With the signings of Hanley Ramirez and Pablo Sandoval squared away, the Red Sox can now shift their focus to retooling the top of the starting rotation. As has been the case the entire offseason, Boston seems poised to bring back their former home grown starter turned staff ace, Jon Lester. Currently headlining the free agent market, the 30-year old has drawn the most significant interest from the Atlanta Braves and the Chicago Cubs, in addition to the Red Sox. While clubs such as the San Francisco Giants, Seattle Mariners, and New York Yankees are believed to be lying in the weeds on Lester. Whichever team the southpaw decides to go to will certainly be expected to dole out a large commitment to the former 2 time World Series Champion. Recent reports indicate that both the Red Sox and Cubs are expected to offer Lester a 6-year deal, in the neighborhood of $135-$140M. The Braves are also a club that needs to be watched with a careful eye on Lester’s market. Outside of being a solid veteran presence in their young rotation, the left-hander also makes his home on the outskirts of Atlanta, and recently bought a house in the area in which the Turner family will erect the new Braves ballpark. Aside from Lester, the free agent market also features top of the rotation starters like Max Scherzer and James Shields. Before the offseason even began, most baseball scribes thought Shields-to-Boston was all but a foregone conclusion. However, we have yet to hear if Boston has so much as reached out to the right-handers representatives. Scherzer, also a 30-years old, also hasn’t been in connection with the Red Sox as of yet, but could become an option if Lester signs elsewhere. Instead of the free agent market, Boston’s starting pitching salvation might be better attained on the trade front. Boston has rare offensive commodities and some young, controllable prospects that could entice clubs like the Nationals and Reds, just to name a few. Washington’s Jordan Zimmerman or Doug Fister would fit nicely atop the Sox rotation, as would Cincy’s right-handers Mat Latos or Johnny Cueto. These options, are just a few of the potential avenues that Boston can explore when looking to upgrade their rotation.
- Fixing the starting rotation seemed like the first order of business for the Red Sox upon entering the offseason, but adding offense wasn’t far behind. While pitching has received the brunt of the blame for Boston’s last-place finish in 2014, the team’s offensive woes were almost just as bad. Even before the offseason began, the Red Sox started to shore up their future offense by trading for Yoenis Cespedes and Allen Craig. Now with Hanley Ramirez and Pablo Sandoval on board, Boston can cross “offense” off their shopping list. (Necessary remake: Why Red Sox sought offensive overhaul with Pablo Sandoval and Hanley Ramirez)
- Both Hanley Ramirez and Pablo Sandoval were glowing with excitement about the reality of playing for the Red Sox during their introductory press conferences on Tuesday. Though both their actions and their words, both players made it apparent to the Red Sox Nation that they weren’t just here for the money, but for the opportunity to wear a Boston uniform. (Embracing Boston might set up Hanley Ramirez, Pablo Sandoval for success)
- David Ortiz wasn’t the only one happy to see his longtime buddy Hanley Ramirez join the Red Sox. Boston’s second baseman Dustin Pedroia also welcomed Ramirez aboard, by calling the 30-year old and telling him that he wants more World Series rings. (Hanley Ramirez talks about return to Boston, Dustin Pedroia’s hearty welcome)
- While we probably won’t see the Red Sox make anymore moves until after the Thanksgiving holiday, the team still has plenty of time to finish shoring up their 2015 roster. After solidifying their line-up, the Red Sox will now turn their attention to rebuilding the starting rotation, which was left in shambles after the 2014 trade deadline. A reunion with southpaw Jon Lester seems to be Boston’s top priority, and the team has a real shot at bringing the 30-year old back. However, should Lester sign elsewhere, Boston can explore a wide array of options on the trade market. In conjunction with their search for a starter, Boston could use their glut of outfielders to help reel in a top tier arm. (As Red Sox beef up lineup, still plenty of pitching options)
- After infuriating the league with his slow delivery and overall shoddy MLB career, Daisuke Matsuzaka is heading back to Japan. Upon joining the Red Sox in 2007, the right-hander enjoyed consecutive solid seasons, including a World Series victory. However, injuries and under performance quickly sent the former Japanese sensation’s MLB career into a nose dive. Three teams and over $53M later, Matsuzaka is heading back across the Pacific. (Daisuke Matsuzaka is going back to Japan)
- Tweet of the day: Rubby’s been a little slow this offseason