The Boston Red Sox can aim high.
While it’s been a disappointing season for the Red Sox on so many levels, the organization still has a very deep farm system — ESPN’s Keith Law recently ranked it the best in Major League Baseball — and that should allow general manager Ben Cherington and Co. to be flexible this offseason.
“In Ben’s case right now, (a top farm system) gives you bullets to use if you need to go make a trade to go get this piece for your big league team,” Marlins manager and former Miami general manager Dan Jennings recently told MassLive.com. “So you have bullets to go out and use in other capacities.”
The Red Sox might need those bullets. Boston clearly needs to upgrade its pitching staff — the rotation and the bullpen — and the trade market seems like a logical avenue for accomplishing that goal given the organization’s recent aversion to handing long-term contracts to free-agent pitchers 30 and above.
Sure, there are some impressive names set to hit the open market this offseason. David Price, Johnny Cueto and Zack Greinke (if he opts out of his contract with the Los Angeles Dodgers) represent the cream of the crop. But the Red Sox don’t need to rely solely on free agency. They have minor league pieces that could be appealing to teams willing to trade pitching.
“First of all, it’s great to have your minor league system mentioned at the top — at the top or the top five,” Jennings, who switched roles to become Miami’s manager in May, told MassLive.com. “That lets you know from a talent standpoint you have the talent in the system.
“We’ve always used the mindset that no one should know our players better than us — their true makeup. Who are guys that’ll grind it out who truly have (the) makeup to win between the white lines? Other guys will show talent but the makeup may not be there.”
The Red Sox have been reluctant to trade prospects under Cherington, so perhaps Boston will stay the course this winter rather than empty the farm in pursuit of high-profile major leaguers. It helps to have flexibility, though, and the Red Sox could go in any number of directions.
Thumbnail photo via Twitter/@leahysean