Photo Credit: Tampa Bay Times
The Boston Red Sox have been unusually quiet this off-season. Is there a plan? The list of players to fill roster holes is getting thin, but some potential bargains may exist.
There is a term used in financial circles called a value investing. The idea is for investors to find stocks that are considered undervalued and then buy with the intent for future profit. One portion of this may not exist in the free agent marketplace. There is a stall, logjam, ambivalence or other continues that may make the previously viewed unattainable as attainable. Just who could the Red Sox seek out?
A few seasons ago there were rumors of a trade of Will Middlebrooks for Mike Moustakas since both had suddenly crashed. Two third basemen of promise who may just need a change of scenery to invigorate a career. That didn’t happen, and Middlebrooks is wandering the baseball wastelands and Moustakas is awaiting a rather large payday.
Moustakas is projected for a five-year and $85 MM deal, but so far there has been muted interest. Moustakas is 29-year-old and the left-hander swatted 38 home runs in 2017. Based on his career numbers that 38 may just be an anomaly, but his .251 career average is not. Moose also does not consider the free pass part of his game plan with just an unremarkable 5.7 BB%.
Moustakas plays third and so does Rafael Devers. Moustakas defensively is an improvement, but just about anyone not named Pablo Sandoval would be. So, signing a Moustakas for a year could have some limitations. Moose can DH and no doubt Devers can and so can Mitch Moreland and certainly Hanley Ramirez. Getting Moustakas for short time and short money may be possible, but a quandary most certainly exists. Pass on Moustakas
Alex Cobb and Lance Lynn are both right-handed with some decent stats on their 2017 seasons. Cobb is battle rested in the American League East – always a plus – and does have a 5-1 record at Fenway Park. Cobb’s 2017 season was his recovery year from Tommy John surgery and improved as his season progressed.
Lynn went through the same surgical procedure and led the National League in starts (33) in his return year. Lynn did post a 3.8 BB/9 and Cobb’s was significantly lower with a 2.2 BB/9. Both are 30-years-old and are projected for four-year deals in the $48-$56 MM range.
Both are certainly worth a kick the baseball tires look since the market is for some reason neglecting two starters who would certainly be considered strong middle of the rotation additions to any staff. The Red Sox are lefty top-heavy with a slew of rotation question marks so this may be worth a serious look. I do prefer AL East experience, so I’d look at a John Lackey type offer – two-years and $32 Million. Maybe one would bite?
How about a personal favorite? Daniel Nava is coming off an excellent season with Philadelphia and is still available. Nava will be 35-year-old and hit a surprising (or shocking) .301 for the Phillies as a fill-in outfielder. Nava can play the corner outfield positions, first base, and DH, but Nava’s glovework is iffy, but so was Chris Young. The best thing about Nava is he’ll be cheap.
So much for sentimentality with Nava and now to reality as in Jarrod Dyson. Dyson has speed – lots of speed – with 28 swipes in 35 tries for the Mariners. Dyson is a 30-year-old with limited power and an average that may check in around .250. The bad news for the left-handed speedster is Dyson’s season ended with pelvic surgery. Is he close to 100%? There is some attractive good news as in 15 Defensive Runs Saved (DRS) in just 111 games in center field for the 2017 Mariners. Supposedly the O’s have interest in Dyson whose signing with Boston could also make Jackie Bradley expendable.
Dyson is a nice piece for most outfields, but what raises the caution flag is the lack of power. If this Boston team was constructed with a little more lineup power a 100+ games for Dyson would be quite viable. And would Dyson wish to continue to be a 100-game player?
This market may have an opportunity for a value investor. Is that the possible game plan for the Red Sox? And if a sudden dissipation of free agents happen will the market conditions trigger forces that result in inflation? The Red Sox have needs and have been rather passive, but with talent to fill holes still on the board that could change.