Sunday, January 6, 2013

Red Sox January Free Agent Steals

January marks the start of the NFL playoffs and the death of the baseball hot stove season (at least in terms of media coverage).  January also marks the start of the really cold weather in the Northeast, which has this maineiac still burning the Red Sox hot stove fire.

Last January Ben Cherington made perhaps his best signing yet as general manager by signing Cody Ross to a one year 3 million dollar deal.  If we go back to last offseason we will remember that the Red Sox were not players in the early market for some of the top players and they had to try and find good deals late in free agency to fill out there roster.  This year, thanks the the trade with the LA Dodgers, the Sox were major players early in free agency by adding 7 free agents: David Ross, Jonny Gomes, Mike Napoli, Shane Victorino, Koji Uehara, Ryan Dempster and Stephen Drew.   Then they were able to add Joel Hanrahan and Brock Holt through a trade with the Pittsburgh Pirates.  So the roster is currently full and the team is not in a position of need right now, but there are good deals out there still to be had.

Before we can talk about adding any potential players to the team we should mention the fact that the 40 man roster is pretty full.  It is at 40 right now with Mike Napoli still waiting on deck (catcher Dan Butler is walking the plank as we speak).  So anyone that signs between now and spring training will probably have to be willing to accept a minor league deal and a spring training invite, or the Red Sox could still free up some roster space by trading some of their catching or bullpen depth for prospects.  The potential for space on the 40 man roster still exist even without a trade.  Players like Drake Britton and Alex Hassan could still be DFA'd to create some room if the right person is signed.

Now that we know the make up of the roster and the landscape of the offseason let's take a look at the top remaining free agents courtesy of there are somewhere around 200 or so remaining free agent so we can't list them all here, so go ahead and click on the link and take a look at who is left out there.  Here is a look at who I see as the top 10 remaining players:

  1. Michael Bourn-OF
  2. Rafael Soriano-RP
  3. Kyle Lohse-SP
  4. Adam LaRoche-1B
  5. Jose Valverde-RP
  6. Delmon Young-OF/DH
  7. Travis Hafner-DH
  8. Aubrey Huff-1B/OF/DH
  9. Shaun Marcum-SP
  10. Carlos Zambrano-SP
The Maineiacs have been on the Lance Berkman bandwagon for the last month or so, but it appears that geography was too much to overcome as the Texan is rumored to be signing with the Texas Rangers.  So I left him off the list (I also left Mike Napoli off the list).  With Berkman being out of the picture we are left to turn the page to look for other left hand hitting 1B/OF types.  #8 Aubrey Huff would fit that profile, but I'm not sure he'd be looking for a back up/part-time role.  If he goes unsigned much longer than perhaps he would be willing to accept a minor league deal with a spring training invite.  So Huff tops the list of top 10 potential steals still remaining on the free agent market:
  1. Aubrey Huff-1B
  2. Grady Sizemore-OF
  3. Mark Lowe-RP
  4. Nick Johnson-1B
  5. Jair Jurrjens-SP
  6. Chone Figgins-UTL
  7. Mark DeRosa-UTL
  8. Jason Bartlett-SS 
  9. Francisco Liriano-SP
  10. Kevin Gregg-RP (just kidding, he would be signed as a punching bag for Big Papi)
There are a ton of relief pitchers still on the market which the Red Sox do not need, but you can never have enough arms.  There are a few potential starting pitchers out there who could be used as depth and there are some shortstops and left hand hitting 1B/OF types who could compete for a spot on the bench and provide some insurance in case of injury.  

Who would you like to bring to spring training out of these remaining players??   


  1. I agree that there is no question the most pressing need for the 2013 red Sox is first base. The need exists on two different levels. If Mike Napoli's deal is finalized, as most observers still believe will happen, then a lefty hitting ( preferably) backup is still needed. Ideally, one can also play the outfield and better yet one who coud be a late inning defensive replacement for Napoli. The second level of need, of course, at first base if the Naploi deal falls apart and he does not join the Sox.

    For the second scenario a larger deal would have to made for either a lefty or right power hitter. Someone like Justin Morneau, Michael Morse, or Ike Davis.

    But assuming, Napoli signs, who is available for a lefty hitting 1B-OF secondary piece? Aubrey Huff may well be the only free agent option as Barry mentions. And yes at age 36, coming off an injury/illness plagued 2012 and a so-so 2011, I do believe he would take a back up role, or any other role just to stay in the show. The last time he was coming off two mediocre years, he signed one year deal with San Fran and had a huge year, helping the Giants to a WS title.

    Huff is definitely worth exploring.

  2. Rather than DFA Dan Butler, Alex Hassan, Drake Britton, Chris Carpenter, etc. I think that Ben C will attempt to package three or so players in atrade to open up some 40 man roster space.

    This trade could very well be to acquire the 1B-OF needed if Huff is not signed. But what is available?? A quick review of all of the other teams depth charts gave me this list of candidates. Several names are players that would work but a probably not available or would cost too much for a secondary player ( unless Napol does not sign). These include Chris Davis, Ike Davis, Justin Morneau, Tyler Colvin. The list also included Eric Hinske, but he was all ready a free agent this winter (signing with Arizona), so if the Sox wanted him they could have all ready signed him.

    This leaves this list

    Brett Wallace, Astros
    Brandon Moss, A's
    Daric Barton, A's
    Matt Carpenter, Cards
    Lars Anderson, Dbacks
    Mike Carp, M's
    Justin Smoak, M's
    Logan Morrison, Marlins
    Mark Kotsay, Padres
    Garrett Jones, Pirates
    Casey Kotchman, FA

    The following players are 1B only: Barton, Smoak, Kotchman ( for what it is worth Kotchman's dad a long time Angels employee joined the Sox as a scout this off season), and Brett Wallace ( although, he can pay third). Lars Anderson was tried in the OF by the Sox early last year, but he is really just a 1B

    So to trade for a lefty hitting 1B-OF, who is likely available, the list is

    Brandon Moss
    Matt Carpenter
    Mike Carp
    Logan Morrsion
    Mark Kotsay
    Garrett Jones

    one thought on Garrett Jones, if the Sox wanted him could they not have expanded the Hanrahan deal to include him.

    I think the best match would be Seattle for Mike Carp or maybe even Smoak, who would cost more and has not play the OF. Could one of the Mariner first basemen be acquired for a package built around Britton, Hassan, and maybbe one other piece?

    Morrison and Brandon Moss also are intriguing, but was Moss a one year wonder for the A's last year and as Barry mentioned about Huff, would Morrison accept a back up type role?

    1. I also agree that Huff is worth exploring as a left-handed 1B/OF.

      I also love the idea of Logan Morrison. If the Sox are looking to have a more accessible, energizing, fan-friendly clubhouse, then Morrison is an attractive get. He is one of the most active athletes in any sport on Twitter and podcasting and all forms of social media. I'm sure he would want to compete for an everyday job, but as Barry's previous post pointed out, that's a good thing! Bring him in and have him compete for and earn the everyday LF job.

      The Mariners' Smoak/Carp duo is also mildly appealing. I would have to look more closely at the numbers, but it seems like Smoak is a homerun-or-strikeout guy while Carp is little more of a gap hitter. I also can't imagine Smoak being successful in the OF.

      To summarize, I would go after Aubrey Huff without giving up anything in a trade. Failing that, I would go after Morrison or Carp.

      That is, of course, as long as we're only looking at left-handed hitters. Mike Morse is now available and is better than all these Jabronies I've been talking about.

  3. When you take a look at the 40 man roster it certainly seems as though the Red Sox should make a trade to clear up some space, but the tricky thing is who do you get back in return? Do you try and trade 3 of the DFA candidates in return for one fringe major league player? Or do you trade proven big leaguers like Saltalammacchia for prospects who don't have to go on the 40 man roster? Or do you trade 3 major leaguers like Salty, Aceves and Iglesias for one good major league player or for prospects? These are the questions that need to be answered by Cherington and his staff. Perhaps that is why it is taking so long for them to pull the trigger on a trade, because they are looking at all the possible actions that we mentioned above.

  4. A book by Tito Francona (written by Dan Shaugnnessy) and a radio show for Bobby Valentine. I think we are going to need all we need to know and then some about behind the scenes doings of the Red Sox organization.

  5. Nice article here on Red Sox top prospect Xander Bogaerts. Bangor, Maine and the Senior Little League World Series even get a mention.

  6. Reports today indicate that Adam LaRoche is going to sign a 2 year contract with the Nationals. John Heyman just tweeted that this increases the chances the Red Sox finish the Napoli deal. This also places Mike Morse on the trade block. Several teams are rumored to be interested, and I'm guessing the Red Sox will not be one of them. Even though I might actually prefer Morse to Napoli if they were both free agents, giving up nothing to get Napoli vs. giving up some top prospects to get Morse makes it an easy decision, even though Morse's OF availability makes him attractive. And his relative youth. And big power bat. Anybody else have thoughts?

    1. Tweets from Heyman and Rosenthal have the Yankees, Rays, and Orioles all on the list of interested parties for Morse. I really don't want to see this guy in a rival uniform in the AL East mashing dingers over the Monstah. Come on Mariners! Make a play!

      Here's a scenario: three team trade with Mariners, Red Sox, and Nationals. Mariners get Morse. Red Sox get Carp. Nationals get prospects from the Mariners and Sox. Sox clear up some 40 man roster room. Mariners get a power bat they desperately need. Nationals clear roster and get prospects. Everybody wins!

    2. The 3 team trade might work because the Red Sox would have to give up the lesser prospects since they are getting the less talented player in return.

  7. To shift gears from first base, and to another point of Barry's list: pitching. There are at least two names on his lists of starting pitchers that interest me, Shaun Marcum and Jair Jurrjens. Since the Sox have the five guys they expect to be the rotation ( Lester, Buch, Lackey, Doubront, Dempster) they would need to sign someone who is willing to start at AAA if need be. I think that Marcum is looking for an opportunity to be in someone's rotation, so perhaps Jurrjens would be a more likely target. But as the clock ticks towards spring training, Marcum or others maybe be less picky.

    1. Someone like Marcum would be more likely to come to the Red Sox if there was a chance that he could land in the bullpen if he didn't make the rotation, but like Deacon said any SPs the Red Sox will bring in will have to be willing to start at AAA. The bullpen is going to be crowded as it is so there is no room to stash someone like Marcum until you need them in the rotation.