In what could prove to be a very interesting winter for the Boston Red Sox, believe it or not, hope springs eternal.
Despite the fact that this incarnation of the team has been an abomination to the franchise, the sun will come out tomorrow. Sure, they’re 64-80 with an abysmal 2-9 record in the month of September.
Okay, so they have a .318 winning percentage since July 1st. And…who cares that they’re just 2-13 in their last 15 games.
Big deal, right?
Clearly I’m being facetious here. This season is salt on the wounds of Red Sox Nation, after the collapse of 2011. People around New England will be referring to that for decades, in similar fashion as the blizzard of ’78: “I remember the collapse of 2011, it was painful…”
You get the point.
Having somehow been blessed by the baseball Gods and shedding some $270 million in payroll obligations, the team is now faced with an extremely rare opportunity to re-image themselves.
This calls for wise trades and even wiser free agent signings. Just because they now have the money doesn’t mean they have to squander it away.
I’m sure you’ve heard his name floated around in various Red Sox blogs and articles around the Internet. There’s good reason for that: he would be a solid fit at Fenway.
The first thing you want to look at is his versatility. Though used primarily as a left fielder, he does have major league experience as both a third and first baseman.
With the loss of both Adrian Gonzalez and Carl Crawford, the Red Sox lost two left-handed bats. Gordon would give them one back. He bats left and throws right—which is actually a beneficial factor when it comes to playing hits off of the Green Monster in Fenway.
Gordon has been in the league since 2007 and owns a career .268/.346/.437/.783 batting line.
Upon first glance you likely can compare him to Cody Ross. However, those are his career numbers which have been hindered by early struggles.
In the past two seasons, Gordon has seen an impressive increase in his production. He owns a .298/.369/.475/.844 batting line while leading the American League in doubles this season with 47. He had 45 in 2011.
Gordon offers you a double-digit stolen base threat as well. While he’s no Carl Crawford on the base paths, he did steal 17 bags in 2011 and 10 so far this season.
What’s more, he appears to be built for success at Fenway Park. In 15 career games playing here he owns a .404/.485/.632/1.117 batting line. In 57 at-bats he has 23 hits, 10 of which were doubles with a home run as well. He has 11 RBI and has scored 12 runs, racking up 36 total bases.
That’s in just 15 games. True, the sample size is fairly small, but it suggests a pattern of comfort and productivity for playing in Boston.
The next question would have to focus on how well he handles the American League East competition.
At first glance, it is not that great. In 146 career games he owns a .240/.311/.409/.720 batting line with 133 hits, 35 doubles, three triples, 18 home runs and 38 RBI.
In other words, he’s a nice player against the AL East, but just not a killer.
Breaking it down into specifics, the Yankees and Rays have always had his number, so to speak. Against the Yankees he has just a .240/.302/.403/.704 batting line, which looks fantastic compared to his career .188/.260/.263/.523 line coming against the Rays.
Once again, there is a silver lining.
This season, Gordon has seemingly found the antidote to the Yanks and Rays' kryptonite.
In seven games facing New York, Gordon owns a .346/.452/.500/.952 batting line with nine hits, four doubles and three RBI.
In six games against Tampa Bay, he owns a .364/.417/.455/.871 batting line with eight hits, two doubles and three RBI.
As a whole, facing the AL East, his numbers in 2012 are significantly better than what his career totals have been. He has a .304/.376/.474/.849 batting line with 35 hits, 10 doubles, four home runs and 14 RBI.
Another statistic that is equally as significant for Red Sox fans, Gordon owns a career .381 batting average with runners in scoring position. He’s clutch. He can deliver the goods. Whatever you want to call it, it is something the Red Sox need.
No, offense has never historically been an issue for them. However, with Gonzo, well now gonzo and David Ortiz potentially not returning next season, don’t overlook the importance of a clutch offensive performer.
Lastly, and possibly most important, Alex Gordon would be affordable. He is under contract through 2015, earning $9 million in 2013, $10 million in 2014 and $12.5 million in 2015 with a $12.5 million option for 2016.
He is affordable and at 28 years old, he’s just about to enter the prime years of his baseball career.
The Boston Red Sox would be wise to aggressively pursue such a talent.