Talkin Sox with Dan

Where baseball fans gather for commonsensical, opinionated Red Sox banter.

Archive for the category “Acquisitions”

Cherington Moving Fast

According to a tweet from FOXSports.com’s Jon Paul Morosi, the Red Sox are not wasting any time in the wake of dealing Marco Scutaro to the Rockies. GM Ben Cherington has already intensified his pursuit of free agent starting pitcher Roy Oswalt. It makes sense that the Sox will go hard after Oswalt, but I think it’s important to remember that the right handed starter is not the elite pitcher he once was. However, if Cherington is able to pluck the 34 year old off the market, he will anchor the bottom half of the rotation and has a ton of upside.

Continue to check back as TSWD monitors the situation.

Scutaro to Colorado…for real this time

Photo via masslive.com

According to Mark Polishuk of mlbtraderumors.com, Red Sox shortstop Marco Scutaro will be heading to the thin air of Colorado. The deal was thought to be dead, but it seems like Ben Cherington will be able to free up some cash after all. In return, the Sox will get right handed pitcher Clayton Mortenson. He is a former supplemental first round pick.

Presumably, Cherington will now pursue Roy Oswalt or Gavin Floyd. Oswalt is a free agent, and I think $7-8MM would net him. Floyd is a young right handed pitcher who is under contract with the White Sox. A group of decent prospects would be required to pry Floyd from GM Kenny Williams.

This is a bold move by Cherington. It is not like the Red Sox just dumped off some complimentary piece who happened to be making a decent chunk of money. They just traded their starting shortstop who was making a reasonable $6MM in 2012. Sure, Scutaro is 36 years old, but he has been especially solid. A Nick Punto/Mike Aviles platoon at one the most crucial positions on the diamond? I’m not sold…yet.

Cherington has a move in place that will help put this one in context. Until that happens, it is important to take stock of the Sox as they are currently constituted heading into Spring Training. At shortstop, they have Aviles, Punto, and Jose Iglesias who is not anywhere close to being ready offensively. In the outfield, the Red Sox have Jacoby Ellsbury, Ryan Sweeney, Darnell McDonald, and Aviles.

The champagne is certainly not on ice.

Don’t Expect Much

Last night, the Globe’s Peter Abraham blogged about how the Red Sox have extremely limited options when it comes to moving a player in order to free up salary to land a Roy Oswalt-type of starting pitcher.

As evidenced by last night’s rumblings, Marco Scutaro is a prime example of a guy that could be moved. The difficulty is replacing Scutaro’s stability at a difficult position. Realistically, Kevin Youkilis is the only other player that could be traded. He is set to make $12MM in 2012. The third baseman also has a $13MM team option for the following year. Will Middlebrooks, the Sox super prospect, is waiting in Pawtucket. He likely still needs some more seasoning before he is handed the full time job at the hot corner.

Abraham also cites Jacoby Ellsbury as an unlikely candidate to be moved, but a candidate nonetheless. A guy like Carl Crawford simply cannot be moved because his contract is too cumbersome for another team to assume. Complimentary players like Ryan Sweeney or Kelly Shoppach would not free up enough money to pursue Oswalt if the Red Sox could negotiate a trade for one of them.

Despite watching Jonathan Papelbon sign with the Phillies and Ben Cherington put together two thrifty trades, the Red Sox still have an extremely fiscally inflexible roster. At this point, I would be surprised if Cherington is able to find a deal that allows the Sox to add quality starting pitching.

Scutaro Heading to Colorado?

Update – 8:20PM Trade talks for Marco Scutaro, at this point, are dead. No real surprise, but there are still some interesting points to derive from this non-story.

First, the Red Sox obviously believe that the collection of bottom tier pitchers they have accrued over the past month may not actually suffice. Second, they will in fact pursue moving a player salary before looking to sign a pitcher like Roy Oswalt. Third, it is not easy to find a suitor who is willing to eat the majority, if not all, of a player’s contract. Finally, even if Ben Cherington finds a team who is willing to take a player like Marco Scutaro, it is not easy to replace the vacancy that he will ultimately leave. Nick Punto and Mike Aviles are nice complimentary players, but Scutaro is a steady player who performed well down the stretch last season.

This offseason should serve as example for poor signings. Just because a player is available, does not make him a good fit. Sure would be nice to have the cool six million Bobby Jenks made last year or the easy six he will collect this year.

Reports are indicating that a trade could be made involving Marco Scutaro and the Rockies. As of right now, talks have fizzled, and there is really nothing to report. However, this is an indication that Ben Cherington believes that the acquisition of a quality starting pitcher is important. The solution for the Red Sox rotation likely will not come from Colorado. Instead, moving Scutaro, who is set to make $6MM is 2012, would free up money to target a guy like Roy Oswalt.

This would obviously create an interesting situation at shortstop. Mike Aviles and Nick Punto would serve as candidates on the roster to fill the vacancy.

Staying below or as close to the luxury tax threshold is clearly very, very important to the Red Sox. Fans and Dan Shaughnessy can disagree with it all they want, but it is real.

Continue to check back for updates. In other words, I ain’t doin’ much tonight.

Padilla to Boston

Photo via chicago.cbslocal.com

In a not-so-surprising move, the Red Sox came to an agreement with free agent right hander Vicente Padilla, according to Tim Dierkes of mlbtraderumors.com. The initial report was tweeted by Peter Gammons.

Padilla’s 2011 campaign was cut short due to a neck injury. He did not pitch after June. Like Oswalt, Padilla is 34 years old and has health issues. Although the details of the deal are not currently disclosed, it is a safe bet that Padilla is yet another discount special.

Aside from their determination not to go north of the luxury tax threshold, the Red Sox have created what should be quite a competitive atmosphere in spring training for the fifth and final rotation spot. Simultaneously, Ben Cherington has netted enough arms (as pedestrian as they may be) to provide insurance for Daniel Bard should the Sox nix the plan to have him start. It is important to note that it is likely Padilla will have a clause in his contract that allows him to opt out by a certain date early in the regular season if he is not in the role he desires. It will be vital for the Red Sox to be decisive in their decision-making process regarding the back end of their rotation at the conclusion of spring training. The veteran pitchers they are bringing in may be cheap, but their contracts will likely ensure they are not rotting in Pawtucket all year.

The Red Sox hope that they have 2012′s version of Bartolo Colon who threw well (and hard) for the Yankees last season. Reports have surfaced that Padilla is tossing a smooth 95-96 MPH in his native Nicaragua. Unless something drastically changes, Red Sox fans should temper their expectations. Roy Oswalt and Edwin Jackson sound more like pipe dreams than rotation candidates.

Red Sox Warming Up to Roy

Update – 12:15 PM According to WEEI’s Rob Bradford, the Red Sox would have to move payroll in order to accommodate a deal for Roy Oswalt. In other words, ownership has not approved the deal. The Yankees signed Hiroki Kuroda with permission from ownership. They will not have to make a subsequent move to free up money. That is not the case for the Sox. The Red Sox certainly seem like they are very serious about remaining under the luxury tax threshold. Either way, this does not bode well for a potential deal with any notable free agent.

According to a tweet late last night by Jon Paul Morosi, the Red Sox have continued to be in contact with free agent right handed pitcher Roy Oswalt.

Oswalt is 34 years old and has back issues, but he is certainly still effective. He is reportedly seeking only a one year contract. I would expect him to land a one or two year deal somewhere. Morosi believes it is time for the Red Sox to step up and improve their rotation with the likes of Oswalt or Edwin Jackson. Although I disagree with Morosi’s opinon concerning the Red Sox necessity to compete with the moves the Yankees made on Friday, I do concur with his larger point: The Red Sox need to face reality. Pitching wins, and they don’t have enough.

The fact that the Red Sox continue to kick the tires on Oswalt at least shows that they may be warming up to the idea of spending a bit more than they intended. Yankees GM Brian Cashman exhibited patience with Hiroki Kuroda, and when the price fell, he snatched him up on a one year deal. With approval from ownership, Ben Cherington may try to snag Oswalt on a one year contract for $7MM or so.

Just to be clear, if Oswalt or any other mediocre free agent starter were demanding a multiyear deal, I would be against the potential acquisition. But for one year, the commitment is miniscule and so is the risk. Oswalt, if healthy, could anchor the bottom half of a rotation that is already pretty darn good. A deal for the righty would also likely send Alfredo Aceves back to the bullpen (formally) to serve as a swingman, a role he thrived in last season.

Oswalt seems like he would rather pitch in St. Louis. It is close to home, there is no designated hitter, and the environment isn’t as rabid as it is inPhiladelphia, New York, or Boston. Conversely, it’s possible that he relishes the idea of competing in a baseball hotbed like Boston.  Let’s hope the Red Sox pony up the dough and pluck Oswalt off the market. It’s the right move.

Yankees Assume Upper Hand

Photo via usintoday.com

By now, it is no secret that the Yankees’ front office put together quite a nice Friday evening. Jesus Montero and Hector Noesi were shipped from the Bronx in exchange for Seattle’s Michael Pineda and Jose Campos. John Heyman first reported the deal when it went official. Less than sixty minutes later, ESPN’s Buster Olney tweeted that the Bombers had also inked free agent Hiroki Kuroda to a one year deal worth $10MM. And I thought dinner and a movie was a solid Friday night.

It is rare for two teams to come together to make a deal that involve young studs like Montero and Pineda, both of whom have proven that they are  primed to succeed in the big leagues.

Montero just turned 22 in November. He is a catcher who hits an absolute ton. Scouts have questioned Montero’s defensive abilities. Given the fact that teams often to choose to protect offensive assets, like Montero, from the rigors of being an everyday catcher, it is likely that the former Yankee finds himself at DH more often than not. Before making his Major League debut against the Red Sox towards the end of 2011, Montero was the coveted prospect in the Yankees’ system. It did not take long to see why the boys from the Bronx liked him so much. In only 69 at bats, Montero collected four homeruns and posted an OPS of .996. Not bad for a 21 year old kid in limited action. The success of the trade for the Mariners may hinge on Montero’s ability to develop defensively and their willingness to put him behind the dish. Catchers who hit are a precious commodity around baseball, while designated hitters are far less valuable.

Pineda is a young right handed flame thrower. He possesses an intimidating presence on the mound. The former Mariner is 6’7″ tall and has a body that looks it is built to sustain a 30+ start season. Pineda’s big league sample size is larger than Montero. As a rookie, he made 28 starts, notched a 3.74 ERA, and struck out 173 batters. He undoubtedly wore down in the latter half of 2011, but that is to be expected. Pineda’s only start against the Red Sox was not a good one for the young righty. He went 4.1 innings and gave up seven earned runs in a late July outing. Nevertheless, Pineda is flat out good, and the best part for New York is his contract situation. He is under team control through 2016.

From Seattle’s perspective, the deal made sense. The Mariners organization churns out quality starting pitching as a hobby to pass the time, and Montero looks like he is a stone cold middle of the order lock for years to come. It should be fun to watch both he and Dustin Ackley team up in the Seattle lineup.

The Yankees have a group of mashers. They’re not going to miss Montero’s bat too much this year. Although it’s not a reason to pursue a deal, Montero’s departure opens up the DH spot which will allow Joe Girardi to provide his aging players a respite from time to time. The acquisition of Pineda is just plain solid. He struck out 9.1 batters per nine frames in his rookie season. Getting consistent swings and misses is absolutely vital to maintaining consistent success in the AL East. Anytime a team is able to add a young quality starting pitcher who is under control for several years, it is usually a win.

The Kuroda signing will probably get more attention than it deserves. He will turn 37 next month, and has spent his four year Major League career pitching in the NL West. It will be at least a point of interest to see how he adjusts to hitter-friendly ballparks, the designated hitter, and the east coast–a place he did not want to go as recent as the 2011 trade deadline. However, the Yankees are not going to ask him to be more than a middle of the rotation guy in a suddenly stacked staff.

————————-

I do not believe that Friday’s moves by the Yankees will have much of an effect on how the Red Sox approach the remainder of the offseason. According to Mark Polishuk of mlbtraderumors.com, the Kuroda signing was approved by ownership. In other words, GM Brian Cashman will not need to find a way to move a player or two to accommodate Kuroda’s salary. If the Red Sox were to make a run at a pitcher like Roy Oswalt, Ben Cherington would likely need to same approval from John Henry.

The Red Sox apprehension to pull the trigger on a one year deal for a pitcher like Oswalt or Kuroda is a bit troubling. It did not seem like it was very long ago when the Sox would have leaped at an opportunity to sign a one year deal for a relatively quality starting pitcher. I loathe multiyear deals just like the Red Sox, but a one year pact carries little risk.

This is coming from the guy who didn’t think the Red Sox were going to do anything big last offseason, so take it for what it is worth, but I can’t see Cherington relinquishing the load of top tier prospects that Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer will likely demand for Matt Garza. The Cubs certainly do not need to trade the right handed starter. Consequently, they have all of the leverage in a potential deal.

The addition of Kuroda to the Yankees’ staff shrinks the market for Edwin Jackson. Could Scott Boras cut his losses this offseason and allow Jackson to sign a one year deal (a la Ryan Madson, Adrian Beltre)? Time will tell. If the Red Sox brass chooses to open their wallet a bit wider, it will be because the asking price for available starting pitching decreases and patience by Cherington pays off, not because the Yankees had a productive Friday night in mid-January.

Thank you to baseballreference.com for providing the statistics used in this entry.

Meet and Greet with Vicente Padilla

Update – Friday 10:20 AM According to Nick Collias at mlbtraderumors.com, a major league source told WEEI’s Alex Speier that Padilla is just one of a few pitchers that the Red Sox are talking to. Essentially, the report indicates that the Sox do have some interest in the right hander, but a deal is not nearly as imminent as it seemed yesterday evening. Nevertheless, when there is smoke, there is usually fire. At the very least, Padilla represents the type of free agent that the Red Sox plan to target.

Update – 4:55 PM According to a tweet from Jon Heyman, the Red Sox and Vicente Padilla are working towards a deal. Doctors and scouts must have liked what they have seen thus far. TSWD will keep you updated as details continue to surface.

According to Nick Collias of mlbtraderumors.com, the Red Sox are taking a look at another bargain bin special. Padilla left Nicaragua on Wednesday and will be looked at by Red Sox team doctors today.

Padilla is 34 years old and has expressed interest in joining a team where he will have the opportunity to compete for a spot in the rotation. According to reports, the right hander has touched 95-96 MPH on his fastball while pitching in the Nicaraguan winter league. Bartolo Colon‘s resurgence last season immediately comes to mind.

Stay tuned to see if the Sox bite on another lottery ticket.

Red Sox Continue to Add Depth

The Red Sox and Rockies made a small deal yesterday that will send utility man Brad Emaus to Boston in exchange for some cash, according to mlbtraderumors.com’s Ben Nicholson-Smith.

Another blockbuster deal for the Red Sox. It’s mid-January and by now, we should all be used to this type of underwhelming news. Emaus is 25 years old and, according to multiple reports, will provide insurance for the Red Sox at both second base and third. The former Blue Jays’ draft pick will likely spend much of his time in Triple A.

The Red Sox do not have any vacancies in the infield. Mike Aviles should have a spot sewn up as a super utility player. The Sox hope that his duties as backup infielder will extend to right field in 2012. Nick Punto was signed earlier this offseason and will be on the 25 man roster to begin the season.

It is difficult to see where Emaus immediately fits in with the Red Sox, but injuries often crop up during a 162 game grind. Emaus is young and has posted a smooth .303/.393/.519 in two Triple A seasons (a total of 550 plate appearances).

This is simply the newest chapter in Ben Cherington’s quest for Major League-ready depth. He has now started to take out insurance policies for his insurance policies.

Red Sox Sign Justin Germano

TSWD first learned of the addition from Mike Axisa of mlbtraderumors.com, but John Heyman (via Twitter) broke the story.

I probably wouldn’t start gassing up the duck boats quite yet, but Germano could be a guy who helps out the Sox at some point. He is a 29 year old right handed pitcher who spent the majority of last year pitching in Korea. According to Heyman, Germano turned down a contract worth over one million dollars overseas for the opportunity to make the Red Sox. Germano has logged only 253 innings over the course of six years in Major League Baseball.

I don’t know much about Germano, but this move, like others, represents a diliberate effort on the part of Ben Cherington to assure that the Red Sox are not in the same position they were last year. An injury here and there left the Sox rolling out pitchers who did belong in the big leagues at the time. Cherington may not go out and grab the next American League Cy Young winner, but he is methodically piecing together a pitching staff that stretches beyond the confines of Fenway Park. The 2004 Red Sox had five pitchers who made at least 29 starts. The 2012 Red Sox will likely not have that luxury. Possessing organization depth, especially in the pitching department, is paramount. The 2011 Red Sox proved that point all too well.

Post Navigation

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.