The Red Sox have been busy today shipping Ace Jon Lester and outfielder Johnny Gomes to the A’s for Yoenis Cespedes and then sending starter John Lackey to the Cardinals for pitcher Joe Kelley and outfielder/first basemen Allen Craig. Word is coming across now that the Sox are close to a deal that would send lefty specialist Andrew Miller to the Tigers.
Its certainly been a tumultuous day in Sox Nation and I imagine that Boston sports radio is quite entertaining at the moment. However, despite sacrificing two quality starting pitchers I think the Sox have gone a long way to putting themselves back into contention next season.
Cespedes is a premiere power threat and should be the Sox everyday left fielder for the next year and a half. Craig is a former star who is having a terrible season but is a potential middle of the order slugger and, at worst, an interesting trade chip. Kelly is also having a tough year but proved in 2013 that he can be lights out. Given where they are in the standings and their expectations for the rest of this season, Boston can afford to ride out down seasons by its two newest players and give it another go next spring.
The most exciting part of today for the Red Sox is the potential lineup that all these moves creates. Here’s how I’d do it:
- Brock Holt, 3B
- Dustin Pedroia, 2B
- David Ortiz DH
- Mike Napoli/ Allen Craig 1B
- Yoenis Cespedes LF
- Shane Victorino/ Allen Craig RF
- Xander Boegarts, SS
- Jackie Bradley Jr., CF
- Christian Vazquez C
That’s pretty darn solid top to bottom.
Ortiz and Cespedes are top notch homer threats and a productive Craig is better than either Victorino or Napoli but either one of those two is a really good replacement for this crappy 2014 version of Craig. The Craig’s flexibility and ceiling allow manger John Farrell to mix and match and play the hot hand. A good situation to be in.
Of course, the fly in the pudding is the pitching. Without Lackey or Lester (or the recently traded Felix Doubront and Jake Peavy), the Red Sox have some holes in the rotation. Right now, Boston’s looking at Clay Buchholz, Brandon Workman, Joe Kelly and…….. Rubby De La Rosa?
The reason the Sox will be bad for the rest of the season is that they’ve traded all their starting pitching. I think they’ll be good next year with the offense strong enough to carry them into serious contention and an offseason to address their newfound starting pitching woes. .
Now, some Quick Hits:
- Love the addition of Lester for the A’s. Clearly, they didn’t think that Cespedes and his .256 average were all that integral to their success. Cespedes is due $10.5 million next season and can walk away without the risk of draft pick compensation after that. Oakland turned a money pit and a problem next year into a piece to go for it all this season. Good move and it gives them a very formidable playoff rotation, deeper than anyone else’s in the AL.
- The A’s also got Sam Fuld from the Twins for Tommy Milone. Fuld will help fill the gap left by Cespedes though he’s not an everyday outfield type most of the time. Milone, on the other hand, is a big upgrade for Minnesota and should be a pretty important piece of their rotation next season.
- Lackey and Justin Masterson are a pretty decent haul for St. Louis. David Price would have been better but with Wacha out, the two veterans will help Adam Wainwright in the playoff push. Masterson should end up in the bullpen in the playoffs but Lackey is a quality starter right now, a definite upgrade over Kelly.
- Gerardo Parra went from the Dbacks to the Brewers giving Milwaukee a phenomenal defensive outfield. Parra and Khris Davis can split left field and that platoon should be better than either of them. The Brewers got better.
- I’m not sure if the Mariners did though. Chris Denorfia has a 76 wRC+ and might be a really good piece on a good team but shouldn’t’ be a big part of team looking for offense. At least the Mariners are trying but wouldn’t they have been better off with someone like Josh Willingham?