This article was first reported at Boston Sox Journalism.
The Boston Red Sox certainly proved one thing this offseason: there is no such thing as a "bridge year" in Beantown.
The Red Sox opened their wallet, made investments, and acquired players either through trade or free agency that could be a huge help to the team in 2010 and for years to come. Today, I will be running down each acquisition and what it means for the Red Sox starting in April.
Nov. 5, 2009: Red Sox Acquire OF Jeremy Hermida from the Florida Marlins
A man with a claimed "tremendous upside" by Theo Epstein was acquired right off the bat this offseason when he parted ways with struggling pitcher, Hunter Jones, and a minor league prospect.
I guess it's a solid deal, as Hermida is a decent bat off of the bench and obviously an upgrade from Rocco Baldelli, so I am excited the young talent has joined the squad. He was always scouted as someone with promise, but never lived up to expectations. Theo believes he will make an adjustment and live up to his promise, but seeing that happen is very unlikely, if you ask me. He'll be a solid bench player, but never a 25-30 home run type of guy.
Nov. 11, 2009: Red Sox Acquire SS/2B Tug Huglett from the Kansas City Royals
Huglett was the second move made in the offseason. He will likely play the role Nick Green played to the 2009 team—he'll jump up and down from the AAA and the MLB levels and, given his level of performance, he could be a solid player. However, his poor numbers lately leave me less confident with our bench for this season, seeing as we have no other middle infielder to rely on for some sort of production.
Dec. 4, 2009: Red Sox Sign SS Marco Scutaro (Two years, $11 million with a dual option)
After losing out on Alex Gonzalez to the Toronto Blue Jays, Boston swiped Toronto's former shortstop, Marco Scutaro, to a two-year contract with a dual option for 2012. This acquisition could pay off, as he is solid with the glove and decent with his bat, but there is little chance he repeats his numbers from last season.
He seems like an upgrade over Gonzalez, but some may be unsure of this signing due to his injuries in his past and his age. Still, if healthy, Scutaro can be a very solid pickup for the next two seasons as we prepare for the coming of Jose Iglesias.
Dec. 7-9, 2009: Red Sox Sign RHP Scott Atchison, Ramon A. Ramirez & Fabio Castro (One-year contracts)
The reason I pair these three signings is because they are insignificant. All three players are coming off poor seasons, plus Atchison is coming back from a Japanese baseball organization.
These signings will likely not make any big impact for the Sox, and I doubt any of the three have something to provide. In my eyes, the Sox needed at least one quality relief pitcher with the subtractions of Wagner and Saito, and this is not what I have in mind. Below average pitchers are not what we need, and I foresee not one of them making it to the end of 2010 as a member of the Red Sox.
Dec. 10, 2009: Red Sox Acquire RHP Boof Bonser from the Minnesota Twins
Well, he is the fourth relief pitcher to be signed in those few days of December, and he really is a man that interests me. He has durability and a solid upside, though many think he is destined to fail.
The guy has some good stuff, and working with a pitching staff in Boston will do wonders for his ability. He can go deep into innings and potentially start if needed. He's no John Lackey or Josh Beckett, but he does have a solid upside. He is the Jeremy Hermida of the pitching staff, if you will.
Dec. 16, 2009: Red Sox Sign CF Mike Cameron (Two years, $15 million) and RHP John Lackey (Five years, $82.5 million)
As the two impact signings of the offseason, Theo Epstein showed he wasn't kidding around when he signed the best free agent pitcher on the market and the most technically solid outfielder on the market (behind Jason Bay and Matt Holliday).
Both men have a lot to provide and will play big roles in the 2010 Boston Red Sox team. Lackey solidifies the pitching rotation and can be a dominant force if he can remain healthy and adapt to pitching well inside of Fenway Park. Cameron, on the other hand, is a defensive specialist who can still hit 20-25 home runs per year and knock in 90 runs. If productive, the Red Sox will be competition with New York, but we have to hope that both remain healthy and consistent.
Jan. 4, 2009: Red Sox Sign 3B Adrian Beltre (One year, $9 million with an option for 2011)
The newest member of the Boston Red Sox is former Silver Slugger, Adrian Beltre. Coming at a relatively cheap price, Beltre is basically a younger version of Mike Lowell.
He is phenomenal defensively and is able to produce runs, especially now that he'll be hitting in Fenway Park, as opposed to Safeco. He is no Adrian Gonzalez and he isn't the big bat we need in the middle of the lineup, but he's a solid player and when healthy he can be very productive. Coming as cheap as he does, especially as his agent is Scott Boras, I think this was a better deal than I initially thought, as long as he can hit consistently.
Overall, this offseason has been great to the Boston Red Sox, but there are some risks in signing some of these players.
In my next article I will be discussing my thoughts on who left the Sox and how they will fare in their new environments, as well as my thoughts on other potential signings for the offseason. I don't expect much more to be done until the trading deadline, but we could be looking at a solid team overall. The offensive numbers will be down, but if pitching and defense remain consistent, then we don't necessarily need a boatload of offense.
I guess we'll see how the Sox do as the season progresses, but I think if they stay consistent and healthy, we are looking at a great team.
Sources: MLB.com, Boston Sox Journalism