Winter Meetings 2012: Will the Boston Red Sox Strike out on Pitching?
It was the shot heard ’round Red Sox Nation. The Boston Red Sox struck first in the Winter Meetings and have signed Catcher/First Baseman Mike Napoli from the Texas Rangers and Outfielder Shane Victorino from the Los Angeles Dodgers to three year, $39 million dollar contracts. Though signing big hitters and solid position players was a goal that the Sox had this off-season, there is still much more work to be done.
The Red Sox pitching woes have been a primary problem entering the off-season, and they are expected to be addressed in the upcoming weeks. So the question is, who else could the Sox walk away with this winter? Lets take a look:
Recently, Boston has shown interest in New York Mets right-handed pitcher RA Dickey, whose continuing mastery over his infamous knuckleball has restored his 10 year MLB career. After a phenomenal 2012 season, with 20 wins and a 2.73 ERA, the 38 year-old has proven that age isn’t always a factor in the MLB. Especially being the oldest player ever to win the CY Young Award. The Red Sox have had much success with Knuckleballers in the past, so Dickey may find a warm welcome in BeanTown.
The Sox have also shown interest in 34 year-old Kyle Lohse from the St Louis Cardinals. Coming off a career season in St. Louis with 16 wins, like Dickey, Lohse seems to progress with age. Along with his wins, Lohse had a 2.83 ERA in 211 innings pitched (the most of his career). For the Red Sox, adding a veteran presence into a fairly young rotation may also be what the team needs. Though Lohse has had most of his success in the National League, a jump to the AL East may be an easy transition for this seasoned vet.
Anibal Sanchez is another name that the Red Sox are reportedly interested in. The 28 year-old is coming off a great post-season performance with the Detroit Tigers. Though he was 1 win-2 losses in the play-offs, he had a 2.84 ERA and only allowed four runs total in three starts. If pitching for the right organization and under the right management (Sox Manager/ former pitching coach John Farrel), he may have more of this success to come.
Another young pitcher available this off-season is 29-year old Brandon McCarthy from the Oakland Athletics. Though McCarthy has seen some bright moments throughout his career, his seven years in the league have been unremarkable at best.
If McCarthy wants to reach his full potential though, coming to the Red Sox during the rebuilding of its pitching staff may be his best bet. For the Sox, it’s worth the gamble, since McCarthy may not be commanding much money. That is, if you consider around the $4 million dollar range over two years, not much.
For the Boston Red Sox to rebuild, not only a pitching rotation, but an entire team’s chance at the play-offs, they will need a top caliber closer that can win games. That closer may be San Francisco Giants pitcher, Brian Wilson.
Throughout Wilson’s career, he has been a 3 time All Star, NL Saves Champion (48), and a two-time World Series Champion. Though Wilson has a long list of achievements, he has a history of injuries as well. Many believe that after two “Tommy John” surgeries, the era of “The Beard” may be near its end, but a successful rehab project may be just what the Red Sox need, and can afford.
Not only is Wilson a native of Boston who wants to play at Fenway, but the Sox may be able to steal Wilson, with an $8 million dollar offer over one or two years. If Wilson is signed, expect Sox current closer Andrew Bailey to be moved to middle relief.
The old saying “Great pitching beats great hitting” is something that the Boston Red Sox need to pay close attention to. It could be the difference between another rebuilding season, or a shot at a possible playoff birth. The Sox finances and spending may be the keys to these important decisions.