5 Ways to Fix the Boston Red Sox
The Red Sox may not be as bad as their 69-93 record, but they do have several problems that need to be fixed if they are going to return to being playoff and hopefully World Series contenders.
Bringing in John Farrell as manager is a step in the right direction.
Although the move has been praised, don’t expect him to be this team’s savior.
The real problem lies in a lack of talent at several key positions.
With that being said, here are five ways to fix the Boston Red Sox.
Who’s at First?
The Red Sox have been blessed to have had Kevin Youkilis and Adrian Gonzalez man first base for the past seven seasons.
For all their flaws, first base has been a position of strength for the team, and in a blink of an eye it became one of their greatest weaknesses.
While the Red Sox don’t need to have an elite hitter, they do need someone that they can rely on.
A few years ago the Red Sox had both Lars Anderson and Anthony Rizzo as buddy stars-in-the-waiting.
Jerry Sands was acquired from the Dodgers in the blockbuster trade, but it would be a surprise if the team starts him right away.
A bold move may be needed and even though they are reluctant to trade prospects, the Red Sox should strongly consider making an attempt to acquire Ike Davis from the New York Mets.
Davis broke out by hitting 32 home runs in 2012, but don’t get too excited—his power numbers may have peaked.
Realistically Davis will regress somewhere in the mid-20s and his average and on-base-percentage will be closer to his 2011 totals of .302 and.383.
Davis is also under team control for four more years, which makes him a very cost-effective solution.
Potential free agents: Nick Swisher, Adam LaRoche, Mike Napoli.
Starting Pitching Depth
Jon Lester and Clay Buchholz may improve under John Farrell.
However, what can the Red Sox realistically expect from Felix Doubront in his sophomore season and John Lackey, who is returning from major elbow surgery?
The rotation was the team’s biggest problem in 2012 and should garner the most focus this offseason.
Several middle-of-the-road pitchers are available as free agents, but Ruby De la Rosa, acquired in the Dodgers trade, may win a spot in spring training.
Even if De la Rosa can prove he is ready you can never have too much pitching depth.
The Red Sox only need a stop-gap player as they wait for Allen Webster and Matt Barnes to develop in the minors.
Potential free agents: Dan Haren, Edwin Jackson, Francisco Liriano.
Decide on a Shortstop
The shortstop position has been a virtual revolving door since Nomar Garciaparra was traded in 2004.
The Red Sox should try their best to stabilize one of the most important positions on the field this offseason.
Defensively, Jose Iglesias is ready, but there are still questions about whether or not he can hit in the majors.
While he looked decent in AAA, during a 25-game stint with the big club, he looked overmatched.
With the Florida Marlins potentially still in selling mode, the Red Sox should at least look into acquiring Jose Reyes.
Reyes would solve a major problem and would be an instant boost to the lineup.
Cabrera would be a terrific addition both as a hitter and an above-average defensive shortstop.
Potential free agents: Stephen Drew.
Re-Sign Cody Ross
Cody Ross was one of the few good things to come out of the Red Sox’s 2012 season.
Ross, who hit .267 and mashed 22 home runs, is a solid player and was more than capable of handling the pressure of playing in Boston.
However, as much as Ross fits in Boston, he is slightly overrated.
Defensively he is below average, and on the road and against lefties he is a below-average hitter at the plate.
The Red Sox should bring Ross back, but if he demands three years and more than $21 million, they would be smart to let him go.
Find a Corner Outfielder
This problem becomes doubly important if the Red Sox don’t re-sign Cody Ross.
However, for a moment let’s assume Ross returns.
Internally, Ryan Kalish is unproven and injury-prone.
Ryan Sweeney is better served as a fourth outfielder that can fill in against lefties and step up if a starter gets hurt.
After Kalish and Sweeney, the internal options become players that simply aren’t capable of being full-time major league starters.
There are two potential trade options, both in the AL Central.
Alex Gordon may be available with the Royals looking more towards the future and he would fit in well with what Boston needs.
Gordon has shown he is a Gold Glove-caliber outfielder and an above-average hitter despite having almost no protection in the lineup.
Another option is Indians outfielder Shin-Soo Choo.
Choo is an established hitter and a decent fielder, but is a year away from free agency.
Choo may be easier to acquire, but the Red Sox should push hard for Gordon, who is under team control for up to four more years.
Potential free agents: Nick Swisher, B.J. Upton, Torii Hunter, Melky Cabrera