|J.D. DREW / ESPNDEPORTES.COM
Manning RF or CF for the Sox?
J.D. Drew is our new right-fielder and Julio Lugo is our new shortstop. I’ve already covered my opinions on both people (Drew here, Lugo here), and the commenters have very much so espoused their opinions on each of them, so I figured we’d move on to how these acquisitions will impact us.
Drew has been amenable to playing either center or right for the Red Sox. While in the long term this is negated by Coco Crisp and Jacoby Ellsbury, it’s very much in the air for the short-term considering that Coco Crisp still is a prime candidate to be traded, no matter how much I am against that.
However, it’s very clear to me that Wily Mo Pena or Coco Crisp has to go. It would be a gross disservice to both us and them if we were to keep them around with the idea that one sat on the bench. The two are young, promising outfielders with good track records (despite what SeanO says.) and to give them up is tough, but we have more pressing needs: a backup catcher (hopefully it’s Doug Mirabelli, for he looks to be the best option outside of Rod Barajas left) and some high-level relief arms. Eric Hinske is being shopped, which makes sense because we have a very expensive bullpen and Hinske would be limited to first base and third base. Cora has third covered, and we all know what happened to J.T. Snow last year as a first-base option.
However, Hinske wouldn’t bring back enough. We have to choose between the three of them, and Hinske would bring the least value in return. If we sign Eric Gagne as rumored, then perhaps we can deal Hinske for an average reliever, but Wily Mo Pena or Coco Crisp would bring us an impact reliever we need. If Crisp is traded, then Pena could man right, with Drew moving to center.
There’s a lot of options to happen here, but one option seems to be off the table now: trading Manny Ramirez. The rumors flew fast and furious over the course of this week, but in the end, nothing got done. Manny is a Red Sox, and the Red Sox are in “listen only” mode now. While that doesn’t rule out a trade, it does make it significantly harder because the Red Sox will not be proactive, and teams will be making moves to fill up roster spots and salary space.
The trade that seemed closest to happening was J.J. Putz, Adam Jones, and a third player to the Red Sox for Manny Ramirez. Putz became untouchable once Rafael Soriano (younger, with a lower ERA in almost as much innings) was traded. For Horacio Ramirez, who is a back of the rotation starter. Shaking off our incredulousness for a moment, I thought our best bet was Putz, Jones, and Richie Sexson for Manny, then trading Sexson to San Francisco. All reports point to Noah Lowry being swapped for Sexson. We could have then packaged Lowry, Jones, and a third player to the Nationals for Chad Cordero. Presto, two top-flight relievers. Ah well.
We did, however, get a reliever yesterday. In the Rule 5 draft, the Red Sox picked up Nick DeBarr from the Devil Rays.
DeBarr was drafted in the 14th round of the 2002 draft. He started in 2002, 2003, and 2004, posting tepid statistics. After undergoing Tommy John surgery, he reported to Visalia, the high-A affiliate of the Devil Rays, where he closed for them for a line of 69 IP, 2.74 ERA, 17 BB, 61 K, 3 HR, and a 1.13 WHIP. DeBarr, 23, had 9 saves near the end of the year, but is not receiving rave writeups.
Baseball HQ has this to say about DeBarr: “Fresh off ligament transplant surgery on his elbow in 2005, he returned successfully at Visalia (CAL), serving as a part-time closer… He is primarily a sinker/slider pitcher with average velocity (88-92 MPH) and a show-me split-fingered fastball. His delivery can get lengthy (1.85) which hurts him in his ability to prevent basestealers… a long-shot at best with experience level.”
Baseball America has this to say: “Went 4-3, 2.74 with 61 hits, 17 BBs and 61 Ks in 69 IPs at high Class A Visalia. Righthander has average (91 mph fastball) and a solid slider.”
He’s got more upside than Jaime Vermilyea, but expect him to be returned to the Devil Rays’ organization in Spring Training.
That brings us to the last of the rumors roundup. The Red Sox are in the hunt for Eric Gagne along with the Giants, Indians, Devil Rays and Royals. I personally believe Gagne would rather be in a winning situation given his age (30 – not old by any means, but not young, in baseball terms of course!) and his injury history. In addition, Gagne is definitely someone who likes to have money talk. That, in my opinion, narrows it down to the Giants and Red Sox. Gagne also wants a guaranteed chance to close, which the Red Sox can offer. The Giants could also theoretically offer it, but may alienate Armando Benitez (if they even care about that). I’m going to have to say the Sox are in the lead for his services, but not by much. We knew J.D. Drew would be a Red Sox for two weeks before it was announced … we won’t know with Eric Gagne.
If we don’t sign Eric Gagne, well… we may have to go the trade route. Octavio Dotel has reportedly agreed to a one year, $5 million contract with the Royals. (What is up with the Royals? They’re actually trying to … win!)
Lots have happened. Lots will happen.