BOSTON (CBS) — It’s sometimes hard to believe for Red Sox fans, but Theo Epstein has a plan when it comes to the short- and long-term future of his Boston Red Sox. And, a Plan B, C, D, E……..
He has coveted Adrian Gonzalez for years. He knows his make-up and what kind of value he will bring to the Boston Red Sox for the next decade. Think “Big Papi” all over again.
Now, I’m not saying Gonzalez will provide the postseason clutch-hitting miracles that David pulled out of his…..(As he would say) because no one can predict or project that kind of stuff. However, Gonzalez has a Fred Lynn type of swing and plate discipline that should be ideally suited for Fenway Park. And, when you think of the greatest hitters in Red Sox history most of them were left handed……Ted William, Carl Yastrzemski, Fred Lynn, Wade Boggs, David Ortiz. Gonzalez should be punched in for 30-HR, 50 doubles, and 100-plus RBI for many years to come.
Theo had to give up three top prospects. Prospects that he didn’t have to sell to the buyer. Former Sox Assistant GM’s Jed Hoyer and Josh Byrnes were the buyers as well as former Sox Scouting Director Jason McLeod. They know these kids…..Casey Kelly, Anthony Rizzo, and Rey Fuentes perhaps better than anyone in the Sox organization. However, Theo has each of those positions covered in his organization: Pitcher Casey Kelly (Buchholz, Ranaudo, Workman, Pimentel), 1st baseman Anthony Rizzo (Gonzalez, Lars Anderson), and speedy outfielder (Jacoby Ellsbury. Kalish). Theo didn’t have to give up his shortstop of the future (Jose Iglesias) or outfielder (Kalish) to get him.
So, with Gonzalez in the fold where does Theo go from here? Jayson Werth would have been a nice right handed fit in the line-up, but Washington pounced on him for 7 years and $126 million. Carl Crawford? Would love to see that, but there are two factors against it. 1) the asking price just went way, way up after Werth’s signing and 2) the Sox line-up would be very heavy left handed at least for the time being (Ellsbury, Gonzalez, Ortiz, Drew, Kalish, Crawford…). I think the Sox could live with the latter, but the former might be tough. Not sure if you want to give Crawford a 7, 8 year deal at 20-million per….
Will Theo make a trade? Perhaps, but he’s lost a good portion of his chips in the Gonzalez deal. Don’t think you want to give up Kalish, Iglesias, or the pitching to go get Justin Upton from Arizona.
So, perhaps Theo will look for a veteran bat to put in left field or he could use a Kalish/Mike Cameron platoon. A Bill Hall, Cody Ross, Magglio Ordonez, etc type of veteran hitter.
As for the bullpen…I think most moves will be minor as he hopes to strike gold (Okajima?) with smaller free agent signings.
But, stay tuned and start to enjoy the holidays since Theo gave Sox fans an early gift in the form of a franchise player in Adrian Gonzalez.