Monday, November 10, 2014

Twenty Questions Hot Stove Edition

As cold weather prepares to swing in Maine this week, the Hot Stove begins to heat up literally and figuratively. How about a round of 20 questions, pertaining to the Red Sox? Feel free to post your answers in the comments section below:

1. Only partially Sox related: Did the Deacon give any insight to the Duffer for his BDN letter to Ben Cherington?
2. Let's Go to the Zoo: Would you give Pablo "The Kung Fu Panda" Sandoval a 5+ year deal?
3. Ace in the Hole: Who will be the Sox "ace" in 2015: Jon Lester, Max Scherzer, James Shields, Cole Hamels, or Clay Buchholz?
4. A Man in a Gorilla Suit did What: Will Theo Epstein and the Cubs be a thorn in the Red Sox side this winter?
5. Our Pitching mediocre: Assuming the Sox do not get Lester, Scherzer, Shields, or Hamels, what pitcher(s) are the Sox most likely to add to bolster their 2015 staff?
6. Our Pitching oye: Which "kid" pitchers who auditioned in 2014 (Webster, Ranaudo, De La Rosa, Workman, Barnes) are most likely to be in the 2015 rotation?
7. Koji Time: After watching Koji Uehara struggle to the finish line in 2014, do you feel confident with him as the closer in 2015?
8. If Not Koji, how about Mujica Time: Is Edward Mujica the Sox closer if Koji cannot answer the bell?
9. Call to the Pen: Do the Sox re-sign Burke Badenhop?
10. Call to the Pen, Part II: Who makes up the 2015 Red Sox relief corps?
11. Jenny Dell is nice to look at: Does Jenny actually go through with it and tie the knot with a career .237 hitter? Is that .237 hitter still a member of the Red Sox in 2015?

Sidebar, I saw a recent Tweet from Jenny Dell at a Bruins game with her girlfriends. Lo and behold standing next to Jenny was an MCI alum whose parents live down the street from me. I'm thinking it is only a matter of time before Jenny is strolling the streets of Pittsfield!

12. At the Hot Corner: Who is the Red Sox 3rd baseman in 2015: Brock Holt, Will Middlebrooks, Pablo Sandoval, Hanley Ramirez, Chase Headley, Garrin Cecchini, recently retired Kevin Youkilis, Cousin Jason?
13. Yoenis live once: Do the Sox trade Yoenis Cespedes this winter? If so, what is the return?
14. Nava miss an opportunity: Does OBP machine Daniel Nava make the 2015 Sox roster?
15. Glut-tony for Punishment: With a glut of OFers, where do Cespedes, Nava, Allen Craig, Rusney Castillo, Jackie Bradley, Jr., Shane Victorino, Mookie Betts, Bryce Brentz, and Alex Hassan begin 2015?
16. Backstop: What do the Red Sox do with Christian Vazquez and Blake Swihart?
17. Backstop Backup: Who is the Sox #2 catcher to start 2015?
18. A side of Chili: What impact will new hitting coach Chili Davis have on the Sox offense in 2015?
19. The Manager's Desk: After a World Series title and a last-place finish, what do we make of John Farrell's managerial skills?
20. Shortstop: Devin Marrero has had an excellent Arizona Fall League and been dubbed by many industry experts as Brandon Crawford II. Given this information many view Marrero as a nice trade chip. Let's go the other way, given Marrero's skills would you shop Xander Bogaerts?
Bonus: Which members of the last place Red Sox 40 man roster is not expendable?

I hope you all got an extra cord put away, it appears that the Hot Stove will need to be stoked frequently this winter. Enjoy!


  1. Update: MLB Trade Rumors is reporting that the Red Sox are the only known team on Cole Hamels updated no-trade list

  2. Also multiple sources are reporting that Johnny Cueto of the Reds is unlikely to be moved unless the Reds are overwhelmed, but Mat Latos or Mike Leake could be had

  3. At 11:00 pm on November 10th, Gordon Edes tweets "I know how hard this is to believe but a well-placed source predicted that Red Sox will re-sign Lester, and may go up to 6 yrs to do so"

  4. 1. I had the same thought as I read the Duffer's blog post.
    2. NO
    3. None of the Above
    4. I think(hope) the Cubs will be more active next winter than this winter.
    5. Justin Masterson, Johnny Cueto (despite what the above source said)
    6. I like Ranaudo, but my reason is a little bit different. He has received the correct amount of seasoning in the minors leagues. He is one of the few prospects who hasn't been rushed or pushed before he was ready. Therefore I think he is the most ready, and while he didn't impress all that much at the end of the year I chalk that up to fatigue and him pitching more innings than he ever had in his career.
    7. Yes I am confident in Koji. Yes I want more bullpen help.
    8. Mujica time? No thank you!
    9. Yes on Badenhop
    10. Koji, Neshek, Mujica, Workman, Webster, Tazawa, LHP
    11. There's no way that Jenny Dell sticks with a AAA chump
    12. Troy Tulowitzki or Jed Lowrie
    13. Yes they do. Yeonis gets traded as part of a package for Jonny Cueto
    14. Yes Nava will make the roster (seemingly no one else hits left handed)
    15. Bradley, Brentz and Hassan will either be with a different organization or in Pawtucket. Victorino will be the opening day RF. Cespedes gets traded (see #13) Nava will be platooning in LF with Allen Craig and Mookie will be in the leadoff spot and playing RF. Castillo will be in Pawtucket getting some much needed AB's.
    16. Definitely don't trade them. Vazquez will be the opening day catcher in Boston and Swihart will be the opening day catcher in Pawtucket. I hope the Red Sox give Swihart the full year at Pawtucket.
    17. A left handed hitting player who is a better offensive player than a defensive player.
    18. If Cespedes doesn't get traded he could be a vital part of getting Yeonis to move to RF and getting the most out of him at the plate.
    19. John is an OK manager. He's got an excellent coaching staff, this year's last place finish will help him keep Torey Lovullo and Brian Butterfield. Farrell can certainly get the most out of pitchers. That's one reason why I think you'll see Justin Masterson return to Boston and return to his '13 form.
    20. NO, DO NOT TRADE XANDER. I'd be willing to trade Marrero for the right return. I would not keep him and trade Xander, but I wouldn't be opposed to keeping them both.
    Bonus: Ultimately no one on the 40 man (all 36 of them) is untouchable. Here are the people who likely aren't going anywhere: Joe Kelly, Buchholz (can't sell low on him, otherwise he would be traded), Koji, Vazquez, Pedroia, Papi, Bogaerts, Betts and Castillo.

  5. 10. Probably outta put Badenhop in the bullpen if I chose to re-sign him in #9 haha. I'll take Webster out and put Badenhop in.

  6. I need an editor. #15 Betts will be in CF to start the year.

  7. An editor would indeed help your commenting ability! I think this series of questions deserves more discussion, do I smell a Hot Stove Live Chat?

  8. 1. The Deacon should have at least received a footnote.
    2. I would give Sandoval 5 years, yeah. He’s only 28, so a five year deal would only have him on the books until he’s 33, still prime years for a baseball player. He’s a switch hitter, something the Red Sox could definitely use more of. I think it is time that we moved on from the Middlebrooks experiment (more on that below). Plus, two of his nicknames on his Baseball Reference page are “Kung Fu Panda” and “Round Mound of Pound” and he seems to have a great personality that would mesh well with Papi in the Sox locker room. What’s not to like?
    3. I really think they’ll open the pursestrings to bring Lester back and he seemed sincere that he would be open to re-signing in Boston when he left. If Clay Buchholz is anything higher than our #3 starter heading into 2015, we’re screwed. I would prefer him to be our 4th or 5th.
    4. Absolutely. Theo and co. are making their move in Chi Town. They didn’t get Joe Maddon to manage a team with no title aspirations. Add the right pitcher or two to the young hitting they’ve been stockpiling and they’re in the conversation next year.
    5. See Art’s trade targets post: I love Cueto and Gallardo, in that order.
    6. I say Ranaudo is the only one of that group who starts 2015 in the rotation. Barnes will be in the conversation as well.
    7. I believe in a resurgence of Koji Time!
    8. God, no. The less Mujica, the better.
    9. No, I wouldn’t. I think our bullpen answers lie from within and/or trying to re-sign Andrew Miller.
    10. Tommy Layne, Heath Hembree, Alex Wilson, Drake Britton, and Edward Mujica make up a massive turd sandwich in the Sox bullpen right now. I still believe in Koji. Tazawa is solid. I would like to see them push to re-sign Andrew Miller. Beyond that, they have some spots to fill if they hope to have a quality pen in 2015.
    11. Will Middlebrooks will end up in a different uniform in 2015, maybe even by the end of 2014. I think the Sox brass has soured on Willie Middle, and I think I agree with them. As for Jenny, I see this going two ways: Willie gets moved to a sunny city like Los Angeles or Phoenix, Jenny goes with him and enjoys the clime, and he has success in the NL. Or, he gets traded to Milwaukee or Minnesota or someplace, and Jenny drops him like a rock.
    12. I’m only on board in #2 above as wanting to sign the Round Mound. If the Sox end up deciding he is too expensive, then the job needs to be Brock Holt’s to lose. I kept waiting for the Slap Weasel to implode in 2014, but he never did. He’s good at baseball. That said, I would rather see the weasel slapping his game around in the super utility role than the starting hot sacker.
    13. I don’t like the quiet reports earlier this offseason that the Sox didn’t like Cespedes’ approach to the game. The reports were quashed, but still. There was a seed planted there. We have enough outfielders to move Cespedes for Cueto, Gallardo, or Wheeler.

    1. You make a compelling argument for the Round Mound of Pound. Reports say that he's close to going back to San Fran, but I'd be Ok with the Sox signing him and I would be OK with a 5 year contract. I just don't think he's a 20 million per year player.

      The slap weasel most certainly did implode in 2014. It just happened to coincide with the time when we all stopped watching Red Sox games around the end of July. In August and September (he was hurt for most of September) he hit a combined .234. He's a utility player at best.

      Also, I think you are right about the Cubs loading up for a run. I just think it makes more sense for them to load up for 2016 when more of their younger players will be ready to not just play in the big leagues, but play well. Maddon was signed because he's an excellent manager, but also in part because he has experience taking a young, last placed team and turning them around in 2-3 year span. It won't happen over night.

    2. Good news for those Red Sox fans who want them to sign the Kung Fu Panda. According to this article they appear to be "all-in" to try and sign him.

      The article mentions that Sandoval and his agent are looking for a 6 year deal that would take him to age 34. It might be an opportunity to exercise their practice of offering less years, but more AAV. If they offer him more money per year and only 4 or 5 years then he may have a chance at one more major pay day before he gets too old.

    3. One more note on the Red Sox offering a contract to Sandoval or any other free agents that have a draft pick attached to them. Thanks to their terrible record in 2014 their 1st round pick is protected. That means that the draft pick that they would have to give up would be a second round pick, which is still valuable, but not as difficult to give up as a first rounder.

  9. 14. I say Nava starts in AAA with Allen Craig being the 1B/corner outfielder. Provided that Craig has been staying off his injured foot this offseason without gaining 20 pounds.
    15. Sox outfield: Cespedes in LF, Castillo in CF, Victorino in RF as long as he’s healthy, Betts in RF when Victorino is inevitably injured, Craig as the backup 1B/LF/RF, and Bradley, Brentz, Nava, and Hassan in AAA.
    16. Vazquez is the man in 2015 for as long as he is even league average with the bat. Swihart should be given plenty of seasoning at AAA. Don’t rush him.
    17. As Duff/Art said in the Duffel Bag, I’m partial to David Ross, but any veteran not named Pierzynski will do.
    18. I’m hoping he takes a more aggressive, put the ball in play, avoid strikeouts, and test the opponent’s defense strategy rather than making guys like Bogaerts, Castillo, Cespedes, Betts, and others try to work counts and guess pitches. That approach worked for the Sox for years, but that was a roster filled with veteran players. I think with this young dynamic nucleus, they need to let them swing the bats and run like hell.
    19. Who the hell knows? If you throw out 2013, then Farrell’s overall resume as a major league manager is, in a word, terrible. But of course one has to factor in the worst to first championship run when Farrell was at the helm. In the end, he seems like he is a solid in-game manager who gives a lot of control to Butterfield and Louvollo (any word on if he is going to be back? There’s question #21 for you), seems to know how to handle a pitching staff, and has that persona of power/leadership/respect you want in the guy in charge. He’s still alright in my book.
    20. Absolutely do not move Xander. Hold the Marrero trade chip or use it for Cueto, Gallardo, or Wheeler.

    A Hot Stove Live Chat needs to happen! Sooner than later!

    1. Excellent thoughts about Chili Davis as hitting coach. I hadn't even considered some of those angles. The Sox do certainly need to change as the game changes, which it certainly is. He may in fact bring some of those philosophies, but he also cut his teeth as a hitting coach in the Sox minor league system, so he may be more in line with those old philosophies.

      I disagree with Nava being in Pawtucket to start the season for one simple reason. He hits well left handed. The other five guys that you mentioned are all right handed hitters. The line up needs some balance and their have been multiple reports that the Sox want to add more left handed hitters not less.

  10. Lots of great comments all ready, many of which I agree with. Let me give it a go with twenty answers.

    1. Only subliminal encouragement.

    2. I would most definitely give Sandoval five years, he is a much underrated defensive third sacker, and by years three-five, if his play at third regresses he is the new Papi at DH. Alas, I really think he re-ups with San Fran.

    3. Jon Lester. I will be right about this until I am wrong. Even if the Sox need to go 6 years 150M, he is still the best overall option. I believe Lester was genuine about some type of discount, I think it may be that he will take 5 years, 125-130M from Boston.

    4. The Cubs could be be in on the same pitching as Boston, but I do buy the theory of the Cubs waiting until next year...hello David Price. But if the Cubs jump in now, they could indirectly help Boston if the Cube trade for Hamels, which has been rumored since last August. This move could push Boston and Lester together if the Hamels trade happens first.

    5.If the Sox strikeout on the Big 3 free agents and Hamels ( a real possibility) I think they go big after Johnny Cueto, who is better than those four anyway. Failing to land Cueto, I think Samardzija is next on their shopping list. I still think the mostly likely signing of all is Justin Masterson....whether that makes the staff less mediocre is still to be seen.

    6.I rate the order on the kid who starts in '15 for Boston as Ranaudo, Webster ( he pitched much better in Sept.), Barnes, Brian Johnson ( I know he was not a choice, but if not traded he will start for Boston by June at the latest.), De La Rosa, Stephen Wright( off the board again), and Brandon Workman. (Henry Owens and Eduardo Rodriguez and maybe Edwin Escobar will all get shots before Workman.)

    7. Yes. I believe in Koji

    8. Mujica also pitched much, much better in the second half...but if Koji spits the bit, Rubby De La Rosa is the next Sox closer.

    9.I lean no on Badenhop, I would have no problem with BB returning, but I think the Sox will look for harder throwing and/or younger pen guys.

    10.Bullpen of Koiji, Tazawa, De La Rosa, Workman, Drake Britton, Tommy Layne( unless the Sox can re-sign Andrew Miller, and I expect his free agent price will be too high.), and either Luke Gregerson or Luke Hochevar, probably Hochevar. Guys like Webster and Matt Barnes are also possibilities. Other than the one outside FA signing I guessed at, I think the Sox load their pen with their own kids. Alex Wilson has a shot, too.

    11.yes, Will Middlebrooks will still be Red Sox property, but he will be in a three way split of first and third base with Garin Cecchini and Travis Shaw at Pawtucket for most if not all of 2015. As far as Ms. Dell, I strongly suspect the .237 BA is not the Middlebrooks number she cares about the most.

    12.Since I predicted Pablo stays with the Giants, I do not think the Sox will pay the 100M or so for Hanley, and please God no Chase Headley, who has had part of one good year in his entire MLB career. So I predict the opening day third sacker for the Sox is either, Jed Lowrie or Lonnie Chisenhall.

    13.Yes I think they deal Yoenis, only because the outfield is jammed and he has the most value, except for Mookie and Rusney who they are NOT trading. The Reds need a left fielder, let's start the Cueto package there. And speaking of Cueto, here is a question, if the Reds do not want just prospects would you include Joe Kelly with Yoenis and then a prospect or two ( down the prospect list a ways) for Cueto? Kelly came from the NL Central so the Reds would be familiar with his work.


    1. 14. Nava: Maybe? If the Sox do not bring in at least two other left handed hitters, yes he is back. If they get more balanced Nava would have more trade value than Victorino or Craig in an attempt to lessen the OF logjam. I could also see Craig and Nava sharing first base after a Mike Napoli trade for pitching.

      15. Left Field Nava/Craig platoon ( unless Napoli is traded rather than Cespedes, then they platoon at first and Yoenis is in left...I do not think Cespedes will play right field.)

      Center Field( and batting leadoff) Mookie Betts with JBJ at AAA playing CF everyday.

      Right Field: Rusney Castillo with Shane Victorino either on the DL or traded if he is healthy in spring training.

      Bryce Brentz at AAA unless traded in a package deal, Hassan either AAA or traded....Brentz is still a MLB prospect to me, Hassan, not so much.

      As I snuck into the pitching trade targets, I still think their is a reasonable shot (30% maybe) that Jason Heyward is in right for Boston in 2015. Fantastic defensive RFer, still young, and has power.

      16. Vaz is the everyday catcher in Boston, Swihart at AAA. Blake needs at least as much tim in Pawtucket as he has at Hadlock Field in '14, until late July or August in other words. Then let them share the job thru 2016, then decide who is your catcher. The chances of the Sox trading Swihart this winter are less than 1%.

      `17. John Jaso, unless the Sox find some lefty bats elsewhere, in that case I think it will be David Ross.

      18. I think it could be a huge impact, when the signing was announced baseball people and baseball media types from all over the game ( not just in Boston in other words) raved about the great pickup for Boston. And I think the presence of Chili may be the only reason Yoenis Cespedes stays in Boston. And if that happens I think Chili can bring out the best in Yoenis especially in Cespedes' contract year).

      19. I am not a fan of John Farrell's in game managing. But that being said I 100% subscribe to the theory that today's baseball skipper earns his keep off the field and in the clubhouse. I think it say a lot about Farrell's skills in that department theat he did not seem to have any mutinies or scenes despite the futile season of '14. But I think 2015 is an important year in his managerial career in Boston ( or anywhere else for that matter).

      20. I would trade Marrero in a big deal for a pitcher ( Cueto, Samardzija, etc.) but I would not shop him aggressively. I would anxious to see ow his 2-15 goes first. As far as Xander I would not trade for anyone in baseball except guys who are not being traded ( Trout, Kershaw, etc.) I am not even sure I would trade Xander in a Giancarlo Stanton deal. There have been many reports the Sox want to deal for pitching but are unwilling to deal Bogaerts, Betts, or Swihart. At first, this seems incredulous that you could make a big deal and keep your three best guys. But the Sox system is so deep that could offer three prospects like Marrero, Henry Owens(because of having Brian Johnson and Eduardo Rodriquez as similar inventory), and a younger stud like Manuel Margot, and you have just offered a package equivalent to the top three prospects of many other teams. And that is not even mentioned guys like the righties auditioned in Boston this year, who still have value.

      Untradeable players are David Ortiz, Dustin Pedroia, and the afore mentioned Bogaerts, Betts, and Swihart. They could discuss anyone else.