The Sox are A. Coming off of a World Series that I still can’t believe happened and B. Owners of a deep farm system. I think the future for the team is pretty bright, despite the struggles this year. The trade deadline is coming up on Thursday and that could end up having a pretty big impact on the immediate future of the team. Below are my thoughts on all the rumors out there about what they will/won’t do.
Stephen Drew: Obviously. I feel the need to preface this by saying I like Stephen Drew more than most and didn’t mind the signing at the time. They still thought they could contend this year, had a gaping hole at 3rd where Bogaerts could play and there were no good 3B available to sign. Drew put up the 3rd best OBP amongst SS with 450+ PA’s last year and the 4th best SLG. I know as a Red Sox fan I’m required to hate all things Drew, but I don’t mind Stephen (or JD for that matter…)…but clearly Drew Part Deux didn’t work out and there’s really no point in playing the rest of the season out. See if a contender in need of an SS wants someone with a good offensive track record and solid D if you pay the majority of his contract, if not DFA him. Put Bogaerts back at SS for the last couple months and see if he can handle it. I thought he finally started to look good there right when they moved him to 3rd. Call Will Middlebrooks up and give him one last chance at 3rd (splitting time with Holt). Nothing to lose at this point.
Jonny Gomes: Gomes should not be facing right handed pitching at this point and is an adventure in the field, but he still mashes lefties. .315/.410/.450 this year and .280/.380/.498 for his career. I’m not sure trading him opens up a spot for a younger guy unless they make other moves (I’d only call Mookie Betts back up if he were gonna play everyday), but teams can always use a guy that crush lefties, so you might as well get something for him.
Koji Uehara/Andrew Miller: I still think the Sox can be a competitive team next year, so even though a strong bullpen isn’t really needed for the crappy team they have this year, I still wouldn’t just give these two away for nothing. Koji is Koji and you don’t need me pointing out how phenomenal he is. As I fan, I’d be bummed to see him pitch anywhere else but Boston, but he’s also 39 and going to be a free agent next year. He could REALLY help a team down the stretch and if someone is willing to give up a legit young piece for him, I’d have to pull the trigger.
If you’ve stopped paying attention this year, you may not realize how phenomenal Andrew Miller has been. He was starting to be awesome last year before breaking his foot and got even better this year. His 14.9 K/9 is 4th amongst all MLB relievers and he’s cut his walks down to a career low 2.9 per 9. He’s a lefty but hes not a lefty who can only get lefties out. I feel just as good about him facing a righty as I do a lefty. He is dominant force out of the pen and like Koji, if someone is willing to give up something legit, I’d deal him. Regardless of if they deal Koji or Miller, I hope they try to resign them in the offseason. Like I said before, I think the Sox can be good next year and good teams need good bullpens.
Jon Lester: Ah yes the million dollar question. Or based on the low ball offer they gave him this spring, the $70 million dollar question. I don’t want the Sox to trade Lester. I’d like to go back in time and have them offer him something reasonable in the spring that he either would’ve accepted or negotiated on, but we can’t do that now can we? I still don’t want them to trade him. I believe he is still young enough that he has enough good years left in him that you can sign him to a big deal without getting burned too badly by it. I really believe him when he says how badly he wants to be here and the Sox should want him back. I think it’s huge to have a starting pitcher who has proven he can have success in the AL East and in the playoffs is HUGE. You never know how a guy will react to that stuff until you see and and we’ve seen it with Lester. I believe that the reason you fill your roster with cheap, young players is so that when the time comes, you have the money to break the bank on a big contract like the one Lester will command without it hurting you. I’ve said like 5 times in this post that I think the Sox can be a good team again next year, but I’m not so sure that happens without Lester. I know they could still resign him this offseason but that just seems so unlikely to me. I think Uehara/Miller and Lester are totally different situations when it comes to potentially resigning after being dealt. If you deal Lester, I personally think he’s gone for good.
Now all that being said, if the Sox have a firm line they know they won’t go any higher than on Lester and it’s something that’s gonna get topped on the open market, they should deal him if they get a SIGNIFICANT package back. Like I need a TOP prospect back if I’m dealing Jon Lester. Matt Kemp for Jon Lester straight up is laughable. Matt Kemp with the Dodgers paying a ton of money for his horrible contract AND sending over Joc Pederson or Corey Seager and then maybe we’re talking. I think that type of deal is the only deal worth trading Jon Lester for. A top 10-15 prospect or a combination of really good ones. I know he’d just be a rental, but he’d be a DAMN good rental. Have you seen him in the playoffs?
That’s about it for significant guys I see getting dealt. Mike Carp and Felix Doubront are strong possibilities too, but whatever. I thought they should have dealt Carp in the offseason. I don’t see anyone taking Shane Victorino given his contract and that he’s barely played this year. I think they want John Lackey here next year given that cheap option on his contract.
I just feel like the rest of this season should be getting as many young guys as possible on track for next year. My boy Xander Bogaerts has been atrocious for the better part of the last 2 months, but I still have 100% faith in him going forward. I feel like we all need to remember he’s 21 and in his first full season in the big leagues.I feel like his slump may be mental as much as anything, so if they want to send him to AAA for a week or two to get his confidence back and then call him up, I’m cool with it. But I want him playing shortstop for the rest of the year. I want Jackie Bradley Jr in center for the rest of the year. I want Christian Vazquez catching the majority of the games for the rest of the year. I’d like to give Will Middlebrooks one last chance to prove something for the rest of this year. I want some combination of Rubby de la Rosa, Brandon Workman, Allen Webster and Anthony Ranaudo in the rotation for the rest of the year. I want Mookie Betts playing somewhere in either Boston or Pawtucket’s outfield for the rest of this year.
I said before the season that last year was so insanely good that unless this year was a complete and total disaster of epic proportions, I’d be ok with it. And still I’m ok with this year. I don’t think Sox fans realize how good we all have it sometimes. Like I’ve heard talk of “Are we giving the Red Sox a pass for this year?! They’ve missed the playoffs 3 out of the last 4 years!” and it blows my mind. We’ve seen this team win 3 World Series in 10 years, they have as much money to spend as almost any team in baseball and even after graduating Bogaerts and JBJ have one of the deepest farm systems in baseball. If you had told me 11 years ago after I just watched Aaron Boone rip my heart out, take a shit on it and stuff it down my throat if I would take this scenario for the next 10 years, I’m pretty sure I’d say yes.