...Sandy Rosario-Just wait a couple of days
The Red Sox continue to add pieces to the team through free agency after agreeing to terms with Ryan Dempster on a 2 year deal worth 26.5 million. They also continue to overpay annually in return for shorter years. Josh Hamilton got 5 years at 125 million from the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. The Red Sox were not willing to go beyond 3 years for Hamilton so they were not able to sign him, but when the best player on the market goes for basically 50% of the going rate (Pujols got 250 million last offseason) an opportunity has been missed. Now word is coming out that the Red Sox contract with Mike Napoli has been slow to be finalized due to some medical terms in the contract over injury concerns. The potential glitch is serious enough for the Red Sox to be back in the market looking for other first base options. Maybe this is what Cherington meant by "being disciplined".
The Red Sox signed Dempster with the hope that he would give them dependability at the back end of the rotation which is something that they have not had the last two years. He is capable of throwing 200 innings in a season having done it seven times in his career. The question is, can he be effective in the American League? The Red Sox think so, and the nicest thing that I can say about it is that I hope they are right. However, I think they are wrong on this one. He wasn't terrible for the Rangers after his midyear trade last year, but he was terrible against good lineups like the Angels and Yankees. The one piece of reasoning that I find laughable is that he pitched two gems against the Red Sox last year. I got news for you, that was no feat. The 2012 Red Sox were experts at making bad pitchers look good. Despite their ability to put up big run totals in some games against really bad pitching they were not a good offensive team last year no matter what the stats say. Now if Dempster is the #4 or 5 starter and we are able to match him up against lesser teams than he may give us a better #5 starter than we've had in 2 years. Plus with interleague play being dispersed throughout the season he may be able to pitch against a NL team more often than he would have been with the old schedule. If he is managed well than he may be able to give the Red Sox what they need which is stability. Just don't expect a 2.25 era because a 4.25 is much more likely.
The Angels signed Josh Hamilton to a 5 year 125 million dollar deal which means they've gotten the "big fish" two years in a row so they must be going to...have to trade them all to the Dodgers by August, 2014? I said all along that I wanted no part of Hamilton with the Red Sox. I also admit that as the offseason went on without him getting signed I started to get seduced by the idea of having him in our lineup everyday. Despite what Nick Cafardo says the Red Sox made the right call by not going too hard after Hamilton. His off the field issues coupled with his age and injury history made it too risky. But, Angel fans should have fun watching Mike Trout and Hamilton play side by side for the next few years.
The Red Sox deal with Mike Napoli has taken a long time to be finalized since it was announced on the first day of the Winter Meetings on Dec. 3rd. The hold up appears to be the language in the contract over a potential medical issue. The Red Sox medical team seems to have some concern with Napoli's leg and hip and they want the team to be protected in the contract just in case he gets injured. Best-case scenario this gets resolved in a couple of days and he is a member of the team. Worst-case scenario the negotiations get contentious and the agent or the team pull out of the deal. That doesn't seem likely, but stranger things have happened. My bet is that this issue gets resolved and the deal is done before Christmas Eve.
With the signing of Dempster let's take a look at the current roster and examine the remaining needs of the team:
C- Salty, Ross, Lavarnway, Napoli (let's assume) NO NEEDS
1B- Napoli, Gomez NEED: A PART TIME 1B (preferably LH hitting) suggestion: Lance Berkman
2B- Pedroia, Ciriaco NEED: depth
3B- Middlebrooks, Ciriaco NEED: depth
SS- Iglesias, Ciriaco NEED: depth, the infield is the thinnest spot on the 40 man roster
LF- Gomes, Nava NO NEEDS
CF- Ellsbury, Victorino, Kalish NO NEEDS
RF- Victorino, Kalish NO NEEDS with Hassan and Brentz ready to provide depth the OF is set
Rotation- Lester, Buchholz, Lackey, Doubront, Dempster NEED: Always need good pitching.
Depth- Steven Wright, Rubby de la Rosa, Allen Webster, Alfredo Aceves, Franklin Morales
Bullpen- Bailey, Tazawa, Breslow, Miller, Bard, Melancon, Aceves, Morales, Uehera NEEDS: a couple of injuries in spring training so we can get all these guys on the roster
The only remaining needs are a left hand hitting 1B/OF type player, infield depth, and they could always use a starting pitching upgrade if a good trade presents itself.