The Red Sox made big changes on Tuesday, formally announcing Dave Dombrowski as new President of Baseball Operations, and Ben Cherington would no longer be GM for the Red Sox after this season. A lot of change to absorb, but a needed change, and what seems to be a promising one for the organization and the fans.
Dombrowski is a deemed a “baseball guy” through and through, and a guy who is well renown for retaining and acquiring the most talented players. He is an elite baseball talent evaluator, who will have a lot of say in baseball decisions along with the new GM, moving forward.
It is coincidental that young Red Sox players are starting to really come on late in the season. Guys like Jackie Bradley Jr, Travis Shaw and Blake Swihart have all proving their worth in the majors and are not 4A players so to speak. Along with Betts and Bogaerts, who have been consistent all year, the Red Sox have developed a wave of young players much like the Yankees team in late 90s – strong up the middle of the baseball diamond.
Sox young pitchers Henry Owens and Eduardo Rodriguez have shown flashes of greatness, but have been plagued with inconsistency, as many young players seem to be when they first enter the majors. Since their call-ups from triple A, Owens and Rodriguez have been bright spots in the rotation compared to how the rotation of “all number 1 starters” going into the season have performed, particularly toward the beginning of the year. Dombrowski has made it very clear that pitching, particularly starting pitching, will be the focus going into the offseason.
It will be very interesting to see what Dombrowski’s plan will be, considering the young players are showing a lot of value. It will be interesting to see how many, if any, young players he will move in a trade. It will be interesting to see what he will do about the bad contracts of veteran players. He takes a win-at-all-costs approach and is a big front office figure for a team that needs change, so it may be a busy offseason.
Here is a list of players that Dombrowski (and who is hired as the new GM) could deal:
Hanley Ramirez– At this point, it seems that the Ramirez market is very small, and limited to AL teams that need a DH / lazy LF. Still, there could be a team that would be interested in signing him to be a DH, because he can still rake. What the Red Sox don’t need is his ass-hat-ness in LF, and the league worst plus-minus. I would think the front office would jump at any decent offer with a good return, even if it means eating some of his contract. The big contract doesn’t scare Dombrowski.
Mookie Betts – Chances of trading him are low, but if they can get a Chris Sale or Sonny Gray for Mookie and a package of minor leaguers, I would think the Dombrowski would pull the trigger on this, knowing the Red Sox have Jackie Bradley Jr. in the reserves at CF. This would acknowledge that the team really believes Bradley Jr. is ready to be a two-way player, after a dismal year and a half at the plate.
Jackie Bradley Jr. – He’s finally hitting, but for how long? The Red Sox were in the right in leaving him in Pawtucket to get his swing and approach straightened out. He has come out guns blazing in the month of August (.340, 18 RBI, 4 HR), thanks to his new-found ability to clean out inside fastballs and a much improved swing. His defense is elite, and you could get a team to jump at that kind of talent and promise. Either way, there is a log jam in the outfield. It’s either Mookie, Bradley or Hanley going, and most likely for starting pitching.
Wide Miley – Not that he deserves to be traded, but Miley seems to be the best candidate in the rotation. His contract is decent unlike Porcello’s, he is durable unlike Buchholz, and he is not a young pitcher that the Red Sox would want to develop. So he is the odd man out. A team could bite at the veteran and his contract. That way, the Red Sox have room to lure in an ace via another trade or free agency, something that Dombrowski really seems set on doing this offseason.
Dustin Pedroia – A crazy idea to think about with Pedroia being one of the longest tenured Red Sox and a fan favorite, but with Dombrowski, anyone is on the table. Pedroia brings leadership and grit, along with stellar defense and offense at a position that is at a premium. The Red Sox may want deal him because his is injury-prone and they have depth at 2B. Many contenders would be interested and the Red Sox could get a great return of prospects, even with his current contract going through 2021 at $14 million a year.
Blake Swihart – Like Mookie Betts, a Swihart trade would have to be for the right price. And like Betts, the Red Sox are at a premium at Swihart’s position, with Vazquez, who is also a promising young catcher who displays elite defense. It would be hard to trade Vazquez in the offseason because he is coming back from Tommy John surgery, and one of Vazquez’s best assets happens to be his arm. Swihart, who is batting .297 since the all-star break, might be another player that could land a number 1 or 2 starting pitcher as one of the featured player in a trade package. The Red Sox should just be cautious in doing so.
Brock Holt – The Sox lone all-star (should have been Bogaerts) has a high trade value, and could fit into many teams lineups with his versatility. His contract is very low, and Josh Rutledge is another utility guy that the Red Sox could rely on and seems to be playing well since the Red Sox acquired him at the all-star break. Seems like the right time for the 27 year old get dealt. The Red Sox could see a some bullpen help or a lower-end pitching prospects in return.