Alex Gonzalez to Toronto; What Will Red Sox Do Next?
You have to wonder if Theo Epstein knew Toronto was going to sign Alex Gonzalez and just let it happen, or if he was blindsided by it?
With the move, one of the Red Sox best short term options is now off the table.
The Red Sox were prepared to offer Gonzalez a one-year deal for $3 million. But the veteran shortstop wasn't going to wait around for a potential offer, and took the sure thing instead.
You have to hope the Sox have a better backup plan than Marco Scutaro, who is coming off a career year at age 34, and won't likely replicate it.
Scutaro had a nice season in 2009 (.282/.379/.409), but it's hard to get excited about him since his career stat line is .265/.337/.384
In essence, he's a pretty average hitter who's coming off a career year, which just happened to be a contract year.
With Toronto having signed Gonzalez, it seems highly unlikely that the Jays will offer Scutaro salary arbitration, meaning the Sox could sign him without losing draft choices. That broadens his appeal somewhat.
Nonetheless, Red Sox fans have to hope that Epstein has a bigger and better plan.
However, the Red Sox probably don't want to engage any shortstop in a high-value, long term contract with Jose Iglesias waiting in the wings.
Iglesias is a 19-year-old defensive whiz from Cuba who tore up the Arizona Fall League this year.
The best guess is that the Sox offer Scutaro, or another experienced veteran, a one-year deal with an option.
It's tough to imagine the Red Sox investing big dollars in Miguel Tejada, or feeling enticed by the likes of Adam Everett, Bobby Crosby or Khalil Greene.
One possibility, in addition to Scutaro, is that the Sox will bring back old friend Orlando Cabrera on a short term deal.
The Red Sox were alleged to have been put off by some of his behavior during his brief stint in 2004, but it's unclear just what that was. However, Cabrera brought a lot of energy and enthusiasm to the team and was a fan favorite in Boston.
In a 2009 season split between Oakland and Minnesota, Cabrera hit .284/.316/.389 and his career line is .275/.322/..398.
So, he's not the kind of on-base machine the Red Sox prefer. But then again, neither was Alex Gonzalez.
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