A look back at the revolving door that has been Boston Red Sox shortstops since Nomar Garciaparra’s departure in 2004.
Scott Candage predicts what the Red Sox will do at the Winter Meetings
Who could be the Red Sox’s next shortstop? Will it be Jose Iglesias, or will they look elsewhere?
While Mike Aviles has done a competent job this year, is he really the man moving forward?
Though the Red Sox will be seeing plenty of Alex Gonzalez next season, it won’t be in a Red Sox uniform, as their ultimate fail-safe signed on with the Toronto Blue Jays yesterday. It’s never a good sign to see Plan B go off the market – or Plan C/D/F for that matter – as the Sox’ shortstop options are dwindling, meaning that they are all the more likely to go hard after Scutaro for a contract much more favorable to player than to team.
At the off-season’s beginning, the team could select from any of Hardy, Stephen Drew, Scutaro, or a Gonzalez-Lowrie timeshare. Now, with both J.J. Hardy and Gonzalez off the table and Arizona clinging hard to Drew, the Sox’ options have become alarmingly limited to a shot at a trade with Diamondbacks or duking it out with Scutaro’s many admirers.
Alex Gonzalez has reportedly signed a one year contract worth $2.75 million with a $2.5 million club option for 2011. Gonzo came over from the Reds to reprise his role as Boston shortstop late last season and was simply excellent. The Sox declined his $6 million option and took the risk of letting the free agent market play out.
Barring a trade, it seems as if this limits Boston to Marco Scutaro, who is the outgoing Blue Jays shortstop. The signing on Toronto’s end would be rather smart in this regard as it would force their division rival to give up their first-round pick to the team that signed Gonzalez.
The Red Sox chose to decline Alex Gonzalez’s $6 million option for 2010 today, putting the shortstop on the free agent market.
Quick recap: Gonzalez came to Boston post-Edgar Renteria and served ably, with sensational defense and a penchant for launching the occasional bomb but not much else. He left for a big-money contract in Cincinnati following the season, Julio Lugo taking his place.
That contract was marred by injuries, and he was shipped back to Boston in August at which time he exploded, again providing great defense while being above-average on offense. Part of me wonders if the team even would have made the playoffs without him.
Just because he’s set free now doesn’t mean he can’t return to Boston. However, Gonzo is not a $6 million player, so the decision was easy. Especially with the news that John Henry’s hedge fund business is suffering — no matter what the front office may say, it will absolutely impact the finances Boston has to work with.
If Gonzalez is willing to sign a two-year deal for $6 million, he’ll be back in Boston. The risk here is obviously opening the bidding up to 29 other teams, but at this point, I think Boston is willing to pay a shade above market value for him — just not way above.
Delaying a decision on Gonzalez also impacts Boston’s ability to continue shopping for a better or more long-term shortstop. The team was in the hunt for J.J. Hardy but lost out to the Twins earlier this week.
Like most teams, the Boston Red Sox offseason will be defined by the willingness of their owner to open his wallet.
Fortunately for Sox fans nationwide, Uncle John certainly has some deep pockets. However, the amount he is willing to spend will have a lot to say about the direction that this team will be headed.
The prudent move by the Red Sox will be to look for incremental gains in what is partly a transitional year, while also being a year of opportunity. The club has nearly its entire 2009 starting lineup under contract, including its entire starting staff and at least seven of nine position players. For a team that won 95 games last season, that’s a recipe for success. Still, the American League gets more competitive every year, as the AL West, the Yankees, and our little brother Rays make it harder and harder to buy the Wild Card.
Today is the first in a three version series on an offseason blueprint the Red Sox should follow. What should their starting lineup and pitching staff look like entering the 2010 season?
I’ll take a look at one possible scenario while Mike and Tim follow up with their own in the next two days. Before I jump in, let me clarify something important: this is not necessarily a prediction of what the Sox will do, nor an endorsement of a particular path. All this is is simply food for thought. What possible scenarios could Boston pursue? Well, this particular one involves three major names being added to the team while losing Clay Buchholz.
As is customary at the conclusion of every MLB season, the Boston Red Sox are now the proud holders of a number of expiring contracts and team options.
For a team swept in the opening round of the playoffs, there is often the urge to spend big on the free agent market in an attempt to show the fans that they are committed to winning after a badly failed run.
However, this may not be the case with the 2010 Sox, as they are retaining most of their starting roster – many at excellent prices for their skill level (i.e. Lester for $3.75 million in 2010) – with significant questions at left field and shortstop only.
Now, with the end of the season upon us and free agency approaching, who will the Sox choose to keep around?