Red Sox fans are expecting the team to make a lot of moves this offseason.
With a relatively quiet offseason thus far, the Boston Red Sox may be starting to make their fans nervous with their lack of movement. However, the team has been prominently mentioned in numerous rumors, indicating there could be substantial activity to come.
Boston GM Ben Cherington recently announced on WEEI’s Dennis & Callahan Show that the team intends to have a significant 2013 payroll. The team currently has just over $45 million in salaries committed for next season, which is about $100 million less than last year’s team. This suggests just how much money the team might be willing to spend this offseason.
Sifting through the speculation about free agents and trades can be a considerable chore. Fortunately, this guide will help separate fact from fiction.
Click through to see the latest information on where the Red Sox stand with all the recent hot rumors
The Red Sox, like many teams, will take a look at Hamilton, but have little interest.
Despite a major trade this past season with the Los Angeles Dodgers that pared over $250 million in future salaries off the books, the Red Sox were thought to be seriously eyeing Hamilton according to an earlier report from CSBSports.com’s Jon Heyman. Such a move would be an effort to improve the team and make a splash in the AL East, where they are rapidly falling to the back of the pack.
The Red Sox do need a big bat in the middle of their lineup, as David Ortiz is aging and coming off a major injury in 2012. Hamilton’s career totals of 30 home runs and 103 RBI in 136 games against the Red Sox's AL East opponents have to be appealing.
Money will ultimately determine where Hamilton signs, and while the Red Sox can go high with any offer they make because of how far they currently are under their projected budget, they probably won’t want to extend themselves that much with a risky player like Hamilton.
WEEI’s Rob Bradford confirmed that the team had preliminary meetings with Hamilton’s agent, but downplayed their potential interest in the slugger.
SBNation’s Marc Normandin suggests that if Hamilton can’t get a long-term deal, the Red Sox might be willing to give him a one- or two-year contract for major money, thus mitigating potential risk. However, the odds are in Hamilton’s favor that he will receive acceptable multi-year offers from other teams and will have no need for short money with the Red Sox.
Red Sox fans shouldn't expect to see Stanton in a Boston uniform in 2013.
The Marlins dealing away a huge portion of their roster with their recent trade with the Blue Jays gave the illusion that anyone on their roster is available for a price. While that may to true to a degree, Stanton is not going anywhere according to MLB.com's Joe Frisari.
Stanton has his 93 home runs in his first three major league seasons, and at the age of 23 is one of the rising stars in the game. Because of his youth he made just $480,000 in 2012 and won’t be eligible for free agency until 2017.
Having a player of Stanton’s caliber under financial control for the next four seasons is a major coup for any team, particularly the Marlins, who now have little to attract fans. Holding on to their big outfielder as the new face of the team is in their best financial and business interests for now.
The rebuilding Red Sox also highly value their minor league prospects, believing that they are key to the team’s future. The Boston Herald’s John Tomase believes Boston will avoid trading them if possible.
Boston supposedly doesn't view Greinke as a wise investment.
John Perrotto of Baseball Prospectus recently tweeted that Greinke, the consensus best available pitcher, might be looking for a six-year contract worth in excess of $150 million. Such demands would whittle his potential suitors down to a select number of high-budget teams, but it looks like Boston won’t be among them.
CBSSports.com’s Jon Heyman indicated last week that “The Red Sox have all but ruled out Zack Greinke. They don’t believe he’s right for their market.”
It is looking more likely that the Red Sox are going to bypass high-priced free agents who are viewed as risky propositions, such as Greinke with his anxiety issues.
Napoli and his bat could offer nice versatility in Boston's lineup.
The Red Sox lost a lot of beef from their lineup by trading Adrian Gonzalez last season. Although not quite his equal as a hitter, Napoli is no slouch at the plate and could fit well in Boston—catching, playing first base and DH-ing on occasion.
ESPNDallas.com reported that Napoli prefers to primarily catch but is open to other positions as long as he is playing regularly. He would receive full-time at bats if he were to sign with Boston.
Napoli’s patient approach and 1.107 career OPS in Fenway Park make him an excellent fit in Boston. The team’s current three catchers, Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Ryan Lavarnway and David Ross would not be a barrier to a deal, as Salty or Lavarnway could be traded in the coming months according to the Providence Journal’s Tim Britton.
The Red Sox and their vast amount of spending money are in a position to offer the 31-year-old Napoli a substantial contract, putting them in a favorable position if they end up competing for his services with other teams.
Bay would love to recapture the success he had in a previous stint with Boston.
In his only full season in Boston, which came in 2009, Bay had an impressive 36 home runs and 119 RBI in 151 games. In the following three years with the New York Mets, he appeared in a total of 288 games, hitting a combined .234 with just 26 home runs and 124 RBI.
The Boston Globe’s Chad Finn recently pleaded for the team to stop looking to the past and move away from declining former players like Bay, but it seems that sentiment may be falling on deaf ears.
ESPN’s Buster Olney tweeted last week that the Red Sox have been in contact with Bay and that the 34-year-old outfielder is interested in signing with a team with which he is already familiar.
Bay was a solid citizen when he was in Boston; a coveted quality in light of recent issues the team has had with a number of players.
Bay wouldn’t get a big deal with Boston, but it sounds as if the Red Sox view him as a worthwhile, low-risk gamble that has the possibility of paying off big if he can regain any semblance of his former self.
Sanchez was once a Red Sox farmhand but never got a chance to pitch in Boston.
The Boston Herald reported that the Red Sox are interested in the free agent Sanchez because of his talent and prior connections with the team. However, there are not yet any concrete signs indicating that they are seriously considering making a run at him.
Sanchez has a 48-51 career record with a 3.75 ERA and a 1.35 WHIP. When healthy he has typically been solid, but now seven years into his career there is nothing suggesting he will ever be more than a mid-rotation starter.
FoxSports.com’s Jon Paul Morosi reported that Sanchez is seeking a six-year, $90 million contract. His 1.77 ERA from this past postseason increases the chances he could get such a deal because of the number of teams looking to upgrade their pitching.
Sanchez offers limited upside for the Red Sox to go to the lengths required to bring him into the fold. However, if they really are out on Greinke, they may set their sights on the next-best option.
Despite his popularity, it appears Youk will not be returning to Boston.
After years of consistent play, the popular Youkilis was essentially ridden out of Boston on a rail by Bobby Valentine this past season. Despite the lack of tact and respect, the move may have been for the best.
Youkilis looked lost with the Red Sox in 2012, hitting just .233 with four home runs in 42 games before being traded to the White Sox. He was only marginally better in Chicago the rest of the way, evidenced by his .236 average and 15 home runs in 80 games.
Youk is about to turn 34 and has a lengthy history of physical ailments, having missed an average of 31 games per season since becoming a regular in 2006.
WEEI’s Alex Speier blogged about comments Ben Cherington made on the Dennis & Callahan Show about the team respecting Youkilis, but he remained non-committal about a possible Youkilis return.
If Choo is traded this offseason it won't be to Boston.
Previously rumors ran hot that Choo, a Cleveland Indians outfielder, was being considered by the Red Sox in a trade. Since then the Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo has reported that such a deal is highly unlikely.
Cafardo believes that Choo, who is represented by super-agent Scott Boras and will become a free agent after the 2013 season, will be seen as too risky an acquisition. Boras is renowned by teams who dislike his aggressive negotiating techniques, which have been recognized by the Harvard Law School.
2014 free agent Jacoby Ellsbury is also represented by Boras. It’s unlikely that the Red Sox would want to add another potentially tough sign such as Choo to their roster.
Trading for Choo this offseason would guarantee the Red Sox only one year of his services at probably an exorbitant cost because of the prospects needed to complete a trade. There is too much risk and not enough obvious reward for the Red Sox to consider making such a move.
It appears Kuroda has already narrowed down his options, and they don't include Boston.
CBSSports.com’s Jon Heyman reported that the New York Yankees hope to retain the services of Kuroda for next year but are receiving competition for the free agent from several teams, including the Red Sox.
Although Kuroda will be 38 by the time next season starts, he is still one of the steadiest starting pitchers in baseball, never having posted an ERA over 3.76 during his five-year MLB career.
Heyman points out that Kuroda may want only a one-year deal, so he can finish his career in Japan.
Despite Boston’s ability to pay up for Kuroda, FoxSports.com’s Ken Rosenthal tweeted it’s looking more likely that the pitcher will remain with the Yankees if he pitches in the majors at all in 2013.
The Red Sox are hoping Ellsbury can return to his near-MVP form of 2011.
The Red Sox must be frustrated by Ellsbury’s inability to stay healthy, but trading him now would be an unwise move.
Ellsbury finished second in the 2011 AL MVP voting but missed 88 games last season and was mediocre when he did play. If he can return to his 2011 form, the Red Sox would want to keep him around if at all possible.
There have been no rumors of substance concerning a possible trade partner for Ellsbury. With one year left before he hits free agency, the Red Sox may decide to play the season out and try to rebuild his value. If he gets off to a strong start in 2013 they can either trade him or pursue an extension during the offseason.
FoxSports.com’s Ken Rosenthal tweeted that the Red Sox have changed their mind about trading Ellsbury because they believe he will be highly motivated in his contract year.
Coming off a 93-loss season, the Red Sox are better off gambling Ellsbury can revert to his MVP-caliber play instead of trading him when his value is not that high.
Statistics via BaseballReference
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