Jermaine Dye a Solid Backup Option for Boston’s Outfield


December 2, 2009

Jermaine Dye a Solid Backup Option for Boston's Outfield With plenty of teams and hundreds of millions of dollars in the mix for Red Sox free agent left-fielder Jason Bay, the Boston brass is rightly considering other options. Matt Holliday of the Cardinals is chief among them, but less flashy alternatives like Brad Hawpe or Josh Willingham may be in the mix as well.

Another name that remains in the conversation is that of White Sox veteran Jermaine Dye, a Type A free agent in whom the Red Sox have reportedly already shown interest.

But Boston isn't the only suitor for the slugger, who will turn 36 in January. Dye told the Chicago Sun-Times recently that he had already received calls "from at least eight teams" and wasn't yet ready to rule any of them out.

The Rangers, Cardinals and Giants are considered possible landing spots for Dye, but it's likely that the Yankees are also interested, largely because of the potential of the Bombers losing Johnny Damon and/or Hideki Matsui to free agency. Furthermore, a source familiar with Dye's contract talks told the Sun-Times that the Yankees had already asked for Dye's medical records.

But would Dye fit in with this current collection of Red Sox?

From an offensive perspective, the answer would appear to be yes. Since 1999 (minus his injury-plagued 2003 campaign), Dye has averaged .281 with about 30 homers and 97 RBIs a season. In a hitter-friendly park like Fenway, with names like Youkilis, Martinez and Ortiz around him in the lineup, there's no reason to think Dye couldn't once again approach those figures.

Defensively, though, Dye is almost exclusively a right fielder. He has already expressed a reluctance to be primarily a designated hitter — not to mention Big Papi already sitting comfortably in that spot in Boston. So picking up Dye as an everyday player would likely require moving either him or J.D. Drew to left field.

Perhaps the more troubling issue, though, is that Dye would be just a short-term fix for the Red Sox. While Bay or Holiday would effectively lock down left field at Fenway for the next four or five seasons, Dye, at 36, has probably only another season or two of top-level play in him.

Sure, he'd cost less and would theoretically give the Red Sox more money to spend on starting pitching or a shortstop, but there's little doubt that Theo Epstein and company would rather nip this left-field deficiency in the bud now, rather than allowing it to remain an issue for the next few seasons.

In short, Dye isn't the big-picture answer in left that many Red Sox fans are looking for. But he could be a solid backup option for the Boston outfield if the Bay and Holliday pursuits fall through.

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