Boston Red Sox: A Look Into 2011

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Boston Red Sox: A Look Into 2011
Darren McCollester/Getty Images

We are now entering the point of this offseason where the Red Sox' 2010 roster seems to be set and boredom starts to settle into our lives. What will this next year bring for Red Sox fans? We obviously have no way of truly knowing, but the bigger questions remain at the end of this year. 

Let's take a look at the makeover the Red Sox have paid for this year while another one will be due at the end of the upcoming season.

 

Moves and Acquisitions

—Red Sox pick up Jeremy Hermida and Tug Hulett as bench players. Hermida has yet to enter his prime at age 25, but has underperformed throughout his career. A first-round pick in 2002, his career stats sport a .265 BA with 57 home runs and 210 RBIs. He was hurt at the end of last season, but expect him to be a solid bench player in 2010. Interestingly enough, the Sox sent two left-handed relievers to the Marlins for Hermida.


Must Read: Top Bidding Wars Between the Red Sox and Yankees

 

Hulett hit under .200 last year in the MLB, and I wonder if he will ever make it to the big leagues this year.  He will spend most of his time in AAA, but could see a call-up in the event of infield injuries.  He plays second base and shortstop.

—The Red Sox signed a slew of mediocre relievers including Scott Atchison, Roman A. Ramirez, Fabio Castro, and Boof Bonsor. Atchison spent the last two years pitching in Japan for the Hanshin Tigers after the Red Sox sold his rights in 2007. He pitched well in his final year, appearing in 75 games for a grand total of 90 innings while posting a 1.70 ERA. How will the 33 year old right-hander fair for the Red Sox in 2010? He is under contract in 2010 for $420K.

Next, the Red Sox picked up Ramirez off waivers from the Tampa Bay Rays in December. In 2009, he pitched for the Cincinnati Reds AAA and MLB clubs. For the Reds, the right-hander posted a 3.65 ERA and a K/BB ratio of 2.00.  The 27 year old will be fighting for a roster spot in a bullpen that boasts talented right-handers.

Then we picked up mystery man, Fabio Castro. I looked at his stat lines, and while pitching for the Toronto Blue Jays organization, he did fairly well in AA ball, posting a sub 1 ERA. However, when promoted to AAA, his ERA ballooned to 4.50 and his K/BB ratio dropped from 8.00 in AA to 1.27 in AAA. The upside of Castro is that he is left-handed.

Bonsor was picked up from the Twins in December after missing 99 percent of the 2009 season due to injury. He has made 60 starts in his major league career while posting a 5.16 ERA, which includes relief appearances. Bonsor looks like a safety net starter, much like Bartolo Colon, in case one of our starters goes down with injury. He will be pitching for close to the major league minimum salary.

—The Red Sox also signed the best free agent shortstop Marco Scutaro. His contract is at two years, $11 million, with a vesting option for 2012. He is the first of many stopgap players the Red Sox signed.  Scutaro, in particular, is filling the void we have at SS while Jose Iglesias is preparing for his Major League debut.

—The Sox solidified their rotation by signing the best free-agent starting pitcher, John Lackey. Lackey posted a 3.83 ERA last year, but has missed each of the last two years with elbow concerns. Due to this, his five year, $82.5 million includes a condition option for 2015 if he misses time with the elbow injury. The Red Sox now sport three aces in their rotation.

—Falling out of the pursuits of Jason Bay, the Red Sox signed the third best outfielder, Mike Cameron. The two year, $15 million dollar deal is another stopgap deal that paves a road until Sox outfield prospects are ready for their major league debut. Cameron played for the Brewers last year, posting a .250 clip with 24 home runs. He is a defensive specialist, regarded as one of the best defensive outfielders in the league. His move to Boston forces Jacoby Ellsbury to left, and many wonder how he will handle the move.

—Failing to ship Mike Lowell away to Texas didn't stop the Red Sox from signing the best third baseman on the market, Adrian Beltre. His contract is at one year, $9 million, with a $5 million dollar player option for 2011 or a $1 million dollar buyout. He is also a defensive specialist, considered the best third baseman in the league but injuries hampered him all of last season.

—Finally, we shipped away Casey Kotchman to Seattle for Bill Hall, a PTBNL, and cash considerations. The move allowed the Red Sox to free up some money and a roster spot. While many liked Kotchman over Hall who only hit .201 last year, this move allows us to stay under the luxury tax line. We can now spend money on bullpen help. Secondly, Kotchman could only play first base, while Hall literally plays every position besides pitching and catching. We will only be paying Hall about $1 million of his salary.

What does this all mean? Let's look at the 2010 Boston Red Sox roster.

 

Catchers

Victor Martinez (.303 BA, 23 HRs, .381 OBP, 108 RBIs) Switch

Jason Varitek (.209 BA, 14 HRs, .313 OBP, 51 RBIs) Switch

 

First Base

Kevin Youkilis (.305 BA, 27 HRs, .413 OBP, 94 RBIs) Right

Victor Martinez

 

Second Base

Dustin Pedroia (.296 BA, 15 HRs, .371 OBP, 72 RBIs) Right

Tug Hulett (NA) Left

 

Shortstop

Marco Scutaro (.281 BA, 12 HRs, .379 OBP, 60 RBIs) Right

 

Third Base

Adrian Beltre (.265 BA, 8 HRs, .304 OBP, 44 RBIs) Right

Mike Lowell (.290 BA, 17 HRs, .337 OBP, 75 RBIs) Right

 

Left Field

Jacoby Ellsbury (.301 BA, 8 HRs, .355 OBP, 60 RBIs, 70 SB) Left

Bill Hall (.201 BA, 8 HRs, .258 OBP, 36 RBIs) Right

 

Center Field

Mike Cameron (.250 BA, 24 HRs, .342 OBP, 70 RBIs) Right

Jeremy Hermida (.259 BA, 13 HRs, .348 OBP, 47 RBIs) Left

 

Right Field

J.D. Drew (.279 BA, 24 HRs, .392 OBP, 68 RBIs) Left

Bill Hall

 

Designated Hitter

David Ortiz (.238 BA, 28 HRs, .332 OBP, 99 RBIs) Left

 

Starting Pitchers

Josh Beckett (3.86 ERA, 17-6, 199 SO, 1.19 WHIP) Right

Jon Lester (3.41 ERA, 15-8, 225 SO, 1.23 WHIP) Left

John Lackey (3.83 ERA, 11-8, 139 SO, 1.27 WHIP) Right

Diasuke Matsuzaka (5.76 ERA, 4-6, 54 SO, 1.87 WHIP) Right

Tim Wakefield (4.58 ERA, 11-5, 72 SO, 1.44 WHIP) Right

Clay Buchholz (4.21 ERA, 7-4, 68 SO, 1.38 WHIP) Right

 

Bullpen

Jonathan Papelbon (1.85 ERA, 38 SV, 1.15 WHIP) Right

Manny Delcarman (4.53 ERA, 1.64 WHIP) Right

Daniel Bard (3.65 ERA, 1.28 WHIP) Right

Hideki Okajima (3.39 ERA, 1.26 WHIP) Left

Michael Bowden (9.56 ERA, 1.81 WHIP) Right

Boof Bonsor (NA) Right

Fabio Castro, Scott Atchison, Ramon A. Ramirez

 

What This All Means

As of now, this is roughly the 25-man roster the Red Sox will roll out in 2010. However, we are looking past 2010, this was just to gain a full understanding of the present before we move on to the future.

Our payroll looks to be about $163.86 million if my calculations are correct. About $92 million will be spent on position players and DH. Our starting pitchers will add almost $45 million and our bullpen will have $15 million as of now. We also have non-roster contracts given to Junichi Tazawa and Jose Iglesias which combine for $3 million. Then, Julio Lugo, Billy Wagner, and Alex Gonzalez account for $10.5 million in former player responsibilities.

Now, the contracts expiring at the end of this offseason include:

Jason Varitek, $3 million
Victor Martinez, $7.7 million
Josh Beckett, $10.1 million
Mike Lowell, $12 million
Lugo, Wagner, Gonzalez: $10.5 million

Other possible contracts:

Adrian Beltre, $5 million
David Ortiz, $13 million

All in all, this could be a grand total of $61.3 million dollars coming off the books. It gets me all hot and bothered just thinking about the possibilities.

 

2011 Free Agents

So what do the Red Sox do for the 2011 season? They are losing both catchers, an ace starting pitcher, and possibly both third basemen and their DH. They will certainly have voids to fill in their roster. Now, let's take a look at key players in the 2011 free agent class.

The 2011 free agent class will have pitchers with the likes of Beckett, possibly Matt Cain, Cliff Lee, Ted Lilly, Javier Vazquez, and Brandon Webb. Outfielders include Carl Crawford and Jayson Werth. Key infielders would sport Derrek Lee and Carlos Pena. Last but not least, the catchers include Joe Mauer and Victor Martinez.

But to fully understand what the Red Sox will do in 2011, we now need to look at 2012.

Contracts coming off the books include:

J.D. Drew, $14 million
Mike Cameron, $7.75 million
Tim Wakefield, $2.5 million
Jonathan Papelbon, Arbitration
Junichi Tazawa, $1 million
Adrian Beltre, $5 million

Other possible contracts:

Marco Scutaro, $6.25 million

 

2012 Free Agent Class

All in all, this could possibly be a grand total of about $36.5 million coming off the books in 2012. If you noticed, we will be losing two starting outfielders at this point, a fifth starter, shortstop, third baseman, and their closer. Let's look at the 2012 free agent class.

The 2012 free agent class will include elite first baseman in Albert Pujols, Prince Fielder, Lance Berkman, Adrian Gonzalez, and Ryan Howard. Third baseman are scarce unless shortstops like Jose Reyes and Jimmy Rollins would enjoy a move to third. Starting pitchers include Cole Hamels, Rich Harden, Oliver Perez, Kenshin Kawakami, Jason Marquis, Mark Buehrle, Matt Cain, and Chris Young. Outfielders are Carlos Betran, Raul Ibanez, Juan Pierre, Brad Hawpe, Magglio Ordonez, and Mike Cuddyer.

 

Red Sox Prospects

We have prospects expected to make their 2012 debut that include 1B Lars Anderson, SS Jose Iglesias, SP Casey Kelly, and a trio of OFs in Ryan Westmoreland, Reymond Fuentes, and Ryan Kalish. This does not include OF Josh Reddick. However, the Red Sox do not fully trust their prospects to all pan out, that would be irresponsible. So...

 

What THIS All Means...Back To 2011

There are so many different roads the Red Sox could turn down at the end of the 2010 season. And because of the free agent class in 2012, this could affect the Red Sox' approach in 2011.

For example, the Red Sox may keep third baseman Adrian Beltre or may sign another stopgap solution if he decides not to pick up his player option. This could all be in preparation for 2012 because the Red Sox will likely be bidding for one of the five absolute monster first basemen, which would move Kevin Youkilis to third.

Furthermore, there are a lot of outfielders in the 2012 free agent class but considering they are two years away, no one really knows where each will stand. This may cause the Red Sox to go after Carl Crawford or Jason Werth this year and wait for one of their prospects to get to the big leagues in 2012 to fill the void of Cameron and Drew.

Lastly, since over the next two years, the Red Sox will have two starting pitchers leave, you may see them try and sign two pitchers next offseason, an ace and a low risk, high reward type. These could be possible, or they can put faith in their highly touted prospect Casey Kelly to jump into their rotation.

You always need to look at the years ahead before you build for the present which explains the moves Theo Epstein has made this offseason.

 

So If You Had to Guess...

To reiterate, at the end of the 2010 season the Red Sox will have the departures of Adrian Beltre, Victor Martinez, Jason Varitek, David Ortiz, Josh Beckett, and Mike Lowell and the departures of loads of cash. What will the Red Sox do to replace them? If I had to guess what would happen...

Third Base: The Red Sox either keep Beltre or sign another stopgap player as they prepare for the 2012 offseason. Lars Anderson could also find himself again and deserve a big league promotion and Kevin Youkilis could move to third. Cost: $5 million and below

Starting Pitcher: The Red Sox will resign Josh Beckett. He is so valuable to Epstein and the organization. Due to his comments when they signed Lackey, the Sox will definitely try to resign him. Cost: $17 million and below

Catcher: If Joe Mauer doesn't sign with the Twins, and let's all pray he doesn't, there will be a bidding war between the Red Sox and Yankees for his services. We will need a catcher, and we will be desperate to get him, more so than the Yankees who have Posada for another year, and prospect Jesus Montero. Some say he could get a $30 million a year contract and if he does resign, we will resign Victor Martinez who is said to deserve a contract of about $15 million. Cost: $30 million to $15 million

Designated Hitter: I do not believe the Red Sox will retain Ortiz even if he does have a bounce back year. I do not see him playing at a $13 million dollar level so the Red Sox will not pay him that. Analysts have said that we would sign Victor Martinez no matter if we get Mauer because we would play him a catcher, first base, and primarily a DH. If we sign him as a DH, his contract would be cost much less or we could fill the void internally with a prospect. Cost: $10 million at the most

The luxury the Red Sox have is the versatility of their players. It is possible that if Beltre leaves, the Red Sox will re-sign Victor Martinez to play first, move Youkilis to third, sign Mauer, and fill the DH spot with Reddick or Anderson.

As you can see, with over $60 million coming off our payroll in 2011, it is possible that all these options could be fulfilled. We also could see the signing of Carl Crawford or Jayson Werth. Losing two outfielders the next year would be detrimental to the organization and Epstein has been known to plan ahead.

In conclusion, could we see a lineup in 2011 that looks like this:

1. Jacoby Ellsbury, LF
2. Dustin Pedroia, 2B
3. Joe Mauer, C
4. Kevin Youkilis, 1B
5. Victor Martinez, DH
6. Adrian Beltre, 3B
7. J.D. Drew, RF
8. Mike Cameron, CF
9. Marco Scutaro, SS

Rotation:

Josh Beckett
Jon Lester
John Lackey
Daisuke Matsuzaka
Clay Buchholz

You might disagree on the basis that no team has made such offseason acquisitions other than the New York Yankees. Well, I can't ever remember a team having so much payroll space to make these moves. Obviously, this is all hingent on the 2010 season.

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