For each division, we will be doing an in-depth look at each team’s situations for the off-season and offer some insights to what would make sense.
We now move to the AL East, which is very top heavy and looks to be a boring off-season free agency-wise for most of the teams. The Orioles are the epitome of a dumpster fire, the Rays don’t/can’t spend money, the Blue Jays trade for two infielders every year and they don’t pan out, and the Red Sox and Yankees get into a dick-measuring contest.
Boston Red Sox
Top FA Targets:
- Cody Allen, RP
The Red Sox have a big void to fill at closer and I don’t think they can afford/want to spend the amount of money it would take to bring Craig Kimbrel back with their financial constraints. Insert Cody Allen who should come at a discount and shorter-term than Kimbrel, coming off a rough 2018.
- Andrew Miller, RP
The Red Sox could elect to spend more money on the pen and adding a “fireman” like Andrew Miller. The once-dominant LHP came off an injury shortened 2018, but the talent should still be there for a couple years.
- Tyson Ross, SP
Fresh off winning a ring, the Red Sox need some upside for their #5 spot in the rotation. I don’t anticipate them matching the offers Eovaldi will get, so they should turn to a cheap option (or 2-3 like the Padres always do) and hope to get some production. Trevor Cahill, Matt Moore, and Tommy Milone also fit this mold.
- Garrett Richards, SP
Looking ahead to 2020, Richards is likely to miss all of 2019 but sign him to a 2 year deal and maybe he can make a postseason appearance in the pen before gearing up for 2020. This is of note because Rick Porcello and Chris Sale both become free agents after next year.
- Asdrubal Cabrera, 2B/SS
Boston had issues filling voids at 2B and some depth issues throughout the season. If they are unable to get Pearce back at a reasonable rate, they would do well by adding Asdrubal. He can help at 2B if Pedroia isn’t healthy and fill in at SS and 3B as needed.
Top 3 Trade Possibilities:
- Red Sox trade OF Jackie Bradley Jr. to the Braves for SP Julio Teheran
The Red Sox need a reliable 5th starter and have Chris Sale and Rick Porcello reaching free agency after the 2019 season. The Braves have a void in the OF and no use for Teheran. Also of note, J.D. Martinez actually hit better when he played the field.
- Red Sox trade UTIL Brock Holt & C Sandy Leon to the Nationals for RP Koda Glover
With Eduardo Nunez and Christian Vazquez already under contract, these become mildly expensive bench pieces for a team well over the luxury tax threshold. Combining to make about $6.5M in 2019, it would make sense to move them for a cheaper piece. The Nationals with holes at 2B and C, could look to plug those positions cheaply and unload struggling RP Koda Glover. With the Nats already having bullpen spots locked down by Doolitte and guys like Sammy Solis and Justin Miller… plus the additions of Barraclough and Rosenthal, there is a roster & 40 man crunch looming.
- Red Sox trade SP Rick Porcello to the Cardinals for SP Michael Wacha & UTIL Kolton Wong
Purely money-motivated, the Red Sox shave about $7M off their 2019 financial obligations in return for a bench piece with a bad contract ($6.5M in 2019 and $10.25M in 2020) and a SP in a walk year with a rich injury history. That $7M doesn’t sound like a lot, but it is a lot more when you factor in the repeater tax the Red Sox will be facing. The Cardinals take on a little of bit of money this year, but get a proven workhorse and clear Wong’s salary from their 2020 books.
- Red Sox trade RF Mookie Betts to the Mets for SP Jacob DeGrom and OF Michael Conforto
In one of the boldest moves in recent memory, the Red Sox move Mookie Betts fresh off an MVP (assuming here). Mookie and the Red Sox have been battling on money since before arbitration and there may be some bad blood as he nears free agency in two years… well the Mets have a plethora of SPs and DeGrom himself is two years from free agency. As mentioned earlier, the Red Sox stand to potentially lose Sale and Porcello to free agency after the season and could hedge their bets here. They also add Conforto who can spell everyone in the outfield and rotate at DH with JDM. The Mets make a splash and can spend the next two years trying to convince Betts to stay. Once healthy, a Cespedes/Nimmo/Betts outfield would be pretty dynamic. One the other hand, could you imagine facing Sale, DeGrom, and Price in a playoff series? … game fucking over.