By now I imagine that we’re all pretty well versed in acquisitions that the Boston Red Sox have made so far this offseason, but they’re not the only team that has been busy in the American League East. The Toronto Blue Jays, who finished third in the division standings last season, added some thump to the middle of their order with additions on both the free agent market and trade front. The team’s first acquisition of the offseason, Russell Martin, inked a five year pact worth $82M. While a five year pact for a 31-year old catcher was met with some raised eyebrows, Toronto is banking on Martin’s production and leadership in Pittsburgh to translate north of the boarder. While Martin was a splashy move for the Jays, the team sent tidal waves across the MLB when they acquired Oakland Athletics third baseman Josh Donaldson for a package of prospects and Brett Lawrie. Donaldson will join Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion in the middle of Toronto’s order, and bring with him a bat capable of producing 90-plus runs a season. According to Steamer projection system on Fangraphs.com, the combined wins above replacement for Martin and Donaldson amounts to close to 10.0. Aside from Toronto’s big additions, the team also added solid lefty platoon outfielder Michael Saunders, once promising first base prospect Justin Smoak, and spot starter Marco Estrada. The Jays offseason appears just about finished, but the team could still be in the market for a top of the rotation starter. Like the Red Sox, Toronto boasts a powerful offense, with a questionable rotation. Since coming over via trade in 2012, R.A. Dickey hasn’t been the Cy Young ace that he was with the New York Mets. While youngster Marcus Stroman and veteran Mark Buehrle anchor the middle of the staff, the Jays back end will also need to be addressed before the offseason is out.
- The Red Sox thrust themselves into the middle of the San Diego Padres shopping spree on Friday, as the team acquired catcher Ryan Hanigan in exchange for third baseman Will Middlebrooks. Hanigan, whose Padres career lasted a whopping 48 hours, was recently shipped from Tampa Bay to San Diego in the Wil Myers deal. The 34-year old will bring to Boston terrific glove work and weak offense, a skill set similar to his predecessor David Ross. Middlebrooks, on the other hand, will look to finally establish himself as an everyday player in the Padres suddenly stacked line up. (The Padres aren’t done! They’re trading Ryan Hanigan to the Red Sox for Will Middlebrooks)
- With the edition of Ryan Hanigan, the Red Sox roster features some redundancy in terms of defensive minded backstops. However, even with Hanigan and Christian Vazquez touting a similar skill set, the team shouldn’t cut bait with either of them. Boston’s current tandem, along with stud prospect Blake Swihart waiting in the wings, gives Boston great depth at the catchers position, something that is at a premium in today’s MLB. (Even with Vazquez, Swihart, and Hanigan, Red Sox have no catching to spare)
- Rick Porcello has yet to take the mound as a member of the Boston Red Sox, but he has already made quite a few memories inside Fenway Park. Back in 2009 Porcello, then just 20-years old, found himself in the middle of a brawl with former Red Sox fan favorite Kevin Youkilis. Five seasons later, the right-hander surrendered a walk-off single to Jarrod Saltalamacchia in game two of the ALCS. While most of Porcello’s memories at Fenway Park carry negative connotations, the former first round pick won’t let them hang over his head as he joins the team. (Rick Porcello hopes to make more memories at Fenway Park)
- What’s done is done between the Red Sox and Jon Lester, but that won’t stop people from playing the what if game. When the left hander was asked if he would have accepted a five year, $120M offer from the Red Sox last offseason, Lester admitted that he “probably” would have. This response reopened a wound with some fans before it even fully healed. (Jon Lester would have said “probably, yes” to 5 year, $120 million offer last spring from Red Sox)
- Tweet of the day: Early favorite for quote of the 2015 Red Sox