Tag Archives: will middlebrooks

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 Report: Sox Set to Revert Back To Old Ways of Spending

Before the 2011 season, the Red Sox loaded up on big players. They signed Carl Crawford to a monster 7 year deal, and traded for and extended the contract of Adrian Gonzalez, and with John Lackey who was brought in the year before, and Josh Beckett as the ace, the Red Sox were favorites to win the World Series.

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The team had an epic collapse to end the season and less than a year later, Gonzalez, Beckett, and Crawford were all sent to Los Angeles and the Red Sox were given a new start. After a last place finish, they brought in key players on short term deals, and were able to go on to win a World Series. It seemed as though the Red Sox learned from their big mistakes and were revolutionizing how teams would spend money for players.

After finishing 2014 in last place, they’ve changed their tune once again and seemed poised to go back to their old ways of spending money on free agents. The first big time free agent that could wind up in Boston is the Panda, Pablo Sandoval.

Sandoval was a crucial part of last years World Series run for the Giants, and is a career .294 hitter. Although he’s only hit eclipsed the 20 homerun mark once in his career, the Red Sox think he can be bring more power in the small confines of Fenway Park. Getting him to Boston will not be cheap, and it won’t be short term. Sandoval will most likely be looking for a 6 year deal, somewhere in the ballpark of $25 Million a year, and the Red Sox are now the front runners to land the big third baseman.

If they get Sandoval, the next move for Ben Cherington and company will be to bring in at least one top tier pitcher. The big three on the market are Max Scherzer, James Shields, and old friend Jon Lester. Scherzer may be out of Boston’s price range, so they’ll most likely go after Shields or Lester, and if that fails, they may try to acquire Cole Hamels from the Phillies via a trade.

Lester and Shields will both require contracts for about 6 years at $20 Million a year. If they sign both Sandoval and a pitcher like Lester or Shields, they’ll be committing $240 Million over the next 6 years. After finishing last 2 out of the last 3 years, they need to take chances on contracts like these, but if it fails, they won’t be so lucky this time and have another team bail them out of the contracts.

If they acquire these free agents, they’ll still have to continue spending by bringing in at least one more starter and a few quality relievers to have a chance to be decent this year. Once the first shoe drops, Cherington will be busy on the trade market as Will Middlebrooks will be out of the Red Sox plans, but his value is minimal, but he could be part of a bigger package to bring in a role player or middle reliever to the team.

Although the Red Sox caught fire in a bottle two years ago, they know it’ll be a long shot to happen again, and if they don’t make a big splash, Red Sox Nation will be angry with the lack of spending and desire to put out a quality baseball team.

Buckle up baseball fans, because the hot stove is officially heating up.

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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Red Sox Report: Front Office has A Lot of Work to Do

Red Sox fans rejoice! The terrible season finally comes to an end this weekend!! It’s been an extremely long season, and in the end the Red Sox made history. They made history for the wrong reason by becoming the first team ever to go from last place, to winning a World Series, and back to last place in 3 consecutive years.

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Once the Red Sox get off the field for the final time in 2014 on Sunday, Ben Cherington and the front office will have a lot of work to do to try and make the Red Sox a contending team again. The Red Sox find themselves in almost exactly the same situation they were in after the 2012 season, and no matter what moves they make from now until the start of the season, nobody is expecting them to do what they did in 2013.

Pitching Staff: The Red Sox have NO starting pitching. They traded Lester and Lackey at the deadline, and although fans have been hoping for a Red Sox-Jon Lester reunion since the minute he got shipped to Oakland at the deadline, the chances of that happening are slim. If they were able to get him back via Free Agency, they would at least have an ace to work around. They can also look at somebody like Max Scherzer who is a free agent, and even at Cole Hamels who they could acquire through a trade with the Philadelphia Phillies.

Joe Kelley, who they acquired from the Cardinals in the John Lackey deal, looks to be a solid number 3 or 4 starter. He had some quality starts since coming over to Boston, and the front office will hope he can step up his game when given a clean slate in 2015.

It’s not just the rotation that needs work, it’s also the bullpen. Koji Uehara will be a free agent, and this season has not been kind to him. Nobody can expect Uehara to pitch at the level he did in 2013, especially because of his age.

Outfield: The Red Sox biggest problem in the 1st half of the season was the lack of production offensively from the outfield. They started the year with Grady Sizemore in Centerfield, and he was a major bust. By July he was off the team, and Jackie Bradley Jr. was the starting Centerfielder. JBJ wasn’t much better and doesn’t look like he belongs in the major.

Yoenis Cespedes, who was acquired from the A’s for Lester, has looked great since the deadline, and unless there is a big trade this offseason he’ll be starting in the outfield for the Red Sox on opening day. Rusney Castillo, the Cuban defector quickly made his way through the Red Sox system after signing with the club in August. The Red Sox have high hopes for him, and expect him to be on the opening day roster since he’s owed $10 million a year over the next 7 years. Read more

Rusney Castillo Signing Reveals Larger Plan For Red Sox

Rusney Castillo

Castillo’s presence will reshape the roster

The Red Sox made a statement when they agreed to a seven-year, $72.5 million contract with Cuban defector Rusney Castillo. They are (at least for now) back to using their financial muscles in the free agent market, and seem prepared to spend to get their targets. But in showing that they still are willing to behave like a large-market club, the Red Sox also gave away part of their plan for the coming offseason. Adding Castillo makes it abundantly clear that the Red Sox will use their organizational depth on the trade market to add at least one major, franchise-changing piece to the roster.


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The idea that the Red Sox are now in a position to make a major splash on the trade market is based solely on the numbers game. The team is stockpiling players, creating a situation where they have many quality players for few available spots. This depth is going to basically force the Red Sox to make some type of move, because there is no use having so many quality players if they do not get the chance to play at all. There is now surplus is almost every area of the Red Sox organization, which means someone will have to go in order to clear the picture. The outfield, for example, now appears more crowded than the Mass Pike at rush hour, with a combination of veterans and prospects vying for playing time. But the prospects are the key here, as they are the most valuable commodity and the most tradable asset in this scenario. Despite his recent demotion, Jackie Bradley Jr. was likely going to be in the team’s future plans in some capacity, and Mookie Betts is currently getting a chance to prove he can be the impact player he was in the minor leagues. Castillo’s signing now suggests that neither player will start for the Red Sox in the near future. Third base is becoming crowded as well, with Brock Holt and Will Middlebrooks currently splitting time there and Garin Cecchini waiting in the minors. Christian Vazquez has stabilized things behind the plate for the time being, but Blake Swihart has been more highly regarded as a prospect and is getting closer to the majors. This is all to say nothing of the tremendous organizational pitching depth that was only bolstered at the trade deadline.

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The Red Sox First Family

Congratulations to NESN host and former Red Sox sideline reporter Jenny Dell on her engagement to current Red Sox third baseman Will Middlebrooks. The pair’s relationship became public knowledge early in the year and they have been capturing Red Sox Nation’s collective attention ever since. While she no longer works on the field during live Red Sox broadcasts, Dell remains a fan favorite throughout Red Sox Nation due to her light-hearted, fun, and open personality. Middlebrooks has been through a roller coaster season, with injury after injury completely derailing his chance for a breakout year. He is currently rehabbing in Pawtucket with the hope of a quick recovery and a successful return to Fenway Park. Red Sox Nation wishes them nothing but health and happiness in the years to come.

P.S. – Apparently Dell’s engagement ring was made by a Yankee fan. Oh the humanity.

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