The easy part is over for Ben Cherington. He finally got the man he wanted all along,
bringing John Farrell back to Boston to manage the Red Sox. Now, the general manager has to put a team together that
can once again compete for a playoff spot.
After a 93-loss season, it won't be easy. But the 2012 Orioles showed us all it can be
done, claiming a wild card spot with a 93-69 record just a year after losing 93
So how do the Sox go about quickly rebuilding the franchise? I'm playing GM and laying out one
possible course of action. This is what
I would do to get the team back on track sooner rather than later. In nine easy steps:
First, re-sign David Ortiz and Cody
want to be here. Both actually told
us they liked playing in Boston,
even during a historically bad season. And both provide some much-needed pop to the lineup. The Sox will undoubtedly have to pay Big
Papi more than the market would suggest for a soon-to-be 37-year old designated hitter,
but we saw what this lineup was like without him. A two-year, $26 million dollar contract
should get it done. There will be a
market for Ross, and he'll undoubtedly
want three years, so the Sox should offer him $24 million for those
three years and see if that does it.
It's a nice raise from the one-year, $3 million contract he got last
sign free agent Torii Hunter At 37, he might not have the speed
he once had, and his power has faded a bit. Yet he hit .313 (.817 OPS) with 16 HRs
and 92 RBI for the Angels last year, and is one of the best character guys
in the game. You want a likeable
team? They don't come much easier
to like than Hunter. He reportedly
wants two years, and will have to take a big pay cut from the $18 million
he made last year, but a two-year deal for $20-24 million should get it
done. It's a lot of money, but not
a long-term commitment. Put him in
front of the Monster in left and you've got an outfield of Hunter, Ross,
and Jacoby Ellsbury. Not bad.
for Justin Morneau I have no idea what it would take to get
him, but he's the guy I want at first base. Morneau is due to make $14 million next
year in the final year of his contract. You'd think the Twins might be willing to move the salary. He's coming off a down year, but can
still get the job done defensively at first. Plus, he's Canadian, which means he has to be a good character guy.
trade Jacoby Ellsbury I'd keep the center fielder in town,
even if he doesn't want to sign an extension. With free agency looming, he’s bound to
have a monster season. I want him
to have it in a Red Sox uniform. Jackie Bradley, Jr. can have the job in 2014.
a starting pitcher I know, this is easier said than done,
but you've got to add a pitcher to the mix. You might have to overpay in free
agency, but Jake Peavy or Edwin Jackson work for me. Add that arm to a rotation with Jon
Lester, Clay Buchholz, John Lackey and Felix Doubront and we might have
something going under Farrell.
one catcher, trade the other Both Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Ryan
Lavarnway have their strengths. Keep one, use the other in trade and sign a veteran to
backup. Just not Kelly
Shoppach. Been there, done that.
Jose Iglesias start, but add insurance It's time to see what he can do, but
let's bring a veteran in to work with him and play some if needed. Marco Scutaro's available.
overspend on a bench Ryan Kalish, Pedro Ciriaco or evenScott
Podsednikcould come back and add depth without adding much to the budget.
a bullpen out of what you have Here's a list of names: Andrew Bailey, Mark Melancon, Junichi
Tazawa, Daniel Bard, Craig Breslow, Andrew Miller, Franklin Morales, Clayton Mortensen, Chris Carpenter, Pedro Beato and Rubby De La
Rosa. Make something out of it.
Here's a lineup under the Caron Plan. Certainly enough pop, and a good mix of
lefties and righties:
Ellsbury, CF Pedroia, 2B Ortiz, DH Hunter, LF Morneau, 1B Middlebrooks, 3B Ross, RF Lavarnway, C Iglesias, SS
There you have it. This
scenario could be done while keeping the payroll under $150 million. Hunter and Morneau are likeable veterans that
would add tremendously to the clubhouse chemistry this team has sorely
lacked. De La Rosa could be the diamond
in a rough, a hard-throwing righty who might crack the rotation or at least
give you starting depth. Melancon and
Tazawa were impressive at the end of the season, and could challenge Bailey for
the closer's spot if he struggles.
I'm sure the 2013 Red Sox will look nothing like this. Point is, you can build this team back into a
contender with a handful of moves, and without getting stuck with long-term
contracts. You can pass on Josh Hamilton
and Zack Greinke and still get the job done.