By Mark Paulette,
In 2013, the Red Sox assembled a squad of short-term, relatively cheap veteran ball players and won the World Series. Well, no one expects them to take the cake in 2018, so why not try it out again? Here are five cheap options for the Sox to take a peak at in the next 34 days before pitchers and catchers report.
- Mike Moustakas – The Moose is coming off a career year in which he hit .272 with 38 homers and 85 rbi. He’s never made more than $8.7mil/year, so he’ll be seeking a contract somewhere in the teens, which may be slight over-pay because looking past last season, the rest of his career is very Mitch Moreland-ish, (.240-.250 with 18-20 homers and 60-70 rbi). Moustakas is a lefty, which could express concerns with Fenway’s deep right field. 34-of-38 homers last year were to right field, but looking at his spray charts, the entire field is covered so he’s not strictly a pull hitter. Jay Bruce just signed with N.Y. Mets for 3yr/$39mil, and if that’s what Bruce is worth, you should certainly be able to get the Moose for cheaper. Ink Moustakas to a 3yr deal in the ballpark of $10-11.5 mil and you have a DH who can also give Rafael Devers time off at 3B, and the financial flexibility to bolster your team with an additional signing as well.
- Eduardo Nunez – If he’s healthy, I feel like this should be a no-brainer, even if he’s demanding upwards of $10mil/year. Now, you can probably negotiate that number down since he only made $1.475mil last season, and with concerns over the health of his knee, Nunez doesn’t possess an overwhelming amount of bargaining power. When healthy, Nunez showed what he can do last year after coming to Boston, when he hit .321/8/27 in 38 games. With Dustin Pedroia out until mid-May at the earliest, Nunez could open the year as your 2nd baseman, and then find his way into the lineup 5-to-6 days out of the week, as he works his way around the diamond giving days off to all infielders, while also splitting time at DH. He wouldn’t solve the power outage, but Nunez’s addition would provide the Sox with much needed depth.
- Jonathan Lucroy – I know Sandy Leon is Chris Sale’s personal catcher, but that’s really his entire value to the Sox at this point. Instead of King Leonidas, you could have a proven offensive commodity in Lucroy not only as your 2nd catcher but also a 1B/DH option when he’s not behind the dish. Lucroy has twice eclipsed a .300 average in his career, and in 2016 hit .292/24/81 between Texas and Milwaukee. The downside of this signing: you would have to pay him significantly more than Leon (likely four times as much, $8mil/year compared to $2mil/year), and he’s coming off his worst offensive season of his career, batting just .265/6/40 last year. That being said, even at a steeper price I’d rather have Lucroy over Leon. Plus the bonus that he bats left-handed, so you keep that alternating combo with Vazquez.
- Todd Frazier – Long linked to the Sox, we thought Frazier was finally coming to Boston last year before he eventually went to the Bronx. Frazier fell way off in ’17, hitting just .213/27/76 after posting a career high 40 homers and 98 rbi in ’16. With that, his value is certainly less than it was at this time last year. However, he made $12mil last season, so he’ll likely be looking at that number as his base for 2018. Even with the low average, I’d rather have Frazier in the lineup than Hanley Ramirez, whose own salary makes Frazier look like a bargain. Frazier also adds flexibility with potential to plug in at 3B/1B/DH.
- Mark Reynolds – A ‘journey man’ is never a title you like to hear in one of your marquee signings of the offseason, but hey, it’s better than nothing, and at last check that’s where the Sox currently stand. Reynolds is coming off a big season with the Rockies, and while his line of .267/30/97 may have been aided by the mile-high thin air, a power-hitting righty can always do damage at Fenway. Reynolds made just $1.5 mil last year, and though he’ll be 35 in August, could easily give you the same production that you’ll receive from Hanley Ramirez or Mitch Moreland on a short-term and inexpensive deal.
You can hear the audio version of this article, from Thursday’s edition of The Drive, below…
Mark Paulette is the senior 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