Over the past few weeks, I’ve tried to put on my objective hat and find ways to improve the Red Sox. I argued in favor of signing Brian McCann. I’ve argued against trading for Giancarlo Stanton. I argued that we needed one of Mike Napoli, Carlos Beltran or Curtis Granderson in the middle of the order. I’ve argued for letting Jackie Bradley start in center, and not letting Dan Butler start behind the plate. Even if  you’ve disagreed with my takes, hopefully you’ve found them reasonable.

Because today, we’re throwing reasonable out the window. Today, we’re setting “forced trades?” to “on.” We’re setting our max salary to $250 million. And we’re getting every other front office in baseball drunk.

Today is not a day for modesty, plausibility or reality. Today is a day to dream.

Watch as I transform the Boston Red Sox from Very Good Team to Best Team Ever.

First person to take this seriously in the comments section wins a prize. 

Red Sox trade Ryan Dempster, Bryce Brentz, Anthony Ranaudo and Burke Badenhop to the Rockies for Carlos Gonzalez.

Red Sox prospect fanaticism has gotten to the point where some people will probably be reluctant to give up Brentz and Ranaudo, but the man we’re getting back here is a superstar with a reasonable contract who’s in the middle of his prime. We will need someone else to possibly screw with Wil Myers now that Dempster is gone, but I feel like that skill is easy enough to learn. Sorry, Burke: we hardly knew ye.

The Rockies would definitely make this trade because quantity > quality, and they need pitching. Here, they get two starters, and Ranaudo was once really good in college. It’s a steal, I tell you! Brentz will love it, too, because there’s a lot of hunting in Colorado.

Red Sox sign Shin-Soo Choo, to a three-year, $39 million contract.

This one is pretty simple. The Red Sox value OBP and need a new leadoff hitter. Choo is very good at getting on base and is a strong defensive outfielder when used in a corner. Every new Red Sox free agent gets a three-year, $39 million contract, and Mike Napoli already proved that coming to Boston is much cooler than taking the best offer on the table. What’s another year (or four) and a couple (or 60) million dollars? Choo is ours for the taking.

Red Sox trade Jake Peavy, Alex Wilson, Mookie Betts and Ryan Lavarnway for Cliff Lee.

Remember, in this scenario, our payroll for 2014 is $250 million. So while it might look like we’re trading one hefty pitcher salary for another, rest assured that we are paying for both Peavy and Lee next season. With salary relief like that, how could the Phillies say no!

The Red Sox have a deep rotation heading in to 2014, but it lacks someone who consistently performs like an ace – Jon Lester and Clay Buchholz have their moments, but their periods of dominance tend to be fleeting. Such is not the case with Lee, whose addition would give Boston one of the best rotations outside of Detroit or Washington.

The Phillies lower the average age of their team by about 42 years with this deal, grabbing a future closer (er, middle reliever) in Wilson, a starter behind the plate (er, at first base) in Lavarnway and the immortal Betts, who’s basically what would happen if Craig Biggio and Rod Carew fathered a child. Peavy’s ERA will probably be 0.50 with a move back to the NL.

I’m sorry about Betts, you guys, but remember this is the Phillies we’re talking about. I’m sure we’ll be able to get him back in another transaction down the line.

Lineup protection for Xander! Photo by Kelly O'Connor, sittingstill.net.

Lineup protection for Xander! Photo by Kelly O’Connor, sittingstill.net.

Red Sox trade Will Middlebrooks, Ty Buttrey and Deven Marrero to the Padres for Chase Headley.

This one hurts me the most. From a subjective, non-analytical standpoint, I love Middlebrooks. I think he’s great with the fans, he has exciting power and he’s quite handsome. Unfortunately I think his hold on the hot corner at Boston will always be tenuous as best thanks to one Xander Bogaerts, and in this deal he’s traded for one of baseball’s more underrated stars in Headley.

The Padres have tried to extend Headley to no avail, so dealing him for a third baseman with four years of control left makes sense, and if San Diego is determined to put Jedd Gyorko at third they can make WMB a 1B/3B who sees plenty of time in the NL. Buttrey is a pitcher so he’ll win like three Cy Young awards in Petco. Marrero was a first round pick so he’s probably a future Hall of Famer. San Diego is getting a steal here.

Oh, and after we trade for Headley, we sign him to a three-year, $39 million extension.

Red Sox sign Masahiro Tanaka to a three-year, $39 million deal.

I don’t think I need to explain this again, do I? Welcome aboard, No. 4 starter!

 Red Sox trade Franklin Morales to the Nationals for Danny Espinosa.

The Nationals need a replacement for Robby Ray! Morales is left-handed! This is perfect! What we lose in eyebrow, we gain in beard. Espinosa is our new utility infielder (sorry Brock \o/ L).

Red Sox sign Brandon Wood, Ben Sheets, Grady Sizemore, Jeremy Sowers, Ryan Kalish and Jeremy Hermida to minor league deals.

I need this.

There you have it, Red Sox fans. I just put together the Best Team Ever without giving up Jackie Bradley Jr., Henry Owens, Garin Cecchini, Matt Barnes, Blake Swihart, Trey Ball, Christian Vazquez or Allen Webster!

Here’s how our current roster stacks up against my Sistine Chapel.

Current Roster Ben’s Roster
RF: Shane Victorino RF: Shin-Soo Choo
LF: Daniel Nava 2B: Dustin Pedroia
2B: Dustin Pedroia LF: Carlos Gonzalez
DH: David Ortiz DH: David Ortiz
1B: Mike Napoli 1B: Mike Napoli
SS: Xander Bogaerts 3B: Chase Headley
C: A.J. Pierzynski CF: Shane Victorino
3B: Will Middlebrooks SS: Xander Bogaerts
CF: Jackie Bradley Jr. C: A.J. Pierzynski
C: David Ross C: David Ross
1B/OF: Mike Carp 1B/OF: Daniel Nava
INF: Brock Holt INF: Danny Espinosa
OF: Johnny Gomes OF: Jackie Bradley Jr.
LHP: Jon Lester LHP: Cliff Lee
RHP: Clay Buchholz LHP: Jon Lester
RHP: John Lackey RHP: Clay Buchholz
RHP: Jake Peavy RHP: Masahiro Tanaka
LHP: Felix Doubront RHP: John Lackey
RHP: Ryan Dempster RHP: Brandon Workman
RHP: Burke Badenhop LHP: Felix Doubront
LHP: Andrew Miller LHP: Craig Breslow
LHP: Craig Breslow LHP: Andrew Miller
RHP: Edward Mujica RHP: Edward Mujica
RHP: Junichi Tazawa RHP: Junichi Tazawa
RHP: Koji Uehara RHP: Koji Uehara

I wanted to cut Pierzynski and trade for Carlos Santana or clone a younger Jason Varitek, but those moves might’ve seemed unreasonable. The only real negatives here are Nava losing playing time, but we’ll squeeze him in some time during all of our blowouts. Johnny Gomes is to be kept in the dugout as our mascot. This team could for sure win 140 games.

See? Being a GM is easy!

Categories: 2014 Red Sox offseason Alex Wilson Allen Webster Andrew Miller Anthony Ranaudo Boston Red Sox Brandon Workman Bryce Brentz Burke Badenhop Carlos Gonzalez Chase Headley Daniel Nava David Ortiz Devin Marrero Drake Britton Dustin Pedroia Felix Doubront Franklin Morales Garin Cecchini Henry Owens Jackie Bradley Jeremy Hermida John Lackey Jon Lester Junichi Tazawa Matt Barnes Mookie Betts Rubby de la Rosa Ryan Kalish Ryan Lavarnway Shane Victorino Shin-Soo Choo Will Middlebrooks Xander Bogaerts

Ben is a graduate of Boston University with a degree in journalism and a love of all things Red Sox and minor league baseball. He has experience writing for Baseball Prospectus, NESN, RotoExperts, BU Today and other sites, and typically serves as an in-house MiLB writer. An editor for a business website by day, Ben likes to grill, sample IPAs and re-read Faulkner novels by night. He is an unabashed J.D. Drew apologist with a deep-seated fear of middle relievers. Follow Ben on Twitter here.

6 Responses to “Improving the 2014 Boston Red Sox” Subscribe

  1. FrThomasSzydlik December 9, 2013 at 12:14 PM #

    How come the Sox don’t offer a 3 year, $39 million deal to Mariano Rivera?  I like your other suggestions, but your failure in that regard leaves me baffled…

  2. FrThomasSzydlik December 9, 2013 at 12:14 PM #


  3. Dude wheres my car December 10, 2013 at 6:34 PM #

    A few thoughts for Ben. 

    1.In what fantasy world is either Choo or Tanaka going to be available for 3 years and $39 million? Tanaka should will get double that and Choo will get close to triple. The only reason that Victorino and Napoli were available for that kind of money is because they were coming off down years. Choo had an OBP of .423 while Tanaka is the best pitcher in Japan. This scenario is a little different. 

    2. Trading for Cliff Lee gives the Red Sox 3 lefties in the rotation. I know Lee is good, but that isn’t ideal for Fenway. Also, unless Philly thinks that Mookie betts is the second coming of Chase Utley, there is no way they trade a great starter like Cliff Lee for this collection of spare parts. 

    3. Trading for a utility infielder is always a stupid idea. There are a dozen guys just like Espinoza who can be had for the major league minimum. No need to give up a lefty who can throw 95 even if he rarely finds the plate. 

    4. Let’s see, Chase Headley with one year of team control left and then possibly at $10 million+ per season or 3 players with (arguably) more upside all under team control for at least the next 5 years. Which would you rather have?

    5. Unless the Rockies GM is partying with Rob Ford, why would he give up a proven superstar middle of the order bat for 2 unproven 24 year olds, an overpaid starter on the back 9, and a middle reliever. Again, the idea that the Sox can trade a collection of spare parts for a proven star is laughable. 

    Other than that, I like your ideas

  4. adeangelis77 December 11, 2013 at 12:08 PM #

    @Dude wheres my car You said why would they give up a proven superstar? Well why would the Tigers give up Fielder? Or why do the Dodgers want to trade Matt Kemp? They want to get younger. Prospects in the MLB for some reason are the most valuable pieces to a team. The Rockies are not going to win anything any time soon, so i could see them giving up Gonzalez.

  5. BenCarsley22 December 11, 2013 at 8:12 PM #

    @Dude wheres my car You win the prize!

  6. bhunterwillis December 14, 2013 at 4:54 PM #

    “But you must get Stanton! The Red Sox will never be good without him.” — Nick Cafardo