By Mark Paulette
I present to you three ways Boston’s off season could go, ranging from unlikely-to-likely-to-downright strange, brought to you courtesy of me, myself and I.
Red Sox trade for Giancarlo Stanton, sign Eduardo Nunez at market value and sign a slugger cheap.
The deal was unlikely to begin with, but now reports suggest that Stanton would invoke his no-trade clause if it came to potential deals to either Boston or St. Louis. A) That signals to me that his confidence may not be as rock-hard as his biceps. B) We just experienced what happens when a player doesn’t want to come to Boston with the David Price saga. Unlike Price, Stanton wouldn’t be wooed with money, as he’s already locked into the largest deal in professional sports, meaning the final piece of a potential deal would be a successful sell on Boston by the club’s brass. If that came to fruition, give me Giancarlo no matter the price, save Rafael Devers and Andrew Benintendi. Package Jackie Bradley Jr, Xander Bogaerts, Eduardo Rodriguez, Michal Chavis, Jay Groome, the key to the city, a spaceship, whatever else Miami wants, I don’t care, just GET IT DONE.
To compliment the deal, ink Eduardo Nunez to a contract in the range of 2-year/$20 million to fill the void at short and try to negotiate a Logan Morrison (38HR/85RBI) or a Mark Reynolds (30HR/97RBI) into the ballpark of a one-year, for $7-9 million deal. (Reynolds may be the better bet since he’ll be 34 on opening day, and a slugging righty has never sounded bad at Fenway). Finally, shift Benintendi to center field, et voila.
Lineup – Nunez, SS; Benintendi, CF; Stanton, LF; Betts, RF; Ramirez, DH; Devers, 3B; Reynolds, 1B; Pedroia, 2B; Vazquez, C.
An Educated Guess:
Red Sox sign J.D. Martinez, trade Jackie Bradley Jr. to San Francisco, ink Logan Morrison to short deal.
You’re going to have to spend money this off season to improve, so you might as well go big. Martinez is the marquee offensive option on the open market this off season, coming off a season in which he hit .303/45/104 between Detroit and Arizona. At 30-years-old, a contract in the range of 4-to-5 years could prove to be risky, and the Red Sox have been spurned by every big contract they’ve signed in recent memory, but Martinez addresses the team’s desperate need for a power bat. Give the man his $20-25 million per year for preferably three years plus an option or two. Anything beyond that, however, may be a deal breaker.
A recurring theme in any of my scenarios, JBJ is once again being shipped out of town, this time to the west coast in return for best case scenario: Hunter Strickland, worst case scenario: much needed minor-league talent. JBJ’s outstanding defense is a necessary sacrifice to boost the team’s offensive output.
Lo-Mo pops up once again, as the Martinez addition would go a long way towards fixing the team’s slugging issues, but there’s no such thing as too many homers. Plus, you still need a 1B/DH. Don’t give me Sam Travis. While I may have been first on his bandwagon last March, I was first off it as the wagon came to a sputtering halt in September.
Lineup – Bogaerts, SS; Pedroia, 2B; Benintendi, CF; Betts, RF; Martinez, LF; Morrison, 1B; Ramirez, DH; Devers, 3B; Vazquez, C.
Dombro goes blind with free agent frenzy to bolster depth while dealing Xander Bogaerts with an eye towards the future…oh, and trades Jackie Bradley Jr, of course.
Like Oprah giving out gifts, Dave Dombrowski just starts signing available players with no rhyme or reason. Eric Hosmer, here’s 6-years and $150-million. Jay Bruce, you want a couple years at a $16-mil/season clip? Why not? Hey, Neil Walker, want to come shore-up our infield depth for two years and $24 million? Zack Cozart, you were an All Star last year and hit .297 with 24 dingers, come play short stop, please. Here’s $10 million sweeteners to the deal. Paging Austin Jackson—here’s $5-million to serve as a right-handed fourth outfielder. Like I said, no rhyme or reason, but those five singings would still be far less than taking on Stanton’s contract.
At this point I shouldn’t have to explain myself…Jackie Bradley is gone, though, surprisingly so too is Bogaerts. There’s a lot of mouths to feed between Betts, Benintendi, Bogaerts and Devers. You gotta cut weight somewhere and it sure as hell ain’t coming from Mookie’s, Benny’s or Rafy’s pocket.
Lineup – Pedroia, 2B; Benintendi, CF; Hosmer, 1B; Betts, RF; Bruce, LF; Ramirez, DH; Devers, 3B; Cozart, SS; Vazquez, C. Plug and play Jackson for Bruce and Benintendi vs. lefties, Walker while Pedroia is on the shelf.
Mark Paulette is the executive producer of The Drive, weekdays 4pm to 6pm on 92.9fm The Ticket and streaming live at DriveShowMaine.com. Follow us on Twitter, @DriveShowMaine and “Like Us” on Facebook, Drive Show Maine.