Start, Sit, Trade: Play Along with Dave

MikeM

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Papelbon's Poutine said:
I love Gordon but this feels like a CC redux. $20M+/year for a LF who derives a lot of his value from defense to play in Fenway half the time...not sure that makes sense. 
 
Does he really get $20m/per this winter though? Not like I can see KC going the Pablo Sandavol route there, and feeling enough resign pressure that it ends up pushing up his price tag (to those levels at least). Plus there is still Heyward/Upton/Cespedes out there looking to get paid, and that's before even factoring in the massive amount of money being spent league-wide on FA pitching. 
 
Maybe i'm undervaluing him I guess....but given the year he had i just can't see it atm. 
 

Shane

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bosockboy said:
Or Castillo is moved. And Gordon could play RF. Gordon/JBJ/Betts would be the best defensive outfield in quite some time.
RF would seem like the best fit for him: left is so shallow that it would waste his arm, and plus he doesn't know how to play the wall which limits his value.

I can't see it being too hard for an athlete as good as Mookie to learn how to play balls off the Monster. It's not like he's Hanley or anything.

At first I was against signing Gordon, but he's been growing on me.

What do people think they could get if they do decide to move Rusney? He doesn't have a lot of value right now, but he could be an important part of a package for a club that needs a CF.
 

MikeM

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RIrooter09 said:
 
My thoughts exactly.  Why not keep the current OF intact and spend that money on pitching?
 
Because making a trade (probably Castillo), spending a little over the current cap in it's last year, and fielding a team next spring that ends up doing both probably plays out better on paper in DD's first offseason. 
 
Ortiz is going to be 40, Pedroia looks to be aging into a health question mark, and there currently is a fairly decent probability chance that every single one of our corner positions (with Betts staying in center) takes a dump on the lineup next year. The concept that DD would be looking at ways to improve our offense (or more specifically, the odds it actually plays to the level you hope it can), especially in the event we are going to be out there dumping a huge sum of money on a starting pitcher, has always added up imo. 
 
Not sure I like Gordon as a guy pegged to be that improvement though. Even if he does cost less then some are projecting here.  
 

Tyrone Biggums

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I'm sure that the only way the Gordon rumors have substance is if the Sox end up striking out on the free agent market and have to trade one of the three outfielders for a SP. I wouldn't dwell too much on this right now. I will say that he's a different player than Crawford. He's solid but not sure if solid is worth $20 million.
 

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Papelbon's Poutine said:
I love Gordon but this feels like a CC redux. $20M+/year for a LF who derives a lot of his value from defense to play in Fenway half the time...not sure that makes sense. 
 
After seeing what his defense in LF did to Hanely's overall production, I would think the idea that defense doesn't matter in Fenway would not be an idea we'd be so quick to revert to. A player who plays very good defense and puts up a consistent 120 OPS+ seasons is not Carl Crawford. I don't think Gordon will get $20M/ yr, but I can see how aiming for a player like him makes sense for the Red Sox (note, like him. Ultimately I agree with BP that this is too late, he's going to be 32 in 2016). adding more consistent offense in the OF without crippling the defense will add flexibility to approaching the pitching market:  this is still JWH's team, and I have a hard time seeing him pull a sudden course reversal and start handing out record-setting pitching contracts.
 
Castillo being moved as a valuable piece for a team that can play him in CF and hope he puts his offense together. He's a fair enough bargain in CF and the upside has been flashed with the bat. Bradley's glove will carry him, but I can see an argument for not trusting his explosion this season and trying to sell high. Both have enough control for the upside to interest other teams and that could bring pitching from a team that is looking for a shorter term return to competitiveness. 
 

smastroyin

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Signing Alex Gordon because you don't want to spend your money on pitching is a repeat of last off-season.  Yes, eventually the stars will align such that having 11 slightly below average starters will pay off.  but if this is your approach, then keep your young guys to develop, don't constantly just throw money around.  
 
Put another way, Alex Gordon plugs zero holes on this team.  He is a hedge against JBJ and Castillo performing terribly, and there is no point hedging that bet if you aren't solidifying the actual holes on the team.  I'm sure Dombrowski understands this as well, and I realize this is a player that is in the World Series so that is where the talk goes, I just hate the idea of Gordon as a priority piece of the plan.  
 

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OCD SS said:
 

After seeing what his defense in LF did to Hanely's overall production, I would think the idea that defense doesn't matter in Fenway would not be an idea we'd be so quick to revert to. A player who plays very good defense and puts up a consistent 120 OPS+ seasons is not Carl Crawford. I don't think Gordon will get $20M/ yr, but I can see how aiming for a player like him makes sense for the Red Sox (note, like him. Ultimately I agree with BP that this is too late, he's going to be 32 in 2016). adding more consistent offense in the OF without crippling the defense will add flexibility to approaching the pitching market:  this is still JWH's team, and I have a hard time seeing him pull a sudden course reversal and start handing out record-setting pitching contracts.
 
Castillo being moved as a valuable piece for a team that can play him in CF and hope he puts his offense together. He's a fair enough bargain in CF and the upside has been flashed with the bat. Bradley's glove will carry him, but I can see an argument for not trusting his explosion this season and trying to sell high. Both have enough control for the upside to interest other teams and that could bring pitching from a team that is looking for a shorter term return to competitiveness. 

 
 
I don't think it's so much that "defense doesn't matter" in LF so much as good LF defense is of less value to the Red Sox because of Fenway's quirks.  Crawford came with a good deal of value tied to his range and defensive skills...which is why he commanded $20M plus on the free agent market...but are two things that aren't necessarily needed to play LF adequately at Fenway.  Gordon is an outstanding outfielder but his defensive value isn't predicated entirely on his speed/range.  He seems the type who could easily adapt to playing in front of the wall.  However, his "production" could see a dip strictly on paper, in that most defensive statistics still haven't found a way to account for the Wall and its influence.  Gordon could be the best defensive left fielder the team has had since Yaz and it might not reflect in his UZR or DRS and thus his WAR.
 
In any other year, I think Gordon would represent a great pick-up for the Red Sox.  But in this off-season, with the roster they have, there would be way too many moves to make for Gordon to fit to be worth whatever contract he gets. 
 

IpswichSox

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smastroyin said:
Put another way, Alex Gordon plugs zero holes on this team.  He is a hedge against JBJ and Castillo performing terribly, and there is no point hedging that bet if you aren't solidifying the actual holes on the team.  I'm sure Dombrowski understands this as well, and I realize this is a player that is in the World Series so that is where the talk goes, I just hate the idea of Gordon as a priority piece of the plan.  
 
Our challenge in evaluating or commenting on rumors is that our visibility is limited to what we learn sequentially -- i.e., we react to Rumor A, then Rumor B, then Rumor C, etc. What we don't have is visibility into is the entirety of the plan. Taken alone, interest in Gordon doesn't make sense; seen as part of an overall plan, which might include trading one or more outfielders for starting pitching, interest in Gordon makes more sense, IMO.
 

RedOctober3829

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The interest in Alex Gordon is encouraging to me.  It means that DD values defense moreso than Ben did.  Look at the Royals currently constructed.  Very good defensively, power pitching from starters and bullpen, and extremely good speed and high contact rate.  Having Gordon drastically improves OF defense upon last year.  It does help the team and it does plug a hole.  Hanley cost the team with his defense in LF and Gordon is the best LF in the game.  How doesn't that help?
 
Getting Gordon would be one step in the process of upgrading the team.  
 

joe dokes

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IpswichSox said:
 
Our challenge in evaluating or commenting on rumors is that our visibility is limited to what we learn sequentially -- i.e., we react to Rumor A, then Rumor B, then Rumor C, etc. What we don't have is visibility into is the entirety of the plan. Taken alone, interest in Gordon doesn't make sense; seen as part of an overall plan, which might include trading one or more outfielders for starting pitching, interest in Gordon makes more sense, IMO.
 
That overall plan could also include that possibility that internally, the Sox have already "decided" that JBJ's summer was more mirage than reality and that Castillo is *not* going to be an above average performer. When viewed through that prism, adding an OF makes some sense. And since there are teams who probably evaluate both JBJ and Castillo differently than the above, trading at least one as part of a search for pitching also makes some sense.
 

Minneapolis Millers

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I agree with Smas.  I can understand DD's desire to test the trade value of various players, including every OF.  In fact, I expect it.  But its' beyond unlikely that JBJ or Castillo brings back a top SP, so dealing them and filling that hole with a relatively expensive player like Gordon raises the payroll while failing to resolve the team's pitching problem.  It does offer greater position player reliability, which has some value.  But for this approach to work, they'd have to be packaging the OF with top prospects to get a top SP or be willing to significantly exceed the LT to add money to the OF and sign a top FA SP.
 
As for Gordon himself, I've always liked him, but acquiring him at this stage of his career seems like a Yankee move. 
 
Trust the kids and the organizational depth and improve the rotation.
 

swingin val

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smastroyin said:
 Yes, eventually the stars will align such that having 11 slightly below average starters will pay off.  
Except that most of their starting pitchers are not slightly below average. It is fine to make the argument that they do not have an ace, and are lacking top of the rotation starters, but there is no need to embellish how bad their starting rotation is.
 

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RedOctober3829 said:
Hanley cost the team with his defense in LF and Gordon is the best LF in the game.  How doesn't that help?
 
 
Forgive the snark, but this really sounds as if you fell asleep on August 1 and just woke up. Whoever Gordon would be replacing in LF, it wouldn't be Hanley. And as good a defender as Gordon is, it's not clear to me that a 32-year-old Gordon is going to be all that big a defensive upgrade over Betts or Castillo in left over the next 4 years or however long we'd need to commit to him. What he would bring is (1) a quality lefthanded bat with a bit of pop and negligible platoon splits; (2) the ability to include one of the young OFs in a pitching trade. I wouldn't be too quick to rule out the possibility that this turns out to be Betts, much as this would hurt. Betts and Bogaerts (and maybe Swihart, but I think not quite yet) are the only guys on the roster who could potentially bring back a cost-controlled #1 with very little, if anything, added to the pot. That's got to be tempting to DD. And Mookie is probably the more expendable of the two.
 
 
swingin val said:
Except that most of their starting pitchers are not slightly below average.
 
In fact, of their 7 starting pitchers with 50 or more innings, only one had a FIP- worse than 108 and only two had an xFIP- worse than 101. As a group, Sox starting pitchers were slightly above average in FIP- (99), exactly average in xFIP- (100), and slightly below average in ERA- (104).
 
The badness of the Sox' starting pitching this year has been greatly exaggerated. It wasn't good, but it wasn't hideous either. Now the bullpen on the other hand.....
 

RedOctober3829

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Savin Hillbilly said:
 
Forgive the snark, but this really sounds as if you fell asleep on August 1 and just woke up. Whoever Gordon would be replacing in LF, it wouldn't be Hanley. And as good a defender as Gordon is, it's not clear to me that a 32-year-old Gordon is going to be all that big a defensive upgrade over Betts or Castillo in left over the next 4 years or however long we'd need to commit to him. What he would bring is (1) a quality lefthanded bat with a bit of pop and negligible platoon splits; (2) the ability to include one of the young OFs in a pitching trade. I wouldn't be too quick to rule out the possibility that this turns out to be Betts, much as this would hurt. Betts and Bogaerts (and maybe Swihart, but I think not quite yet) are the only guys on the roster who could potentially bring back a cost-controlled #1 with very little, if anything, added to the pot. That's got to be tempting to DD. And Mookie is probably the more expendable of the two.
 
 
 
In fact, of their 7 starting pitchers with 50 or more innings, only one had a FIP- worse than 108 and only two have an xFIP- worse than 101. As a group, their starting pitchers were slightly above average in FIP- (99), exactly average in xFIP- (100), and slightly below average in ERA- (104).
 
The badness of the Sox' starting pitching this year has been greatly exaggerated. It wasn't good, but it wasn't hideous either. Now the bullpen on the other hand.....
I certainly didn't fall asleep on August 1st.  In the part of the season that, you know, actually counted for something other than playing the string out the LF defense from Hanley was beyond bad.  A full season of Gordon in LF is a big upgrade over the combination of Hanley and the 60 games of whoever played there after Hanley was hurt/benched.  I agree with your other points with the ability to include an OF in trade.
 

Savin Hillbilly

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RedOctober3829 said:
I certainly didn't fall asleep on August 1st.  In the part of the season that, you know, actually counted for something other than playing the string out the LF defense from Hanley was beyond bad.  A full season of Gordon in LF is a big upgrade over the combination of Hanley and the 60 games of whoever played there after Hanley was hurt/benched.  I agree with your other points with the ability to include an OF in trade.
 
My point is that since Hanley is no longer the LF, you can't use Hanley's defense as the baseline for determining how much Gordon would improve the team, because the majority of that improvement is already present in the team as currently constructed.
 

Pilgrim

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smastroyin said:
Signing Alex Gordon because you don't want to spend your money on pitching is a repeat of last off-season.  Yes, eventually the stars will align such that having 11 slightly below average starters will pay off.  but if this is your approach, then keep your young guys to develop, don't constantly just throw money around.  
 
Put another way, Alex Gordon plugs zero holes on this team.  He is a hedge against JBJ and Castillo performing terribly, and there is no point hedging that bet if you aren't solidifying the actual holes on the team.  I'm sure Dombrowski understands this as well, and I realize this is a player that is in the World Series so that is where the talk goes, I just hate the idea of Gordon as a priority piece of the plan.  
It's hard to imagine this is his thinking, though. DD has consistently stressed that finding one or more aces is his offseason priority.

If they actually are after Gordon, I'd guess they are about to blow past the tax threshold, or think they can dump some of the bad salaries on the books.
 

Buzzkill Pauley

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RedOctober3829 said:
The interest in Alex Gordon is encouraging to me.  It means that DD values defense moreso than Ben did.  Look at the Royals currently constructed.  Very good defensively, power pitching from starters and bullpen, and extremely good speed and high contact rate.  Having Gordon drastically improves OF defense upon last year.  It does help the team and it does plug a hole.  Hanley cost the team with his defense in LF and Gordon is the best LF in the game.  How doesn't that help?
 
Getting Gordon would be one step in the process of upgrading the team.  
 

Or, it could mean that DD thinks he needs to have truly exceptional outfield corners, because he expects a lot of balls to get past Panda and Hanley; perhaps playing Bradley's and Gordon's arms in right and left is the only real way to keep opponents from taking extra bases at will.
 
FWIW, this rumor seems to me suggestive that the Sox are actively shopping Rusney as part of a prospect package to get a younger starter.
 

smastroyin

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Savin Hillbilly said:
 
In fact, of their 7 starting pitchers with 50 or more innings, only one had a FIP- worse than 108 and only two had an xFIP- worse than 101. As a group, Sox starting pitchers were slightly above average in FIP- (99), exactly average in xFIP- (100), and slightly below average in ERA- (104).
 
The badness of the Sox' starting pitching this year has been greatly exaggerated. It wasn't good, but it wasn't hideous either. Now the bullpen on the other hand.....
 
Sure, my point was hyperbolic.  But one of the real big problems of this board and especially once we start quoting bits and pieces, is losing the thread of the conversation. 
 
OCD SS made a point that was, essentially "if we can shore up the defense, then we can sign more cheap pitchers that don't need to be good themselves."  (sorry OCD if my boiling down is too strong).  My point is that if you spend like a drunken sailor trying to make marginal improvements, while leaving other places as holes, you are not really approaching the team building properly.  This was the strategy they tried last year (then negated themselves with the Hanley to LF thing) and it failed.  My point remains the same whether we are talking about an aggregate 104 ERA- or 96 ERA-.  If you are looking at complicated marginal upgrades before looking at fixing the low hanging fruit, you are over thinking yourself.  And especially if you are ignoring low hanging fruit because of organizational dogma rather than objective team building.
 
I'm just not sold on the idea that paying a Hanley like contract to add another OF is smart.  It's clearly not smart in and of itself (i.e. if they keep everyone on the current roster), so there would have to be another series of moves.  But I am dubious about the ability to make enough other things happen to make it smart.  But of course, the off-season hasn't even started yet.  
 

geoduck no quahog

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Betts is good through 2021
Bradley is good through 2020
Castillo is good through 2021
 
Gordon is on the market (31 years old)
Heyward is on the market (26 years old)
Upton is on the market (28 years old)
 
So we're comparing established cost control wit the opportunity of spending more on older players, and turning that cost control into a (starting pitcher?)
 
Why not just go for a Free Agent?
 

alwyn96

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Savin Hillbilly said:
 
Forgive the snark, but this really sounds as if you fell asleep on August 1 and just woke up. Whoever Gordon would be replacing in LF, it wouldn't be Hanley. And as good a defender as Gordon is, it's not clear to me that a 32-year-old Gordon is going to be all that big a defensive upgrade over Betts or Castillo in left over the next 4 years or however long we'd need to commit to him. What he would bring is (1) a quality lefthanded bat with a bit of pop and negligible platoon splits; (2) the ability to include one of the young OFs in a pitching trade. I wouldn't be too quick to rule out the possibility that this turns out to be Betts, much as this would hurt. Betts and Bogaerts (and maybe Swihart, but I think not quite yet) are the only guys on the roster who could potentially bring back a cost-controlled #1 with very little, if anything, added to the pot. That's got to be tempting to DD. And Mookie is probably the more expendable of the two.
 
 
 
In fact, of their 7 starting pitchers with 50 or more innings, only one had a FIP- worse than 108 and only two had an xFIP- worse than 101. As a group, Sox starting pitchers were slightly above average in FIP- (99), exactly average in xFIP- (100), and slightly below average in ERA- (104).
 
The badness of the Sox' starting pitching this year has been greatly exaggerated. It wasn't good, but it wasn't hideous either. Now the bullpen on the other hand.....
 
It's interesting looking at the Red Sox starting pitching in the first and second halves. There was some legit bad pitching in the first half, which ultimately knocked the Red Sox out of it.
 
First Half
                        ERA-   FIP-
Buchholz          77    67
Miley                114   101
Porcello           140   114
Kelly                 135   106
Rodriguez        85     92
Masterson         146   119
Wright               93     120
 
1st Half             113   98
 
 
 
Second Half (20 inning min)
                        ERA-   FIP-
Miley                97        91
Porcello           94        90
Rodriguez       96        104
Owens             109     108
Kelly                90      105
Wright              95      126
Hill                   37       57
 
2nd Half          94       100
 
Season           104      99
 
 
Some of how you see the difference between the first and second half depends on how much of a believer in FIP v ERA one is. In the first half, the Red Sox starters had the worst ERA- in the AL. By FIP-, they were 7th of 15. Much of that was driven by some legit crappy pitching from Porcello, Kelly, Masterson, and perhaps a degree of bad luck, depending on your belief in the BABIP gods (.313 in the 1st half, .301 in the second). How much of it was luck I don't know - Masterson, Porcello and Kelly sure felt every bit as terrible as their ERAs, but I guess I should keep my pesky feelings out of it. They were also the guys that one might sort of expect would be lousy, given their track records. The Red Sox starters did wind up with the largest "unlucky" ERA-FIP differential in MLB, which as one can see above was driven by a terrible first half.
 
Of course, if you play badly enough in the first half, the second half doesn't really matter.
 

jimbobim

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The Gordon rumors from Sherman yesterday was mildly intriguing. The price tag for him will likely be tough to peg, but I do agree with the notion some have brought up here and Speier brought up in his newsletter today that the Monster kills defensive value. 
 
The issue it seems to me is that JBJ arguably profiles best as a CF that you hope can hit 250ish with a 315ish obp and power is gravy. Mookie above average defender with an average arm with an offensive skillset that can profile at any of the OF position. I agree with someone upthread who said acquiring Gordon would be a big hedge against Castillo or JBJ who haven't displayed the consistency one would ideally hope for in giving either a full time job. 
 
Basically, there's a whole lot of unknown parts that Sherman's piece doesn't necessarily include. One scenario I could envision would be a trade of say Castillo Bradley Owens and B. Johnson to the the Braves for S. Miller and either Bourne(one year left at 14 mill with an option triggered at 550 PA's or Maybin( 1 year left at 9 mill with club option).
 
Braves get two athletic controlled OF's for a team that is still in collect talent ,but tank, mode and two lefties who could theoretically peak when they're in their new ballpark. Also swap out Bourne or Maybin payroll for Castillo under modest contract for longer term and see what you got offensively with him and Oliviera. Braves also had rumored interest in JBJ last offseason. Maybe the Sox would rather trade a guy like Margot or Devers than Castillo or Owens, and the Braves are a team positioned to be thinking more long term asset acquisition. 
 
The Red Sox get a young pitcher who throws gas and seemed to make a jump this past year. Additionally he is about to get more expensive through three years of arbitration. It would be buying high on Miller ,for sure ,who drastically lowered his home run rate in ATL and is seen as average by XFIP and still walks 3 per 9 ip. If you envision the Sox playing on a tier below Price or Grienke ,like I do, a Zimmermann/Cueto, S.Miller, Ed Rod, Porcello, Miley rotation is mildly intriguing and young. 
 
The trade would leave the OF potentials as Mookie/Holt/ and one year of Maybin/Bourne. In that scenario spending the say 70-75 mill on 4 year deal for Gordon to play one of the corners LF on road and RF at Fenway wouldn't be outlandish. It's risky because you are once again changing positions with a FA, but I think it's mitigated to an extent if you play Gordon in LF on road. The higher cost more ironic and risky version of this plan would be throwing money at the younger Heyward to be your RF for a long long time. 
 

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Pilgrim said:
It's hard to imagine this is his thinking, though. DD has consistently stressed that finding one or more aces is his offseason priority.

 
Which is exactly why I think the most likely reason for DD being interested in Gordan is as a contingency plan in case a cost controlled ace becomes available in exchange for Betts. I suppose JBJ plus a couple of top prospects might be another way to get to the same end but in that scenario it's going to be those top prospects, not JBJ and/or Castillo (who isn't likely to add significant value to any trade), that are going to be the main pieces. I understand that there are few here that have any interest in trading Betts, but if/when the Mets decide that they are willing to trade pitching (Harvey?) for offense (something that has been rumored) Betts (or potentially X) will be there target. Of course it would hurt to give him up, but I think any realistic trade scenario that results in the Sox acquiring a cost-controlled ace will inevitably include a player that no one wants to give up.    
 

Nevermore

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This article about Kyle Schwarber made me wonder if the Cubs and Sox might line up for a potential trade.  Certainly, both teams need pitching, but if they are interested in trading some power for some defense and the Sox packaged one of their current outfielders (preferably Castillo) with a young pitcher plus additional prospects, I wonder if it might keep the Cubs from hanging up immediately.  I think Schwarber would make a serviceable left fielder in Fenway and certainly a great DH candidate down the road.
 
I acknowledge that the Cubs probably keep him, but I wonder what kind of package it would take to interest them?  I think he'd be a much better fit than Gordon.
 

RedOctober3829

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Nevermore said:
This article about Kyle Schwarber made me wonder if the Cubs and Sox might line up for a potential trade.  Certainly, both teams need pitching, but if they are interested in trading some power for some defense and the Sox packaged one of their current outfielders (preferably Castillo) with a young pitcher plus additional prospects, I wonder if it might keep the Cubs from hanging up immediately.  I think Schwarber would make a serviceable left fielder in Fenway and certainly a great DH candidate down the road.
 
I acknowledge that the Cubs probably keep him, but I wonder what kind of package it would take to interest them?  I think he'd be a much better fit than Gordon.
Devers would be in the conversation
 

kazuneko

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Nevermore said:
This article about Kyle Schwarber made me wonder if the Cubs and Sox might line up for a potential trade.  Certainly, both teams need pitching, but if they are interested in trading some power for some defense and the Sox packaged one of their current outfielders (preferably Castillo) with a young pitcher plus additional prospects, I wonder if it might keep the Cubs from hanging up immediately.  I think Schwarber would make a serviceable left fielder in Fenway and certainly a great DH candidate down the road.
 
I acknowledge that the Cubs probably keep him, but I wonder what kind of package it would take to interest them?  I think he'd be a much better fit than Gordon.
I think the title of that article makes it clear how likely this is to happen.
Schwarber is looking like a star in the making and the Cubs - like the Sox- are in search of elite pitching. Would the Cubs consider trading Schwarber for a cost-controlled ace? Maybe. Would they trade him for an expensive, defensive upgrade with an unproven bat and some prospects? Not a chance.
 

Buzzkill Pauley

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Folks, neither Mookie nor Xander are getting traded. Even for young pitching. They're too good, and too cheap.

These two guys are the new Ellsbury and Pedroia, who the Sox FO has to keep to anchor the top of the lineup for the next 4+ years, and hopefully more.

The Sox could use a succession plan for Ortiz, as LHH thumpers go. Hell, maybe that'll even be Rizzo by the time Papi's ready to hang up his cleats. But right now, the Sox have two kids that are absolutely needed to provide dynamism to the lineup.

Furthermore, this is an absolutely stacked free agent class. Not just for pitchers, but for outfielders, too. Gordon is good, no doubt, but both Upton and Heyward are also on the market, and they're each both better and younger.

What that means, is there's nothing to be lost, and a lot to be gained, by scouting out FA's whose demand value might be artificially depressed simply because of a higher-than-usual supply.

And, of course, since none of the premier FA talents play CF, also scouting out the field for Rusney and JBJ suitors.
 

lxt

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I'm not exactly sure why the Sox would need another outfielder with what they already have. I like Betts, Castillo and Bradley with Holt acting as a backup. If I was to add an OF it would be Heyward. I like Gordon a great deal but I'm not seeing his addition as being what the Sox need. Adding Heyward who is younger and has outstanding defensive numbers for RF would be more of a benefit. I agree a far more expensive one but he may be one of the few worth it. An OF of Castillo/Bradley in left, Betts/Bradley in center and Heyward in right would be one where baseballs go to die. Heyward would free up Holt to spend more time covering 3B and providing cover for Pedroia and Bogaerts. That would pretty much settle the position roles, Yes, against my better judgement that leaves Hanley at 1B with Shaw backing him up. What remains is what most of this thread has been discussing the rebuilding of the pen and adding another significant starter to round out the club.
 

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jimbobim said:
The Gordon rumors from Sherman yesterday was mildly intriguing. The price tag for him will likely be tough to peg, but I do agree with the notion some have brought up here and Speier brought up in his newsletter today that the Monster kills defensive value.  
 
I find this hard to swallow. First of all, the only aspect of defensive value that Fenway's LF could possibly "kill" is range, and all this boils down to is that there are fewer plays that only an OF with very good range could make in Fenway's LF than in other LFs. There are still plenty of plays in Fenway that a LF with good range can make, but a LF with crappy range cannot. And balancing out the lower value of range (to some degree, at least) is a higher value of judgment and anticipation.
 
Also, a good arm is very useful in Fenway's LF, because of the unusual number of doubles hit there (and therefore, the unusual number of balls that an outstanding play could turn into single/outs). Yes, the distance from the warning track to second base is less than in most parks, but that doesn't make a good arm less useful, because a good arm is about velocity and trajectory as well as distance. If you can throw a bullet to second where another guy would throw more of a rainbow, you're more likely to get the out--and in Fenway that's going to come up a lot. 
 
So there's lots of room for defensive value in Fenway's LF. It's just different in flavor from the defensive value in other parks' LFs, and perhaps not as accurately measured by the common advanced metrics. It strikes me that Gordon's defensive profile--good but not extraordinary range, great arm and judgment--is a very good match for Fenway. 
 
 
Buzzkill Pauley said:
Folks, neither Mookie nor Xander are getting traded. Even for young pitching. They're too good, and too cheap.
 
Being good and cheap is merely a form of value. Value can be traded for other value. Neither Mookie nor Xander are getting traded for less than they're worth, hopefully, and the list of players who match them in value right now is short. But it's silly to say that they're untouchable just because they're young, good, and cheap. So are other people.
 

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lxt said:
I'm not exactly sure why the Sox would need another outfielder with what they already have. I like Betts, Castillo and Bradley with Holt acting as a backup. If I was to add an OF it would be Heyward. I like Gordon a great deal but I'm not seeing his addition as being what the Sox need. Adding Heyward who is younger and has outstanding defensive numbers for RF would be more of a benefit. I agree a far more expensive one but he may be one of the few worth it. An OF of Castillo/Bradley in left, Betts/Bradley in center and Heyward in right would one where baseballs go to die. Heyward would free up Holt to spend more time covering 3B and providing cover for Pedroia and Bogaerts. That would pretty much settle the position roles, Yes, against my better judgement the leaves Hanley at 1B with Shaw backing him up. What remains is what most of this thread has been discussing the rebuilding of the pen and adding another significant starter to round out the club.
 
The problem with signing either Gordon or Heyward is that it would seriously hamper their ability to sign a "significant" starter and rebuilding the pen.  Unless Dombrowski has the clearance to blow past the luxury tax cap for multiple years.
 

Buzzkill Pauley

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Savin Hillbilly said:
But it's silly to say that they're untouchable just because they're young, good, and cheap. So are other people.
If by that, you mean that the only other players that Mookie and Xander are tradeable for are as likewise untouchable, then I guess I agree. No one, not even Sale, is worth trading either of these guys away, at least not when the Sox have two contracts as bad as Panda and Hanley on the books for years to come, that they'll need to offset.

These are players that are not moved. Not right now, at least. Maybe in two years' time.
 

lxt

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Red(s)HawksFan said:
 
The problem with signing either Gordon or Heyward is that it would seriously hamper their ability to sign a "significant" starter and rebuilding the pen.  Unless Dombrowski has the clearance to blow past the luxury tax cap for multiple years.
Agree. It all depends on what ownership is willing to spend. The pundits are estimating Price to cost around $210 million which is a number I'd walk away from. However, if DD wants him and the money is made available I don't see him walking away from a deal.  I don't see Cueto or Zimmermann being cheap either. Rebuilding the pen with guys like Chapman and Kimbrel will cost prospects and players rather than money. So adding a Gordon or Heyward may be far more than the Sox want to spend.
 
However, if the Sox were to go after a position player I would want it to be Heyward.
 

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smastroyin said:
OCD SS made a point that was, essentially "if we can shore up the defense, then we can sign more cheap pitchers that don't need to be good themselves."  (sorry OCD if my boiling down is too strong).  My point is that if you spend like a drunken sailor trying to make marginal improvements, while leaving other places as holes, you are not really approaching the team building properly.  This was the strategy they tried last year (then negated themselves with the Hanley to LF thing) and it failed.  My point remains the same whether we are talking about an aggregate 104 ERA- or 96 ERA-.  If you are looking at complicated marginal upgrades before looking at fixing the low hanging fruit, you are over thinking yourself.  And especially if you are ignoring low hanging fruit because of organizational dogma rather than objective team building.
 
 
Not just too strong, but not at all the point I intended to make. I do not believe that Fenway suppresses the value of defense in LF enough that you can hide a bad defender there, or that the Sox shouldn't have the best defense possible in the OF. This isn't a matter of marginal improvements on the current club, it's a matter of allocating resources. Part of our imperfect information is knowing precise valuations for Castillo or JBJ. I think there is enough uncertainty in this that the team may aim to make an improvement in pitching by dealing an OFer, but that means replacing one of BBC.
 
If you want to have a discussion about organizational dogma and the merits of not handing out $200M deals to pitchers, that's one thing, but I think the team's history points to having a tendency in that direction that comes straight from JWH and therefore it is reasonable to consider alternatives to just signing the best "ace" on the market to a mega-deal. Perhaps Price and Chapman are 2016's answer to "Schilling and Foulke short", but if ownership simply holds to methods of evaluation that have served them fairly well over their tenure then we may have to consider more creative avenues to upgrading the pitching staff.
 

soxhop411

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Sherman also takes a crack at assessing the in-season changes to the future free agent market of Mets outfielder Yoenis Cespedes. The Red Sox offered him a five-year deal at about $75MM when he was with the club, says Sherman, and might have considered going to the Hunter Pence range (5/$90MM

Mlbtr
 

JimD

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The outfield is not a major flaw that needs to be addressed this winter - on the contrary, it could become a significant advantage if Betts continues to play at a high level and both Bradley and Castillo show they can hit enough to become everyday players to go along with their superior defensive skills.  DD is almost certainly going to spend big bucks on aces for the rotation and hopefully the bullpen - signing a FA outfielder and tossing another $75-100 million contract onto the payroll heap just seems like the worst kind of Steinbrenner-level excess.  Play the the OF hand they have and address it in midseason if necessary.  
 

benhogan

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JimD said:
The outfield is not a major flaw that needs to be addressed this winter - on the contrary, it could become a significant advantage if Betts continues to play at a high level and both Bradley and Castillo show they can hit enough to become everyday players to go along with their superior defensive skills.  DD is almost certainly going to spend big bucks on aces for the rotation and hopefully the bullpen - signing a FA outfielder and tossing another $75-100 million contract onto the payroll heap just seems like the worst kind of Steinbrenner-level excess.  Play the the OF hand they have and address it in midseason if necessary.  
Agree 100%.
 
For those that love the notion of short dated contracts, getting a player at mid-season represents a 50% discount for the year.  So in theory you can get twice the player at the same cost while addressing the position of greatest need. 
 
Also by waiting a few months into the season we are able to let our lower level prospects continue to ripen and extract more value from them.
 
If we simply add 1-2 proven vets on shortish term contracts to the bullpen (i.e. O'Day, Benoit...Chapman via trade) this team, as presently constructed, will be competitive.
 
Making big bold, splashy winter free agent signings is Steinbrenner-esque and a mugs game.
 
Dec 13, 2013
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Red(s)HawksFan said:
 
I don't think it's so much that "defense doesn't matter" in LF so much as good LF defense is of less value to the Red Sox because of Fenway's quirks.  Crawford came with a good deal of value tied to his range and defensive skills...which is why he commanded $20M plus on the free agent market...but are two things that aren't necessarily needed to play LF adequately at Fenway.  Gordon is an outstanding outfielder but his defensive value isn't predicated entirely on his speed/range.  He seems the type who could easily adapt to playing in front of the wall.  However, his "production" could see a dip strictly on paper, in that most defensive statistics still haven't found a way to account for the Wall and its influence.  Gordon could be the best defensive left fielder the team has had since Yaz and it might not reflect in his UZR or DRS and thus his WAR.
 
In any other year, I think Gordon would represent a great pick-up for the Red Sox.  But in this off-season, with the roster they have, there would be way too many moves to make for Gordon to fit to be worth whatever contract he gets. 
 
So is there any way of anticipating if an OF has the unusual skills to match Fenway's unusual left field? Or is it something you don't know until you try?
 
If the latter is the case, isn't it hard to justify paying out any significant sum for a left fielder?
 

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JimD said:
The outfield is not a major flaw that needs to be addressed this winter - on the contrary, it could become a significant advantage if Betts continues to play at a high level and both Bradley and Castillo show they can hit enough to become everyday players to go along with their superior defensive skills.  DD is almost certainly going to spend big bucks on aces for the rotation and hopefully the bullpen - signing a FA outfielder and tossing another $75-100 million contract onto the payroll heap just seems like the worst kind of Steinbrenner-level excess.  Play the the OF hand they have and address it in midseason if necessary.  
 
What actual evidence do we have that such a spending spree is in the works? Furthermore what actual evidence do we have that JWH has changed his stance on mega-contracts for FA pitchers? Is one more losing year enough that everyone involved is going to make a deep dive into this market when they wouldn't add any more to try and keep the pitcher they were very familiar with in Lester?  When both DD and JWH have given out big contracts it has been to position players; signing an OFer to a big contract is only an excess if the Sox keep all of their OFers, and I can see them dealing one to get a pitcher.
 
Really this could also be aimed at dealing for Chapman to fill the relief slot; if they are less convinced by Castillo than a swap that ultimately moves him out to bring Chapman in is roughly payroll neutral (not counting other players of course), but would lead the Sox to needing an OFer. This would make a lot of sense if the valuation of Castillo is closer to dead money as a LFer in Fenway (which is an opinion we've seen when he's going badly and hitting a lot ground balls) vs. a CFer elsewhere.
 
If the Sox are going to add an OFer it's too bad that Heyward finally broke out since he seems perfect and the team would be paying for prime years, but the price of the 12th pick makes many of the OFers a less palatable option.
 

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The X Man Cometh said:
 
So is there any way of anticipating if an OF has the unusual skills to match Fenway's unusual left field? Or is it something you don't know until you try?
 
If the latter is the case, isn't it hard to justify paying out any significant sum for a left fielder?
 
I don't think it takes a special or unusual set of skills to be a good defender in LF at Fenway.  My larger point was that there are certain skills that are valued in outfielders that are somewhat negated by the size and dimensions at Fenway.  Using Crawford as an example, his biggest asset as a defender was his foot speed.  It gave him great range in most left fields and also allowed him to compensate for poor jumps or bad angles (this isn't something that is exclusive to Crawford either).  But there's little need for extensive range in the smallest outfield parcel in baseball.  And the lack of space negates the ability to outrun a slow jump or a bad angle.  And he got exposed because of it.
 
The outfielders that have the best success defending in front of the Wall are the ones that excel at reading balls quickly off the bat and getting good jumps, and combine that ability with learning the intricacies of the Wall (which does take some time).  Yaz, for example, was good at that.  He could tell at the crack of the bat whether the ball would get to the wall or not, and often how high up it would likely hit.  Knowing that allowed him to either go for a catch near the base of the wall, or to back off and be in the right place to play the carom quickly and cleanly.  A big error inexperienced players make with the Wall is going back to it only to have the ball hit high enough to be out of reach to catch, but being too close to the wall when it hits and ending up having the carom bounce over their head and back toward the infield.
 
That's why I think Gordon might be a better bet to succeed where Crawford didn't while playing LF in Fenway.  His defense isn't predicated on his foot speed.  He likely has the abilities to read balls off the bat and get good jumps that should translate well to playing in front of the wall.  However, JBJ and Castillo both seem to have that skill in abundance, so they can probably get the same or better defense out of one of them in LF for a fraction of the cost.  Betts is still a work in progress as a converted infielder (like Gordon), but I feel like he could handle it too...with more reps.
 

Savin Hillbilly

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OCD SS said:
 
What actual evidence do we have that such a spending spree is in the works? Furthermore what actual evidence do we have that JWH has changed his stance on mega-contracts for FA pitchers? Is one more losing year enough that everyone involved is going to make a deep dive into this market when they wouldn't add any more to try and keep the pitcher they were very familiar with in Lester?  When both DD and JWH have given out big contracts it has been to position players; signing an OFer to a big contract is only an excess if the Sox keep all of their OFers, and I can see them dealing one to get a pitcher.
 
Justin Verlander says hello. Admittedly, that makes for a pretty poor proof-of-concept, but it's not quite true to say that DD has a track record of avoiding big contracts to pitchers.
 
But I agree with you that in our current situation (somewhat bloated payroll, lots of young talent), FA will probably not be the preferred route for adding to the top of the rotation. And if DD looks to make a trade, including one of our current three OFs in the package seems entirely plausible, which blows the "why sign an OF, we're set there" argument out of the water, or at least attaches a big flashing asterisk to it.
 

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Hmmm, I had spaced on Verlander. I was thinking along the lines of the big money spent to (unnecessarily) extend Miggy and not being in on Scherzer. Looking at Verlander when he signed his extension as a comp to paying Price is definitely a reality check. I wonder how much DD looks on that as a learning experience and how much it was mandated by ownership.
 

Savin Hillbilly

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Red(s)HawksFan said:
 
I don't think it takes a special or unusual set of skills to be a good defender in LF at Fenway. 
 
<snip>
 
The outfielders that have the best success defending in front of the Wall are the ones that excel at reading balls quickly off the bat and getting good jumps, and combine that ability with learning the intricacies of the Wall (which does take some time).
 
Juxtaposing these sentences to point out that the second one kind of contradicts the first, depending on how you interpret the word "skill."
 
I think it's true that it doesn't require any special or unusual athletic abilities to be a good defender in LF at Fenway. But Fenway's "intricacies" do require special skills that need work to develop, and which are as much mental as physical. It does seem like Gordon has the right makeup for this. Probably the biggest fly in the ointment with him is that one would assume he and the Royals will both be motivated to reach a deal that will keep him there; he's kind of their Joe Mauer.
 

alwyn96

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OCD SS said:
Hmmm, I had spaced on Verlander. I was thinking along the lines of the big money spent to (unnecessarily) extend Miggy and not being in on Scherzer. Looking at Verlander when he signed his extension as a comp to paying Price is definitely a reality check. I wonder how much DD looks on that as a learning experience and how much it was mandated by ownership.
 
Dombrowski's worked with a few difficult owners. In addition to his 14 years with the Tigers, he has an additional 13 years of experience with other teams that we can look at. He was GM of the Marlins from 1991-2001 (the Marlins weren't a team until 1993, but Dombrowski was hired to start building them from scratch in 1991), and GM of the Expos from 1988-1991. Dombrowski signed a pretty good Kevin Brown in 1995 to something like 3/$13M. I have no idea if that was a lot of money at the time, but it wasn't much more than what he'd gotten in previous years, so my hunch is no. He hadn't quite flashed his borderline HoFer-ness at that point, though. He also signed Alex Fernandez, who was probably considered an ace at the time, to a 5/$35M deal in 1997, which was probably pretty big (I guess?), although Fernandez was pretty disappointing for the Marlins.
 
Of course, looking at his record from 15-25 years ago may not tell us as much about his feelings on long-term contracts now, since that was sort of in a time when baseball's finances were different and mega-contracts were shorter and a smaller proportion of a team's total payroll.
 
I think you're right that ownership plays a huge role in whether or not a team offers a pitcher big, long-term contract. You don't hand out a $200M contract without full owner buy-in. The Red Sox just haven't tended to do that under Henry's ownership, and when they sort of did with Lackey, they got fairly mixed results. It's hard to tell, though. While Henry hasn't seemed to be excited about big, long term deals for pitchers, the Red Sox have never finished in last place two years in a row before. I have no idea what they'll do, but I'll only be surprised if they don't either make a huge trade or sign someone to a huge deal.
 
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Red(s)HawksFan said:
 
I don't think it takes a special or unusual set of skills to be a good defender in LF at Fenway.  My larger point was that there are certain skills that are valued in outfielders that are somewhat negated by the size and dimensions at Fenway.  Using Crawford as an example, his biggest asset as a defender was his foot speed.  It gave him great range in most left fields and also allowed him to compensate for poor jumps or bad angles (this isn't something that is exclusive to Crawford either).  But there's little need for extensive range in the smallest outfield parcel in baseball.  And the lack of space negates the ability to outrun a slow jump or a bad angle.  And he got exposed because of it.
 
The outfielders that have the best success defending in front of the Wall are the ones that excel at reading balls quickly off the bat and getting good jumps, and combine that ability with learning the intricacies of the Wall (which does take some time).  Yaz, for example, was good at that.  He could tell at the crack of the bat whether the ball would get to the wall or not, and often how high up it would likely hit.  Knowing that allowed him to either go for a catch near the base of the wall, or to back off and be in the right place to play the carom quickly and cleanly.  A big error inexperienced players make with the Wall is going back to it only to have the ball hit high enough to be out of reach to catch, but being too close to the wall when it hits and ending up having the carom bounce over their head and back toward the infield.
 
That's why I think Gordon might be a better bet to succeed where Crawford didn't while playing LF in Fenway.  His defense isn't predicated on his foot speed.  He likely has the abilities to read balls off the bat and get good jumps that should translate well to playing in front of the wall.  However, JBJ and Castillo both seem to have that skill in abundance, so they can probably get the same or better defense out of one of them in LF for a fraction of the cost.  Betts is still a work in progress as a converted infielder (like Gordon), but I feel like he could handle it too...with more reps.
 
Okay, thanks for the response. What I'm wondering is if the bolded abilities are something that can be scouted out and identified effectively. If we pay for an Alex Gordon (who has both the range and the mental chops), we're paying full price for only part of the defensive package. Wouldn't it be ideal to identify outfielders who aren't good in spacious fields, but who get great reads, and target them? Or is this the kind of thing that is beyond the scope of public information? More curious than anything else.
 

soxhop411

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don’t know where else to put this

http://fullcount.weei.com/sports/boston/baseball/red-sox/2015/10/30/red-sox-prospect-brian-johnson-escapes-carjacking/
Early Friday morning, recovering from his elbow ailment was the least of Brian Johnson’s concerns.
According to FloridaToday.com, the Red Sox pitching prospect escaped a carjacking incident in Cocoa Beach, Fla. without injury. Both Johnson and the driver of the car were reportedly approached in the parking lot of a convenience store at around 2 a.m.

The report states that Johnson was approached by a man later identified as 31-year-old Jonathan Oshaun Gould, who fired a round at the ground with the pitcher still in the car.

Gould would be arrested a short time after the incident and charged with carjacking, aggravated assault, persons engaged in a criminal offense having weapons, possession of a firearm and ammunition by a convicted felon and violation of felony probation.

Johnson had been in Fort Myers for the final month of the regular season, and the early portion of Oct., rehabbing his injured left elbow. He had returned to his hometown of Cocoa Beach, telling WEEI.com shortly after the regular season that he expected to be ready for spring training without limitations.
 

Fireball Fred

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Gordon doesn't make much sense to me, unless JBJ is traded. The Sox have plenty of OF fielding, especially as Bradley doesn't seem bothered at all by switching around LF-CF-RF. I'd add an outfielder, but look for a slow slugger with maybe some experience at first. 
 

SoxLegacy

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MLBTraderumors is reporting that Marlins pitcher Jose Fernandez (represented by Scott Boras) rejected a long term extension with the team. Does he become a priority trade target for the Sox? He's 23, a righty power arm and can become a free agent in 2019. The Marlins have a pretty empty farm system and needs at the big league level. If he's not amenable to signing an extenson now, maybe Miami decides to shop him. What could the Sox package in order to make a deal happen? Would a package of Moncada, Vazquez, Owens, and Margot work? I know it would most likely take more, but how much more? Could Buchholz be included? He's cheap, would provide some veteran presence to a young staff, and could benefit from switching to the NL. Do the Red Sox say hands off Benintendi, Kopech, and Espinoza and let the Marlins pick 3 prospects? For the Sox, they would get an ace who is young enough to sign to a long term deal and then give him the opportunity to get another one in his early 30's. Anyway, just spit balling here and waiting for the hot stove to heat up, but it does seem like if there's a chance he could be dealt, th Sox should be all over it.
 

Minneapolis Millers

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People will say that Fernandez is not going to be available and, if he were, it would take a MASSIVE overpay to get him.  Probably. 
 
But to your question, your proposal seems too heavy on young prospects (plus Vazquez, whose injury currently devalues him).  They wouldn't control Buch long enough.  I think they'd want current, cheap controllable MLB players (guys like Holt or Kelly at least) and a really close top prospect or two.  I don't think Owens or Margot would qualify, and Moncada/Devers/Espinoza are probably a year of development still away.  If the Sox would deal Betts or X, then they'd have the foundation to do a deal.  I doubt Swihart could anchor a deal for Fernandez.
 

SoxLegacy

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Minneapolis Millers said:
People will say that Fernandez is not going to be available and, if he were, it would take a MASSIVE overpay to get him.  Probably. 
 
But to your question, your proposal seems too heavy on young prospects (plus Vazquez, whose injury currently devalues him).  They wouldn't control Buch long enough.  I think they'd want current, cheap controllable MLB players (guys like Holt or Kelly at least) and a really close top prospect or two.  I don't think Owens or Margot would qualify, and Moncada/Devers/Espinoza are probably a year of development still away.  If the Sox would deal Betts or X, then they'd have the foundation to do a deal.  I doubt Swihart could anchor a deal for Fernandez.
Thanks MM. I don't really know what it would take to get him and went the prospect heavy route because the Marlins are (or have been) cheap. I agree that Vazquez being injured does reduce his value. I was just throwing it out there to see what others thought.

OCD SS, I was operating under the assumption that perhaps Fernandez wants to play for an organization that has a commitment to winning as opposed to the dysfunctional one where he currently is employed, but thanks for the reply.