Wednesday, November 11, 2009
It's that time again, when every Red Sox fan alive pretends they can do a better job than Theo Epstein, and they usually come away with enough verbal ammo to complain about his moves throughout the season (See Penny,Brad;Smoltz,John;and Baldelli,Rocco for reference). With all of that in mind, I'm going to try and guess who the Red Sox get in here for next season.
Players I do not see coming back in a Red Sox uniform-Billy Wagner, Michael Bowden, Alex Gonzalez, Jason Bay
Bowden would probably be included in any major trade made this off-season, which is why I don't expect him back. Billy Wagner wants to be a closer somewhere, and I don't see the Red Sox getting rid of Papelbon at this point. Wagner is probably better suited to be in the National League at this point, anyways, although his agent has stated Wagner would be open to a return to Boston via arbitration. I don't think the Red Sox are enamored with Jason Bay, because if they were they would have signed him to an extension during the season. I still can't help but look at this comparison of Richie Sexson and Bay done by USS Mariner, and wonder what type of player Bay will be in years three and four of a four-year deal. The Alex Gonzalez situation is a head-scratcher, as he has always produced in Boston when given a chance, but when the Red Sox turned down his 6 million-dollar option, I think it shows they still don't believe he can do it for a full season. This of course leads us into the next phase, who is coming in?
Players I see in a Red Sox uniform next year-Adrian Gonzalez, Marco Scutaro
If, big "if" here, the Red Sox can put together a package for Adrian Gonzalez, it's a good move because he is very inexpensive, and it allows the Sox make other moves and still stay below the luxury tax. Casey Kotchman, Bowden, and whoever else Theo can talk Hoyer into taking would be the package. Now, would Kevin Youkilis be able to make an effective transition into left-field? With a full spring training at the position under his belt, I couldn't see why not. When Lowell needs a day off, Youk plays third and Hermida could play left. Scutaro seems like the type of guy Theo would love to have on the team, as he has had success playing in the AL East, and he can't possibly be any worse than Renteria or Lugo were. Another interesting name for a possible utility role? Nomar Garciaparra, for an Ellis Burks-type victory lap to end his career. I think the pitching staff is pretty much set with Lester, Beckett, Buchholz, Dice-K, and Wake, and I don't think after trading for Gonzalez the farm system could sustain another big trade for either Halladay or Felix Hernandez. Expect some more buy-low signings, possibly notorious Red Sox-killer Frank Catalanotto, Bobby Crosby, Randy Winn, Erik Bedard, JJ Putz, to be given a chance to help this team next season.
This much is for certain, this team needs to re-tool, and prepare for the off-season of 2010-11, when the albatross contracts of Mike Lowell and David Ortiz are off the books, and Josh Beckett will be looking for a new contract. This reminds me alot of the 2006-2007 off-season, only without the top-tier minor league prospects to help out right away.