Boston Red Sox: Odds of Every Untraded Player Staying Put Beyond 2013
Just a short time ago, the Boston Red Sox traded away three of their biggest names and contracts with the hope of revitalizing the organization.
Boston set itself up nicely for the future, but are the current players part of that long-term plan? Even though Boston only dealt a handful of players at the July 31 trade deadline—and even into August—doesn’t mean they’re done. Contracts will expire and other players will be traded to get the roster to a point where the front office believes they can contend.
For the purpose of this article, let’s just say the year is 2014.
So who will still be on the roster after 2013? Here are odds of each current player staying past that point.
0 Percent Chance
John Lackey, starting pitcher
There’s absolutely no way the Boston Red Sox sign John Lackey to an extension and hopefully they can rid themselves of him soon. He has been a nightmare on and off of the field and they will part ways as quickly as possible. I wouldn’t be shocked if Boston traded Lackey during the upcoming offseason, but he doesn’t have any trade value. It’s more likely they keep him and try to deal him midseason if anyone will take him.
Daisuke Matsuzaka, starting pitcher
Daisuke Matsuzaka's contract will expire after this season and I don’t see any way Boston offers a new contract, even a one-year deal. He’s definitely had his ups in a Red Sox uniform, but it’s much easier to look at the heartache he’s given Red Sox Nation since Boston signed him. He’s missed significant time due to injury and hasn’t pitched well in recent memory. For those reasons alone, he’ll be gone soon.
Rich Hill, relief pitcher
Rich Hill will enter free agency after the 2013 season and his injury history and average outings will prevent him from pitching in Boston past that season. He’s a very average left-handed reliever who is expendable. There will be some good relievers on the market this upcoming offseason and the one after it. Hill would have to pitch very well next season to get a new contract, but I don’t see that happening.
Aaron Cook, starting pitcher
Aaron Cook is 3-8 with a 5.35 ERA in 13 starts with the Red Sox this season. Those numbers speak for themselves. There’s no reason to believe he’ll be back next year.
10 Percent Chance
Jarrod Saltalamacchia, catcher
Although Ryan Lavarnway hasn’t hit well since his promotion to the big leagues, it’s going to be hard to convince the front office that he isn’t their starting catcher for the future. He’s very good defensively. He’s just struggled adjusting to major league pitching. Jarrod Saltalamacchia has had a good—if not a great year—but since his contract expires after next season, I don’t think he’ll be back past 2013.
Scott Podsednik, outfielder
Scott Podsednik has done a solid job filling in this season, but I don’t think he’ll be in town much longer. Boston already cut him once, only to bring him back shortly after. He’s an old outfielder, who could easily be replaced.
20 Percent Chance
Mike Aviles, shortstop
Just like Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Mike Aviles will be replaced by a younger player who is deemed to be the future of this team. Aviles hit for more power than I expected going into the season and really hasn’t been bad defensively either. The problem is he’s been average over his career and Jose Iglesias will likely take over starting next season. He’s under contract for a while but I could see Boston dealing him sometime soon.
Vicente Padilla, relief pitcher
Vicente Padilla’s contract expires at the end of this season and although he’s pitched well, I think there’s only a slim chance he comes back for another two years. Could Boston sign him to a one-year deal? Sure, but a two-year deal would be highly unlikely for a regular reliever.
30 Percent Chance
Alfredo Aceves, relief pitcher
Alfredo Aceves has done a good job in the Boston Red Sox bullpen this season, mainly as the closer as Andrew Bailey missed a majority of the year. I do not like his temper, though. He’s had issues with manager Bobby Valentine about when and how often he pitches, which probably didn’t sit well with the front office. I don’t think it will sit lightly with him that he won’t be the closer next season and Boston will be forced to make him a starter or trade him.
Scott Atchison, relief pitcher
Scott Atchison is an old reliever who has been very valuable in 2012, despite his battle with injury. He’s 36 years old and I’m not sure how many more years he’s going to run out from the bullpen and pitch in close games. He’s under contract for a few more years through arbitration and there’s only a slim chance he plays in Boston into 2014.
Craig Breslow, relief pitcher
Craig Breslow has only been in Boston for a short period of time and he hasn’t been great. He allowed six earned runs in just 12 innings of work and is just your average lefty out of the bullpen. Can Boston easily replace him? Absolutely, which is why I feel it’s doubtful that he pitches for the Red Sox in 2014.
40 Percent Chance
Jacoby Ellsbury, outfielder
It’s truly a toss-up as to what the Boston Red Sox will do with Jacoby Ellsbury this offseason, next season and after next season ends when he becomes a free agent. At this point, there’s a better chance he doesn’t return past 2013. He will be looking for a huge contract and I’m not so sure he can reciprocate his 2011 numbers. He’s a great player but I don’t think that he’s worth the money.
David Ortiz, designated hitter
David Ortiz’s status is actually similar to that of Ellsbury’s. He’s been a great player on this team but he’s going to cost a pretty penny and I’m not so sure Boston would suffer that much without him. He’s not getting any younger and I have a feeling injuries are going to start piling up. I know Ortiz hasn’t been injured much in the past but aging does usually bring on injuries. Signing him through 2013 is fine with me, but I don’t see him getting a two-year deal.
Mark Melancon, relief pitcher
I don’t think Mark Melancon’s performance this year is reflective of how he’ll pitch in the future. He’s eligible for arbitration over the next few years and I think the Red Sox will give him another shot. It can’t be much worse than this year, right? Next year will really tell us how the future for Melancon in Boston looks.
Clayton Mortenson, relief pitcher
I’m very high on Clayton Mortenson but because of his contract status and available options, he’s gotten a raw deal in 2012. He’s been constantly moved between Boston and the minor leagues even though he’s pitched very well in the big leagues. He’s probably one of Boston’s best relievers but I’m not sold the front office thinks that way too. Mortenson is eligible for arbitration for the next couple of years so hopefully Boston decides to keep him. Don’t be shocked if they don’t, though.
50 Percent Chance
Chris Carpenter, Andrew Miller and Junichi Tazawa, relief pitchers
These three pitchers are all in the same boat. Boston could decide to make them long-term pieces of its bullpen or it could not. Chris Carpenter is a young, hard throwing righty who hasn’t gotten much of a chance to pitch in the majors yet, but will in the near future. Andrew Miller is Boston’s top left-handed option out of the bullpen. Junichi Tazawa has been inconsistent over his career but good as of late. It’s a toss-up as to who will be on the roster in 2014.
Mauro Gomez and James Loney, first basemen
My guess is that one of these two will be the starting first baseman in 2013. I’m not sure that either has shown enough just yet to determine who will start beyond that, though. James Loney is definitely sounder defensively, but Mauro Gomez hasn’t had the opportunity to shine yet. He was a great hitter in Triple-A, but needs to show us what he can do at the major league level.
60 Percent Chance
Cody Ross, Outfielder
Ross has played out of his mind in 2012 and will definitely be back in 2013 despite his contract expiring. Will he be back past that, though? I sure hope so. He’s been a great outfielder at the plate and played right and left field well, too. The Red Sox couldn’t ask for any more out of Ross this season and he’s very deserving of a new contract that should last the next two seasons, ensuring he plays in Boston in 2014.
Jose Iglesias, Shortstop
I truly believe that the Red Sox are going to go with Iglesias full-time at shortstop next season. That will tell us if he’s capable of dealing with it or not. He’s a horrific hitter, both in the minors and in the majors. You will not convince me that he will come around offensively. He is, however, a good fielder which has kept him in the conversation this long. In the end, I see him getting two years at the position before he either loses it to Xander Bogaerts or somehow keeps it.
Ryan Kalish, Outfielder
If you’ve read my pieces on the Red Sox, you would know that I’m very against Ryan Kalish. I don’t like the way that he hits and I don’t think that he’s a great fielder. He should not be an outfielder on this team in the future, but I do think that Boston still believes he can be. They keep giving him the opportunity to succeed and he just hasn’t. It’s going to take a couple more years for the front office to realize this and that’s why I think he has a 60 percent shot at being on the roster in 2014.
Ryan Lavarnway, Catcher
Lavarnway will be on the roster for a while for a couple of reasons. One, he’s a great catcher and usually hits well, although that hasn’t shown in the majors this season. Two, he could DH if Boston decides not to bring Ortiz back. Three, Boston could decide to transition him into a first baseman. He’s still young and could develop into one of the better young players in the game. He just needs more time.
Franklin Morales, Starting Pitcher
I like that Boston finally realized that Morales could be a good starter. He pitched well at first and then started to slow down as he got more and more time on the mound. I think that they could continue to start him, but he’ll be moved back to the bullpen going forward. He’s a valuable asset to this team when he’s on point.
70 Percent Chance
Daniel Bard, Relief Pitcher
I know that Bard was a complete disaster this season, but Boston hasn’t given up on him just yet and I think it will take a couple more seasons to fully evaluate him. Next season will be incredibly important for his future as he’ll be in the bullpen full-time. Or at least that’s what they need to do. Bard will pitch in Boston in 2014, but possibly not much longer after that depending on how he does.
Felix Doubront, Starting Pitcher
Doubront is one of Boston’s brightest young stars as he’s pitched pretty well this year despite getting himself into trouble with high pitch counts. I really worry about how his elbow is going to hold up in the future. Although it would seem stupid to trade him at this point, I could see Boston doing it in the future. He does have some upside and if 2013 goes south look for them to deal him away. He would definitely be attractive to a few teams.
Zach Stewart, Starting Pitcher
Stewart barely pitched in the majors at all this season since coming over in the Kevin Youkilis trade. It’s tough to evaluate how he’ll do in the future, but I think Boston will give him a few more years to figure things out. He will probably be pitching in the minors for next season and possibly get called up midseason or if another starter were to get injured.
80 Percent Chance
Andrew Bailey, Relief Pitcher
Bailey is the closer of the Red Sox for the foreseeable future. I’d be pretty shocked if they traded him away, but it could happen if he really didn’t pitch well. But I mean really didn’t pitch well.
Jon Lester, Starting Pitcher
Lester was involved in some trade rumors as the trade deadline approached, but Boston never pulled the trigger. I think that’s because they feel this 2012 season has just been a fluke for him and that his best is still yet to come. He’s a valuable pitcher, but he’s not an ace. He’s a very good No. 2 or 3 option for their rotation. They just can’t put pressure on him by deeming him the “ace” of the staff.
Pedro Ciriaco, Utility Player
I love Ciriaco. He represents everything that’s good about watching what’s left of this team. He plays hard every time he takes the field and you can’t ask for any more than that. He’s actually played very well too and is a very valuable asset. He can play virtually any infield position as well as the outfield. He has good speed and has hit well too. Boston should really hang on to him for a couple of years.
90 Percent Chance
Clay Buchholz, Starting Pitcher
Buchholz has the potential to be the “ace” of this starting rotation for the next couple of years. He’s pitched very well this year and it’s very unlikely that Boston would trade him away. He’s their best right-handed starter and he’s only going to get better with more run support. He will be in the Boston rotation for several more years and is a good candidate for an extension once his contract expires.
100 Percent Chance
Dustin Pedroia, Second Baseman
Pedroia is the heart and soul of this team and characterizes what a captain should be, even though he doesn’t wear a “C” on his jersey. The most that he’ll be paid over the next four years is $11 million which is basically a bargain for what the Red Sox are getting out of him. He plays hard and truly cares about the success of this team. Boston doesn’t have one notable prospect in the minors that’s lined up to replace Pedroia any time soon. He is the future at second base and the future of this team.
Will Middlebrooks, Third Baseman
While Pedroia is the veteran leader, Middlebrooks is the young leader. He’s already showed he’s capable of succeeding in the majors and his numbers would’ve been much better if he didn’t get hurt. He’s the third baseman for as long as he wants it and should also hit in the middle of the Boston lineup for many years to come. He’s arguably the most exciting player on the team and there’s no way that the Red Sox get tired of him so soon.