Red Sox Offseason Options

ImageDecisions, Decisions: In an effort to sure up most of the remaining holes on our roster, the Boston Red Sox have been talking business with a few guys who could fit the bill. Free agent catcher Mike Napoli  and free agent outfielders Nick Swisher, Shane Victorino, Ryan Ludwick, and Nate McClouth are all on Boston’s radar.

The Sox have already inked career back up catcher David Ross and outfielder Jonny Gomes at little cost. So, Boston is trying to make a few moves, in the upcoming winter meetings, to bolster the rest of the roster for next season.

Image

Let’s take a look at some of the Sox’s options in the free agency market:

Mike Napoli C/1B– Batted .227 with 24 HR and 56 RBI in 2012. He’s a career .259 hitter with 146 HR and 380 RBI. Napoli, age 31, offers flexibility for Boston, being able to play catcher or first base, and he offers a solid bat in the lineup.

Nick Swisher OF- Batted .272 with 24 HR and 93 RBI for 2012. Swish is a career .256 hitter with 209 HR and 673 RBI. At 32-years-old, Swisher offers veteran experience and is known throughout the MLB as a great clubhouse personality and a gamer. With Ellsbury, a re-signed Ross (hopefully) and Swisher/Gomes the outfield would certainly be set. But, Swisher will likely seek too much money and fall off our list.

Image

Shane Victorino OF- Batted .255 with 11 HR and 55 RBI in 2012. Victorino is a career .275 hitter with 90 HR and 409 RBI. Victorino, also 32, would offer veteran experience like Swisher, but may not offer the same numbers Swisher can in the batters box. However, Victorino would be a more affordable option.

Ryan Ludwick OF- Batted .275 with 26 HR and 80 RBI in 2012. Ludwick is a .263 career hitter with 143 HR and 530 RBI. Ludwick had a Cody Ross-esque year with the Cincinnati Reds and would be another veteran guy to add like Swish and Shane. But, at age 34, the question can be asked, how much longer will Ludwick produce? Also Ludwick’ stats may have swelled due to playing in Great American Ballpark (one of the smaller parks to play in, which allows for a higher HR/RBI production).

Nate McClouth OF- batted .241 with 7 HR and 20 RBI in 2012. McClouth is a career .248 hitter with 88 HR and 290 RBI. McClouth’s numbers don’t exactly jump off the screen in the sense of production, but at 31-years-old, he could be a role player option (much like Gomes will be) if the Sox miss out on other outfielders.

Final Thoughts: The Good News: Boston will have plenty of options to consider going into the winter meetings. The Bad News: This year’s market for players, is one of the weakest in recent memory. The Sox will have to be smart and carefully consider who their best choices will be this off-season.

Image

Another position the Sox will need to address, finding a starting pitcher to sure up the rotation. There are a few big names in free agency like Zack Greinke, Kyle Lohse, and Anibal Sanchez. However, Boston may resort to filling in the rotation by way of trade, instead of splurging on a starter.

 

Who do you think the Sox should sign next? Should they go after a big name like Josh Hamilton or Greinke? Leave a comment below.

Advertisements

Throwback Thursday: Boston Red Sox 2004 World Series Champs

ImageTo start this Throwback Thursday off right we must first go back a bit before the 2004 World Series, and relive “The Comeback” that was the 2004 ALCS.

The Boston Red Sox finished the 2004 season in second place in the American League East Division behind the New York Yankees to earn a wild card birth. The season was riddled with uncertainty as injuries plagued the roster, young gun general manager at the time Theo Epstein made bold trades at the deadline (shipping Nomar Garciaparra away for Orlando Cabrera and Doug Mientkiewicz, later trading a minor leaguer for Dave Roberts) and they had a terrible mid-season slump falling more than eight games back of the Yanks at one point.

Image

However, despite things looking dreary, the 2004 Boston Red Sox turned things around just in time to make the post-season as they won 22 of their last 25 games. Cabrera, Roberts and Mientkiewicz all played crucial roles in the Red Sox clubhouse during that stretch, and would continue to contribute in the postseason as well.

Image

After sweeping the then Anaheim Angels in the ALDS the Sox looked poised to finally overthrow the “Evil Empire” as they entered the ALCS against their arch nemesis. As you might remember the series didn’t exactly start the way we had hoped. Boston fell into a 3-0 hole the size of the Grand Canyon and it looked like there was no way out.

But just when the Fenway Faithful thought all hope was lost…something miraculous happened. The Boston Red Sox came to life and roared back into the series. Over the next four games minds were blown, sports writers and analysts were baffled, history was being written right before our very eyes, but no one could even begin to believe it.

Game 4 had the Sox season all but over. Going into the bottom of the 9th Boston trailed 4-3 and The Bronx Bombers had star closer Mariano Rivera on the mound. After Rivera walked Kevin Millar, Dave Roberts came in to pinch run and made the steal that would start the improbable comeback. Roberts would score on a Bill Mueller single to tie the game, and an extra innings two-run blast by David “Big Papi” Ortiz would clinch the first of four victories for the Sox.

Image

Game 5 was long and grueling, and was again capped off by Papi as he hit an extra innings RBI to score Johnny Damon. Game 6 had Curt Schilling and “The Bloody Sock”, in which Schilling put on an a brilliant pitching performance to capture another victory. Finally, Game 7 featured a grand salami from Johnny Damon which helped seal the crazy comeback, as the Sox won 10-3 and propelled themselves to their first World Series appearance since 1986.

To illustrate just how improbable this comeback was, it should be noted that only four teams in the history of sports with a seven game playoff series (MLB,NBA,NHL) have came back down 3 games in a championship series to win (the 1942 Toronto Maple Leafs NHL, the 1975 New York Islanders NHL, the 2004 Boston Red Sox MLB, and 2010 Boston Bruins NHL, No NBA team has ever overcome a 3-0 deficit).

After doing the unthinkable against the New York Yankees the Red Sox didn’t spend anytime relishing in defeating (and embarrassing) their rivals, but instead continued the calamity and swept the St. Louis Cardinals in the 2004 World Series.

Image

I’ll never forget the final out made by then closer Keith Foulke. With two away and the Sox up 3-0 on the Cardinals at Busch Stadium, you could certainly cut the tension with a butcher knife. We all remember where we were in that moment. The batter was Edgar Rentaria, who coincidentally donned the number 3 on his uniform, the very same number worn by Babe Ruth. Foulke got Rentaria to ground right back to the mound and the rest is history. Foulke flipped it over to Doug Mientkiewicz and those famous words, uttered by esteemed announcer Joe Buck, rang out on household televisions and sports bars across the country “Red Sox Fans have longed to hear it; The Boston Red Sox are World Champions”.

Image

This wasn’t just an 86-year-old curse being broken, this wasn’t just our first World Series title since 1918, this was so much more. This was what generation after generation of Red Sox fans had spent their whole lives waiting for, this was bigger than baseball, this was the one night that washed away decades of pain and suffering, that overshadowed all the spring training whispers of “this could be the year”. There was no catch, no hold up, no disappointment, only joy, celebration, and triumph.

The 2004 Boston Red Sox were unlike anything the sporting world had ever seen. They wrote their way into the history books one game at a time, in the cold nights of October, winning baseballs fall classic and the hearts of millions.

What was your favorite 2004 ALCS/World Series moment? Leave a comment below.

HOF Ballot 2013

Starting today, the Baseball Writers’ Association of America will begin voting for MLB Hall of Famers which will be announced in early January. However, it is projected to be the most controversial ballot since Pete Rose was ruled ineligible for betting. The reason is simple: Steroids…. Continue reading

Red Sox Could Sign Outfielder Jonny Gomes Soon

Shipping Up to Boston: The Boston Red Sox continue to stay busy this off-season as recent reports indicate the Sox and free agent outfielder Jonny Gomes are close to finalizing a two year contract. Financial terms have not yet been disclosed.

Gomes would certainly offer depth to the outfield and is regarded as a leader throughout the MLB, both on the field and in the clubhouse. Gomes would also provide needed experience back in the warning track as he’s a 10 year veteran. He played well for the Oakland Athletics last season batting .262 with 18HR and 47RBI. Gomes is a career .244 hitter with 136 HR, and 411 RBI.

Fun Fact: Jonny Gomes has similar career numbers against lefties to that of 2012 Red Sox outfielder/ current free agent Cody Ross.

Gomes against left handed pitchers: .284AVG, .382 OBP, and .512OPS

Ross against left handed pitchers: 284, 353OBP, 575OPS

If nothing else signing Gomes for cheap (much like the Sox did with cather David Ross) will provide needed flexibility to the outfield for little cost. Also to be noted, the BoSox are still working to try and resign Ross. If the Sox could get Gomes and Ross, the outfield would be in good, possibly even great, shape for next season.

Final Thoughts: I want to hear from the Fenway Faithul. Who do you think the Red Sox should go after next? Should the Red Sox take a stab at a high-dollar free agent this off-season? Leave a comment below.

Red Sox Sign Backup Catcher David Ross

ImageDone Deal: The Boston Red Sox inked career backup catcher David Ross to a two-year 6.2 million dollar deal this Wednesday. Ross spent the last four seasons with the Atlanta Braves, backing up All-Star catcher Brian McCann, where he compiled 24 HR, 84 RBI, and a .268 batting average in that span. Ross is a career .238 hitter with 84 HR and 248 RBI. BoSox fans may not remember Ross, but he has played in Beantown before. He made 8 game appearances back in 2008.

ImageRoss Can Be Resourceful: Ross gives the Red Sox a viable back up option to help give starter Jarrod Saltalamacchia a break during the regular season (pending the Sox don’t try to ship Salty elsewhere this offseason). Ross, a 10 year veteran, can also help give a few catching pointers to the Sox young catcher Ryan Lavarnway (1 year of MLB experience). This inexpensive move helps bolster the position and brings flexibility to the catching depth chart.

Your Thoughts: With the Red Sox recent off-season move, what do you think their next one should be? Leave a comment below.

Hurlers For Hire: Red Sox Fifth Starter Job Up For Grabs

ImageIn my first post about the Red Sox off-season outlook I talked about the BoSox possibly chasing after soon-to-be big name free agent, Texas Rangers Outfielder, Josh Hamilton. This time around I’d like to talk about a position that will hopefully have opposing batters chasing fastballs and breaking balls for consistent outs at Fenway Park.

That’s right I’m talking about a makeover on the mound. No doubt the Red Sox pitching staff had it’s struggles in 2012 with a 5.18 team ERA ranked 27th in the majors. However, despite those dreary numbers, the Sox still have a solid nucleus to build around with the likes of Jon Lester, Clay Buchholz, and Felix Doubront. Newly acquired skipper John Farrell has insisted all three starters, and John Lackey, will be back to pitch next season. Granted, Lackey is returning from Tommy John surgery and his performance so far in Beantown leaves plenty of room for skepticism from the Fenway Faithful. That leaves the 5th spot in the rotation open for debate.

Let’s look at the clubhouse options versus free agents this upcoming off-season: Continue reading

Red Sox Legend DUI

By now, most of you have already heard that Red Sox great, Hall of Fame catcher Carlton Fisk was arrested on charges of driving under the influence. He was found asleep behind the wheel in the middle of a cornfield. There was an open bottle of Vodka on the floor of his vehicle. Fisk was brought to the hospital and released from custody the next morning after posting bail.

During his 24 year playing career, Carlton Fisk is most remembered for running down the line, waving his home run fair during the 1975 World Series.

Farrell Introduced

John Farrell was officially introduced as the 46th manager of the Boston Red Sox today at noon. Everyone down the line from Owners, Chairmen, General Manager, and even former and current players were on board to congratulate Farrell. Most of them even stood up to say a few words about him and everyone spoke so highly of him. With much praise about his leadership skills and intelligence all around the game of baseball, it is no wonder why the Sox made this choice so quickly, as soon as they were given permission to speak to him from the Toronto Blue Jays.

Continue reading

Should the Sox Take a Shot at Landing Hamilton?

With one of the more forgettable seasons in Boston Red Sox history well in the books, attention can now be turned to the off-season. One of the big question marks (of the many) for the Sox resides in their outfield and Texas Rangers right fielder Josh Hamilton might just have the answer for Boston.

Let’s compare Hamilton’s numbers to the internal option guys for Boston:

Continue reading

Red Sox Get Their Way

Just 17 days after Bobby V was fired, the Red Sox have hired former pitching coach John  Farrell, who is 50 years old. The other day, I wrote an article asking who everyone would want as their next manager. Most people chose Demarlo Hale who was also in the organization before. However, all along, most people knew that the Sox were going to try to get the Blue Jays to allow Farrell out of his last year on his contract. We had to trade shortstop Mike Aviles, but most don’t seem to mind.

Jon Lester welcomed him back through a tweet, David Ortiz proclaimed his love for his “main man”, and I think most fans are okay with this choice. Don’t be fooled, the Sox are far away from being the team that they have been in recent years. Farrell had told the Blue Jays GM that it was his dream job, and that if someone contacted them, he would like the opportunity to speak with Boston. Shortly thereafter, Red Sox owner John Henry called Toronto’s CEO and got things moving.

While John Farrell was the pitching coach in Boston from 2007-2010, including one World Series Championship, the Sox Pitching Staff was first in the American League in strikeouts, Opponents’ Batting Average, and Shutouts, and 3rd in ERA. You don’t need to be a genius to figure out that those numbers are far above and beyond what they were this past season with Bobby Valentine at the helm.

Do you like this choice?