The Red Sox started the off season as expected. They didn’t exercise the option on Billy Wagner and haven’t offered him arbitration. They made a minor deal to acquire Jeremy Hermida from the Marlins. They declined the options on Jason Varitek and Alex Gonzalez and exercised their option on Victor Martinez while naming him the starting catcher at the same time. They also brought back Tim Wakefield for a 2 year, $5 million deal. $3.5 million for 2010, $1.5 million for 2011.
So that’s a lot of in house stuff that they had to take care of. Now the big questions are what is the team going to do with the gaping holes in their line up. The plan that everyone is hearing is that the Sox are trying to bring back Jason Bay. If for some reason they can’t bring him back, Matt Holliday is the backup plan. A backup plan that I’m really not to thrilled with.
Holliday is one of those guys that benefited from playing at Coors Field. His numbers were juiced up from playing there and his road numbers when he played for the Rockies were drastically different from his home numbers. I don’t think he’s as valuable as Jason Bay and even though he’ll make the same, if not more money, I don’t think he’s worth it.
Now let’s get to the fun stuff, the trades. With the decline of Alex Gonzalez that leaves the team with just Jed Lowrie as the only the only shortstop on the team. It also fuels the speculation that the Sox could be kicking the tires on a trade for Hanley Ramirez. A move I totally support so long as you’re not cleaning out your entire farm system.
The reason I don’t want the whole farm system cleaned out of course is because there’s rumors that the Roy Halladay deal isn’t dead. Sure there’s new folks in charge in Toronto but his days I think are numbered. And yes the Seattle GM came out and indicated that King Felix is a part of their plan for next year, I think that if the right deal comes across their table they’re going to make it.
Another deal from last year’s trading deadline that seams to be resurfacing is San Diego’s Adrian Gonzalez. He’s so gone from San Diego that they didn’t even use him in their media guide for next season. You would think if the Sox traded for him and Ramirez they’d have good, young talent in their infield for the next several years. If both moves came to fruition I think you’d see Lowell platooning with Ortiz at DH or the trade or release of one of them.
That leaves your rotation and bullpen as your big question marks. Do you re-sign Beckett if you’re going to be a player with Halladay? I think Halladay is better than Beckett and I would prefer to pay him. If you don’t have to move Buchholz in any of these deals, he’s your #3 starter. Beckett, Lester, Buccholz, Dice-K and Wakefield is a decent rotation. Swap out Buccholz for King Felix or Halladay and they’d be great.
We know the Sox aren’t going to fight in free agency against the Yankees. It’s just not going to happen. It’s not lack of money, it’s stubbornness. The Sox could have signed Teixeira if they’d just gone to the $200 million mark and said, if you leave this room, this offer disappears. They didn’t and we saw what the Yankees did. So the Sox need to get creative in the trade market. Let’s hope they get very creative and bolster the heck out of this roster.