As the grip of winter in New England tightens, the eyes of Boston sports fans have focused to the Patriots, Bruins and Celtics. Meanwhile, this could be one of the biggest offseasons in recent history for the Boston Red Sox, who enter this offseason with come cash to spend. Let’s catch up with the Sox.
The Red Sox signed Koji Uehara to a two year deal worth a reported $18 million dollars. The deal is too much for a 39 year old reliever, who is coming off a deal that was two years and $9.25 million. The current deal nearly doubles his salary and, though I like Uehara, I can see the tail end of this year and all of next year being a waste of their money with Koji’s age and body type.
Dustin Pedroia wins his fourth Gold Glove, giving him the most in Red Sox history for any infield player. Pedroia is looking forward to coming back to full strength as he blames his plate struggles last season on the injury. Pedroia played solid defensively, but injured his wrist during the season and only posted a .278 batting average (his lowest since his first year in the MLB, 2006).
Pedroia has just claimed to be back at 100% following his surgery this offseason on September 11, but it’s definitely something to watch as he’ll hit the age of 32 next season and Mookie Betts is thought to be a suitable second baseman.
Mike Napoli also had surgery for sleep apnea (maybe that’s why he was running around Boston in the middle of the night shirtless) and is recovering well according to the Boston Globe. Napoli has also told NESN that he wants to retire as a member of the Boston Red Sox.
The Red Sox declined Craig Breslow’s option for 2014, but would like to renegotiate terms and bring back the left-hander for depth in the bull pen. I’d like to see Breslow back because he’s fairly consistent and he’s a lefty, which the Red Sox need.
The MLB rumors are obviously in full effect, but I’ll just focus on the priority in my mind and that’s starting pitching. Jon Lester would seem to be an obvious interest, but if he commands a six-year deal on the market then you can kiss that idea goodbye, which pisses me off. James Shields is rumored to command a four-year deal, which is more up the Red Sox alley – even if he is two years older than Lester.
The Phillies are fielding calls for Cole Hamels and Jon Heyman of CBS Sports thinks that the Red Sox, along with the Cubs, could be in on Hamels. Max Scherzer is also out there, but he will be heavily sought after driving up the cost. The Red Sox would also like to bring back one of their guys Andrew Miller, but the cost could get up there for him as well. The Red Sox could make a play for Brandon McCarthy, the 4th ranked pitcher according to CBS Sports, to make themselves better in the rotation while making the division rival Yankees weaker in theirs.
The Boston Red Sox addressed their offensive problems for the most part with the fire sale of starting pitchers during last season. I’d still like to see more offensive output at the catcher position and at third base, but hopefully a step forward for Xander Bogaerts will help carry some of the lesser talented hitters.
Other potential targets include Pablo Sandoval, who the Red Sox reached out to recently following another World Series win for he and the Giants and an MVP for Sandoval. Sandoval rejected the Giants qualifying offer and is looking to cash in. The only problem with bringing in Sandoval is Garin Cecchini is in the farm system and is a good prospect. He’ll likely be unable to produce what Sandoval can at the plate, but he fits into the future of the Red Sox and without Sandoval, I believe you’ll see him in Boston most of this upcoming season.
I think you’ll find that the Red Sox will be in most free agent conversations, but as long as they focus on starting pitching, you’ll see a much improved playoff contender next season. I want to see them dedicate all their money to starting pitching and the left overs can be for a good catcher/third baseman.