positions of surplus. That’s kind of the problem with any trade rumors- where exactly do the Sox have surplus players, guys they don’t really need now or in the next year or two? Since they have so few players locked up long term, they don’t really have anyone blocked…and the lack of highly touted pitching talent is going to make deals like this very challenging to pull off.
No, sorry if that wasn’t clear, nobody’s saying trade for one year of Buxton only to lose him to free agency. The point would be to extend him at the roughly 7/$100+ million he’s reported to want, which the Twins aren’t giving him. Any FO doing that deal will have a reasonable idea whether he’d be up for that with their team.
 

OCD SS

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When was the last time we saw a trade that included an exclusive window to negotiate an extension? They were never common, but the last one I remember was Adrian Gonzalez…

Buxton’s issue is always health; at this point your chances of getting a healthy season out of him are about as good as spotting a wild unicorn. This is not a player to invest in long term, especially as he ages. It’s sad given his talent, but unavoidable.
 

Minneapolis Millers

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...Buxton’s issue is always health; at this point your chances of getting a healthy season out of him are about as good as spotting a wild unicorn. This is not a player to invest in long term, especially as he ages. It’s sad given his talent, but unavoidable.
Agree 100%. (And for some reason I chuckled at "wild" unicorns, as though they're much rarer than the domesticated kind.) I really want the Twins to extend Buxton, and I really don't want them to do it at $15M+ for 7+ years, guaranteed. Somebody will do it, but they'll almost certainly regret it. $10-12M/year with massive incentives to push it to $20-25M or more is the only sensible kind of deal, imo, but I certainly understand why Buxton doesn't want that. Maybe there's a deal with $25M/year player options that kick in only if he reaches x# of ABs in the prior year.

In any case, with Hernandez on board, I don't see the Sox expending significant resources on a CF this offseason.
 

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If I'm looking at trading for Buxton, I'd rather just sign Chris Taylor at that point. Buxton is immensely talented but he is also a near-guarantee to go on the injured list. It sucks but he can't be depended on to stay healthy.
 

chawson

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Agree 100%. (And for some reason I chuckled at "wild" unicorns, as though they're much rarer than the domesticated kind.) I really want the Twins to extend Buxton, and I really don't want them to do it at $15M+ for 7+ years, guaranteed. Somebody will do it, but they'll almost certainly regret it. $10-12M/year with massive incentives to push it to $20-25M or more is the only sensible kind of deal, imo, but I certainly understand why Buxton doesn't want that. Maybe there's a deal with $25M/year player options that kick in only if he reaches x# of ABs in the prior year.

In any case, with Hernandez on board, I don't see the Sox expending significant resources on a CF this offseason.
Good points. I think it’d be great if the Twins kept him too, but hope the Sox are in if they can’t.

Indulge me this exercise. If you believe as I do that the Sox will add a middle infielder this offseason, whether he plays 2B or pushes Bogaerts there, how does acquiring (and extending) Buxton address that need compared with the alternatives?

Options by age, 2022 Steamer projections, Fangraphs median contract predictions
Seager, age 28, 134 wRC+, 7/$196 million
Correa, age 27, 132 wRC+, 8/$240
Buxton, age 28, 123 wRC+, 8/$125 (plus acquisition cost)
Semien, age 31, 118 wRC+, 4/$92
Bryant, age 30, 114 wRC+, 6/$150
Marte, age 33, 111 wRC+, 4/$72
Story, age 29, 108 wRC+, 6/$150
Taylor, age 31, 102 wRC+, 4/$60
Escobar, age 33, 99 wRC+, 2/$20
Baez, age 29, 95 wRC+, 4/$80

Look at it this way: we need a CF by ‘23 and a plus defensive RF by ‘24. If we sign a 2B/SS, say Correa or Semien, we still need those OFs. Maybe we extend Kiké (I’m into it) or Renfroe (not so much). Maybe Duran, Jimenez or Rosario, but I wouldn’t bet on it. If we sign a 2B/SS, we’d have to fit him, Bogaerts, Downs, Arroyo, Yorke and Mayer into two positions by 2025. And unless that signee is Baez, we lose a (#60 or so) draft pick.

If we trade for Buxton and extend him at his asking price (between 7/$105, as you suggest, and $7/120), then we’ll have acquired one of the plus-defensive outfielders we’ll need to get anyway, and we have a premium CF (Kiké) in house in case he gets hurt.

For 2022, we’d have options. A) We move Kiké to 2B for a year, making Arroyo the utility man. That buys us a year of development time for Downs, Mayer and Yorke, and time to hammer out an extension with X that may involve moving him to 2B in 2023. B) We trade or non-tender Renfroe, play Buxton in CF and move Kiké to RF in 2022. C) We keep Kiké in CF and move Buxton to RF, every bit the challenge as CF, with an eye toward keeping him healthy.

If Buxton’s healthy, he’s a superstar. He’s Correa (who’s also had a ton of fluke injuries) or Mookie Betts (who has chronic hip issues). He doesn’t block our forthcoming 2B/SS logjam, and he’s extremely valuable to us because of our expansive CF/RF.

The worry about Buxton’s injury history is a little overblown. It’s extensive and concerning, but it’s also unlucky. He had a hip injury after colliding with the wall in May, then he was hit on the hands by a pitch. It’s not like he’s got a muscular disorder. He’s a 28-year-old who was on pace to be a 10-win player last year and he’s potentially available for about 1/3 of the money most people wish we had paid Mookie.
 

E5 Yaz

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Buxton made his MLB debut in 2015. He's played in 100 or more games in a season ... once.
 

chawson

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Buxton made his MLB debut in 2015. He's played in 100 or more games in a season ... once.
Before 2021, this was also basically true of Correa (played in >110 games once), and I’d be pretty happy if we gave him $300 million. Paul Molitor’s another top 3 draft pick who had extremely bad injury luck through his age-27 season.

Buxton’s injuries seem flukey to me. A couple years-old concussions from a HBP and collision, a HBP fractured hand, a HBP wrist contusion, a fractured toe. The only one that seems worrisome is his 2019 left shoulder subluxation, which clearly hasn’t affected his hitting since (.288/.326/.622 for a 152 wRC+, the same wRC+ Shohei Ohtani posted last year).
 

E5 Yaz

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Before 2021, this was also basically true of Correa (played in >110 games once), and I’d be pretty happy if we gave him $300 million.
Correa's played in 100+ four times ... so no, it's not basically true
 

chawson

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Correa's played in 100+ four times ... so no, it's not basically true
Before 2021, Carlos Correa had missed 187 days since he debuted in 2015, mostly to injuries to his back (twice), ribs and thumb. Then he put up 7.2 bWAR in 148 games in his walk year and wants $300 million.

Before 2021, Byron Buxton had missed 206 days since he debuted in 2015, mostly to injuries to his head, toe and hand. Then he hurt his hip running into a wall and fractured his hand again getting hit by a pitch, but still put up 4.5 bWAR in 61 games. He wants $125 million.
 

ElcaballitoMVP

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Do we want to use resources to trade for a guy like Buxton when Kike is better suited for CF? I'd rather just sign Chris Taylor and use guys like Dalbec and/or Durran to find help for the pitching staff.

If the Sox want to make a trade, how do you guys feel about Whit Merrifield? The trade simulator says he's worth as much as Dalbec and less than Duran. The Royals have in-house MI options in Mondesi and Lopez, with top prospect Bobby Whit Jr knocking on the door.

Something like Durran for Whit and Domingo Tapia (RP, good vs RHB) is near equal value. Or, Dalbec for Whit straight up. It would deepen the lineup, improve our base running and provide near-term stability for 2B until Downs or Yorke are ready. Unfortunately, he's on a very cheap deal with a reasonable team option for '23, so KC might not want to give him up without dumping someone like Carlos Santana or Mike Minor in the deal.