With the acquisition of Adam LaRoche and Chris Duncan, the Red Sox have made some aggressive moves to shore up their offense. With the moves, it is likely that the Sox are done acquiring anyone who primarily plays first and left field. Thus, Ryan Spilborghs and Josh Willingham have been removed from the list below outlining several names to keep an eye on. I’ve also removed Scott Rolen, as the LaRoche acquisition means we can give Lowell breaks and put Youkilis at third.
This leaves three more names to fill up to reach the 15 bats I promised in part one. I added one more bat, but for the other two names, I’ve gone ahead and slotted pitching in there, largely in response to this article in the Globe, which states the Sox probably have their hands in the Roy Halladay sweepstakes now given the recent pitching struggles of the Sox. I’m not sold on the chances of a big move, but the pitching has certainly got to a point where it’s not out of the realm of possibility to see a trade for a pitcher.
The following seven names are in alphabetical order.
ORLANDO CABRERA — SS, Oakland
HOW HE IS A FIT: The Red Sox’s shortstop position is the only area where the Sox have flexibility. Nick Green’s home run Thursday notwithstanding, his offense has fallen off a precipice and I’m of the mind it wouldn’t be awful to send Jed Lowrie to the minors to play in Triple-A full-time in August and bring him back in September. That opens the door for Cabrera, a door that was solidly closed a month ago. His .267 average in June and .387 mark in July has boosted his overall numbers to .274/.313/.361. Not great, but a better bet than Nick Green in staying productive.
WHY HE ISN’T A FIT: O-Cab’s UZR/150 at shortstop is -9.3, making him a liability — moreso than Green and Lowrie — in the field. Is his potential offensive contribution enough to outweigh his poor defense thus far? With Lowrie in the fold, it may not be.
HOW LIKELY WE CAN GET HIM: It’ll be easy. All we have to do is say the word; the Athletics are out of contention and Cabrera is on the market. But I very much doubt it happens. If it did, and we won the World Series, how much of a cult hero would O-Cab be?
ROY HALLADAY — SP, Toronto
HOW HE IS A FIT: You knew you were going to see this name. How is he a fit? Let’s see… best pitcher on the market. Check. Instantly becomes Boston’s ace, ahead of Beckett. Check. Signed through next year, and the Sox certainly could resign him if they so desired. Check.
WHY HE ISN’T A FIT: The price he would command seems to be impossible for Theo to give up. At some point, to continue contending, we need to pull off a blockbuster deal for a proven arm or bat. Theo hasn’t shown that willingness so far.
HOW LIKELY WE CAN GET HIM: If we really wanted Halladay, he would be ours. Just offer Clay Buchholz, Lowrie and a B prospect and he’s wearing red socks. It’s that simple. Could the Sox finagle a Bowden/Lowrie deal to get Halladay? I’m betting yes. But then shortstop becomes a short- and long-term concern (yet again). If Theo catches wind of Halladay about to head to the Yankees or Rays, he simply needs to pull the trigger. Any acquisition of Halladay by one of these two clubs would doom the Sox if the Sox don’t answer in kind.
VICTOR MARTINEZ — C, Cleveland
HOW HE IS A FIT: Martinez would provide an immediate and awesome offensive boost to the Sox, allaying any concerns. He could spell Varitek behind the plate, platoon with Adam LaRoche at first, give David Ortiz a breather against tough left-handers at DH and play first base against lefties. The playing time would be there.
WHY HE ISN’T A FIT: Acquiring Martinez would require a move of Youkilis to third base, the likely disabling of Mike Lowell and the probable waiving of George Kottaras. The latter is in question, but it is something I would endorse. Trying to fit Victor in to positions that are already all jammed up is not impossible, but it would be a headache. And the price would be similar to what Roy Halladay would require. I’d rather not deal with the logjam headache and get the ace.
HOW LIKELY WE CAN GET HIM: He’s definitely on the block, and the Sox could have him if they were willing to give Buchholz up. With Buchholz’s shaky start Thursday night, I have to wonder if the Sox are growing less confident in Buchholz’s long-term status. The team has Bowden in reserve, after all. The Rays are making a hard push for Victor, however, and would be more motivated than the Sox to make a deal.
MARK TEAHEN — 3B, Kansas City
HOW HE IS A FIT: In all of this list, Teahen might be the best option. He can play the outfield and infield corners and has been on the block for a while. If we’re looking to bolster our offense against right-handed hitters, Teahen is a nice fit: .292/.354/.464. He can also hit lefties and is deserving of being a starter. On the Sox, he would be a bench/platoon player, but it would really help our offense.
WHY HE ISN’T A FIT: Who does he replace? Since Kotsay is likely to be booted for LaRoche, though, where and how does Teahen fit in? Do you move on from Rocco Baldelli and hope J.D. Drew can fill in at center (Drew is hitting .239, by the way…)? Do you option Lowrie and hope Green can play every day? Those aren’t fun options.
HOW LIKELY WE CAN GET HIM: He’s on the block, KC is spinning away into the cellar. Move a couple prospects and Teahen would be ours. But do we want him?
MIGUEL TEJADA — SS, Houston
HOW HE IS A FIT: Tejada would be a logical fit at shortstop and as a free agent after the year, wouldn’t tie up too much of Boston’s resources. He’s having an incredible season for the Astros, hitting .327/.356/.469 and leads the majors in doubles, with 30.
WHY HE ISN’T A FIT: Actually, the fit is rather logical. The only knock on him would be his previous use of steroids, and he has a -7.8 UZR/150. The price Houston would command is also likely to be prohibitive. It may be better for the Sox to wait until the offseason and ink Tejada to a two-year deal to serve as the shortstop.
HOW LIKELY WE CAN GET HIM: It’s near impossible. The Astros have scraped their way from 9.5 games out to one game back of the NL Central lead. You’re asking Houston to give up one of their most productive bats in the middle of a race. Unless the Astros lose their next 10 games, it’s not happening. (With Berkman just hitting the DL, it could happen.)
DAN UGGLA — 2B, Florida
HOW HE IS A FIT: Out of all the names on this list, this one is my favorite. Uggla may be a second baseman, but a lot of people believe he’s a future third-baseman. The Marlins are inching closer and closer to being sellers, and likely wouldn’t ask for Buchholz or even Bowden. Uggla’s having his worst year in the bigs so far, checking in at .232/.343/.424, but started turning it on in June before reverting back down in July. However, his batting average in July is the best it’s been all year — .267.
WHY HE ISN’T A FIT: Where do you play him? Do you make an in-season move of Uggla to third base? Do you try to play Pedroia at shortstop and stick Uggla at second? Do you go with a massive platoon across the entire infield? A lot of questions, no easy answers.
HOW LIKELY WE CAN GET HIM: He would be easier to acquire than Victor Martinez, but the Indians are prepared to sell. The Marlins are not.
JAVIER VAZQUEZ — SP, Atlanta
HOW HE IS A FIT: Vazquez is having an unbelievable year in Atlanta, posting a 2.86 ERA in 126 innings, striking out 141. He’s always been a workhorse, passing 200 innings every year since getting at least 32 starts sans one year, when he missed by two innings in his sole season as a Yankee in the glorious 2004 year. He would cost less, much less, than Halladay. He’s due $10.5 million this year and $10.5 million next year. If the Sox or he (he would have the right to demand a trade, having been traded in the middle of a multi-year contract) want to move on after 2009, it wouldn’t be difficult to find a trade partner.
WHY HE ISN’T A FIT: The Braves would only move Vazquez to get immediate help on offense. Who would that be? Adam LaRoche, a former Brave, certainly could be a fit as Casey Kotchman is hitting .282/.352/.396. Mike Lowell could be the answer if the Braves wanted to move Chipper Jones to left field midseason (or to first?), but the Braves would rightfully be concerned about his injury history. However, both players have similar contracts, so money wouldn’t be a big issue.
HOW LIKELY WE CAN GET HIM: If we offer Lowell or LaRoche, I’m betting a deal could get done, and Vazquez might be a more palatable option to Theo than giving away everything (plus the kitchen sink) for Halladay. LaRoche and Penny for Vazquez? Lowell and a pitching prospect?
Right now, the Red Sox have two disabled starting pitchers and two others pitching like No. 5s (John Smoltz and Buchholz). Therefore, it’s not illogical to suggest that the Sox would go after a starting pitcher.
With the acquisition of LaRoche, it would stand to reason it would be difficult to make a trade for a bat who plays first, but most of the players available do just that. The best move to make is for a shortstop, but the options there are lackadaisical.
What player would you like to see on a flight manifest to Boston on July 31?