Saturday, August 25, 2012

Thoughts on the Trade

With Eric on vacation (if you call running up and down mountains vacation) and Todd at game one of the new era, it is left to yours truly to comment on the biggest salary dump in the history of professional sports.

I've read the facts about 500 times, but they still have the power to shock: the Sox sent Josh Beckett (2003 World Series MVP and 2007 ALCS MVP); Adrian Gonzalez (4-time all star, 3 Gold Gloves, 0.294 lifetime); Carl Crawford (4-time all star, 4 time AL stolen base champion, 0.292 lifetime); and Nick Punto (umm, yeah) to the LA Dodgers.  In return they got struggling first baseman James Loney; the Dodgers' #2 prospect, right handed pitcher Allen Webster; minor league second baseman Ivan DeJesus, Jr.; and two players to be named later.  Earlier in the day, those two players were rumored to be right handed pitching prospect Rubby de la Rosa and minor league outfielder Jerry Sands, though that is no longer clear.

Oh - and the Sox did send a little bit of a cash the Dodgers' way, but barely enough to be worth mentioning.  So, they ended up clearing out $265.5 million of salary obligations.  And they may still shed some more, if any teams wish to claim Jon Lester or Jacoby Ellsbury from the waiver wires.

I've got to say, I'm more excited about the Red Sox than I have been in a long time.

Now, what is Cherington going to with all that money?

I'm pretty sure he is not going to sign a hard-hitting superstar first baseman.  While Adrian Gonzalez never quite lived up to expectations, his numbers in Boston were pretty damn good -- he hit .338 in 2011, and .300 in 2012.  That's a better batting average than he had in San Diego.  Meanwhile, the price for high caliber first basemen has skyrocketed ($250 million for Joey Votto!)  If the Sox wanted production from that corner, they should have stayed put.

Perhaps he has his eye on a shortstop?  But I've got to think that Iglesias is going to get his chance.

Pitching could be area of focus.  Buchholz, Doubront, Morales, Lackey and (Bard?  De La Rosa if he's ready?)  don't quite cut it.  Neither does much of the bullpen.  But there is something to be said for waiting a year or two or three for some young talent to develop and prove itself, and then rewarding it well.  The last thing we need is another John Lackey.  We've still got one.

So let me give Cherington my suggestion: SHOW ORTIZ THE MONEY.  Even after you faced him down in contract negotiations this past offseason, he has played his heart out, hitting 0.318 - his best since 2007.  Despite his injuries, he has still been the best DH in baseball.  And beyond his abilities, he is the soul of the team, having taken up where Varitek left off.   So for heaven's sake, give him a contract that says you want him in a Red Sox uniform until he is old and decrepit and ready to leave the game.

And then, if you still have some cash left over, see if you can get the owners to cut ticket prices.  

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