The Boston Red Sox have entered the 2013 off-season with one of the biggest payrolls in the MLB, but are faced with a question that Boston fans want an answer to; spend all their money on big names, or officially enter the rebuilding process? Though the front office has hinted towards building around a young core, Boston needs to take a second look at some top players available this off-season.
Signing a big name like Josh Hamilton or Zack Greinke may look good to the fans, but statistically may not be a good fit for the team. When the Sox signed both Adrian Gonzalez and Carl Crawford for a total of 14 years worth $296 million dollars, neither lasted even a full two seasons before being traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Giving out super-star, long term contracts may be becoming more rare in Boston and should be looked at more closely in the MLB. According to Gordon Edes, (ESPNBoston.com), Sox owner Larry Lucchino doesn’t want to sign players to overly long term contracts.
Boston has shown interest in catcher/first baseman Mike Napoli, but would only be willing to sign him around the three-year range. Napoli has made it clear that he wants a four-year contract, but is still in negotiations. Coming off a sub par season last year with 24 HR, 56 RBI and a .227 BA, Napoli may see his time in Texas cut short if the price is right.
Currently, the Red Sox have also shown interest in former Yankee Nick Swisher. Like Napoli, Swisher has been known as a Red Sox killer and had one of his best seasons last year against the Sox. With total numbers of 24 HR, 93 RBI and a .272 BA, though at the age of 32, the Sox feel Swisher could be a perfect fit in their inconsistent outfield.
Another name that has risen for the Sox this off-season is star catcher Joe Mauer. His achievements include, 4x All Star, 3x AL Batting Champion, 3x Gold Glove Winner, 4x Silver Slugger and a 2009 AL MVP. Though Mauer is still only 29, he has been on the decline in recent years. After his MVP season, Mauer has been plagued by injuries and saw his numbers drop significantly. Even after playing the most games of his career last season (147), Mauer had only 10 HR, 85 RBI and a .319 BA.
Transitioning over to the AL East may be a good move for Mauer, but possibly not in Lucchino’s eyes. Mauer signed an eight-year extension worth $184 million with the Minnesota Twins in 2010. The money isn’t the problem, but the long term contract is. Mauer may just be the type of player though who deserves to be signed long term with Boston.
The Red Sox do have a history of busts after taking on big contracts in the off-season, so should Boston play small ball or spend it all? Stay tuned…..