Although Jon Lester still has yet to make his final decision, that shouldn’t stop the Boston Red Sox from exploring other avenues of improving their starting rotation. Lester by and large is the big fish that the team is trying to coax back to Boston after shipping him out to Oakland at the trade deadline last season. However, Boston’s rotation needs aren’t just limited to finding an ace; the team also needs to add a number two starter. Yesterday, CBSSports.com’s Scott Miller wrote that an industry source insisted that the Red Sox “master plan” is to add sign one starter in free agency, and add another via trade. In that line of thinking, it’s plausible that the Red Sox could sign Lester, and turn their attention to the trade market in order to reel in a number two arm. Too me, this route is far and away the best option for Boston, as it would allow the team to retain all their top prospects, and not have to use them to obtain an arm like Cole Hamels or Chris Sale. Of course, Boston will still have to use some prospects in a deal, but it won’t have to be the big names like Blake Swihart, Henry Owens, or Mookie Betts. It’s realistic to think that a starters like Hisashi Iwakuma, Jeff Samardzija, or Mat Latos could be had in a deal involving Yoenis Cespedes plus two nice prospects like Garin Cecchini and a young starter like Matt Barnes or Anthony Ranaudo. Cecchini is a solid prospect with a lot of upside, but with Pablo Sandoval at third for the next 5 seasons and the outfield as crowded as it is, the 23-year old’s future in Boston looks bleak. While you can never have enough pitching, arms like Matt Barnes and Anthony Ranaudo could be used just as effectively as trade chips. In the end different teams will have different prospects they favor over others, like Oakland for example, who seem to gravitate towards short stop Devan Marrero. Still, Boston has enough quality pieces to acquire one of the afore mentioned starters without it being a detriment to their farm system. Outside of some nagging injury concerns, the only real downside to adding one of the starters listed above is that they’re only under contract for the 2015 season. But even that isn’t a huge concern, since the team can either extend him, or sign someone new in free agency next offseason.
- Throughout his Red Sox career, David Ortiz has never shied away from letting the media know just how he feels on issues facing himself and the Red Sox. So it isn’t really a surprise that the hulking designated hitter made his thoughts regarding Boston’s ongoing negotiations with Jon Lester abundantly clear. In short, Ortiz’ called for the Red Sox front office to take every necessary step to bring the southpaw back to Boston. (David Ortiz makes plea to Red Sox to ‘step up’ for Jon Lester)
- After lying dormant for the entire first month of the offseason, the New York Yankees made their first two substantial acquisitions of the winter. The first move saw the Yankees, Tigers, and Diamondbacks get together on a three team trade, in which New York acquired shortstop Didi Gregorious. The Yankees front office stayed busy on Friday as the team reeled in former Red Sox left hander Andrew Miller. Miller, who spent the last three seasons emerging as one of the best lefty relievers in the game, signed a 4 year, $36M contract to join the Yankees ‘pen. While a $9M annual average revenue is typically an ill advised investment for most teams, the Yankees deep pockets should serve as enough insurance. (Yankees strike again by signing reliever Andrew Miller)
- After hanging in DFA limbo for more than a week, Red Sox catcher/first baseman Ryan Lavarnway was claimed off waivers by the Los Angeles Dodgers. While Lavarnway showed a lot of promise in the minor leagues, the 27-year old was never able to translate his offensive success to the major leagues. In over 300 MLB plate appearances, the former 6th round pick posted a .201/.249/.315 slash, with 5 home runs and 34 RBI. While never though highly of behind the dish, Lavarnway showed shoddy defensive skills and was forced off the position last season. While a deal still needs to be worked out between the Dodgers and Red Sox, a change of scenery could be just what the Yale alum needs. (Dodgers claim Ryan Lavarnway off waivers from Red Sox, drop Drew Butera)
- Among the handful of potential trade targets for the Red Sox this season, Washington Nationals starting pitcher Doug Fister seems like one of the most logical fits. Although the 30-year old never receives the necessary credit, Fister has been one of the leagues best pitchers over the last four seasons. From 2011 to 2014 the right hander’s earned run average and fielding independent pitching statistics rub shoulders with some of the most notable pitchers in the game. While Fister’s strikeout numbers have nosedived recently, his command of the zone has resulted in less walks and a high ground ball rate. Of course in any trade it takes at least two to tango, and Washington has no real need to move Fister, but if any team in need of pitching can put together a tantalizing package, it’s the Red Sox. (Red Sox trade target: Doug Fister)
- Tweet of the day: Something we should remind ourselves of daily…