5 Potential Big Moves for the Boston Red Sox
John Farrell Has Boston Red Sox Positioned for Big Move
John Farrell and the Boston Red Sox have done exactly what they have needed to do during the 2013 season's first month. They have gotten off to a 18-7 start through the today's game and have played well at home. The Boston pitching staff has been the American League's best so far with Jon Lester and Clay Buchholz leading the way.
Now that the Red Sox have gotten off to such a good start, the Red Sox front office can start looking ahead at the current roster and see what their needs might be come summer. The Red Sox have positioned themselves in a really good position here, building their farm system with players who will have high trade value to other teams in a deal.
The Red Sox farm system contains high-end pitching and hitting prospects, the type of players that rebuilding teams will be seeking as part of any big deal. That prospect base, as well as the ability to take on a big money contract will put the Red Sox in a prime position at the trading deadline.
Looking at the Red Sox roster, there are some areas that the Red Sox might seek to strengthen as the season moves along. These are all big moves, the type that would require the Red Sox to give up three to four prospects. Dealing those prospect will hurt, it is highly unlikely that Boston will be able to acquire high-end talent solely as a salary dump.
Dealing for star talent also requires another team to fall out of contention early, so I have tried to identify teams that should be looking to shed payroll and rebuild come June and July.
23-year-old Giancarlo Stanton should be the number one apple of the Red Sox eye come this summer. Stanton is currently banished to baseball irrelevance in Miami with the Miami Marlins, a fate that I wouldn't wish on any player.
Getting a young, cost controlled star like Stanton would be the exact centerpiece the Red Sox would need to take them to the next level. Stanton wouldn't hit free agency until 2017, giving Boston plenty of time to workout an extension with the young slugger. Stanton would be only 27 in his walk year.
Stanton is miserable on the Marlins, especially after the mega-trade this winter that traded away stars like Jose Reyes, Mark Buehrle and Josh Johnson. Stanton is now the face of the franchise. Looking at owner Jeffrey Loria's constant meddling with the team and roster, I would expect that Stanton will ask out this summer and the Marlins will look to add four prospect to expidite the rebuilding process.
The price tag for a Stanton deal would likely involve moving pitchers Matt Barnes, Rubby De La Rosa, young catcher Blake Swihart and either Jackie Bradley Jr. or Xander Bogaerts. Would the Red Sox make that type of move? Take Stanton out of Florida and put him in Boston and I think he could become one of the five best players in the game.
Joe Mauer is the face of the Minnesota Twins and unfortunately the Twins aren't going anywhere anytime soon. At some point the Twins may look this season to move the 30-year-old Mauer, who still has over $125 million in salary coming to him over the next five and a half seasons.
Mauer is still a great hitter, currently holding a .323 batting average and the Red Sox could use him as a huge upgrade this season behind the plate. For the remaining five years of Mauer's contract, Boston could look to move him between catcher, first base and designated hitter.
Minnesota would have to pick up a portion of Mauer's remaining salary, but if the Red Sox offered a package similar to the one that I proposed for Stanton, Minnesota may no choice but to bite.
No, I am not buying the Colorado Rockies good early start to this season. I simpy don't believe that they have enough pitching or talent to make a good run this year. But, Colorado might look to move the oft-injured shortstop Troy Tulowitzki if they could get a package built around pitching.
The 28-year-old Tulowitzki would solve a short-term and long-term need for the team, providing the team a top power source at a key position. When healthy, Tulowitzki is a near-MVP quality player and someone who could have a big impact on the Red Sox and the American League East.
The biggest downside to Tulowitzki is his injury history and his enormous remaining contract. The Rockies owe "Tulo" $134 million after this season and might be tempted to move him for salary relief. If the Rockies were to kick in $40 or $50 million, the Red Sox might be willing to kick in pitchers like Barnes, De La Rosa and pitcher Brandon Workman along with a position player.
If the Red Sox are looking to boost their rotation, no current pitcher who might become available has quite the playoff pedigree that Cliff Lee would be able to bring to Boston. The 34-year-old Lee would fortify the Red Sox for the playoff stretch and the the playoffs.
Lee's playoff numbers are great, 7-3 record with a 2.52 ERA, but it comes with quite a price tag, potentially almost $77 million in remaining salary after this season. The Philadelphia Phillies would have to add some money to a deal to make it happen, but I could see something built around Matt Barnes, Felix Doubront and two other players.
Lee would be a luxury, but he would have the ability to potentially put the Red Sox over the top this season and handle tough competition if the Red Sox continue their hot start to the season.
The last time the Red Sox traded for a star player from the San Diego Padres, it didn't turn out well for either side. The Red Sox acquired Adrian Gonzalez, only to see him struggle with the tough Boston market and being sapped of his power. The Padres received a package centered around pitcher Casey Kelly and Anthony Rizzo and currently have very little to show for that deal right now.
So why would the Red Sox and Padres make another deal? Because the Padres have another star slugger moving towards free agency and unlikely to sign a big contract with his current team. Boston could take slugger Chase Headley and plug him into left fied this season and then look to figure out his position this winter.
Boston could use Headley between left field, third, first and designated hitter as the situation with the roster was required. Headley's switch-hitting power would play well in balancing the Red Sox lineup.
The cost for Headley could vary between teams. Is he the player that hit 31 home runs and knocked in 115 runs last season or were those numbers going to be an exception to his career numbers? Only time will tell.