The Red Sox were in on Mark Buehrle and we here at Fire Brand would have been happy to see him in Boston. However, Buehrle is no longer on the market, as he will be spending the next four years in Miami, having signed a four-year, $58M deal with the Marlins. In all likelihood, the Sox held their interest back to the three-year, $30M range.
Then, later in the day, Erik Bedard accepted a one-year, $4.5M deal from the Pirates. This move was a bit surprising as rumors suggested that the Sox expressed only minimal interest in Bedard, who they traded for last July. We know the book on Bedard, he’ll perform very well when healthy, but at some point he’s going to hit the DL. His injury issues, however, made him for a low-risk sign in terms of years and dollars. I’m a bit surprised that the Sox didn’t highly consider offering Bedard the sort of contract he signed for.
C.J. Wilson was the rumor darling of Wednesday night and all reports indicate that he’s deciding between the Marlins and Angels. The Red Sox have been nowhere to be found with regard to Wilson rumors, but that’s probably a good thing. Wilson is seeking a six-year deal and something around $15M per season. Even at five years, Wilson would be 35 by the end of such a contract. The last time the Sox signed a pitcher to five years at about $15M per year, that pitcher was (is) named John Lackey.
The Sox have been linked in rumors tied to pitchers like Hiroki Kuroda, Ryan Madson and Andrew Bailey, so there are still some quality free agent pitching options out there. Bailey would have to be acquired through a trade and the Sox have at least had a conversation with the A’s about a possible deal.
A new name that has surfaced in trade rumors is Mets left-handed starter Jonathon Niese, who could be a very nice fit as the Sox’ fourth starter. Neise, 25, isn’t arbitration eligible until 2013 and he has posted xFIPs under four for the last two seasons (3.80 and 3.28 respectively). His groundball rate was outstanding last season (51.5 percent) and he struck out 138 batters to 44 walks in 157.1 innings. However, he doesn’t have swing-and-miss stuff and his HR/9 could increase with a move to the AL and away from Citi Field. The Mets need a shortstop, so I would guess that they’d be asking about Jed Lowrie in trade conversations.
The Sox have also been rumored to be talking with the White Sox about John Danks and Gavin Floyd. Both pitchers would fit wonderfully behind Beckett, Lester and Buchholz. However, the White Sox’ asking price is said to be sky high. Since they’re also looking to move Carlos Quentin, the White Sox may have interest in Josh Reddick or Ryan Kalish.
Though the Sox have had a fairly quiet offseason so far — aside from hiring a new manager — it shouldn’t be seen as a bad thing. We already knew that players like Albert Pujols and Jose Reyes were pretty much out of the question and the top free agents are signing some extremely lucrative (or expensive depending on your point of view) deals. The Sox don’t have a boat load of money to spend — they did a lot of spending last offseason, remember –, so we’re more likely to see them try and work the trade market or wait until some of the big contract guys are off the market. Either way, Sox fans should not get discouraged. There’s still a long way to go.