Will the Red Sox trade Felix Doubront to fill other holes?
In looking at the Boston Red Sox' roster going into this offseason, one thing that stands out is the lack of players with significant trade value on their major league team.
I don't think Boston will look to move Jon Lester, Clay Buchholz, Junichi Tazawa, Dustin Pedroia, Will Middlebrooks or David Ortiz.
John Lackey is probably unmovable until he throws in spring training.
And the Red Sox top minor league prospects aren't likely to be going anywhere. Building from within is the way for Boston to ween itself off of its reliance on the free-agent market.
So where does that leave the Sox this offseason in trying to get better for the short-term?
The only other player on their major league roster who really jumps out to me as someone with high trade value is Felix Doubront.
Doubront had a solid 2012 and was one of the few bright spots on the team. Doubront finished with an 11-10 record and a 4.86 ERA. He made 29 starts for the Sox and averaged 9.3 strikeouts per nine innings. Doubront did struggle with his command during the season, walking 4.0 batters per nine innings and having a high WHIP of 1.447.
Now trading a 25-year-old cost-controlled lefty might not make immediate sense, but I'll give you six reasons why to do it now: Allen Webster, Matt Barnes, Anthony Ranaudo, Rubby De La Rosa, Henry Owens and Brandon Workman.
The Red Sox finally have arms coming through their system, with some of these pitchers forcing their way onto the major league staff next season. All six pitchers make Doubront expendable to fill other needs.
With the free-agent market flush with short-term pitching options, the Red Sox could replace Doubront's 29 starts in 2013 by bringing in someone to keep the seat warm for one of their prospects.
I've looked at Carlos Gonzalez as one potential option for the Sox moving Doubront.
Here are some other trades that the Red Sox should explore for Doubront.
All stats used are from Baseball Reference.com website
The Mets' Ike Davis is an interesting player to add to the mix
I have no idea.
Trading a 25-year-old cost-controlled lefty like Doubront for a 25-year-old slugging first baseman in Davis makes a lot of sense for both teams, especially with Davis coming off a down year.
The Mets have an in-house replacement in Lucas Duda and have a need for starting pitching. The Red Sox need to address their first-base hole.
Davis managed 32 home runs and 90 RBI during his 2012 season, while only getting 118 hits for the Mets. Pretty good production in a down season. His career slash line of .252/.336/.461 shows progress but also room for improvement.
A trade revolving around Doubront, one of the Sox' two major league catchers (Jarrod Saltalamacchia or Ryan Lavarnway) and a third piece (bullpen arm) would be a pretty good haul for the rebuilding Mets.
Justin Smoak could be a 1B option for the Sox
As recently as three seasons ago, Justin Smoak was one of the top prospects in MLB. He was involved in one of the biggest trades during the 2010 season, sent away by the Texas Rangers to Seattle for ace Cliff Lee.
Since then? Smoak has had his opportunities but has failed to live up to his early promise and prospect status.
His career slash line of .223/.306/.377 in more than 1,200 plate appearance is underwhelming to say the least, but that might actually help the Red Sox in this situation.
If Smoak had come to Seattle and immediately developed into the slugger that everyone expected, Boston would have very little chance to acquire Smoak.
Now, Seattle might be inclined to move the 25-year-old in order to fill another spot in its rotation. The Mariners have an in-house replacement ready in Mike Carp. Carp has actually been the more productive first baseman over the past two seasons.
This would certainly be a gamble, but if the Red Sox have evaluated Smoak properly and feel a change of scenery would help him, Boston could do a lot worse than try this option.
Cabrera would stop the revolving door at SS
Mike Brandyberry of The Plain Dealer speculated that the Cleveland Indians could look into trading SS Asdrubal Cabrera. If they do, the Boston Red Sox need to be at the front of the line and find out what the Tribe are asking for.
The 26-year-old Cabrera has developed into one of the best SS in the game and would immediately improve the Red Sox' defense and offense.
The switch-hitting Cabrera has developed into a strong middle-of-the-order hitter, one who could hit anywhere from second to sixth in the Red Sox order, with surprising pop as demonstrated by his career slash line of .279/.342/.416.
With Terry Francona now at the helm of the Indians and the organizational familiarity between both teams, this bares watching. The framework of trading Felix Doubront, and including him with Francona favorite Ryan Kalish, might makes sense for Cleveland if it decides to trade Cabrera to rebuild.
The Royals might look to deal Gordon for pitching
In looking at his stats, he has played at a near-MVP level the past two seasons for the Royals, as his WAR of 7.1 in 2011 and 6.2 in 2012 will attest.
The Royals will need to address their pitching in order to compete in the AL Central. They have started to makes moves, like acquiring Ervin Santana from the Angels, but they will still have to do more in order to contend.
Gordon has really come into his own during the last two seasons, and his career slash line of .269/.348/.439 would fit well into the middle of the Red Sox order.
Defensively, Gordon would be the best-fielding left fielder the Red Sox have had in decades as shown by his 37 outfield assists and winning two Gold Gloves over the past two seasons.
Would a package of Felix Doubront, Ryan Lavarnway or Ryan Kalish and a minor league prospect like 3B Kolbrin Vitek get the deal done? Not sure.
But if the Royals are going to think about moving Gordon, the Red Sox need to be involved in that conversation.