If the Red Sox were to pull off a substantial trade this offseason, it’s more than likely that Mookie Betts would need to be the centerpiece of any potential deal. After starting the season in double-A, Betts spent a short time in triple-A before getting called up to the Red Sox in late June. If breezing through two levels of the minor leagues wasn’t challenging enough, Betts also learned an entirely new position as he ascended through the Sox farm. While still with the Portland Sea Dogs, Betts began to see playing time in the outfield and continued to learn his new role on the job throughout the 2014 season. When he arrived in Boston, Mookie Madness took Red Sox Nation by storm, as the 21-year old displayed a mature approach at the plate and steady outfield defense. After the team tried multiple players in the lead-off spot, Boston finally found a steady bat with great speed to plug atop their order in Betts. While he only amassed 56 games last season, Betts managed to post a .291/.368/.444 slash, with 12 doubles and 5 home runs. In 22 games as a lead-off hitter, the former fifth round selection reached base at a .388 clip, and posted a 10/16 BB/K. Going forward, Betts seems like a keeper for both his offensive and defensive promise, and I don’t believe that anyone would have a problem if Boston held onto the youngster. Even high ranking Red Sox official Bill James seems like he’s on team Keep Mookie, judging by the projections he gave for Betts’ Sophomore season. However, the Red Sox have a ton of holes to fill this winter — some of which can’t be solved in free agency alone. Therefore, Boston will need to decide whether Mookie Betts is more valuable on their roster or off it. Outfield glut aside, Mookie’s value is probably as high as it’s ever going to be, and while 56 games doesn’t offer any conclusions, Steamer predicts a solid 2015 campaign for Betts. Conversely, along with money and roster openings, prospects is another tool that the Red Sox could use to reel in a big fish this winter. Betts, along with others, could spell the answer to Boston’s top tier pitching woes.
- Over the past few years, the Red Sox have been more weary about allocating multiple years to free agents, than multiple dollars. Two offseasons ago Boston overpaid Shane Victorino by shelling out $39M, but were content with just a three year pact. Although it never went through thanks to a failed physical, the Sox were prepared to give Mike Napoli the same contract parameters as Victorino. Now, as the Red Sox survey Pablo Sandoval’s market, the team might start to change their opinion on the Kung-Fu Panda, who’s reportedly seeking a 6-year pact. (Pablo Sandoval wants at least a six-year contract)
- Outside of Cole Hamels, perhaps the next best option for the Red Sox on the trade front lies in Cincinnati. Reds starters Johnny Cueto and Mat Latos are interesting trade candidates, as both will enter the final year of their current contract. If it wasn’t for Clayton Kershaw, Cueto would be in the Cy Young race. If it wasn’t for injuries, Latos would have had a more productive 2014 season. But it takes two to trade, and the Reds appear poised to add a big bat this offseason in order to compete in 2015. (Don’t expect Johnny Cueto or Mat Latos to be traded this winter)
- After trying for three different managerial openings this offseason, it doesn’t appear that Torey Lovullo will interview for the Tampa Bay Rays vacancy. The Rays released their list of eight potential Joe Maddon successors on Thursday, a list that included 6 newcomers to the role and 2 former MLB managers. For right now, it seems as though Lovullo will spend the 2015 season as John Farrell’s right-hand man. (Torey Lovullo not on Rays’ short list for manager position)
- For the past few seasons, the thought of Giancarlo Stanton donning a Red Sox uniform is one that has dominated the minds of Red Sox fans. Now, the once realistic possibility may never come to fruition, as the Miami Marlins have begun contract extension talks with the 24-year old. Fresh off an MVP-esq season in which Stanton tattooed 37 homers and reached base at a .395 clip, the outfield appears poised to cash in on a long term contract with the team that drafted him. (Giancarlo Stanton begins contract negotiations with the Mami Marlins)
- While there are obviously more pressing needs on the Red Sox agenda, the team will eventually need to further solidify their bullpen. Currently the Red Sox pen seems set in the back end, with Koji Uehara rejoining Junichi Tazawa and Edward Mujica. However, the teams middle relief core requires some rebuffing, and the free agent front provides some interesting candidates from which to choose from. (Red Sox should consider these buy-low relievers)
- Tweet of the day: Ryan Roberts was clearly overlooked…
You're not gonna believe this, but no Red Sox won Silver Sluggers this year.
— Tim Britton (@TimBritton) November 7, 2014