Monday, December 29, 2014

Red Sox New Year's Resolutions

The Red Sox could really use Shields or a pitcher of his caliber (Komu)
The Red Sox have done a lot of work this winter towards building a contender in 2015, but there's still unfinished business as they prepare for the upcoming season. Here are three goals I think they should focus on for the remainder of the offseason.

1. Land an ace
The Red Sox overhauled their rotation by trading for Wade Miley and Rick Porcello as well as signing Justin Masterson, a former Sox, but still need an ace to anchor the staff. They were outbid by the Cubs for Jon Lester, but there are still several appealing options available. Max Scherzer and James Shields remain unsigned, or Boston could try to trade for Jordan Zimmermann, Cole Hamels, or Doug Fister. Cherington says the Sox aren't searching for an ace, but they should be, otherwise their busy offseason will be incomplete.

2. Clear the outfield logjam
The Sox did good by swapping Yoenis Cespedes for Porcello, but they still have an abundance of outfielders. Allen Craig is expendable, though I doubt Boston would get much in return for him coming off an atrocious season. Mike Napoli could also be moved, but he's a good fit so I hope he isn't. Spare parts Daniel Nava and Jackie Bradley Jr. might be dealt as well. Boston will need outfield depth with injury-prone Hanley Ramirez playing left field for the first time, rookie Rusney Castillo patrolling center, and an aging Shane Victorino in right, but three extra outfielders seems excessive.

3. Bolster the bullpen
I don't have much faith in a 40 year-old Koji Uehara who struggled mightily in the second half last year (4.41 ERA after June 17th). Sans Andrew Miller, a victim of last summer's roster purge, the Red Sox could really use another arm or two in the 'pen. I was hoping the Sox would sign Jason Grilli, but now he's off the table so that's out. If they miss out on an ace and decide to go with their average rotation, they're going to need a shut-down bullpen to compensate, and as it stands they don't have one.

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