With December just about over, the Red Sox will head into the new year with almost their entire roster figured out. In the line-up the team made significant offensive upgrades with the additions of Pablo Sandoval and Hanley Ramirez. Sandoval, who should solve the third base problem for the foreseeable future, will bring a .294/.346/.465 career slash to Boston. Likewise, Ramirez will bring a potent offensive presence to the line-up, capable of collecting 20+ HR and over 80 RBI. Injuries are always a concern with the 30-year old, however, as his only played 214 games over the last two seasons. With Sandoval already at third base and Xander Bogaerts manning short stop, Boston will ask Ramirez, a native shortstop, to play left field for the first time in his 10 year career. The 4 year, $88 million signing for Ramirez was first complicated by the Sox outfield logjam, but Boston took care of any roster crams by trading the jewel of the trade deadline, Yoenis Cespedes. Boston dealt the Cuban slugger to the Detroit Tigers in exchange for starting pitcher Rick Porcello. While Porcello has just one year left on his current deal(like Cespedes), Boston will most likely try to re-up the 25-year old in 2015. Porcello was the last pitcher to join a duo of new pitchers in Boston this offseason. Preceding Porcello, the Sox acquired left-hander Wade Miley from the Diamondbacks and signed free agent righty Justin Masterson. Wiley, 26, was obtained by the Red Sox in exchange for young starters Rubby De La Rosa and Allen Webster. While the Red Sox didn’t replace Jon Lester with an ace like most fans wanted to, the trio of new starters all feature high career ground ball percentages, which bodes well with the small confines of Fenway Park.
With the Ben Cherington’s shopping list just about complete, there is still one area that he would like to check off. Before the holiday break, the third year GM admitted that the team “would still like to add some things to the bullpen”. While the Red Sox have some internal candidates to assume the bullpen vacancies, don’t count the team out on adding help from outside the organization. “I wouldn’t rule out adding to the bullpen externally in some way between now and spring training.” said the GM “it’s one area where you can typically find some opportunities externally later in the offseason, past the holidays, January, or even in spring training”. (Quotes from WEEI.com’s Rob Bradford)
- Ever since Rusney Castillo began playing under Alex Cora in the Puerto Rican Winter League, the 27-year old outfielder has received high praise. Now, as Castillo’s time in Puerto Rico ends, the new Red Sox center fielder will enter his first MLB season with the blessings of his winter league manager. In 37-at bats, Castillo batter over .400 with a home run and 2 stolen bases. (Rusney Castillo leaves Puerto Rico having made his mark)
- While a Cole Hamels trade would undoubtedly solve the Red Sox desire to obtain an ace, the two teams aren’t exactly seeing eye-to-eye on a potential deal. Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. has placed a high price tag on his left-hander, the cost of which would require some of the Sox top prospects. However, Boston has told the Phillies GM that the likes of Mookie Betts and Xander Bogaerts are off limits. (No Cole Hamels trade for Red Sox while Ruben Amaro runs Phillies?)
- Have the Red Sox secretly retired Roger Clemens number 21, or is it just a coincidence that no one has worn the number since The Rockets departure from Boston in 1996? This offseason, Rick Porcello, who wore the number as a member of the Detroit Tigers last season 2 seasons, elected not to use 21 upon joining the Red Sox. Unlike Clemens, Boston has freely given out the number 26, which Wade Boggs wore during his hall of fame tenure in Boston. (Are the Red Sox more respectful of Roger Clemens legacy than Wade Boggs?)
- No Red Sox rookie last season relished his first exposure in the majors quite like Christian Vazquez. After the release of AJ Pierzynski, Boston let the 24-year old start 50 of the teams last 72 games. In those appearances, the backstop displayed a terrific defensive skill set and an encouraging offensive approach. Vazquez, along with newcomer Ryan Hanigan, figure to form a solid tandem in 2015 while Red Sox prized prospect Blake Swihart finishes seasoning in the minor leagues. (Red Sox armed with defense, youth at catcher)
- Tweet of the day: Same.