Searching for a Right Fielder

As much fun as it’s been dissecting every rumor, and providing rational responses to every over-the-top editorial written for the past two months; I’ve decided it’s time to stop living in the past and look toward planning for the future.  The 2011 team, for all of it’s pomp and circumstance coming out of Spring Training, was not as perfect as we’d originally thought.  While the Red Sox were still a very good team, they contained flaws that became more noticeable as the season wore on.  One of those flaws was in right field.

Coming into the season, we assumed the steady and productive (albeit unexciting) J.D. Drew would continue to patrol the vast expanses of Fenway Park’s right field in the same manner he’d done for the previous four seasons.  While we expected he’d both miss some time with injuries, and experience some degree of performance regression; most projected him to be worth around 2.5-3 wins above the replacement level (WAR) in 2011.  That didn’t happen.  Drew started out pretty well in April, producing a respectable .342 weighted on-base average (wOBA), before seeing his offensive production fall off the table soon after.  He limped along from May through July (.265, .261, and.213 wOBA respectively) providing near replacement level production.  On July 20th, he was finally shelved with a shoulder impingement injury that effectively ended his season; save for a scant 15 PA cameo in September.

With Drew’s five year $75M contract finally coming to a close, the Red Sox are faced with finding a permanent solution to fill his shoes in right field.  Josh Reddick, who admirably filled his shoes in the second half of 2011, and prospect Ryan Kalish are often mentioned as the first two names likely to take the spot.  Though as much as I’d love to fill the role with homegrown talent, I have reservations about both players.

Reddick, though an interesting commodity, doesn’t have a particularly high ceiling.  He has good power, above average speed on the basepaths, and solid defensive skills that can play at both corner outfield spots (and center in a pinch).  Unfortunately, none of his skills appear to be at an elite level.  That’s not to say he doesn’t have value.  He certainly does.  I just happen to see his value being maximized as a fourth outfielder, rather than in a starting role.

For Kalish, the 2011 season was supposed to be about completing the final stages of his development.  Instead, it turned out to be a lost season marred by injuries and inconsistent performance.  As such, it’d probably behoove all parties involved if he spent a couple of months in AAA Pawtucket to start the season.  Kalish, provided he meets his potential, could have a bright future.  He certainly has the skill set to be an occasional All-Star.  Whether he’ll do it for the Red Sox or another team, remains to be seen.  If he does make his mark in Boston, I see it being closer to 2013 than next season.

So if I’m correct in my assumption the Red Sox won’t hand the right field job to either Reddick or Kalish, who will they bring in to fill the hole?  After discussing a few names with Tim and Paul on Monday’s episode of Fireside Chats, I decided to dig a little deeper and explore a bunch of different options.  Here are my top ten candidates.

Free Agents

Carlos Beltran - While Beltran isn’t the perennial 6-7 WAR player he was as recently as 2008, he still has plenty left in the tank.  After suffering through two injury-riddled campaigns, he proved he could not only stay healthy for an entire season, but also still get on base and hit for power at an All-Star quality level.  Even more impressive was how he managed to put together his run of success.  Despite playing his home games in two hostile hitting environments, Citi Field and AT&T Park, he managed to produce a .389 wOBA.  On the basepaths, he’s still very much an asset.  Though he’s not going to steal 30-40 bases per season (or even 10-20) as he did in his 20s, he’s still a very smart baserunner that’s adept at taking the extra base.

While Beltran is still quality at the plate and on the basepaths, the jury is still very much out on his defense.  Even after moving from center to right, his defense seems to be in a state of decline.  Last season, he posted negative values in UZR (-7.3), FRAA (-8.2) and Total Zone (-3), while posting a positive DRS (+2).  Based on the eye test, he still looks to be decent defensively.  Unlike the previous three suggestions, Beltran’s likely to be valued properly, and should receive a 2-3 year deal from someone.

Josh Willingham – Presuming Theo Epstein and Ben Cherington have similar taste in players (and I have a feeling they might), Willingham is a likely candidate to make onto the short list of right fielders being considered for acquisition.  While most consider right-handed Willingham to be more of a platoon player, he was noticeably more successful against RHP (.355 wOBA) than against LHP (.336) last season.  Furthermore, were you aware he hit 29 home runs last season?  Yeah, neither was I, and I review stats constantly.  I guess playing for Oakland will do that to you.  As a result, Willingham’s likely be grossly undervalued, and could be obtained for a very reasonable price in the form of a 1-2 year deal.  I do have reservations about how his mediocre defensive skills will translate playing at Fenway everyday (-3.1 FRAA in 2011).  Still given his reputation as a 2-3 WAR player, he’s someone I’d be willing to take a chance on for the right price.

David DeJesus – Speaking of undervalued players, DeJesus has been the poster boy for his entire career.  Having just finished his age-31 season, it’s reasonable to expect that some of his skills have started to erode.  It’s only natural.  Luckily, his skill set isn’t limited to just one dimension.  He’s an above average defensive outfielder that can play center in a pinch, but probably better suited for a corner spot.  While won’t add many stolen bases to his team’s bottom line, he’s a smart base runner that contributes runs by taking the extra base and making few mistakes.  (Let’s be honest, the Red Sox could use a guy like this on the bases.)  Lastly, despite having a down season offensively (.309 wOBA), he’s a line drive hitter (20.9% for his career) that’s usually good for a solid BB/K ratio and 40 extra base hits per season.  He’s a good candidate to bounce back next season; especially if he plays in his home games in a park that’s more friendly to offense than pitching.

Ryan Ludwick – It’s easy to forget that Ludwick hit 37 home runs and boasted a .406 wOBA as recently as 2008.  Over his next season-and-a-half with the Cardinals, though we saw his performance  decline, he remained a productive, starting quality player.  Not surprisingly, after a trade to San Diego mid-way through 2010, his offensive production fell even further.  While Ludwick hasn’t given fans much to cheer about over the past season-and-a-half, he still has considerable talent at his disposal.  He draws walks at an above average rate, and could be a candidate to hit 20-25 home runs in the right ballpark.  Unfortunately, he won’t contribute much defensively or on the basepaths, and tends to hit significantly better against lefties (.327 wOBA in 2011) than righties (.284).  As a result, he’s probably better suited for a platoon role.  If the Red Sox can find a suitable partner, this could be a good move.  Few players will be as undervalued as Ludwick this offseason.

Michael Cuddyer – While Cuddyer’s a nice player, there’s nothing particular special about him.  Offensively, his reputation exceeds his actual performance.  He’s slightly above average in the on-base and slugging departments, and runs the bases reasonably well.  Defensively, he’s been woefully mediocre throughout his career regardless of the position he plays.  Ideally, he’d slot in best as a DH, but unfortunately, he doesn’t have the offensive chops to provide enough value to justify his salary.  That really leaves right field as his only viable option if he joined the Red Sox.  Considering his inability to play RF at Target Field, I can only imagine how poor he’d do covering  the vast territory at Fenway.  Furthermore, due to a sterling reputation as a leader and an undeserved one as a hitter, he’ll probably be overvalued on this year’s free agent market.  As a 2.5 WAR true talent player, he’d technically be worthy of the $10-11M salary he’s likely to command.  Still, given his limited skill set, he doesn’t seem to be a good fit with the Red Sox; especially long-term.

Rick Ankiel – Given how lefty-heavy the Red Sox lineup (and outfield) already is, it seems unlikely Ankiel will join the Red Sox.  Still, bringing him on board might not be a bad idea in the right situation.  Defensively, Ankiel seems to have been playing slightly out of position in CF, and should benefit from moving to a less demanding corner outfield position.   Ankiel, 32, still has good power and seems to have improved his ability at drawing walks.  His pronounced platoon split (.330 vs. RHP, .293 vs. LHP) indicates he could be a candidate for a platoon job.  Could he platoon with a right-handed hitter like Ryan Ludwick?  Possibly.  After displaying underwhelming production for much of the last two seasons in Kansas City and Washington, Ankiel will probably be cheap and undervalued.

Cody Ross – After performing very well post-trade with the Giants, and winning the 2010 World Series MVP; many unfairly placed high expectations on the middle-of-the-road right fielder.  After missing the first few weeks of the season with a strained calf muscle, Ross got off to a solid start offensively, posting wOBAs of .379 and .374 in May and June respectively.  Unfortunately for he and the Giants, that run of success was short lived with his production bottoming out in July (.264) and August (.248).  Though Ross rebounded in September (.415), he did so in limited playing time; his season ended on September 16th due to a strained hamstring.  In the end, the career 106 wRC++ hitter finished with a stat line fairly representative of his career record.

Like Ross’s performance at the plate, his baserunning and defensive skills are pretty close to league average.   He has decent range, but his arm in right field seems to be somewhat lacking.  Ideally, he’d probably fit best in left field for the Red Sox, but Carl Crawford‘s already ensconced at the position.  At 31, Ross looks like a 2 WAR true talent player that’s unlikely to improve.  If he can be had for a one year contract worth $5-6M, he might be worth a look.  Otherwise, I’d pass as there are better options available.

Trades

Andre Ethier – Among players Red Sox Nation is most interested in acquiring, Ethier’s name is one of the most popular.  On the surface, it’s tough to blame them.  Ethier is patient, draws walks at an above average rate, and has had good success hitting for power while playing his home games at pitcher-friendly Dodger Stadium.  Despite having excellent success at the plate during the three seasons preceding 2011 (wRC++ of 133, 128, and 130 respectively), his overall offensive production dropped off last season.  While Ethier retained his ability to hit for doubles, his home run total dropped by nearly 2/3 from his 2009 total (31 to 11).  Much of this can be attributed to a radical shift in his GB/FB ratio.  After posting a neutral ratio in 2009 and 2010, his batted ball profile shifted drastically toward the ground ball side of the spectrum.  As anyone who knows even a little bit about baseball could tell you, it’s impossible to hit a traditional home run on a worm-burning grounder.  To make matter worse, his HR/FB ratio dropped from 15.4% in 2009 to 9.2% in 2011.  So even when Ethier was hitting fly balls, a smaller percentage of them were leaving the yard.  With only one year separating him from free agency, Ethier’s put himself into a position to prove his 2011 season at the plate was a fluke.  At 28, the odds are in his favor that he’ll bounce back.  Still, it will be interesting to see how he performs in 2012.

On the defensive side of the coin, advanced metrics saw him making huge strides in the field.  UZR and FRAA had him as a league average fielder, while DRS and Total Zone still considered him below average despite his improvements.  Considering the relatively small sample size involved in his defensive numbers, I can’t say for sure that his improvement will continue.  That said, I have major concerns about his ability to adequately patrol Fenway’s cavernous right field.

With regards to obtaining him in a trade, he’s likely to be very expensive.  His reputation as an overall player far exceeds reality.  As a result, Dodgers GM Ned Colletti will try to squeeze every drop of compensation out of any team interested in acquiring him.  Considering the bounty of players the Red Sox have already relinquished in the Adrian Gonzalez and Erik Bedard trades, I’m not sure it’s wise for the team to sacrifice more players from an already thin farm system for a 3 WAR true talent player; especially since he’s likely to be paid like a 4-5 WAR player.  If I was the front office, I’d kick the tires on Ethier, but ultimately expect to pass upon hearing the asking price.

Carlos  Quentin – While I criticized Ethier for being overvalued, few players are more overvalued than Quentin.  Despite his coming dangerously close to winning the 2008 MVP and carrying a fair amount of offensive talent, he somehow managed to produce two seasons near the replacement level per Fangraphs.  (In full disclosure, Baseball Reference and Baseball Prospectus only have his 2009 season as near replacement level.)  The problem with Quentin is not his offense.  He has a great batting eye, draws walks, and hits for power.  As someone who just finished his age-28 season, there’s still a possibility he continues to grow at the plate.  Instead, it’s his defense that holds back his entire game.  Regardless of what defensive metric you prefer (FRAA, UZR, DRS, or Total Zone), he grades out as a below average fielder.  As a result, he’s probably a poor fit for the Red Sox in terms of playing right field.  Luckily, he’s strong enough offensively (career .362 wOBA) that he could still be an asset out of the DH slot should David Ortiz leave via free agency. Like Ethier, Quentin’s only one year removed from free agency, and he’s likely to be cheaper both in 2012 and over the long-term.  Still, given his deficiencies, it’s probably a little too risky to trade valuable prospects for a player that’s unlikely to age well.

Domonic Brown – Out of all of the trade candidates (and maybe even the free agent candidates), Brown might be the most intriguing player of the bunch.  After being named 2011′s number four prospect by Baseball America, many expected Brown would seize the job of starting right fielder with the Phillies.  After a forgettable Dominican League season last winter and a slow start in Spring Training, he suffered a hammate bone injury in his right hand that cost him the first few weeks of the season.  Upon returning, he was called up to the major league club, and given an option to play semi-regularly.  Despite producing a league average .322 wOBA, the Phillies optioned Brown back to AAA.  (In comparison, starting left fielder, Raul Ibanez, stunk it up to the tune of .306 wOBA and -1.3 fWAR, yet was allowed to keep his starting job.)  Upon returning to AAA, he showed solid on-base abilities, but struggled uncharacteristically with his power output. Given the nature of his injury, it shouldn’t have been too much of a surprise as these injuries can take some time.

Looking forward to 2012, one would have thought the Phillies would open to giving Brown their soon-to-be-vacated slot in left field.  Apparently not.  According to a recent report, Phillies GM Ruben Amaro plans to keep Brown in AAA to start the season.  While he’s only accumulated 292 plate appearances in two stints in AAA, he looks to be very close to being ready for regular playing time at the big league level.  At this point, I think the best move is probably giving him a regular job and seeing what he does with it.  Amaro disagrees.  Since he’s being paid to manage such situations, I will defer to him.

That said, I’m not convinced Amaro is properly valuing his young, 24-year old prospect.  Brown is an immense talent who’s only weakness seems to be mediocre defensive play.  Luckily, Citizen’s Bank Park has small dimensions, especially in left field, so his deficiencies aren’t likely to be felt as strongly.  Still, given how undervalued and possibly under appreciated Brown is by his own organization, the Red Sox (or some other team) might be able to swoop in and pull the trigger on a trade.  On Sunday, Scott suggested a trade involving Kevin Youkilis for Brown.  Given his age and declining skill set, I don’t think Youk will be enough to acquire Brown, but the Phillies might bite if the Red Sox put together an intriguing multi-player or multi-team trade package.  The only problem with Brown coming to the Red Sox is that we’d be putting a less than stellar defensive player at a key position.  Outside of that, it’s a pretty intriguing, albeit unlikely, proposition.

So what are your thoughts on who the Red Sox will play in right field during the 2012 season?  Will they go with one of their home grown options, or will they acquire someone through either a trade or free agency?  If you think a player not included on this list could be a target, tell us who it is and explain why the Red Sox might be interested.

Categories: Andre Ethier Boston Red Sox Carlos Beltran Carlos Quentin Cody Ross David DeJesus Domonic Brown J.D. Drew Josh Reddick Josh Willingham Michael Cuddyer Rick Ankiel Ryan Kalish Ryan Ludwick

After being slapped with a restraining order for stealing Nick Cafardo's mail, I was forced into retirement for a brief period of time. As fun as it was to lounge around the community pool and play shuffleboard with noted internet columnist, Murray Chass, I quickly felt a yearning to write again. Now in my second tenure with Fire Brand, I have set lofty goals of achieving world domination, ending the plight of the hipsters, and becoming BFFs with Mike Trout. I am fluent in two languages (Sarcasm and English, in that order); have an intimate relationship with M&Ms; firmly believe that Lucille is the best character on Arrested Development; and spend my spare time trolling select members of the Boston media. You can follow me on Twitter @Chip_Buck.

27 Responses to “Searching for a Right Fielder” Subscribe

  1. GreggB October 21, 2011 at 7:33 AM #

    Let's give the kids a chance. Let Kalish and Reddick fight it out.

    • TomF87 October 21, 2011 at 9:27 AM #

      I really like this idea.

      Fine piece of writing, Chip.

      • ChipBuck October 21, 2011 at 10:55 AM #

        Thank you sir!

    • ChipBuck October 21, 2011 at 10:05 AM #

      I'm not opposed to giving Kalish the job in 2013, but I'd love to see them sign David DeJesus or Josh Willingham (in that order) for 2012.

  2. Matt October 21, 2011 at 8:26 AM #

    We need to keep in mind that Red Sox also need a closer, a shortstop, and a DH. Assuming they pick up Scuturo's option and factoring in Ellsbury's forthcoming salary increase the Red Sox are locked into about $142m for 2012. This gives them about $20-$30m for a closer, a DH, and a right fielder. I think they will go the affordable route in right with Kalish and Reddick next season.

    • ChipBuck October 21, 2011 at 10:03 AM #

      The DH market has been incredibly weak over the past four of five years. I think will go the value route if they don't re-sign Ortiz. In fact, by declining to offer him arbitration, they might be able to get him to take a pay cut to his limited market. He's limited to only 14 teams, and most are interested in DHs that can occasionally play the field without hurting the team too much.

      In the closer department, the only way the Red Sox end up paying more is if they re-sign Papelbon. I see that as a 60/40 possibility with 60% meaning they'll sign him. Otherwise, it's possible they defer to Bard, and fill out the bullpen with cheaper options for their earlier innings. If they decide to go the established route, Heath Bell, K-Rod, Matt Capps, and Ryan Madsen are the best options. I don't see K-Rod breaking the bank again; although he could still pull in a high salary. Capps will likely be cheap, and Madsen should be somewhat undervalued considering he held down the role for less than a year.

  3. Chugg October 21, 2011 at 9:29 AM #

    I would love to have Ethier, but that's not realistic. I agree, go with the young guys and spend more time on shortstop, etc.

    • ChipBuck October 21, 2011 at 10:04 AM #

      Ethier would be nice we could play him in LF instead of RF, and avoid overpaying in terms of both trade and salary. Unfortunately, it's not possible. He's still a good player, but he's not a good fit at the moment.

  4. Brian October 21, 2011 at 10:02 AM #

    While I would love the brown trade, and think a package with youk is a good start to get the ball rolling, im not entirely sure its plausible. The front office has some decisions to make about youk. They need to determine if he can play 3rd for a full season. If not, they either trade him or let papi go and have Youk get some rest days while playing DH. I'd love to see dominic brown but i do think the kids should get a chance. Offense wasn't the issue last season, If Kalish/ Reddick posts a 250 BA, 310 OB 15-20 Hrs season.. thats more than adequate if they play decent defesnse in right and continue to grow as players.

    • ChipBuck October 21, 2011 at 10:55 AM #

      I would really like to see a Dom Brown trade. I liked Scott's idea of Youkilis, but like you, I'm not sure it's really plausible. Youk seems like he could be entering his decline phase, and has had issues staying healthy. Plus, I'm not sure there's a position for Youk in Philly long term. He could play first while Howard is recovering. But once Howard returns, Youk's only option would be to play 3B. He could play 3B, but that's already occupied by Polanco. If the Phils do trade Brown, I'd have to imagine it will be for either a SS or another LF of MLB quality. Still, it's nice to dream.

      Should Youk stay in BOS, I can see him shifting to DH with an Aviles/Lowrie platoon taking over at 3B. Again, not sure if I see this as likely, but it's certainly possible.

  5. Brian October 21, 2011 at 3:06 PM #

    is 2012 Youk's last year on his contract? That would mean a trade to the phillys makes some sense since Youk would be very good fill for howards lost season and then he'd come off the books when howrad returns. I agree it will take a prospect or 2 to get done but its definetly something to look into.

    Assuming its unlikely, i still think pitching is this teams only flaw. Other than Lester we are relying on oft-injured players. I would rather see this team focus on improving the Bullpen and starting rotation. I'd like to see Buerhle and Bell added to the arsenal with Papelbon brought back. In sept, we got 1 quality start from our starters (lackey of all people) thats the cause of the collapse.

    • ChipBuck October 21, 2011 at 3:46 PM #

      Youk's last guaranteed season is 2012, and he has a $13M option for 2013.

  6. Dale Sams October 21, 2011 at 3:42 PM #

    You guys want to trade a near-MVP guy who had a freak injury last year, and this year admittedly *looks* like he's suffering from age-related wear and tear injuries….for a spec? A hyped-up media spec. Not only that, but you want to add more than Youk to the package. He's one whole year older than Teixiera and every bit as good as Mark. If the Sox had nabbed Teixiera a couple of years ago, would you trade Teixiera..and others for a spec?

    Sorry for the rant, but Kevin Youkilis is consistently the most underrated player by his own fanbase of the last several years.

    • ChipBuck October 21, 2011 at 3:45 PM #

      Who said anyone wants to trade Youk? It was only offered up as a suggestion. That's all. As far as I'm concerned, no one is untradeable. I don't know if I'd move him, but I'd certainly consider the option.

    • @chriskelley81 October 21, 2011 at 5:24 PM #

      Dale, how many trips has Teixeira taken to the DL in his career? I bet I can count them on one hand. What about Youk? How many trips for him? There's the difference in those two players. Youk is a lock for at least one DL stint per season, and usually longer than the 15 days, or if he comes back after the 15 days, he's usually playing at some sort of deficit because he hasn't healed fully. He's even said himself he's pretty much guaranteed the two week vacation annually.

      I'm about 50/50 on the Dom Brown trade. I see the upside and benefit from someone with a great bat in the bottom half of the order, but I worry about him patrolling a RF position that can be very difficult to play in Boston.

      As much as we cursed about JD Drew (and I think I'm the ringleader of this group), the one thing he did exceptionally well was cover right field. That being said, I hope he enjoys retirement.

      • ChipBuck October 22, 2011 at 6:30 AM #

        To be fair, in a gee whiz stat sort of way, Drew played in 606 games from 2007-2011 and Youk played in 48. That's a difference of about eight games a year. Youk's a lot more injury prone than most of us give him credit for being.

      • Dale Sams October 22, 2011 at 3:22 PM #

        Youk has been 4 times. Including last years freak injury. Teix has been twice.

  7. Gerry October 21, 2011 at 4:57 PM #

    In 2010 I was very impressed with Kalish as he showed why he passed a similarly gifted player on the top prospects lists. He seems to be a can't miss success story in waiting, certainly the equivalent of most of the options (very good options) you listed. I felt a bit bad for the eclipsed Reddick until he responded by solving many of his AB issues early in the AAA season. That's when optimism took hold … He was figuring it out at age 23-24, which boded well for him and the Sox. Instead of failing by flailing at Fenway he was key to the Sox "best tea
    In baseball" mid-season run; until opposing pitchers figured hi
    out and got him out. I propose that at Age 24 he's not done learning, has tasted the coffee, is again competing with Kalish for the job, and he will learn how to bit more consistently like his first half of his Sox season than his second half. For $900K, the Sox can have Reddick in RF showing off his ever adjusting and improving bat, a better glove/arm/speed than most of the alternatives posted, even as Kalish is making up for lost time in AAA. Whichever one gets it together finishes the year in RF and likely stays there, while the other becomes 4th OF or part of a trade by the deadline when/if needs are revealed. These kids, both 24, IMO are the best options going forward for many reasons, including that the lineup is already remarkable 1-6. Reddick/Kalish make a very promising #7-8 hitter down with Scoot and Salty/Lava. Bring up the kids. Stop with the FA's and trades that aren't needed and reflect past free spending ways.

  8. kahlil October 21, 2011 at 6:27 PM #

    Anything beyond a free agent is too much. DeJesus, Willingham or Swisher (if his option is not picked up.)
    I think that it is wise to use right as a stage for our young outfielders. Reddick proved he belongs (and finished with a higher WAR than Boesch, Nelson Cruz, Choo, Cody Ross, and Ichiro.) Kalish needs playing time (and, by the way, is the right handed bat that everyone says we need.) We also have Brentz, Jacobs, Lin, Nava, Carrol, Hazelbaker, Hassan, Dening, et. al. waiting to prove their worth. It does nothing but good to give these players major league experience.

    • Gerry October 22, 2011 at 2:36 AM #

      Agree that we have a growing logjam of OF prospects and ought not to tie up RF with potentially comparable FA's or Trade them away to fill the position. Doesn't make sense. Kalish BTW is a lefty bat but his splits aren't terrible and Reddick's were pretty decent. Alex Speier just did a piece on the return of Juan Carlos Linares, a power bat with a good eye and advanced outfield skills. He is a RHB that could be in this decades slugging conversations with Lavarnway and Middlebrooks. With these guys and Lin near ready and showing potentially above average value while cost controlled, I'm sure the Sox would benefit more by using RF and 4th OF slots for prospects.

      • kahlil October 26, 2011 at 1:13 PM #

        my bad on thinking kalish was a righty. the only outfielder with severe splits is crawford. reddick is virtually the same (.275/.280) and ellsbury posted a .284 vs. rhp last year.
        imo, rh-rf is way down the shopping list for the '12 red sox.

    • ChipBuck October 22, 2011 at 6:35 AM #

      Swisher, the Yankees version of JD Drew, had his option picked up the other day.

      • kahlil October 26, 2011 at 1:16 PM #

        yankees version of drew because he is under appreciated? overpaid?
        it is moot at this point, but he is a great clubhouse presence on top of ranking 2nd in the al in war for a rf.

        • ChipBuck October 26, 2011 at 1:32 PM #

          Because he's underappreciated. I like both Swisher and Drew as players.

  9. Gerry October 22, 2011 at 4:32 PM #

    And more than a few of the options listed are good enough and affordable enough to be back with their teams. I can't see Cuddyer in another uniform. Ben may have few choices and decide out own guys offer more for less.

  10. MadMc44 October 23, 2011 at 7:44 AM #

    This year I would make two people targets for free agency signings–Madson and Albert.

    I think indications I have read–Pap will sign with the Phillies. I have a feeling Papi would like to come back to Boston but he will want the big bucks$10-12 for 3 years, way more than the going rate–if he took $8 M for a 2 years I would consider that. I think the O's, Jays and Astros if they come to the AL will be locations for him.

    I think Youk and perhaps Jason Kubel(FA) are able to play other positions-could share the DH duties.

    I would go for Madson as the closer–he has been in a similar market to Boston, he would be less expensive than Pap and may have better flexibility—willingness to split duties of closer and set-up than Pap might be.

    I think if you try and fail to get Ells to sign a long term deal I would explore the Kemp posibilities. I would want time to sign him long term –like a 72 hour window. They are both similar except for the side of the plate they swing from.
    Albert to me is the guy I would spend FA money on. The guy is the man and he can make everyone around him better.
    Go for him–is he better than ARod, Tex, AGon, Sabathia, Crawford–YES. Then know you may be paying a Luxury Tax but he allows you to make other moves and to carry Kalish, Reddick, Middlebrooks, and Lavarnway. He plays every play–be's a Bill Bellicheck type player
    He allows you to trade an AGon for some top notch pitching or to move Beckett for other puzzle parts.
    Yes there are landing places for AGon and/ or Crawford without having to pay parts of their salaries.

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