Talkin Sox with Dan

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Archive for the tag “Roy Oswalt”

Three Misconceptions Concerning the 2012 Red Sox

1. That this little guy in the background matters (a lot)-Trust me, I would have liked to see  Roy Oswalt anchoring the latter half of the Red Sox staff. Would he have helped? You bet. Would he have taken some pressure off of Daniel Bard and his attempt at transitioning from setup man to starter? Mhm. Is the Sox staff worse without Oswalt? Yes. But if the Red Sox rotation falters, it will because Jon Lester, Josh Beckett, and Clay Buchholz do not hold up their respective ends of the bargain. Teams do not lean on fifth starters. They rotate them.

2. The lineup configuration is a concern-Look, I think it’s as fun as anyone to go back and forth arguing with some buddies as to where Crawford will hit. In the end, it doesn’t matter. The first six hitters in the Red Sox lineup are legitimate All-Stars. As I have mentioned, Dustin Pedroia is about as offensively versatile as it gets. In a perfect world, would I have him hit in the two hole? Sure. But something tells me Pedroia is going to be slotted closer to the middle part of the order. On several occasions, Bobby Valentine has downplayed the importance of having a set lineup. He will likely use many different variations. Also, Valentine has indicated that he prefers to view a nine-man lineup as bunches of smaller sets of mini-lineups–if that makes sense. In other words, the lineup may technically begin with Jacoby Ellsbury and end with Jose Iglesias (see what I did right there?). However, Valentine may see three lineups within the larger one (1-3, 4-6, 7-9). He will likely attempt to put together the best three mini-lineups he can. But here’s the point: Valentine could have Rob Gronkowski decide who hits where for the 2012 Red Sox, and they’re still going to push across north of 800 runs.

3. The Red Sox are cheap-Silly. Beyond silly. I don’t want to hear about Liverpool. I don’t care if John Henry and Co. fly to England and literally burn their money in the center of London. As long as the Red Sox annual payroll flirts with $180MM, don’t complain. If the Red Sox brass spent over a $100MM on one player last offseason and one this offseason, no one would be griping in message boards or on sports talk radio. Instead, they hired Adrian Gonzalez and Carl Crawford last winter. Gripe about how they choose to spend their dough, just don’t tell me they don’t spend it.

So Sick of Roy Oswalt

Update — 2:50PM Roy Oswalt is not a member of the Boston Red Sox. He isn’t a Cardinal or a Ranger either. It sounds like he may lean towards signing on with a team in the middle of the season. Can’t wait.

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If I have to post about Roy Oswalt again this offseason, I’ll be damned if I have to include another photo of him. The shot of Carl Crawford and Bobby Valentine coming together earlier this week in Fort Myers is much more appealing. (“Hey! You owe me five!”).

Jim Bowden of ESPN tweeted yesterday that Oswalt’s decision on where he will play in 2012 could come as early as today. Close to a month ago, I wrote that Oswalt was likely heading to St. Louis. So much for that.

At this point, it’s nearly impossible to guess to where this guy is going to end up. Texas, St. Louis, and Boston have all expressed interest at one time or another. The former two have roster and financial restrictions that have served as roadblocks in terms of acquiring Oswalt. An Oswalt-Red Sox marriage almost makes too much sense.

Bowden’s tweet certainly infers that Oswalt has several different options to choose from. I’m not so sure that’s the case, but who knows? It is not clear if GM Ben Cherington and the Red Sox even have an offer on the table to Oswalt. However, when the veteran right handed starting pitcher opens his front door today in Mississippi, the Red Sox may be in the only team waiting on the doorstep. Either way, we’ll keep you posted.

House Keeping

David Ortiz and the Red Sox avoided arbitration by agreeing to a one-year deal worth $14.575. He will receive a raise of around $2MM. The bottom line is that he is a designated hitter making over $14MM. Ortiz should take some satisfaction in that alone. GM Ben Cherington and the rest of the Red Sox front office can put this matter behind them, at least for a period of time. Let’s do the same…

-GM Billy Beane and the Oakland Athletics made a curious move yesterday by signing Cuban sensation Yoenis Cespedes to a four-year, $36MM deal. It is quite an expensive deal for a an extremely small market team. Beane, who recently signed an extension that will keep him as the General Manager of the A’s through 2019, will be counted on by ownership to spearhead a much-wanted move to San Jose. Cespedes could be the chip that provides the Athletics with some relevancy during the initial steps of this process.

-No news on Roy Oswalt. Frankly, as I’ve alluded to, I’m sick of even discussing it. He’s not good enough for me to consistently sift through useless information regarding his unwillingness to pitch in any environment that isn’t in the backyard of a cow farm.

-WEEI’s Alex Speier reported that the Red Sox and the Cubs have submitted their compensation arguments to Commissioner Bud Selig. According to Speier, there is no timetable on a decision. Other reports have indicated that a ruling could come as early as this week. The decision by Selig will stretch far beyond the Red Sox and Cubs in 2012. It will serve as a precedent for future cases similar to this one. I’m interested to see if Selig uses this as a way to dissuade front office members from leaving their positions before their contracts expire. Stay tuned.

News on a Lazy Sunday: Ortiz, Oswalt, and Compensation

Update – 11:15 AM The Red Sox and David Ortiz have successfully avoided arbitration, as first reported by ESPN’s Buster Olney. The two sides came together at the midpoint of their two filings. Ortiz will make $14.575MM in 2012. This is very, very good news.

Needless to say, by this time of year, the hot stove has cooled, teams are readying to begin Spring Training workouts, and there just isn’t a ton of news. For the Red Sox, all of this holds true. There is a sense of anticipation around the team as we head into the second full week of February, however. All of the t’s have not been crossed, and many of the i’s remain without dots. Let’s examine…

Photo courtesy of sportsofboston.com

  • Unless a deal is struck between tonight and tomorrow afternoon, David Ortiz and the Red Sox will go to an arbitration hearing. We are not fans of that idea at TSWD. Earlier this offseason, Ortiz said ‘no thanks’ to a two-year offer worth $18MM. I’m guessing that if the two sides are able to successfully avoid a hearing on Monday, it will take a two-year deal in the neighborhood of $20-22MM. I’m not sure if GM Ben Cherington is willing to commit multiple years and big dollars to a guy who (and I mean this literally) could just stop producing due to his size, body, and age. No matter what, it is vital to remember that Ortiz will be a member of the 2012 Boston Red Sox. The outcome of a hearing likely will not affect how the Red Sox conduct their business going forward. It makes sense to think that the front office has budgeted their finances with the idea that they will lose the hearing. It would be a bad business move to assume a victory. It is difficult to predict how a three member panel will rule, but I’ll stick to my original forecast. The Red Sox will beat Ortiz in arbitration.
  • According to Ben Nicholson-Smith of mlbtraderumors.com, the Rangers and Mike Napoli avoided arbitration and settled on a one-year deal worth $9.4MM. It is becoming increasingly clear that Texas does not have room for Roy Oswalt, both in their rotation and in their payroll. A one-year deal with St. Louis seemed imminent not long ago, but those talks have cooled. I’ve read a lot of message boards on a few different Red Sox blogs, and it seems like fans believe Oswalt is some sort of money hungry player. I do not believe that is the case. He turned down a one-year deal to pitch in Detroit worth $10MM. Geography, not dollar signs, is the driving force here. He may sit back and wait for an injury to occur in Spring Training and join up with a team then. Despite the fact that the he may not have many other options, I don’t see Oswalt with the Red Sox. At some point, the door needs to be closed on him. If he wanted to come to Boston, he would have signed here by now. Let’s collectively move on.
  • Still no news on the compensation for former Red Sox GM Theo Epstein. Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe believes that the Cubs will be giving up a significant player when Commissioner Bud Selig finally makes a decision. I’m not saying that he’s incorrect. In fact, I hope he’s right, but I don’t see it. For now, I’ll assume the ‘I’ll believe it when I see it’ platform.

Summarizing the Town Hall Meeting

Photo courtesy of grantland.com

As previously blogged, I attended a town hall style meeting tonight at Worcester Technical High School hosted by NESN. GM Ben Cherington and Bobby Valentine answered a myriad of questions from the crowd. I took my sister who is an avid Red Sox fan. It was a fun event. It was free. And I didn’t embarrass myself too badly, but you can be the judge of that when the program airs tomorrow night at 10 PM on NESN. Let’s hit on a couple quick notes.

  • Worcester Tech’s campus is beautiful, and the auditorium was an ideal venue to play host to an event like tonight’s. I’m used to a plethora of aluminum chairs in a gym with a basketball hoop in the background. This was the opposite. Very professional. NESN has four microphones set up. Two were on each side of the stage–about seven feet away from Valentine and Cherington. The other two were situated towards the rear, just before the beginning of the second level of seating. The NESN employees did an excellent job ensuring that question-askers were in the right spot, at the right microphone at the right time. Tom Caron did a superb job hosting. He seamlessly transitioned between questions from the audience to general inquiries you would expect from a standard interview. I thought it was really well done.
  • I’m going to guess that 25-30 questions were asked. Half of the inquiries were made by Sox fans who were no older than 12. Pretty brave of the young fellas. When I was that age, I was just trying to avoid getting beat up, forget posing questions in front of hundreds of people to members of Red Sox brass.
  • It was a good question, but, contrary to popular belief, Valentine is not related to Greg “The Hammer” Valentine.
  • But he may have invented the wrap.
  • I wouldn’t be telling the truth if I said I didn’t end up shaking my head at a few ton of the questions that were posed to both Valentine and Cherington. One member of the audience has to be related to Marco Scutaro. Right now, do I believe that it was a shrewd move by Cherington to ship Scutaro to the Rockies? No, not yet. But this guy was really, really unhappy with the first-year GM.
  • I had told myself and a few buddies that if I did get the chance to ask a question, I would. The opportunity did present itself, and I took advantage of it. I immediately regretted my decision. Naturally, I was placed at one of the stage-side microphones (to the left of Cherington and Valentine). I was hoping to be escorted to one of the mikes towards the back of the auditorium in order to decrease the amount of sweat that seeped from my palms. When it was my turn, I asked the question that I believe is the most relevant question of the offseason: (quoted roughly) “The Marco Scutaro trade freed up close to $8MM in luxury tax dollars. $3MM has been allocated to Cody Ross, and $5-6MM is left. If you, as the GM of the Red Sox, are unable to obtain a quality starting pitcher before the season or at the trade deadline, will the Scutaro trade be viewed as a failure?”

–Cherington’s response is what you would expect–loaded with jargon about how the financial flexibility can’t just be attributed to Ross’ signing because there are players on the roster (Adrian Gonzalez, Jacoby Ellsbury, etc.) who will receive more money in 2012 than than they did the previous year. Essentially, the Red Sox look at payroll through a macro, not a micro, lens. In other words, the fiscal flexibility gained through the Scutaro trade could be used now to pluck a guy like Edwin Jackson or Roy Oswalt off of the market or utilized later for any number of roster moves that may or may not have a direct effect on the 2012 season (signing a draft pick, for example).

Remove the cameras and the audience–Cherington would agree that the success of the Scutaro trade is contingent upon the Red Sox ability to acquire a quality starting pitcher between now and the beginning of August. If that was not the case, the Red Sox would not still be involved in talks with Oswalt and Jackson.

Odds and Ends

Let’s a take a quick look at a few pieces of news that could, maybe, kind of, one day…affect the Red Sox.

  • Roy Oswalt met with members of the Rangers front office yesterday. Naturally, there is no real news to report from the meeting. It is going to come down to St. Louis or Texas and which team is able to make the necessary roster changes to accommodate the right handed starter. Just as TSWD reported on Saturday, there are a few factors that will play in to Oswalt’s decision. The Globe’s Nick Cafardo reported yesterday that the Red Sox are not out of the Oswalt sweepstakes yet. But let’s be real. It ain’t happenin’.
  • The New York Post’s Joel Sherman tweeted that former Red Sox reliever Manny Delcarmen signed a minor league contract with the Yankees yesterday. While a member of the Red Sox, Delcarmen had an electric fastball, but it traveled very, very straight. He last pitched in the Major Leagues in 2010. Delcarmen is from West Roxbury.
  • GM Ben Cherington and the Red Sox have not closed the door on reaching an agreement with Alfredo Aceves and David Ortiz to avoid arbitration hearings. According to weei.com’s Alex Speier, however, the Red Sox are preparing to go to arbitration in case deals with both players are not reached. The Sox came in at $900,000 for Aceves, and the righty countered at $1.6MM. Cherington and the Red Sox offered Ortiz a one-year deal worth $12.65MM. The big lefty filed at $16.5MM for his annual salary. That is a significant gap. I hate the idea of the Red Sox going to an arbitration hearing with a sensitive guy like Ortiz. Let’s hope a compromise is reached before a hearing takes place.
  • No news on the Theo Epstein compensation situation. It is in Commissioner Bud Selig’s hands. Both teams have submitted names to the league’s front office, and a resolution could come soon. Reports have surfaced that at least one executive believes that Selig will send a quality player or two from Chicago to Boston in an attempt to keep GM’s like Epstein from switching organizations before their contract expires. Reports did not state if that unknown executive was an overly optimistic Red Sox fan.

Oswalt May be Heading to St. Louis

Image via homeruncards.com

According to Mark Polishuk of mlbtraderumors.com, free agent pitcher Roy Oswalt will likely be toeing the rubber for the Cardinals next season. Jim Duquette of MLB Network Radio was the first to tweet the news last night. In his tweet, Duquette included that the Red Sox and Astros were still involved. Although nothing is official, I find it extremely hard to believe that Oswalt will be heading north to Boston or back his original team, the Astros. Just as TSWD wrote earlier this week, Oswalt, despite being in the latter half of his career and coming off of a year where he suffered from back issues, does reserve a fair amount of selectivity concerning the team he pitches for in 2012. St. Louis just makes the most sense.

A Mississippi native, Oswalt will be close to home if when the righty signs on with the 2011 World Champion Cardinals. Have the Cards lost their best player, a guy who will be talked about in the same breath as Stan Musial? Sure. Are they still an extremely good team that plays in a lackluster division? You bet. By joining the Cardinals, Oswalt will join a staff that includes Chris Carpenter (a TSWD favorite–guy’s a total gamer) and Jaime Garcia. Oh, and Adam Wainwright. Remember him? Yeah, he’s the guy that finished second in Cy Young Award voting in 2010 before undergoing Tommy John surgery last year. Oswalt will serve as a quality veteran presence in an already-quality pitching staff.

When analyzing Oswalt’s not-yet-official decision to join the Cardinals, it’s vital to take a look at the teams that were interested in his services. I’m not going to discuss the Astros’ involvement because I have no idea where their motivation is coming from–maybe sentimentality. Who knows? Two teams needed Oswalt (for argument’s sake, Oswalt’s name is interchangeable with ‘a relatively-quality starting pitcher’). The Red Sox and Tigers have question marks in their rotation. Oswalt would have filled a vacancy for both teams. According to Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com, the one-year offer that Oswalt declined from the Tigers was worth close to $10MM. The offer from GM Ben Cherington and the Red Sox was likely closer to half of that figure. Clearly, money is not the motivation for Oswalt.

Location is the driving force.

St. Louis or Texas? The World Champs or Mike Maddux? Each destination is appealing to the 34 year old. Both teams possess deep staffs that really do not need Oswalt. In fact, each team would likely have to make some sort of move to accommodate Oswalt. Ken Rosenthal of FoxSports.com offers a few creative explanations that would provoke them to pursue signing Oswalt. Texas would have likely had to move a guy like Alexi Ogando to the bullpen to create space for the right handed starter.

So where does this leave the Red Sox?

Edwin Jackson is still on the market. Sox fans need to come to the realization that the Red Sox are not going to overextend themselves for a starter. Jackson reportedly has more than one multi-year deal on the table. It is natural to believe that Scott Boras and his client would jump on three-year offer from a team like the Orioles. However, next year’s free agent class could prove to be more lucrative for Jackson. So, wouldn’t it make sense for Jackson to accept a one-year contract with the Red Sox? Not so fast.

Sure, Boras and Adrian Beltre were able to successfully parlay a productive 2010 campaign with the Red Sox into a long-term big money contract with the Rangers. He was a hitter playing in the AL East, however. Jackson could be conceivably pitching into the wind against an offensively potent division if he were to sign on with the Sox. Again, we run into the same problem we faced when we put ourselves in Oswalt’s position: Why, as a pitcher, come to AL East when the objective is to boost one’s value in an impending free agent market?

The Red Sox acquired some financial flexibility after the Marco Scutaro trade. That cannot be taken away. Time will tell whether the Sox choose to exercise that money now or at the trade deadline. No matter what, however, the success of the Scutaro deal is dependent upon Cherington’s ability to add a starting pitcher sometime between now and the beginning of August.

Checking in on a Thursday Evening

Just some notes concerning the Red Sox and some activity around baseball.

  • Bobby Valentine continued his crusade around New England today where I’m confident he will end up meeting every single one of the six states’ constituents. He made several stops, meeting with police officers, fire fighters, and members of the Coast Guard. The Globe’s Peter Abraham went along for the ride. I’m usually relatively pessimistic when it comes to these things, but for some reason, I don’t believe that Valentine’s efforts are at all contrived. Now, I don’t actually believe that these appearances necessarily are a precursor to any sort of success in the dugout, but I still dig it. Say what you want about the guy, but he one tireless individual.
  • In case you want to size-up Valentine in-person, NESN and the Red Sox will host a “town hall style” meeting at Worcester Technical High School this coming Wednesday. GM Ben Cherington will be there with Valentine to field questions from the public. TSWD will be there. I’m all for events that are down the road, free, and provide a unique opportunity to potentially embarrass myself.
  • Andrew Bailey and the Red Sox avoided arbitration yesterday, agreeing to a one year deal worth $3.9MM. He will likely be the Opening Day closer when the Sox play in Detroit on April 5. Jonathan Papelbon will make slightly over $11MM in 2012. Say what you want about the Red Sox and their lack of spending this offseason, but that’s just solid work by a first-year GM.
  • Cody Ross is officially a member of the Red Sox. Scott Atchison was designated for assignment to make room for the right handed hitting outfielder, according to Boston Globe.
  • Just as TSWD blogged yesterday, Roy Oswalt does not want the Red Sox the way the Red Sox want Roy Oswalt. Don’t blame him. There are other teams that are closer to home and face less difficult competition on a night in and night out basis. Sure,Boston is a good place to go if you want to compete for a championship, but so is Texas or St. Louis.
  • Via Twitter, Nick Cafardo is reporting that the Red Sox are one of several teams that Edwin Jackson is willing to accept a one-year deal to pitch for. I won’t be heartbroken if the Sox don’t end up withJackson, but I will be disappointed. In order for the Marco Scutaro trade to be viewed as a wise decision, signing a quality starting pitcher is important essential.
  • Signing overweight, defensively not-so-great first baseman to nine-year deals is never wise.
  • But neither are sever-year deals for players who don’t get on-base as often as you think and rely on their legs.
  • Is there any chance the Red Sox could leave the American League entirely and just play in the NL Central? Please?

Cody Ross and the State of the Red Sox

Photo via dailycaller.com

Marco Scutaro is gone. Cody Ross is in. The former NLCS MVP has reportedly agreed to sign a one-year $3MM deal with the Red Sox. Nothing official has come from the Red Sox, but Ross seems pretty confident that he will be a member of the Red Sox in 2012. Before getting into the implications of this signing, let’s first simply react.

If someone told me three months ago that Ross would be a member of the 2012 Red Sox team, I would have been very, very excited (still am). Ross is 31 years old and can play all three outfield positions. He hits from the right side and has a smooth .282/.349/.563 career line against left handed pitching. Ideally, he will serve as a platoon player in right field. Ryan Sweeney is an excellent defensive outfielder, but like many of the Red Sox hitters, is left handed. Ross will serve as a nice compliment to Sweeney. With Carl Crawford likely to miss at least a handful of games in the early part of the season, Ross will see a great deal of playing time, presumably in left field. He just really comes off as a team-first guy who is primed to be a fan favorite.

The signing of Ross comes after the Red Sox unloaded close to $8MM (luxury tax purposes) in the Scutaro trade to the Rockies. Immediately after that trade was completed, it seemed obvious that the Red Sox would ink Roy Oswalt to a one-year deal worth in the neighborhood of $8MM. That has not happened yet. Instead, the Red Sox have allocated at least $3MM towards outfield depth (Ross’ deal may also includes some nice production-based incentives). The argument naturally turns to what have the Red Sox sacrificed to gain a platoon outfielder and where do they go from here.

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Robbing Peter to pay Paul

It is not like the Red Sox to dump salary in the form of a useful player, especially when that player is slotted to start arguably the most important position on the diamond. Nevertheless, the Sox moved Scutaro in order to gain fiscal flexibility. As of right now, the Red Sox have essentially traded Scutaro for Ross and a starter that will likely begin the year in Pawtucket in the form of Clayton Mortensen. It would be difficult to make an argument that Ross is more valuable than Scutaro. Probably because he isn’t.

Before the trade became official, the Red Sox had two glaring holes. The first being in the bottom of the rotation. Relying on Daniel Bard and a combination of Vicente Padilla, Carlos Silva, Aaron Cook, Andrew Miller, Alfredo Aceves, and Felix Doubront to fill out the latter half of a pitching staff is risky business. The second question mark was in the outfield. Even before Carl Crawford‘s impromptu wrist surgery, the Sox needed to acquire a right handed hitting bat who could play the outfield. Trading Scutaro freed up money, while simultaneously opening yet another vacancy that needed to be addressed. Nick Punto and Mike Aviles are fine players, but I’m not on board with watching those two platoon at shortstop over the course of a 162 game season. After the Scutaro deal and before the Ross agreement, the Red Sox had successfully created a brand new need. Aside from a reliable bottom of the rotation starter and a player to add outfield depth, Boston now needed a steady shortstop. The Ross agreement is all but official, eliminating the need for an outfielder. Essentially, the Red Sox have now traded reliability at the shortstop position for depth in the outfield, as well as some financial flexibility.

Nevertheless, it is important to realize that the Red Sox, before the Scutaro trade and the Ross signing, possessed two noticeable areas that needed to be addressed (outfield depth, quasi-reliable starter). Since those two aforementioned moves have been made, the team still needs to improve in two specific areas (shortstop, quasi-reliable starter). If that’s not treading water, I don’t know what is.

Conventional thinking, however, would lead one to believe that the Sox are not done this offseason. After all, Oswalt is still extremely available to the Red Sox. Or is he?

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If you were Roy Oswalt, would you come to Boston?

I wouldn’t. Oswalt is 34 years old. He is openly seeking a one-year deal worth $8MM. The Mississippi native wants to show teams that his back is healthy, and he is worth a multi-year deal. The AL East is likely the absolute last place a pitcher like Oswalt would want to go. Yes, there is something to be said for playing in a big market and garnering attention that way. It worked for Adrain Beltre, but that does not mean it will work for Oswalt.

If Oswalt could choose the team he pitches for in 2012, I have to believe that it would be in the National League. St. Louis seems like his ideal team. It is relatively close to home and gives the right handed pitcher a better place to succeed than in the offensively stacked AL East. The point is that Oswalt, despite the fact that he’s not seeking anything close to a long-term deal, still reserves some selectivity as to where he ends up in 2012.

According to Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com, Oswalt said ‘no thanks’ to the Tigers earlier this week. Even a call from Cy Young Award winner, Justin Verlander, didn’t sway Oswalt’s decision. At this point, I’m sure Verlander, along with the rest of Detroit, is more focused on welcoming Prince Fielder than worrying about where Oswalt will end up.

If I’m Cherington, Oswalt is my guy. He was derailed last season by some back issues that limited him to 23 starts. Before that, the righty made at least 30 starts in seven consecutive seasons. Sign me up.

However, Oswalt may not be the best candidate (financially) that fits the needs of Cherington and the Red Sox.

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Why I reluctantly believe that trading for a starter makes sense

I am a guy who always salivates at the idea of signing a one-year deal for virtually any player, especially one like Oswalt who possesses a high upside. There is virtually no risk. If things don’t go well, it is no big dealyou just cut ties. Nevertheless, the Red Sox, like or not, are apparently up against a budget. It revolves around the luxury tax threshold. As a result, Gavin Floyd makes a ton of sense. Let’s first explore why White Sox GM Kenny Williams would want to deal Floyd.

By now, we are all aware of the deal that Fielder inked earlier in the day with the Tigers. Detroit, despite losing Victor Martinez due to injury, is now the obvious favorite in the AL Central. It is certainly possible that the recent addition by the Tigers will motivate Williams to move Floyd. Let’s face it–they’re not winning their division. The White Sox organization has shown that they want to rebuild. Sergio Santos was curiously dealt to the Blue Jays earlier this offseason. John Danks, however, was extended. Mixed signals.

It is tough to gauge exactly where the White Sox are at in terms of their willingness to deal pieces of their pitching staff. It is nearly impossible to pinpoint Williams’ intentions, but nothing has surfaced indicating that Floyd is off the market. Therefore, he is worth discussing.

Floyd is the latter half of a four-year $15.5MM contract. In 2012, he will make $7MM, whether he plays in Chicago or Boston (or anywhere for that matter). The Red Sox are most concerned with the figure that affects the luxury tax, and that number is based on AAV (average annual value). Therefore, Floyd would represent roughly $4MM in luxury tax dollars, despite his 2012 salary. He does have a 2013 option that, if exercised, would vault his AAV to $5MM, roughly. That option is worth $9.5MM.

Attempting to predict Williams’ strategy is almost futile. He is difficult to figure out, but Floyd certainly seems like he is there for the taking. He makes a lot of sense for the Red Sox, as long as they are comfortable giving up a handful of decent prospects. Doubront and Miller are two guys I could see being used as pieces if the Red Sox pursue a trade.

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The Red Sox shortstop situation as it stands today

Jose Iglesias should be the happiest player in the Red Sox organization. The window is open for the highly touted prospect to win the starting shortstop position in Spring Training. He just turned 22 years old and should be drooling over the opportunity.  There is no doubt that Iglesias can field at a Major League level, but he has not offensively performed up to expectations in the minor leagues. I’m anxious and excited to see how Valentine handles Iglesias in Spring Training. I firmly believe that if Iglesias has an overly productive spring, it will be difficult for Cherington/Valentine to place him in Triple-A.

Without the Red Sox adding a veteran infielder that can solidify the shortstop position, Iglesias is simply one solid Spring Training away from being the Opening Day starter for Red Sox.

Cody Ross Boston Bound?

You know the stove isn’t very hot when you’re hitting the refresh button to see if Cody Ross has chosen which team he will sign with. I wonder if he’s going to have his own Decision special on ESPN like Lebron James.

The former NLCS MVP is a fine right handed outfielder who hits left handed pitching rather well. The Red Sox shed some payroll after moving Marco Scutaro to the Rockies. For luxury tax purposes, Scutaro freed up close to $8MM. Alex Speier of weei.com does an excellent job explaining this here. So the Sox have some flexibility to add a piece or two. It seems like they’re going to pull the trigger on Ross who represents some much-needed outfield depth in the form of a right haded bat.

It will be interesting to see how a deal for Ross would affect their ability to pursue Roy Oswalt or Gavin Floyd.

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