The Major League Baseball offseason is here, which means it’s time to speculate until you get a headache.
ESPN’s David Schoenfield on Wednesday published a list of recommended “blockbuster” offseason moves for all 30 teams. And, as you probably could’ve guessed, we’re going to focus on his idea for the Boston Red Sox.
Schoenfield thinks the Red Sox should make a run at free agent corner infielder Josh Donaldson. Here’s his rationale:
“OK, at first glance, this one doesn’t seem to fit,” Schoenfield wrote. “The Red Sox led the American League in runs, and they need a closer. They’ll find a closer. Maybe they’ll re-sign Kimbrel, maybe they’ll give the job to Matt Barnes, maybe they’ll trade for somebody during the season. Maybe they’ll simply focus on re-signing postseason hero (Nathan) Eovaldi.
“But Donaldson is tempting. Yes, the Sox have Rafael Devers at third base. I’m not saying you give up on him. He hit 21 home runs at age 21. He isn’t very good on defense, however, and his OBP was .298, so he was more hype than production in 2018. Still, he’s young. Maybe you slide him over to first base and keep Mitch Moreland around as a bench guy. Or maybe you move Donaldson over to first base. Maybe you sign Donaldson and trade Devers for some pitching help (Dave Dombrowski never met a young player he couldn’t trade).
“Whatever you do, I like adding a right-handed bat to this lineup.”
First of all, we’re not sure signing Donaldson would qualify as a “blockbuster,” but it certainly would be a splash. The bigger question, of course, is would this move make sense?
As Schoenfield noted, Devers did have an up-and-down sophomore season, although he did come up huge in the playoffs. But the 21-year-old’s potential clearly is enormous, and moving him away from third base — or moving on from him entirely — seems premature, especially when it’s just to sign an over-the-hill, 32-year-old infielder.
Yes, Donaldson still can rake at times, and there’s little doubt his right-handed power bat would play well in Boston’s lineup and at Fenway Park. But he’s coming off an injury-riddled season, as well as his least productive campaign since 2012.
Donaldson played in 52 games for the Toronto Blue Jays and the Cleveland Indians last season, hitting .246 with eight homers and 23 RBIs. Furthermore, it’s hard to not look at Donaldson and think his future lies at first base, which means you’d likely have to move on from either Mitch Moreland or World Series MVP Steve Pearce — or both.
Thumbnail photo via Greg M. Cooper/USA TODAY Sports Images