Sox Remain Quiet as Top Free Agents Sign

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.

Categories: Boston Red Sox Jed Lowrie John Lackey Jon Lester Josh Beckett Josh Reddick Ryan Kalish

Charlie first started writing about baseball back in 2008 when he opened Fantasy Baseball 365. Since graduating college with a degree in English, he has spent time coaching baseball as well as working in several minor league front offices. He also writes for The Outside Corner and contributes to Project Prospect and ESPN's Sweet Spot. Writer from August 3, 2010 - May 6, 2012

4 Responses to “Sox Remain Quiet as Top Free Agents Sign” Subscribe

  1. Mr Punch December 8, 2011 at 10:22 AM #

    This makes the front office's performance in 2011 look even worse. Bedard was obviously the wrong guy to get if they weren't thinking long-term.

  2. ChipBuck December 8, 2011 at 12:49 PM #

    Danks > Floyd. That's all I have to say.

    Ok…I lied. I could've handled Buehrle at 3/$40M, but that's as high as I'd go. Going a fourth season is crazy.

  3. Red Stockings December 8, 2011 at 7:01 PM #

    I think what the front office realized was that Bedard wasn't tough enough, and not just because he gets injured, but because he won't play unless 100% and players are rarely 100%. No grit. That doesn't work in Boston. He was one of the players that did not help in September when he was needed most.

  4. Gerry December 9, 2011 at 3:37 AM #

    Worst case scenario for the rotation's #4&5 slots if the Sox brought in nobody: two of Acevas, Bard, Doubront, Tazawa, Wake with 3 of them as depth out of the Pen, plus Wilson and Mlller, and Matsuzaka coming back by the ASB, with a trade deadline full of other possibilities. That is a strong rotation, potentially outstanding, with decent depth. I know Ben will pick up someone with a skill set between Millwood and Garza, maybe Darvish, but without them he still fields a strong rotation using his "internal options". Along with the five mentioned above for the Pen are Albers, Bowden, Carlson, Duarte, Hill and Jenks (that's 11 altogether), mostly as well provenmas most on the FA market, though one or two of Bailey and Madson make the Pen incrementally stronger and deeper. This team, as is, is pretty stacked. I'm hoping for a Reddick/Lin (rhb) in RF, Garza in the rotation as part of a trade/compensation package per Pete Abe, and Madson in the Pen on a one year deal.