The Beltran Option

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radsoxfan

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As I said, I think they are probably comfortable with Nava being that guy in any short term scenario, just as they were this year.  JBJ didn't come up every time Shane was out for a day or two.  
 
I agree they would like to upgrade defensively if there is a long term injury, but don't think its a big need at the major league level. I agree with you that a 3rd good defensive outfielder would be nice, either in AAA or on the 25 man roster.   But I wouldn't make it a huge priority to carry an All D guy just to have one around, or pay big money for it.  They can address the need you're referring to by trading for a defensively oriented player to stash at AAA, but just because they had the luxury of JBJ in AAA this year, that doesn't mean it's an absolute requirement every season.
 
As to the trade Nava idea, I suppose it depends what you can get for him.  I think he still has a role on the team as a jack-of-all trades OBP guy who can play multiple positions.  I agree, hitting right handed should be kept to a minimum.  Fortunately for him, most pitchers aren't left handed.
 

soxhop411

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“@pgammo: Beltran friend:"All the other teams are setting things up for the Yankees"”
 

dbn

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I only like Beltran to the Red Sox if both Ellsbury and Napoli leave.  I'm okay with rolling the dice with JBJ and WMB in the lineup instead of JE and Drew2, but if they lose Napoli's bat as well, that's too much risk for my taste.  Nava and Carp cover 1B, back up 1B, and 5th OF, and Beltran's bat replaces Napoli's bat.  It may be easier than finding a 1B to replace Napoli's bat.
 

Drek717

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soxhop411 said:
“@pgammo: Beltran friend:"All the other teams are setting things up for the Yankees"”
Probably because they're the only team willing to entertain a 4th year.
 

dbn

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I should add that I take back everything I just said if it requires a 4 yr commitment to Beltran.  
 

rembrat

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soxhop411 said:
“@pgammo: Beltran friend:"All the other teams are setting things up for the Yankees"”
 
Gammo's butt tweeting is getting better but I still can't decipher this tweet. Can anyone offer an interpretation?
 

Ed Hillel

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rembrat said:
Gammo's butt tweeting is getting better but I still can't decipher this tweet. Can anyone offer an interpretation?
Basically "he's going to the Yankees, but just letting other teams increase his value before he does so."

I think.
 

Super Nomario

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dbn said:
I only like Beltran to the Red Sox if both Ellsbury and Napoli leave.  I'm okay with rolling the dice with JBJ and WMB in the lineup instead of JE and Drew2, but if they lose Napoli's bat as well, that's too much risk for my taste.  Nava and Carp cover 1B, back up 1B, and 5th OF, and Beltran's bat replaces Napoli's bat.  It may be easier than finding a 1B to replace Napoli's bat.
Wouldn't both Beltran and Napoli be better? You might not have room for Nava, Gomes, and Carp in that case, but Beltran and Napoli are better players than those guys, right?
 

moondog80

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Do we think this is for RF or LF?  His defensive numbers have consistently gotten worse the past few years, RF in Fenway might be a struggle.  On the other hand, if he's in LF, what does that mean for Nava/Gomes?  Beltran's not an obvious platoon guy for Gomes the way Nava is.
 

soxhop411

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moondog80 said:
Do we think this is for RF or LF?  His defensive numbers have consistently gotten worse the past few years, RF in Fenway might be a struggle.  On the other hand, if he's in LF, what does that mean for Nava/Gomes?  Beltran's not an obvious platoon guy for Gomes the way Nava is.
Shane just won a GG in RF, so I HIGHLY doubt they move him off of RF…. I would guess its for LF and one of (or both?) Gomes and Nava are traded
 

dbn

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Super Nomario said:
Wouldn't both Beltran and Napoli be better? You might not have room for Nava, Gomes, and Carp in that case, but Beltran and Napoli are better players than those guys, right?
 
In principle.  It depends on the $$, including what they do, if anything, at catcher.  I've lost track of the payroll-&-salary-cap calculus, so I'm not how many of the suspected FA targets they can sign.  I'm linking my interest in them signing Beltran to Napoli's departure because the player(s) that Beltran would be replacing can be moved to Napoli's defensive position.  
 

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Super Nomario said:
Wouldn't both Beltran and Napoli be better? You might not have room for Nava, Gomes, and Carp in that case, but Beltran and Napoli are better players than those guys, right?
 
How much would you pay for the next numbers in this series:
 
385 / 525
346 / 495
339 / 491
 

nattysez

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Ed Hillel said:
Basically "he's going to the Yankees, but just letting other teams increase his value before he does so."

I think.
 
I hope it's not giving the Sox too much credit to suggest that knowing that the MFY are trying to stay under $189mm, they are going to happily do anything they can to drive up the perceived price on anyone the MFY are allegedly interested in.  Beltran's an obvious one, and I'd assume Jay-Z will sit down for a fancy dinner in the North End with Ben at some point after alerting the press.  The Sox's interest in Beltran is undoubtedly sincere at the right price, but these kinds of leaks make me think this is more a ploy than legit negotiation.  We shall see. 
 

Green Monster

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nattysez said:
 
I hope it's not giving the Sox too much credit to suggest that knowing that the MFY are trying to stay under $189mm, they are going to happily do anything they can to drive up the perceived price on anyone the MFY are allegedly interested in.  Beltran's an obvious one, and I'd assume Jay-Z will sit down for a fancy dinner in the North End with Ben at some point after alerting the press.  The Sox's interest in Beltran is undoubtedly sincere at the right price, but these kinds of leaks make me think this is more a ploy than legit negotiation.  We shall see. 
 
Yaaa.....Cuz the Sox need some help at 2B
 

moondog80

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soxhop411 said:
Shane just won a GG in RF, so I HIGHLY doubt they move him off of RF…. I would guess its for LF and one of (or both?) Gomes and Nava are traded
 Unless they promote Shane to CF.
 

Red(s)HawksFan

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Super Nomario said:
Wouldn't both Beltran and Napoli be better? You might not have room for Nava, Gomes, and Carp in that case, but Beltran and Napoli are better players than those guys, right?
 
I have a hard time believing that Beltran full-time in LF is superior to, let alone worth the significant added expense compared to the Nava/Gomes platoon that handled the position this past season.  Nava/Gomes were responsible for the Sox having the third best production in the league out of LF.  Beltran is trending the wrong way to be a sure bet to beat their production, even if we assume that they'll regress some.
 

Drek717

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Green Monster said:
Yaaa.....Cuz the Sox need some help at 2B
That is when the Cano crew leaks that he thinks he could win a gold glove at 3b.

I think the FO's man goal will be to make sure that no relatively team friendly deals go to anyone but them if they can help it. If Ruiz would have taken a one year deal the Sox probably splash the pot on AAV. If Hudson had taken a one year deal they probably do the same there.

The Yankees might sign Beltran, McCann, Garza, etc but they'll pay full freight if the Sox FO have anything to do about it.
 

Super Nomario

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Red(s)HawksFan said:
 
I have a hard time believing that Beltran full-time in LF is superior to, let alone worth the significant added expense compared to the Nava/Gomes platoon that handled the position this past season.  Nava/Gomes were responsible for the Sox having the third best production in the league out of LF.  Beltran is trending the wrong way to be a sure bet to beat their production, even if we assume that they'll regress some.
Beltran is no upgrade on the 2013 LF production, but so much of that was buoyed by Nava's .352 BABIP that is clearly unsustainable. His 2014 prospects depend almost entirely on where that BAPIP ends up. If it's his career average of .330, he's a really good LF and Beltran is a mild upgrade, if that. If it's .316, where Steamer projects him, he's an averageish player, a useful 4th OF but someone for whom Beltran is an upgrade. If it's the league average of .298 (roughly what it was in 2012), he's below average, maybe not far above replacement-level.
 

kieckeredinthehead

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Super Nomario said:
Beltran is no upgrade on the 2013 LF production, but so much of that was buoyed by Nava's .352 BABIP that is clearly unsustainable. His 2014 prospects depend almost entirely on where that BAPIP ends up. If it's his career average of .330, he's a really good LF and Beltran is a mild upgrade, if that. If it's .316, where Steamer projects him, he's an averageish player, a useful 4th OF but someone for whom Beltran is an upgrade. If it's the league average of .298 (roughly what it was in 2012), he's below average, maybe not far above replacement-level.
 
Nava's career BABIP splits:
vs. R as L: .349
vs. L as R: .279
 

koufax37

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Plympton91 said:
Beltran only makes sense to me if you're going to move Victorino to CF, and in that case you're significantly downgrading the defense at two positions, or if you're going to bench the Nava/Gomes platoon over which it's not clear that a 37 year old Beltran, whose past two seasons are merely good, represents a $10 million per year upgrade.
 
The argument to sign Beltran has to be: Victorino+Beltran > JBJ+Victorino, and that Ellsbury is too many years and dollars.
 
Downgrading two positions defensively is likely true, but upgrading two positions offensively would exceed the value of the downgrade in my mind.  With all respect to JBJ and his future potential, we are talking about Carlos Beltran, who statistically looks like he had a down year defensively, but as Papi can attest, can still catch a baseball or two.
 
In 2014 I would prefer Beltran with JBJ competing to show he is ready, developing in triple-A, and filling in when Beltran and Victorino have injury trouble at some point.  If that can happen at 2/28 I think we are a better team for it.
 

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I'd prefer they sign Ellsbury, but if both sides can't agree on a contract I'd go three years for Beltran and pair him with Victorino and JBJ in the outfield. I'd move Nava to first base and call that a pretty competitive lineup. You know the risks, if he gets hurt and can't live up to the contract it's not going to shock you, but if he's healthy for 75% of it I don't know if the team can do better in free agency.
 
Free agency is such a shit-show at this point, unless you're pouring 100% of your money into Cuban defectors and Japanese pitchers trying to capture upside you're guaranteed to take a haircut.
 
Carlos Beltran, professional hitter.
 

dbn

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I don't think the thought process should be "if they can sign Beltran, use Nava/Carp at 1B and let Napoli walk".  I think the process should be "which player can we sign at $$ & yrs that we find more favorable - if it's Beltran, see above; if it's Napoli, forget Beltran and go with Vic (RF), JBJ (CF), and Gomes/Nava/Carp (LF & bu 1B)".  The latter involves adding risk in that JBJ could represent a significant downgrade at CF offense relative to 2013, but when you were the best team in baseball the previous year with 4 major position player FAs this off-season, it's probably going to be tough just to stay at the same level talent-wise, short of youngsters panning out.  
 
They probably have a significant but limited room to add salary (before re-signing/placing and of the FAs).  Each potential contract will, of course, be considered within the larger picture of total roster construction without compartmentalizing the OF, IF, SP, RP, bench, and depth.  
 

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From the moment I learned Beltran was going into free agency, I thought "That's perfect...the Yankees will sign him for 50 million dollars and he'll never give them a healthy season." I still feel that way -- great player, but at more than two years let him grace some other disabled list. (Yes, I know his health has been pretty good the last couple of years, but I just wouldn't want to bet on a player with so much tread off the tires.)

That said, IF Napoli and Ellsbury were both to go away, then Beltran in LF and Nava/Hart at 1B is a perfectly plausible alternative. Good, even, but not worth 4 years of Beltran.
 

JimD

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I'm reading this as a not-too-subtle message to Napoli's camp that the Sox are prepared to move on if necessary.
 

Drek717

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JimD said:
I'm reading this as a not-too-subtle message to Napoli's camp that the Sox are prepared to move on if necessary.
I don't think it needs to be either/or with Beltran and Napoli.  The best 2014 lineup sans-Ellsbury would have both Beltran and Napoli in it, and JBJ would get an extra year in AAA/riding the shuttle to develop and prove he's ready for the full time job.
 
My concern with Beltran is where he plays beyond 2014 when he loses another step in the field.  DH presumably, but I think Ortiz is playing at least two more years if he's still productive, as that is the minimum he'll need to break 500 HRs and I can't see him finishing in the high 400's while still hitting ~30 bombs a year if he has any say about it (which he obviously will).
 
Maybe Beltran could shift to LF and hide his weaker defense there for an extra season, but he looks like a guy on the edge of becoming a full time DH and we've already got one of those.  It's worth the risk on a two year deal but at three it adds a lot more risk.  Given that Beltran has talked about wanting a 3-4 year deal and that some team could definitely offer the 4th year as the clincher and I just don't see how it makes sense for the Sox to be the high bidder.  I can't see Beltran even taking something like 2/$40M versus 4/$60M because at his age there is a good chance in two years he's pretty much toast and never make up the extra $20M.  He'll maximize total value knowing that its his last deal, so more years is flat out more money.
 

koufax37

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Drek717 said:
I don't think it needs to be either/or with Beltran and Napoli.  The best 2014 lineup sans-Ellsbury would have both Beltran and Napoli in it, and JBJ would get an extra year in AAA/riding the shuttle to develop and prove he's ready for the full time job.
 
My concern with Beltran is where he plays beyond 2014 when he loses another step in the field.  DH presumably, but I think Ortiz is playing at least two more years if he's still productive, as that is the minimum he'll need to break 500 HRs and I can't see him finishing in the high 400's while still hitting ~30 bombs a year if he has any say about it (which he obviously will).
 
Maybe Beltran could shift to LF and hide his weaker defense there for an extra season, but he looks like a guy on the edge of becoming a full time DH and we've already got one of those.  It's worth the risk on a two year deal but at three it adds a lot more risk.  Given that Beltran has talked about wanting a 3-4 year deal and that some team could definitely offer the 4th year as the clincher and I just don't see how it makes sense for the Sox to be the high bidder.  I can't see Beltran even taking something like 2/$40M versus 4/$60M because at his age there is a good chance in two years he's pretty much toast and never make up the extra $20M.  He'll maximize total value knowing that its his last deal, so more years is flat out more money.
 
Your first point about Beltran over JBJ is spot on.  We are a better team in 2014 that way, so unless those dollars can buy us more wins elsewhere, I am quite happy to have Beltran on a short contract.
 
As to the earlier mention of "they won't move Victorino because he just won a GG in RF", he won a GG in RF because he is a CF playing RF.  All things being equal I would love three center fielders in the outfield defensively (like the Angels of Trout-Bourjos-Hunter), but usually that isn't the best allocation of resources since at a corner position an outfielder can add value more easily with his offensive contribution.
 
I think Victorino+Beltran is better in 2014 than JBJ+Victorino, and any argument starts here.  If you think this is wrong you don't talk to Beltran.  There might be an argument for "we are a better team without Beltran in 2014" if you are high on JBJ or low on Beltran, but I don't think that argument is the most realistic one.
 
That leaves us with two reasons to not sign Beltran to a 2/28 type deal (if he would accept it):
 
1) Those dollars could buy more wins improving the team spent elsewhere.  I'm not sure I see where (or which other move we can't make because we spent the money on Beltran), but I'm open to arguments to this effect.
 
2) Or what happens in 2015 if you are looking at a two year deal (I think Beltran could get three from another team and one is out of the question).  If you make an argument that the 2014 difference between signing Beltran or not signing him is small enough, then we can start to look beyond and think about what happens in 2014 when Beltran is a year older and loses another step, and JBJ is a year closer to his prime with more experience.  But here I think you can find ABs for Beltran in LF and 1B too, make advantageous trades elsewhere if there is really a log jam, etc.
 
So unless we get back in the Ellsbury market without his pricetag getting crazy, or unless we have another better than Beltran splash to make, I think a two year deal for future hall of famer Carlos Beltran makes us a better team over those two seasons, and I would be very happy with.
 

JimD

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Signing Beltran makes sense to me in two scenarios - one as insurance if Napoli takes another team's offer, and the other as a 'What the hell - why not?' move if he were to agree to a ridiculously short and/or cheap contract.  Signing Beltran at a market-rate contract if Napoli comes back feels like a solution in search of a problem - if nothing else, I hate that it would likely weaken the defense in center and right.  
 
Give JBJ a shot out of spring training - he has nothing left to prove at Pawtucket and this is an ideal time to find out if he is capable of becoming the CF for the next six years in Boston.  There will be other aging veteran bats available at the trading deadline or next winter if Bradley flames out.   
 

Drek717

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JimD said:
Signing Beltran makes sense to me in two scenarios - one as insurance if Napoli takes another team's offer, and the other as a 'What the hell - why not?' move if he were to agree to a ridiculously short and/or cheap contract.  Signing Beltran at a market-rate contract if Napoli comes back feels like a solution in search of a problem - if nothing else, I hate that it would likely weaken the defense in center and right.  
 
Give JBJ a shot out of spring training - he has nothing left to prove at Pawtucket and this is an ideal time to find out if he is capable of becoming the CF for the next six years in Boston.  There will be other aging veteran bats available at the trading deadline or next winter if Bradley flames out.   
JBJ has 80 games at the AAA level and will be 24 next season.  I wouldn't say he has nothing more to prove, and that extra year of riding the shuttle can 1. further develop his game before starting his service time in earnest and 2. assure the Sox of having good outfield depth on the 40 man roster.
 
Also, the problem signing both Beltran and Napoli is answering would be "how do you make the best 2014 Red Sox team possible?"  Victorino + Beltran is almost definitely better than Victorino + JBJ.  JBJ will get his shot quite soon regardless, so the future isn't being blocked long term by the move.
 
I don't see the benefits to binary thinking where we view the signing of player X as the answer to losing player Y.  There are multiple ways to build a roster good enough to repeat as AL East champs, and that is the primary goal (since winning the WS is more a product of who gets hot and lucky at the right time).  A team with Beltran and Napoli will almost definitely be the best possible 2014 roster.  The only reason not to make sure that happens is cost, both in dollars and in years.
 
I'm doubtful that Beltran is a real option as someone will give him 3 or 4 years and the long term roster inflexibility cost is then too high, but if he'll take 2 years I'd give him 2 at $32M and not mind one bit.  Hell, make it 2 at $36M, it isn't my money and the Sox can unload Dempster to gain the payroll flexibility to do that, resign Napoli, and add a solid setup man to the mix.  It all falls apart when we need to figure out where a 39 year old Beltran fits on the 2016 Red Sox though, especially if that Red Sox team still has a ~.900 OPS full time DH in the form of 40 year old David Ortiz still on the roster just a handful of homers away from 500.
 

Savin Hillbilly

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koufax37 said:
 
As to the earlier mention of "they won't move Victorino because he just won a GG in RF", he won a GG in RF because he is a CF playing RF.
 
I think it is very much open to question whether he is, in fact, still a CF. After all, CF isn't a genetic marker, it's a skill that can decline. Beltran used to be a CF, too, until he wasn't. Victorino has shown negative numbers in CF two years in a row--granted, the sample was meaninglessly small this year, but a bit more robust in 2012, and since the decline is what you'd expect to see from a player of his age, I don't see much reason to doubt that he is, in fact, no longer a plus defensive CF. Maybe we could get away with a Gomes/Nava-Victorino-Beltran outfield, but it would be our worst defensive outfield in quite a while.
 
The other thing that concerns me about Beltran is that everybody is taking his offense for granted. But he's going to be 37, and he'd be moving to a tougher league, and the declining walk rate in 2013 worries me. I think you could easily find yourself looking at a .260/.325/.450 kind of hitter, if not next year, certainly by the year after that. There's nothing wrong with that line in itself, but there's not much point in spending significant dollars, even in a short deal, for that offense + Beltran's defense.
 
You can certainly make a case for signing Beltran, but let's not talk as if the choice between Beltran in right and JBJ in center is a choice between a risk and a known quantity. There's considerable risk either way.
 

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Given the presence of Ortiz at DH, I doubt the Sox want to make a 37-yo declining fielder like Beltran one of the 3-4 top paid players on the team.  He's the type of guy you add on the cheap if possible, because he's a veteran who wants to play for you to get the ring. If he's more interested in maximizing his years/dollars, that's fine, but it's highly likely to be with another team.  The Sox have better ways to use their $ and roster space.
 

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Savin Hillbilly said:
 
 
The other thing that concerns me about Beltran is that everybody is taking his offense for granted. But he's going to be 37, and he'd be moving to a tougher league, and the declining walk rate in 2013 worries me. I think you could easily find yourself looking at a .260/.325/.450 kind of hitter, if not next year, certainly by the year after that. There's nothing wrong with that line in itself, but there's not much point in spending significant dollars, even in a short deal, for that offense + Beltran's defense.
 
You can certainly make a case for signing Beltran, but let's not talk as if the choice between Beltran in right and JBJ in center is a choice between a risk and a known quantity. There's considerable risk either way.
 
This, exactly.  I've been asking this question for a while now and it was half meant to be rhetorical.  What is it about Beltran that has people so excited about handing him 26m-30m for the next two years?  I really don't get it.  Take away his name and you've got an outfielder entering his late 30s with below-average defense and declining but still decent offense.  He's anything but a sure thing.
 

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Barring a no-trade clause (and I'm not sure on Cherington's stance regarding them), couldn't the Sox trade Beltran to be someone else's DH if his defense declines enough and Papi is still the DH?  Ortiz was the league's best DH by a good margin and I'd have to think there's a few teams that could use a productive Beltran - especially if you subsidized the salary a bit to make it work.
 
That said, I'd prefer to look elsewhere for a cheaper platoon partner for Nava, or trade some prospects for a long term LF solution.  Given Beltran's age and injury history, it's a fairly big gamble to count on him.  The Cardinals had him the last 3 years, got very good production (especially in the playoffs), need as many hitters as they can get their hands on, and they're willing to let him walk.  That's good enough for me - they've got a pretty good track record in evaluating their talent.
 

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glennhoffmania said:
 
This, exactly.  I've been asking this question for a while now and it was half meant to be rhetorical.  What is it about Beltran that has people so excited about handing him 26m-30m for the next two years?  I really don't get it.  Take away his name and you've got an outfielder entering his late 30s with below-average defense and declining but still decent offense.  He's anything but a sure thing.
He's the best FA OF who will take short years, that's the appeal.  No player is really a sure thing but Beltran on a 2 year deal with JBJ as the hedge for injury/under-performance by Victorino or Beltran is a pretty safe bet to get good production out of the OF spots.
 
I can definitely see the appeal, but then it all goes away the second you start talking about a 3rd year.  Year 2 would be something of a gamble as it is, taking two gamble years for one good year on the front end is a bad way to build a roster.
 

DourDoerr said:
Barring a no-trade clause (and I'm not sure on Cherington's stance regarding them), couldn't the Sox trade Beltran to be someone else's DH if his defense declines enough and Papi is still the DH?  Ortiz was the league's best DH by a good margin and I'd have to think there's a few teams that could use a productive Beltran - especially if you subsidized the salary a bit to make it work.
Carlos Beltran has had a no trade clause in both free agent deals he's negotiated (both the Mets deal and the Cardinals deal).  Supposedly he and his wife are quite picky about the city/team they're attached to.  I'd bet a no trade would be a requirement for him.
 

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PrometheusWakefield said:
Says to me that the Red Sox are looking to do the same thing they did last offseason - take the best players available who don't require a long term contract.

Not an encouraging sign for those of us who want Ells back.
That seams somewhat obvious and has been covered by myself and others, that should Ellsbury leave, Choo and Beltran were the next obvious OF plans. The part I don't like is the fallout from not resigning Ellsbury is that we'll have to sign a free agent replacement (and by that I mean an OF, not a CF) now and 2 more within 2 years, when Victorino's contract expires, and if the current solution is a on a 2 year deal. With Ellsbury back we'd have 2 OF spots locked up for the next 5 plus years and all three spots for 2 more years. By that point JBJ should be approaching his potential (a possible AS appearance or 2) which woud lessen the load to signing a top notch OF, even then. 
 

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seantoo said:
That seams somewhat obvious and has been covered by myself and others, that should Ellsbury leave, Choo and Beltran were the next obvious OF plans. The part I don't like is the fallout from not resigning Ellsbury is that we'll have to sign a free agent replacement (and by that I mean an OF, not a CF) now and 2 more within 2 years, when Victorino's contract expires, and if the current solution is a on a 2 year deal. With Ellsbury back we'd have 2 OF spots locked up for the next 5 plus years and all three spots for 2 more years. By that point JBJ should be approaching his potential (a possible AS appearance or 2) which woud lessen the load to signing a top notch OF, even then. 
 
Why are you assuming that within two years they'd need to sign additional free agents?  They can theoretically not sign any free agent OF for the next two or three years and be okay.
 
Let Ellsbury walk and replace him with JBJ.  Go into 2014 with JBJ, Victorino, Gomes, Nava as your top four.  Gomes expires after 2014, in steps Brentz or Hassan or even Cecchini.  Victorino expires after 2015, in steps another young outfielder.  And so on.
 
Not saying that they have to go that way or that they will, it's just that free agent outfielders don't have to be an integral part of anything they do.  I think the lesson of the last couple years is to not lock in players in as long term solutions, especially if it's at free agent market rates.
 

Rasputin

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Red(s)HawksFan said:
 
Why are you assuming that within two years they'd need to sign additional free agents?  They can theoretically not sign any free agent OF for the next two or three years and be okay.
 
Let Ellsbury walk and replace him with JBJ.  Go into 2014 with JBJ, Victorino, Gomes, Nava as your top four.  Gomes expires after 2014, in steps Brentz or Hassan or even Cecchini.  Victorino expires after 2015, in steps another young outfielder.  And so on.
 
Not saying that they have to go that way or that they will, it's just that free agent outfielders don't have to be an integral part of anything they do.  I think the lesson of the last couple years is to not lock in players in as long term solutions, especially if it's at free agent market rates.
 
Outfield is not a position of strength in the Sox system. It's not a given that there will be the talent to plug in that you suggest.
 

koufax37

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I think it is very much open to question whether he is, in fact, still a CF. After all, CF isn't a genetic marker, it's a skill that can decline. Beltran used to be a CF, too, until he wasn't. Victorino has shown negative numbers in CF two years in a row--granted, the sample was meaninglessly small this year, but a bit more robust in 2012, and since the decline is what you'd expect to see from a player of his age, I don't see much reason to doubt that he is, in fact, no longer a plus defensive CF. Maybe we could get away with a Gomes/Nava-Victorino-Beltran outfield, but it would be our worst defensive outfield in quite a while.
 
The other thing that concerns me about Beltran is that everybody is taking his offense for granted. But he's going to be 37, and he'd be moving to a tougher league, and the declining walk rate in 2013 worries me. I think you could easily find yourself looking at a .260/.325/.450 kind of hitter, if not next year, certainly by the year after that. There's nothing wrong with that line in itself, but there's not much point in spending significant dollars, even in a short deal, for that offense + Beltran's defense.
 
You can certainly make a case for signing Beltran, but let's not talk as if the choice between Beltran in right and JBJ in center is a choice between a risk and a known quantity. There's considerable risk either way.
 
Yes, but the skills that made him a GG RF are a product of him being a solid outfield defender, and a CF by nature.  As with Torii Hunter or Beltran, getting an aging CF to RF can really add to their defensive value and extend their career of being a contributing defender. Aging fielders not getting to balls that should be caught has always been a pet peeve of mine, and doing it in the core up the middle positions is more costly.  So I don't want Victorino as our long term CF, and would like him to be our elite RF all things being equal.
 
But, in 2014, I don't expect all things will be equal, and I find it unlikely JBJ will improve enough or Beltran decline enough to not have Beltran with the clear edge defense included.  I would love to be wrong here (at least on the JBJ emerging side), but I think that doesn't approach the 50/50 stage before at least 2015.
 
But, despite thinking Beltran has a clear value edge over JBJ in 2014 does not mean that he has a $14m+ edge, and we can't better spend the money elsewhere (including in a trade where we take on contract), upgrading a starting pitcher or a corner infielder (or even the Stanton hypothesis).  If there is a *better* option to improve, I am quite happy to take it instead, but until that emerges or someone else offers Beltran too many years or dollars, I'm very bullish on him being one of the best options to improve our team.
 

Red(s)HawksFan

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Papelbon's Poutine said:
Who would the young outfielder stepping in after 2015 be?
 
Cripes, it was a hypothetical.  Presenting an alternative to the equally vague "they'll have to sign 2 more free agent outfielders within 2 years" if they don't re-sign Ellsbury.  Just think the concern of having to sign free agent outfielders in one or two years is a weak reason to over-reach for Ellsbury or sign/not sign someone like Beltran.
 

Green Monster

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Papelbon's Poutine said:
With a draft pick attached. No thank you.
If Napoli re-signs, the Sox would have their first round pick along with two supplemental picks (Drew, Ellsbury).  If signing Beltran was done in the event that Napoli was not re-signed then they would forfeit the first round pick but gain three supplemental picks.  Given that their first round pick is nearly in the supplemental round then net result is minimal.
 

Green Monster

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Papelbon's Poutine said:
It's not minimal, the net result is one less top 35 draft pick all for the right to overpay a 37 year old, 2-2.5 WAR OF for two years. It's a terrible use of resources considering it's not a need and it's not even a clear upgrade on what he would be replacing. If we were talking about a clear need or someone that would be a premium player for multiple seasons, sure. McCann is the only player that fits that mold.
I am not really advocating signing Beltran.  Just pointing out if Napoli re-signs the Sox have 3 picks (1st & 2 Supplemental s).  If Napoli leaves and the Sox sign Beltran or McCann they end up with 3 picks (3 Supplementals).  The net effect is that they move down a few spots (the difference between their first round pick and Napoli's slot in the supplemental round).
 
Of course if Napoli leaves and they don't sign a player with a QO they would end up with the additional pick, which is perhaps your point.
 

BCsMightyJoeYoung

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The decision to re-sign any of the players, who received QOs, has to involve the calculus of forfeiting the draft pick they would otherwise receive.

That is the cost of a three year Napoli deal is xxx/x plus the pick. Same for Ellsbury and Drew. When it's clear that re-signing the player provides only a marginal gain then that pick increases in importance.

So re-signing Napoli AND signing Beltran costs two picks plus the money. That's a pretty big hit.
 

67WasBest

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Papelbon's Poutine said:
My point is regardless of who they sign and what picks they get back, to sign Beltran costs them their first round pick. I don't really care how many supplemental picks they have coming and the destination of Napoli is neither here nor there. Suggesting that it "only costs them the net difference between their pick and their first supplemental" is inaccurate and completely missing the point. It costs them a top 25 pick to sign beltran. Which is considerably more than the difference between that pick and their first supplemental.

Beltran, in a best case scenario, is probably producing 5-6 WAR over the next two years at a cost of $30M+. He's 37, would project to play LF and doesn't fill a need, nor even guarantees an upgrade over the status quo. To sacrifice a top 25 pick - which in the long run should provide much more value while being cost controlled or could presumably eventually be a valuable trade chip in a cpl years - is, IMO, a poor way to use your resources. They should be able to garner much more value out of the pick than they will get from Beltran, who is not a difference maker for this team next year or the year after.

If you want to make the argument that someone like McCann - who will be pricey but fills a huge hole and likely can at an elite level for 4 years or more - then that is a much better use of the pick.
IMO, if they sign Beltran, it's for his post season resume.  This team will be a playoff team next year, and it would seem a smart gamble to add another bat with a history of success in the post season.
 

Sampo Gida

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Papelbon's Poutine said:
My point is regardless of who they sign and what picks they get back, to sign Beltran costs them their first round pick. I don't really care how many supplemental picks they have coming and the destination of Napoli is neither here nor there. Suggesting that it "only costs them the net difference between their pick and their first supplemental" is inaccurate and completely missing the point. It costs them a top 25 pick to sign beltran. Which is considerably more than the difference between that pick and their first supplemental.

Beltran, in a best case scenario, is probably producing 5-6 WAR over the next two years at a cost of $30M+. He's 37, would project to play LF and doesn't fill a need, nor even guarantees an upgrade over the status quo. To sacrifice a top 25 pick - which in the long run should provide much more value while being cost controlled or could presumably eventually be a valuable trade chip in a cpl years - is, IMO, a poor way to use your resources. They should be able to garner much more value out of the pick than they will get from Beltran, who is not a difference maker for this team next year or the year after.

If you want to make the argument that someone like McCann - who will be pricey but fills a huge hole and likely can at an elite level for 4 years or more - then that is a much better use of the pick.
 
Signing Beltran would only make sense if you were also going to sign a McCann, in which case Beltran would only cost you a 2nd round pick (#65 or so).  Even then, I also don't see Beltran as a need. 
 
You give JBJ a shot, and if by the ASB he does not produce, then you make a deal if needed.  The team either believes in their prospects or not.  You don't sign a guy like Beltran in anticipation that JBJ will fail.  
 

Rasputin

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67WasBest said:
IMO, if they sign Beltran, it's for his post season resume.  This team will be a playoff team next year, and it would seem a smart gamble to add another bat with a history of success in the post season.
Signing someone for their post season resume is something stupid teams do.

Also, it is entirely possible that this is not a playoff team next year, and we have to be okay with that.
 
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