Something I Worry About

by Sully on December 2, 2010

in Red Sox

The Red Sox are spending money this off-season. Trust me on this. They have lots of it, and they’re hungry after last season. Ignore, like really really ignore, anything you hear about Liverpool or anything else precluding them from tending appropriately to the Big League club. That comforts me. The Red Sox are set to bring in some fun new talent to supplement what is already a terrific roster.

What concerns me is how inter-related their prospective moves are this off-season. Let’s assume that Boston will acquire one of Justin Upton, Carl Crawford and Jayson Werth before the season begins. Let’s also assume they re-sign Adrian Beltre or trade for Adrian Gonzalez.

Now let’s speculate on priorities. Carl Crawford is the best position player on the free agent market, and I am getting the sense that Boston wants him. Also, and this isn’t really any secret, I believe they want Adrian Gonzalez. Now, Crawford wants SERIOUS money and it’s not like Jed Hoyer is going to just give Gonzalez away – not with his intimate knowledge of Boston’s trade assets and organizational philosophy.

These moves could take time. And as time goes on, other players will come off the market. I worry about Boston being able to come through with quality fall-back options if their priorities take too long to materialize or don’t materialize at all. The point may be obvious, but it would be different if they needed to spend big money on, say, a starter and a position player. They’re in no way related to one another.

It’s not hard to conceive of a scenario in which a long and difficult negotiation with Crawford and/or Gonzalez falls through, while Beltre, JUpton and Werth all land elsewhere in the interim. It’s the doomsday scenario for Boston, and one I am positive they will do everything to guard against. Nonetheless, I worry about it.

{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

Matt December 2, 2010 at 2:57 pm

I understand where you’re coming from, Sully. But while I’d love to have Werth/Beltre/etc on the 2011 Sox, I’m not worried. I’m a big proponent of the Sox minor league system and of Theo’s ingenuity. Last year was tough down on the farm, but there is lots of talent on hand and I expect any holes that develop on the big league roster to be patched over in a better-than-average fashion. If Werth and Crawford end up elsewhere Kalish can produce. If Beltre ends up elsewhere there are lots of other options available (most of which begin by moving Youk back to third). Theo always seems to make it work.

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Brendan December 2, 2010 at 5:25 pm

“Nonetheless, I worry about it” seems to be the motto of everyone who was an attentive Sox fan prior to the ’04 win. They’ve become one of the true powerhouses of the sport, we should be past the worrying, and yet…

But ultimately I’m not too worried about it either. Especially since if the prospect price for Gonzalez starts to look too steep, they can swing focus to the Crawford/Werth negotiations and wait till 2012, when Adrian can flee Petco on his own and Fenway’s the most logical landing spot. The long view. I’m enjoying that I can finally take it with the Sox.

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Bobby December 3, 2010 at 11:36 am

I think the big organizational priority is to acquire a right handed plus hitting outfielder. Trading for Upton (or I would like them to reach out for Hunter Pence), or acquiring Werth would fill this need. I’m guessing overpaying Werth will be the best move because Upton will cost an average of ten million dollars a year, and the sox would be giving up a lot of low cost players that could potentially save them money while contributing at another position on the team or via trade.
I see signing Werth a lot like signing JD Drew, which I believe has worked out well. JD has been a plus hitter and fielder that filled a need that nobody else could either internally or externally in 2007. The sox have since developed Ryan Kalish to replace him if they desire. There isn’t a player like Werth in the upper levels of their system or in the next couple of years of free agency.
Other than that, Crawford is Angel. Lowrie is better than everybody thinks. Let Beltre go and Jed play third to start the season, and wait for the price to drop on Gonzalez. Maybe Anderson, Reddick, Esposito and Navarro (who are all organizationally redundant talent) can impress at the AAA level and increase their value while teams drop out of contention and values drop on players nearing the end of their contracts. Take the draft picks and restock the farm.
In summation: SIGN WERTH, and get the best quality left handed relivers you can get, and play ball. Make trades during the season.

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Mike December 3, 2010 at 11:10 am

To make matters more confusing apparently one of the radio stations is suggesting that the Red Sox are moving in the fences to help Carl Crawford turn some right field doubles into home runs. Obviously that’s a stretch by any imagination.

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Matt December 3, 2010 at 9:51 pm

I wouldn’t expect the Red Sox to move in the fences for a player who is 1) not yet signed, and 2) who could legitimately be signed by a division rival.

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Dan December 3, 2010 at 11:10 am

There is roughly a 0% chance the Red Sox don’t sign or bring in any of Crawford, Werth, Beltre, A-Gone, or Prince.

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Martin December 3, 2010 at 11:33 am

The Angels are going to get Crawford. That leaves Werth, and that makes me nervous, he’ll be 33, and is not only a late bloomer, but has had injury issues his whole career. Being on the hook for a big contract for a guy on the wrong side of 30 could hurt big down the line, especially with Becket and Lackey contracts potentially hanging over them. Beltre staying is a possibility, but if he does, say goodbye to Adrian Gonzalez scenarios, where would Youklis play? I have zero confidence in Salty behind the plate. Based on what, he’s never done a thing and always injured. Might they pull off a trade for Napoli from the Angels? He might hit 40 Homeruns in Fenway. What do they do with Papelbon? Will they move Scutaro? Will Pedroia be alright after his surgery? Can Drew stay healthy in his advancing age? Is Cameron done? Will they trade Ellsbury? More questions than answers at this point, and it looks like either the Angels or Sox are going to be left without a chair when the music stops this off season.

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Dave December 3, 2010 at 11:36 am

What worries me is that if Beltre re-signs, wouldn’t that end the quest for A-Gon, perfect fit or no perfect fit?

With Youk and Beltre locked up, they’d have 1B and 3B taken care of for years. A-Gon isn’t going to come to Boston to play the outfield, and I don’t see Youk moving out there either. This could explain, of course, why they might be willing to let Beltre go.

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Hinkson December 3, 2010 at 12:42 pm

DH man.. DH… Youk is in his 30′s as well.. Not like he or Gonzalez can’t take turns or one agrees to be DH after 2011.. But for 2010 I see what you’re getting at.. They would be stuck..

But, if they decided to let Gonzalez get to FA they keep their chips and lose the Type A package picks (1st Round and Sandwich pick) and, of course, the money they were willing to spend anyway..

Maybe there is a plan set in stone already..

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BlueLou December 3, 2010 at 11:45 am

I’m with ya on this, Sully. The Sox aren’t the presumptive favorites to land ANY of the Crawford/Werth/Beltre crowd with the Angels having the leg up on Crawford, the A’s on Beltre and the Tigers with Werth. And there’s also the very real possibility that the Yanks ‘Texiera’ us on Werth or Crawford. Okay, so there’s still A-Gon or Upton to be had via trade, but that’s gonna take a large chunk of the Farm plus an Ellsbury and/or Kalish AND Dan Bard. So now, depending on whether the big trade brings in Gonzalez or Upton, Theo needs to plug a big bat into 3rd or LF, AND grab a set-up guy with little-to-nothing left on the free agent market. And as much as I cheered for Dan Nava and Jed Lowery last year, I don’t think those guys have enough pop to get it done in our division, especially with the catchers locked into the number nine spot. Now I’m not saying the sky is falling yet, and we all know that the way things look in December doesn’t bear much resemblance to the way things will look at the end of February. But I do think we’re right to be a BIT concerned. The only thing that there’s a zero percent chance of is Prince Fielder and his 300lb pork suit landing in Boston. But that’s just my take.

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OG December 3, 2010 at 11:46 am

Haven’t heard anyone mention Carlos Pena, but if he ends up looking for a short-term deal to prove he’s not really a .196 hitter, (similar to Beltre taking a one-year to prove Safeco was a bad fit),wouldn’t he be an interesting stopgap at first with Youk at third? Very good defender, decent clutch hitter, plenty of pop, could add power in the sixth or seventh spot and if things go well for him and poorly for Papi you push him up to third. On a 1-yr/$7.5m with a 1-yr/10m team option, or something in that range, we’re all okay with that, right?

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harmony55 December 3, 2010 at 12:13 pm

A good offseason for the Red Sox would be one where the Sox avoid any more multiyear contracts … which means no Carl Crawford, no Jayson Werth, no Adrian Beltre, no Cliff Lee, no Paul Konerko.

The Red Sox don’t need to spend every cent of their budget before Opening Day. A better tact would be to reserve funds to pick up an expensive (but expiring) hitter’s contract or two as the trade deadine approaches in July.

That approach would give the Red Sox a chance to assess their multiple rebound candidates in a Jacoby Ellsbury, Kevin Youkilis, Dustin Pedroia, J.D. Drew, Mike Cameron, Josh Beckett, Jonathan Papelbon and Daisuke Matsuzka. If enough players regress toward their historical norms, the Red Sox would need few major moves.

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BLW December 3, 2010 at 12:58 pm

Worried about Salty, Lowery, etc… How soon you forget about the concerns starting an undersized and unproven Pedrioa @ 2nd. How has that worked out?

How was our offense with our patch work OF in McDonald, Hall, Kalish, Reddick, etc and missing Youk and Pedrioa late int he season? Seems scoring runs was not the issue although everyone was concerned about it pre-season and even questioned signing Beltre.

The back up scenarios are out there and the front office has a pretty good track record of getting them in place. What they cannot do is sign players at these long contracts. Pay a little more for fewer years. Last thing we need is Crawford, Werth or even Beltre at these long 4-5-6 year deals.

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Steve_in_MA December 3, 2010 at 2:44 pm

I am thoroughly unconvinced about the dedication of our front office to getting in some big name/big $ players. I know that Theo fears F/A’s, due to getting burned several times, and refuses to part with his precious draft picks. He also deeply overvalues our prospects and constantly, as well as inappropriately, whines that reasonable deals can’t get done. Other GM’s are out there doing reasonable deals, which prove that his whining excuses are wrong.

I can foresee that Beltre will be the only F/A signing this off season, which will be highly disappointing. I can also foresee that Theo will wait until the Winter of 2011-2012 for A-Gonz to become an F/A to acquire him, because he can’t stomach making a deal with Jed Hoyer where he would have to pay fair value in terms of prospects. And in Theo’s eyes, giving fair value would equate to overpaying.

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Sully December 4, 2010 at 6:01 am

He also deeply overvalues our prospects and constantly, as well as inappropriately, whines that reasonable deals can’t get done. Other GM’s are out there doing reasonable deals, which prove that his whining excuses are wrong.

Any examples of this come to mind, Steve?

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