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Red Sox Report: What is Dombrowski’s Plan?

Dave Dombrowski seems to be a big fan of Jackie Bradley Jr., who has been red-hot at the plate in August.

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.

Wade Miley

Wade Miley figures to offer the most trade value of any Red Sox starting pitcher going into the offseason.

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.

Moncada Signing Solidifies Red Sox Infield

First a little disclaimer: the headline might be somewhat misleading. The Red Sox’ signing of Cuban uber-prospect Yoan Moncada does seem to stabilize the team’s infield picture, but for the future, meaning two or three years down the line. There is no current opening in the Red Sox infield, but there should be by the time Moncada is ready to show the world why the Red Sox just paid $31.5 million to a 19 year-old who has never played baseball in the United States. The tools, talent, and projectability are allegedly off the charts, so once he is ready the Red Sox might more or less have to find a spot for him, but it might not be as hard as it sounds.

Consider the Red Sox infield picture beyond the 2015 season; Mike Napoli is headed for free agency, and while he says he would like to stay beyond this season, there probably won’t be much motivation for the Red Sox to get something done beyond a one-year deal. So that leaves Dustin Pedroia and Pablo Sandoval locked up long-term, plus Xander Bogaerts sticking around at shortstop. However, given Sandoval’s less-than-inspiring physique (plus his career 0 DRS and 2.2 UZR at third), it might be best to move him to first base in the long term. If injuries or weight really become an issue, he could even DH on a near full-time basis, thereby leaving first base open for Hanley Ramirez. Regardless, the first base/DH duties should go between Sandoval and Ramirez, in whatever order the Red Sox see fit.

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Do the Red Sox Really Need Sandoval?

The past several weeks have put the Red Sox through the free agent rumor mill like we have not seen for quite some time. There are multiple sources that reported how the Red Sox are positioned to spend significant money on the free agent market this offseason, and they appear to have made offers to several big names on the market. One of their early targets is said to be former Giants third baseman Pablo Sandoval, who could provide good defense and help balance the Red Sox’ righty-heavy lineup. However, when one takes a step back from all of the hype and excitement, they can objectively ask themselves: do the Red Sox really NEED Pablo Sandoval? The Red Sox are definitely a team that can afford to pay top-of-the-market rates for free agents, but Sandoval might not really be a legitimate need for the Red Sox.

Sandoval might be more of a luxury than a necessity

Sandoval might be more of a luxury than a necessity

The first question to ask is does Sandoval fit into the Red Sox’ culture and is he the kind of player that the organization values? The Red Sox are a team that openly values hitters who take a selective approach at the plate, take pitches, and work the count. This is significant because it is an area in which Sandoval struggles greatly. Over the course of his career, Sandoval has swung at 45.7% of the pitches he has seen outside of the strike zone, and at 58.3% of the pitches he saw overall. The top three Red Sox hitters, Dustin Pedroia (career 26.1 O-Swing%, 43.2 Swing%), David Ortiz (career 22.2 O-Swing%, 44.8 Swing%), and Mike Napoli (career 24.6 O-Swing%, 42 Swing%), swing far less often. These are the kinds of guys that the Red Sox want hitting in the middle of their lineup, and preferably over the rest of it too. While it is true that the Red Sox already have a similar player to Sandoval in Yoenis Cespedes (career 37.4 O-Swing%, 50.9 Swing%), his contract is up following the coming season and his stay in Boston is far from guaranteed. In addition, there are reports that Cespedes fell out of favor with Red Sox coaches due, at least in part, to his unwillingness to change his approach at the plate. The Red Sox do not value free-swinging players as much as advanced hitters who work the count, which is something that Sandoval absolutely does not do.

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Red Sox Offseason Outlook: Infield

The infield should be a major strength for the 2015 Boston Red Sox, if for no reason other than there are options aplenty. There will be the usual locks, like Dustin Pedroia and Mike Napoli, but there should be competition in spots for playing time that will benefit the entire lineup. There are rumblings that the Red Sox could be looking to upgrade their infield in free agency, and if that happens it will likely be a singular, high-impact event. There is lots of returning stability in the infield, but there is also room for improvement.

Pedroia is the gold standard at the keystone

The Red Sox are fortunate enough to have their middle infield locked in for 2015. Pedroia is automatic to start virtually every game, and he is the best second baseman in the game when healthy (and sometimes when he isn’t). We are also operating under the assumption that Xander Bogaerts will not be impeded from starting at shortstop (we learned our lesson last season), because he flashed his considerable potential in September (.313/.317/.490). Brock Holt will likely be the Red Sox super utility guy in 2015, but he now has experience at every single infield position, which will be immensely valuable to the Red Sox. The best move here is to allow Bogaerts the time to continue his development at short, while Pedroia sets the tone for the entire infield. There is room for improvement for Bogaerts, but playing next to the Red Sox’ best defender will help make up for the learning curve.

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Examining Red Sox All-Stars

Predicting The 2014 Red Sox All-Stars

Unfortunately this season’s All-Star game will not be an enjoyable experience for Red Sox fans, as the team’s performance (or lack thereof) has left very few players deserving a spot on the American League squad. However, Major League rules dictate that every single team must be represented by at least one player at the Midsummer Classic, so there will at least be a lone representative for the Red Sox in Minnesota. In addition, Red Sox manager John Farrell is also the skipper of this years AL team and therefore has the final say on who makes the roster and who does not, which could lead to a few extra Red Sox being added at the last minute. The following three players are the most deserving to represent Boston at the All-Star Game.

Jon Lester:

Lester has has proven himself as one of the best starters in the AL

Lester has has proven himself as one of the best starters in the AL

Lester has been a model of consistency at the top of the Red Sox rotation in 2014. He is also putting up the best numbers of his career in his walk year, setting himself up for a huge score on the free agent market in the fall. His 9-7 record is a poor reflection of Lester’s dominance this season. Lester has posted 9 K/9 and a .239 average against to go along with career-bests in BB/9 (2.14), HR/Fly Ball (6.5%), ERA (2.73), and FIP (2.75). Lester has taken his role as the staff ace and run with it, proving himself to once again be one of the premier left-handers in the game. Lester has also been very close with Farrell for quite some time, so it would be surprising to not see Lester pitching for the American League in Minnesota.

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It’s Time For The Red Sox Fire Sale

Red Sox

It’s Been A Long Season For The Red Sox

The time has finally come. After months of keeping up hope, defending the reigning world champs despite public ridicule, the time has finally come to blow up the whole thing and scrap the roster. While this may seem like jumping to conclusions, it is now July and the Red Sox currently sit 8.5 games back in the AL East, and a full 9 games out in the Wild Card race. Getting swept at home by the Chicago Cubs (the CUBS!!!!!) is all we need to see to know that this team needs to be broken up. This roster has not come together in the same way as it did last season, and there has been nothing to suggest that things are about to change anytime soon. Ben Cherington recently revealed that the team is currently “trying to figure out the next right move;” that right move is to start working the phones and hit the trade market with full force.

The good news, if it really is good, is that the Red Sox are in a good position to hit the trade market as one of the very few teams fully willing to sell. The extra Wild Card and the parity around baseball leaves many teams looking for upgrades, with few teams willing to provide those potential additions. This greatly favors the Red Sox, because if they act quickly they will be able to command a slightly better return than they could right before the non-waiver deadline. Fringe players who will likely provide marginal value (which the Red Sox seem to have plenty of) might be able to bring back a decent prospect in the right deal. There is a chance here to make the best of an undesirable situation by turning underperformance into potential future production.

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