Boston Red Sox: 4 Last-Minute Moves They Should Consider
The Boston Red Sox are all set for spring training. They have all the pieces they require and then some.
Or do they?
But with pitchers and catchers not due to report to Fort Myers, Florida, until February 13, there's still time for Red Sox boss Dave Dombrowski to fiddle. And who knows? Maybe even make one last big splash.
What moves might the Red Sox consider at the last minute? Here are four.
Sign Henderson Alvarez to a Minor League Deal
Chris Sale, Rick Porcello and David Price make for a hell of a trio atop the Red Sox's starting rotation, and manager John Farrell confirmed to MLB Network Radio that the No. 4 and No. 5 slots are reserved for two 2016 All-Stars: Steven Wright and Drew Pomeranz.
That leaves former top prospect Eduardo Rodriguez as the odd man out. But while he's a good wild card for the Red Sox to have up their sleeve, adding one more wild card wouldn't hurt.
Thus, Henderson Alvarez.
The right-hander was an All-Star in 2014, posting a 2.65 ERA in 30 starts for the Miami Marlins. But that was also the last time he was fully healthy. He's battled all sorts of shoulder trouble the last two years.
It's no surprise that "many teams" have requested his medicals, per Heyman. If the Red Sox haven't already put in a request of their own, they should.
Given his injury woes, Alvarez should find himself choosing from an array of minor league offers. The Red Sox would be risking nothing by offering him one. Should he return to good health, the potential reward would be a starter who could help them down the line should the best-laid plans for their rotation go awry.
Sign Sergio Romo
With Craig Kimbrel leading a merry band of quality setup men, the Red Sox don't need to make any changes to their current bullpen.
It's not perfect, though.
At the Providence Journal, Tim Britton questioned the wisdom of keeping Fernando Abad on as an arguably unnecessary left-hander. The Red Sox might be better off with somebody else in his spot.
How about Sergio Romo?
The right-hander hinted on MLB Network Radio this week that the door has closed on a reunion between him and the San Francisco Giants. Why he hasn't been able to find a job elsewhere is a bit of a mystery.
Although Romo, 33, is past his peak, he's still a versatile reliever who's managed a 2.86 ERA and 6.1 strikeout-to-walk ratio since 2015. He's particularly good against right-handed batters, holding them to a .538 OPS for his career. Among current members of the Boston bullpen, only Kimbrel has that beat.
Romo should come fairly cheap by now, so signing him wouldn't eat up too much of the roughly $16 million in space left between the Red Sox and the competitive balance tax threshold. They could then try and flip Abad to a team more in need of a lefty specialist than they are.
Trade for Hernan Perez
The Red Sox have already made one trade with the Milwaukee Brewers this winter, sending Travis Shaw and prospects to Milwaukee for righty reliever Tyler Thornburg.
It's not too late to see if they can't make another trade for Hernan Perez.
Perez had trouble staying on the radar between 2012 and 2015, but the last year or so has been a different story. He played all over in 123 games for the Brewers last season and gave them a solid .730 OPS and 34 stolen bases. More recently, he won a batting title and a Gold Glove in the Venezuelan winter league.
All this makes the 25-year-old an asset for the Brewers. But since they don't have a place to play him in 2017, there's a risk of his trade value diminishing over time. Rather than risk that, the Brewers could be willing to offload him now.
On the Red Sox, Perez could take Josh Rutledge's roster spot and essentially be a right-handed-hitting version of Brock Holt. And since he's most experienced as a third baseman in the majors, he would also be an intriguing Plan B for Pablo Sandoval in case his weight loss doesn't translate to a return to form.
Or the Red Sox could skip finding a Plan B and go right for a new Plan A…
Trade for Todd Frazier
Credit where it's due, Sandoval does look a lot better now than he did a year ago. If nothing else, it's a sign that he's taking his task of bouncing back in 2017 seriously.
But that's no assurance for the Red Sox that their gambit with Sandoval will pay off. When it comes down to it, the guy they signed for $95 million two winters ago has been a disaster and is now on the wrong side of 30. They're playing with fire in penciling him in as their everyday third baseman.
Meanwhile, word is Todd Frazier is available.
The "word" in this case is less a spoken rumor and more just the obvious. The Chicago White Sox have entered into a rebuild that's already led to trades of Sale and Adam Eaton. Frazier, a free agent after 2017, is among the many White Sox who could be next.
As Jeff Todd noted at MLB Trade Rumors, Frazier could serve the Red Sox not only at third base, but as a platoon partner for Mitch Moreland at first base as well.
Also, power that's produced 75 homers over the last two years could get even better at Fenway Park. Frazier's swing is designed to pull the ball in the air. That's a good way for a right-handed hitter to become friends with the Green Monster.
The Red Sox would need to cough up a prospect or two to lure Frazier from the White Sox. That would further drain a farm system that's already been drained plenty. But since it would erase by far their biggest question mark, their finger shouldn't be far from the button.