Red Sox Roundtable: Whom Should Boston Bring In?

Evan BrunellFeatured ColumnistOctober 25, 2008

If you could decide just one free agent acquisition for the Red Sox this offseason, whom would it be, and why?

Well, since it's a free agent acquisition, I suppose I can't talk about trading for Russell Martin. But seriously, trade for Russell Martin. Anyways, if I were to look to free agency for an acquisition, I'd go the relief route because the Sox are rather deep in starters. Even though I would love Brian Fuentes, he's going to sign elsewhere as a closer. So who's the best relief arm on the market that doesn't expect to be a closer? Juan Cruz and Will Ohman come to mind, and I'm going to pick Ohman because he's left-handed. — Evan, Fire Brand of the American League

I would go after CC Sabathia. You can never have too much starting pitching, and the Red Sox need a great starter for next year. Clay Buchholz is a question mark, Tim Wakefield may choose to hang it up, Josh Beckett is coming off a year of multiple injuries, and Justin Masterson might be needed in the bullpen. Sabathia's second-half numbers were inflated by pitching in the NL, but he is a proven No. 1 or 2 starter. It would also be nice to keep him off of the Yankees. — Matt O'Donnell, Fenway West

Mark Teixeira. Although the adage is you can never have enough pitching, the truth is the Red Sox do have enough pitching. Acquiring a top-notch replacement for Jason Varitek is going to be extremely difficult, and teams are likely to be asking more than the Red Sox are willing to pay. Absorbing Varitek's sub-replacement offensive production is only palatable if the rest of the lineup is of a high caliber.

Internally, we should see some improvement from Lowrie and Ellsbury to help fill some of the holes that cropped up this year. Externally, however, signing Teixeira would have the dual benefit of essentially replacing the healthy-Manny bat we lost after 2006 and replacing the declining production of Mike Lowell. It would provide protection for Ortiz—which could be done by Youkilis or even Bay, but seems to be important for Ortiz mentally than anything else—and it would give the Red Sox an incredibly fearsome infield, both at the plate and on defense.

In short: The pitching is young and looks only to improve with a couple tweaks. The lineup is older, and signing a younger, dangerous bat will buy the Red Sox vital time for hitters like Lars Anderson and Ryan Kalish to develop. — Paul SF, YFSF

The free-agent market is pretty weak this offseason, but Theo Epstein definitely needs to go after some heavy pitching. Ben Sheets and AJ Burnett are both way too injury prone and Rich Harden is going to stick with the Cubs. That essentially leaves Derek Lowe and CC Sabathia. I would personally go after Sabathia because, as much as I love Derek Lowe, he's 35 years old and will command enough money so that they might as well throw a few extra million into the equation and try for Sabathia. He's the best pitcher on the market and has the potential to dominate for the next five years. — Michael Christopher, Sox Addict

Call me crazy, but I say DLowe—provided you can get him at reasonable (for the Red Sox) dollars for three years or fewer, and that you do your homework on his off-field status. As much as I'd love Teixeira, he's going to get a massive six-plus-year deal from someone, and it won't be the Sox. Ditto for CC, and with him you have overuse/weight issues potentially complicating the back end of the deal.

Burnett and Sheets, meanwhile, are terrific pitchers...when they take the field. Which isn't often. Sheets hasn't thrown 200 innings since '04, and Burnett's done it only twice in the last six years. Plus, they'll command a significant premium as high strikeout pitchers.

Lowe has thrown 200 innings four out of the last six (and just missed in '07), while keeping his ERA since leaving Boston comfortably under 4.00. Park and league effects have a lot to do with that, of course, but, with his groundball ratio, it's less true than it might be with other pitchers. If you have some assurances that the pitcher wouldn't spend every available evening at Daisy Buchanan's and he's willing to sacrifice either years or dollars to play where he wants, I think you have to consider it. — Stephen O'Grady, wicked clevah


Whom would your pick be? Leave it as a comment!