Tough decisions still lie in wake for Cherington
Now that the drama involving a new manager has been solved for the Red Sox, General Manager Ben Cherington still has a lot of work to do.
While busy interviewing managerial candidates, the Red Sox witnessed their star closer, Jonathan Papelbon, skip town and sign with the Philadelphia Phillies.
It seemed as though during the press conference announcing Bobby Valentine as their new manager, another closing candidate was swept out from under them as Heath Bell signed a three year deal with the Miami Marlins.
To this point the Sox remain a fragmented team. They are only a few minor moves away from being ready to take the field in 2012. Here are five realistic offseason moves they should consider.
Red Sox are one of six teams interested in Street
I love Daniel Bard. I think he is a hell of a setup man. I don't think he's got that edge that great closers have. Rivera has it. Trevor Hoffman had it. Papelbon has it. Eckersley had it. It is that "eye of the tiger" savoir-faire essence that Bard just appears to lack in the closing role. On top of that, the Red Sox may view him as a starter in 2012. It is an uncertainty at this point.
What is certain though, is that according to SI.com's John Heyman, the Red Sox are one of six teams that have been kicking the tires on Huston Street in Colorado. While it is rumored that the Rockies are looking to add starting pitching depth, the Red Sox are one of the few suitors that can not only afford Street, but can also offer up a pitching prospect, such as Kyle Weiland or Felix Doubront.
The Red Sox should engage in serious talks for Street.
Oakland is like a pitching factory.
Oakland is like a factory for amazing starting pitching.
This is a huge factor when looking at Gio Gonzalez. The guy is 26 years old with four years of major league experience. He posts a career ERA of 3.93 in 535.1 innings pitched. He has started 89 of the 95 games he has appeared in and has a WHIP of 1.410.
Looking at his splits, his away ERA is 4.32 and his WHIP is 1.468. I'm not saying this guy will be front of the rotation pitcher, but he's got good stuff and with the right pitching coach, he could be very good in Boston.
What would the A's want in return? That is a good question. If you believe the rumors that have been floating around, he will not come cheap. Fortunately, the Red Sox have the players available to make a few moves if they feel creative.
Cuddyer could be the next Trot Nixon
Red Sox fans love dirt dogs. Players that are not afraid to run through a wall if need be. They play the game right; they play the game hard. Before there was a Dustin Pedroia, there was a Trot Nixon, and Boston fans loved him.
Michael Cuddyer, in my opinion, was cast from that same mold. Boston fans would love him in right field, especially after having the underwhelming J.D. Drew trolling Pesky's Pole for the last five years.
Cuddyer is a career .272 hitter that will give you 15-20 home runs and 80 RBI's on a fairly consistent basis. These are attributes that the Sox thought they were getting in J.D. Drew.
On top of his stats and style of play, Cuddyer is a clubhouse guy, similar to that of Mike Lowell or Eric Hinske. He is the type of guy to help keep the team in line, something they desperately needed down the stretch in 2011.
A Third Baseman No More
Kevin Youkilis has been a personal favorite member of the Red Sox since he came up in 2003. I love his style of play, his ability to get on base, and his all-around gruffness.
Having said that, watching him play third in 2011 was painful and left me longing for the departed Adrian Beltre to be manning the hot corner once again. When Youk was younger he was a great third baseman. He is getting older, has had a couple of injury-affected seasons and I do not believe him to be the third baseman this team needs; not to mention he just had hip surgery to boot.
Let's face it, Red Sox fans have seen a beloved third baseman attempt to come back after hip surgery and it ended ugly for Mike Lowell. Youk has reached the point in his career where he could be utilized at first base (which obviously the Sox have no need for) or as a versatile designated hitter. Sorry to say it, but if the Sox are not ready to make Youk the DH/fill-in corner infield guy, he has to be traded for another working part.
Stability... just what the Sox need.
I think that there is a very slim chance of Mark Buehrle leaving Chicago any time soon. It would just seem awkward watching him pitch anywhere else.
However, the Red Sox could definitely use a player like him in their starting rotation. The man is consistent. He is almost certain to give you 15 wins and 200 plus innings per season.
He goes deep in to games and that was one thing that the Red Sox rotation was seriously lacking in 2011. Bringing in a horse like Buehrle could instantly correct that issue.