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Friday, November 16, 2018

Let’s Get Off-Seasoning!

So it’s been a couple of weeks since the Boston Red Sox WON THE 2018 WORLD SERIES…let’s take a moment…OK and now it is time to look ahead to 2019.  Apologies for the delay but I am on a bit of a vacation in Florida but sadly the weather here is awful, only 72 degrees and clear skies.  I can’t imagine anywhere else in the US is having worse weather.

Anyhoot…I think there is not a lot to talk about for the Red Sox for the coming winter months.  Unlike last year when there was a lot to do over the winter Dave Dombrowski does not have much on his plate, at least regarding the 2019 Red Sox.  In all likelihood the most important thing Dombrowski can do this winter is prioritize and lay the groundwork for the future deals on the big stars on this team.  Looking at the players able to be free agents or opt out either after 2019 or 2020 I would prioritize them in the following order;

Mookie Betts (after 2020)
J.D. Martinez (after 2019 - opt out)
Xander Bogaerts (after 2019)
Rick Porcello (after 2019)
Chris Sale (after 2019)
Jackie Bradley Jr. (after 2020)

Mookie is a gimme.  If I’m running the Sox we are basically looking at a blank check situation here.  There is absolutely no reason for a team like the Red Sox to let a superstar like Mookie get away when his club control expires and I do not expect it to happen.  The big question for me is J.D. or Xander.  I am probably foolish but I feel like J.D. is a guy who can follow the Ortiz path (not that good of course) while Xander, who I love, may have just had the best season he will ever have.

Porcello over Sale may seem like nonsense but hear me out.  I assume Sale is going to get a massive deal, by contrast if Porcello’s deal is a bit more modest his ability to throw 200 innings may make him the better buy. Sale is amazing of course but how much money are the Sox willing to invest in a guy who frankly is unreliable.  Of course with that unreliability comes brilliance but I suspect he is a guy who is going to get a massive amount of money from someone and I suspect that someone is going to regret it.  Bradley is a good player and fun to root for but will be entering his age 32 season after 2020 and probably is likely to be on the downside.

All of the above makes rough assumptions about contracts.  Obviously if the Sox can sign any of these guys on cheap money they should do it but I’m assuming a big market value.

So what about the 2019 Red Sox?  David Price did not opt out, Eduardo Nunez picked up his player option so those decisions are made.  What other decisions are there?

Bullpen - Naturally this is where the big decisions lay for Dombrowski.  Craig Kimbrel predictably declined the Qualifying Offer and is a free agent.  Assuming he gets a multi-year offer worth $30 million and up I’m content to see him go.  He had his ups and downs with the Sox and I enjoyed watching him pitch (usually) but I think letting Matt Barnes or another option take that role is the way to go.  Post-season star Joe Kelly has been exasperating as all get out over the years.  There is a sense that he “figured it out” late in the year and might be worth it.  Given how unreliable relievers are I would not mind taking a flyer on the devil we know rather than spending similar money on a free agent though I’m skeptical that the guy has figured it out at age 30.

Rotation - While you never have enough pitching the Sox are in a good starting place for 2019.  Sale, Price, Porcello, Eduardo Rodriguez and Brian Johnson alone is a heck of a start.  I would dearly love to see Nathan Eovaldi come back.  The post-season heroics should not overshadow that his regular season track record is fairly ordinary at best.  He is reminiscent of another former Marlin A.J. Burnett as a guy who may spend his career being pretty good but perennially viewed as a disappointment.  Steven Wright is also expected back though he has recently had a procedure to repair his knee which has officially reached “problematic” status.

Other Stuff - A few other random thoughts;

- I hope Steve Pearce comes back.  He fits the roster well much the way Hanley Ramirez did a couple of years ago.

- Of the big name relief options on the market Zach Britton is the guy I would be most interested in.  I love closers who keep the ball in the ballpark.

- I will be shocked if the Sox are a player for any of the über-free agents.

- If the Sox DO make a big move this winter I would guess a trade involving Rafael Devers would be the path.  I don’t expect that to happen but Alex Cora unleashed a bit of tough love on him during the summer and he feels like the guy who would go if that happened.

- A few names to consider from the system in advance of Spring Training; Josh Ockimey (1B), Bobby Dalbec (3B), Durban Feltman (RHRP), Travis Lakins (RHRP) are all guys who may contribute to the big club next year.

- I am not counting on Dustin Pedroia but with Brock Holt, Nunez and even Tzu-Wei Lin I feel like the Sox are well suited.

- Hey how about that American League Most Valuable Player Mookie Betts!?!?!?!?

Sorry I am not giving a ton of specifics.  I don’t have MCoA’s ability to put together the financial pieces so as I said earlier, all my assumptions sort of assume general market value.  I have written a lot of words that amount to “it will be a quiet off-season” but I suspect that is the case and as far as the 2019 Red Sox go I think that’s the right call.  Not surprisingly the team that won 108 games and then won the World Series is pretty good.

Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature Posted: November 16, 2018 at 04:45 PM | 6 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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