By Terry Cushman – @cushmanMLB
I’m obviously just guessing. Players are dropping off the market and signing with teams left and right. Since Christmas is exactly a week away and so many positions/roles need to be filled… It might be easier to ask Santa Claus instead of Dave Dombrowski! Time is of the essence!
1. A first baseman to start the year:
Like on the movie Moneyball when Brad Pitts character says to the late average Phillip Seymour Hoffman’s character: “If someone hits a grounder today to first base, nobody will be there to stop it from rolling.” While we do have Hanley, we obviously want an upgrade. My first choice would be Jay Bruce. He has 30+ home run potential, and will be affordable. Abreu is a close second, though presently is “unavailable” according to the White Sox. The majority of Red Sox fans want Eric Hosmer, but I steadfastly believe he brings terrible value. His power numbers were only slightly better than Mitch Moreland’s. There’s always the option of handing the reigns to Sam Travis or Michael Chavis. Both of whom can potentially thrive in the post John Farrell era. Carlos Santana was a perennial OBP leader, but unfortunately signed with Philadelphia this past week.
2. A second baseman to start the year:
Let’s face it… Dustin Pedroia can’t stay healthy for more than a few months at a time, and will almost certainly retire from baseball at some point in 2018. Regardless of my own speculation, Pedroia will definitely miss the first couple of months due to his latest surgery. Brock Holt & Marco Hernandez are obvious in-house replacements, though neither will be productive at the plate. Blake Swihart is an intriguing option, and presents a world of possibilities. Ian Kinsler would have been a great fit for the final remaining year of his contract, but Dombrowski apparently didn’t think so. Detroit shipped Kinsler to Anaheim last week. Everyone loves to kick around the idea of Mookie Betts taking over at Second base during various points of the year. However, it’s hard to justify since he’s the best right fielder in the game. Second base is something the front office needs to think about, Pedroia’s future is more short term than long term.
3. J.D. Martinez:
The name Martinez in Boston reeks of greatness. Pedro left his mark. Quite literally in fact. His number sits prominently up on the second deck with all the other greats. Victor Martinez was beloved during his brief stint at Fenway. J.D. Martinez is an obvious fit. It has to happen. He will automatically be a perennial 40HR player. He projects out as a DH in the long term, so Boston could afford to give him six years. The failure to sign Martinez to essentially replace what we lost with David Ortiz’ retirement could ultimately and albeit indirectly cost Dave Dombrowski his job should 2018 not end well.
4. An insurance reliever:
It’s easy to get a false sense of security with our current bullpen. Kimbrel will obviously still close. Joe Kelly & Austin Maddox will be solid at least in situational situations (I know. I know…) Thornburg & Smith should finally be healthy. However, with those two specifically, they need to prove they can pitch in Boston. Especially in high leverage situations. Remember Mark Melancon? He pitched was well everywhere else, but lost his fucking mind when wearing a Red Sox uniform. I won’t bring up Daniel Bard. Even Craig Kimbrel himself struggled most of his first year. Wade Davis & Greg Holland are too expensive and out of the question. The Pat Nechek’s & Fernando Rodney’s are off the market already. Addison Reed pitched well enough, maybe a two year offer for him to return to Fenway might be a proactive solution in case things go awry?
5. Anger Management Counceling:
I’m just kidding. Steven Wright & David Price need that far more. Possibly with a seven month prescription for dink pills.
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