Archive for the ‘Anthony Ranaudo’ Category
Mike Napoli Almost in the Fold
There have been media reports the Red Sox and free agent Mike Napoli finally reached an agreement – although GM Ben Cherington says nothing is done yet.
Instead of three years and $39 million, Napoli will now get a one year, $5 million deal – which includes incentives that can bring the contract value to $13 million.
The Red Sox will be getting a motivated or upset-at-management player – or maybe some of both.
Napoli’s health situation must really be bad if he had no other alternative than Boston’s low-ball offer.
The situation leads one to wonder how much the Sox can expect to get out of Napoli.
Figure the physically demanding position of catcher is probably out for Napoli if he is an injury risk.
And don’t expect too much DH’ing with David Ortiz manning that spot.
With Napoli at first – expect the Red Sox to grab a lefty bench bat to back him up.
Casey Kotchman and Lyle Overbay have been suggested as possibilities – but their drawback is they are first basemen only. Ideally, Boston would want more versatility for the bench with a player who can handle both first and the outfield.
Another candidate to consider: Tyler Colvin – The Rockies are building and Colvin is a bench player. Boston should be able to match up for Colvin with an arm and/or good prospect. A lefty bat, Colvin can play first and outfield.
The Boston Herald looked at the top five Red Sox seasons from a first baseman. We will see if Napoli can crack the list in 2013.
Bogaerts Goes Classic
Red Sox super-prospect Xander Bogaerts will represent The Netherlands in the upcoming World Baseball Classic.
This will be the first glimpse of Bogaerts against big league competition. Here’s a nice profile of the native Aruban from MiLB.com.
Prospects to Watch
Bogaerts, Jackie Bradley Jr. and Matt Barnes are universally seen as the current Big Three of Red Sox prospects.
A couple of second-tier prospects to keep an eye on:
- Bryce Brentz. He is Boston’s best power-hitting outfield prospect – a spot the big league team could use some help. Brentz had a strong post-season run with Pawtucket last season. The Red Sox hope Brentz’ late season taste of AAA positions him for a strong season. And if that happens, he could be the first outfielder to be called up in 2013, if needed.
- Anthony Ranaudo. Never give up on young pitching, especially if they haven’t had arm trouble in the pros. That’s the position the Red Sox find themselves in with Ranaudo, who had an injury-plagued 2012 season (but not involving his arm). Ranaudo is on a mission to return to form – and if he does, Ranaudo should rise on the Sox prospects list.
Let me start with, I agree teams should build from within through a strong farm system.
But this idea that teams – like the Red Sox – can’t sign free agents that require draft pick compensation is nonsense.
I get as Rob Bradford writes, the pick could turn out to be a quality major leaguer.
But the baseball draft is a crapshoot.
For every Mike Trout (taken #25 in 2009 – what were the other teams thinking?), there is a Daniel Moskos (taken #4 in 2007 – one pick ahead of Matt Wieters, not the money-saving move Pittsburgh was hoping for).
So if the Red Sox think Adam LaRoche (not Mike Napoli and his rumored injury risk) is the answer for the team over the next three years at first base, sign him.
Would you do a trade to acquire a proven major leaguer like LaRoche for:
- Kolbrin Vitek – drafted by Boston in the first round in 2010? Yes.
- Bryce Brentz – drafted by Boston in first secondary round in 2010? Maybe yes, maybe no.
- Anthony Ranaudo – drafted by Boston in first secondary round in 2010? Yes.
- Reymond Fuentes – drafted by Boston in first round in 2009? Yes.
- Bryan Price – drafted by Boston in first secondary round in 2008? Yes.
That said, it is not something a team should do every year because that move reduces their chances at striking gold high in the draft.
And the quality of the upcoming draft should factor into the consideration. With strong draft years something to weigh into holding onto picks.
Lastly, because the Red Sox were among the worst ten teams in baseball last season, free agent compensation would be a second – not a first – pick (and Boston would lose draft money available for that pick too). A position the Red Sox may not find themselves in again (if GM Ben Cherington did a good job this off-season).
A pure philosophy of avoiding free agents because of compensation is wrong-headed.
Just like how trading prospects for established major leaguers typically works out for the team acquiring the proven big leaguer, go for the major league talent.
The Red Sox say they aim to contend in 2013 and to do so, the team needs a quality a first baseman.
If LaRoche is the best choice – sign him, don’t worry about the draft pick.
What do you think? Should the Red Sox hoard their picks – or use them to sign free agents?
The top off-season player acquisition target for the Red Sox – if they are to contend in 2013 – is landing a number one starter.
Based on last season’s performance, neither Jon Lester nor Clay Buchholz can be counted on to be the pitching staff’s ace.
John Lackey is a crap-shoot – coming off of Tommy John surgery and delivering mediocre results for the Red Sox before the injury.
Felix Doubront is promising but at this point is a back-end of the rotation guy. And who knows what Rubby De La Rosa can provide.
The Red Sox need a big winner who can eat innings.
Enter R.A. Dickey, the likely Cy Young winner who is on the Mets.
Under normal circumstances, there is no way Dickey would be on the market.
But the Mets are a mess on the field. Dickey is 38 years old and has one year left on his contract.
To quote Mets GM Sandy Alderson on dealing Dickey, “I think it’s always been a possibility. I think that’s always been understood by R.A., by his agent, by us. It doesn’t mean it’s the preferred avenue but … it’s always been assumed as part of the equation.”
Alderson also said, “It would be a little unusual to trade a Cy Young winner, but I can remember a time when we traded for the leading hitter in the National League at the time, so it happens.”
Is there a team and manager in baseball that has more combined experience in dealing with a veteran knuckleballer than the Red Sox and John Farrell – based on the experience with Tim Wakefield?
Boston knows a knuckleballer can pitch successfully in his late thirties – and even into his forties.
Any Other Number One Options?
One reason to zero in on Dickey – the top-tier pitcher market is pretty thin (as one would expect).
- Justin Verlander – This Tiger is going nowhere.
- Felix Hernandez – Let’s take Mariners GM Jack Zduriencik at his word: King Felix is staying in Seattle.
- Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee – Probably not moving from Philadelphia but worth a phone call to check out. Both would fit as Dickey alternatives.
- CC Sabathia – Yankees ace is staying put.
- Clayton Kershaw – Dodgers are looking to extend him.
- Jered Weaver – Angels have dumped two starters and Zack Greinke is a free agent, Weaver is staying with Los Angeles. Boston should investigate Greinke as a free agent – but I don’t see him as a fit at Fenway at the mega-price tag he is expected to command.
- David Price – Maybe is pricing himself out of Tampa Bay – but unlikely Rays would move him to Boston (but the Red Sox should inquire).
- Matt Cain – Giants are not dealing this ace.
What a Dickey Deal Would Take
One would figure there would be a strong trade market for Dickey – despite his age and contract situation.
The Mets are building – so they would want youth but close to the majors.
Start with a young starter like De La Rosa, Matt Barnes or Allen Webster.
Add in Ryan Lavarnway – depending on how the Mets evaluate him. If they see him as a potential starter, he would be a good piece to include since New York needs a catcher.
Then include an outfielder such as Bryce Brentz or Ryan Kalish (given the injury history – probably not high on the Mets list).
And close it out with a strong prospect who is a ways away like Garin Cecchini (his brother is in the Mets organization) or another young pitcher such as Anthony Ranaudo.
That’s a lot to offer – but the Red Sox would hold onto the organization’s jewels in Xander Bogaerts and Jackie Bradley. They maintain pitching depth, losing only one from De La Rosa, Barnes and Webster – and also keeping Henry Owens.
Among the rest – Lavarnway, Brentz, Kalish, Cecchini and Ranaudo – none are sure-bets (if such a thing exists among prospects).
Another possible trade package direction – include Jacoby Ellsbury, if the Red Sox don’t expect Ellsbury to re-sign with the team. Of course, Ellsbury may not be too attractive to the Mets – if they don’t see an opportunity to retain Ellsbury.
If the Red Sox move Ellsbury, they could look to add a free agent like Shane Victorino to provide a bridge until Bradley is big league ready.
What do you think – should the Red Sox pursue Dickey? If yes, what do you think it would take to get him?
SoxProspects provided a 2013 outlook for Boston’s top prospects – good stuff as usual. A few takeaways:
- In terms of prospects that could deliver high impact next season, there doesn’t look to be any ready to go in April – unless you are a Jose Iglesias believer.
- Jackie Bradley and Allen Webster look in line to be potential in-season call-ups that could contribute, following in the footsteps of what Will Middlebrooks did this year.
- Alex Wilson could make the team as a bullpen piece – with a good Spring Training.
- Bryce Brentz is another player to watch. Figure the Red Sox will solidify their outfield for the beginning of the season – probably with Jacoby Ellsbury, Cody Ross (if they can sign him) and a leftfielder who can contribute more than Ryan Sweeney or Ryan Kalish. But Brentz could be an injury call-up from Pawtucket if he keeps progressing.
- A wildcard is Xander Bogaerts. If the Red Sox tank again, he could get a call as part of the building process sometime during 2013.
Bottom-line: If Boston plans on contending in 2013, the players are more likely to come from free agency and trades than from the farm system.
MiLB.com posted its Red Sox organizational All-Stars.
After Bogaerts, Matt Barnes (Red Sox top righty pitcher) and Henry Owens (Red Sox top lefty pitcher) are probably the system’s most important players.
That’s because if the Red Sox are to contend again – and stay there for a while – they need more quality starting pitching – something Barnes and Owens can bring them.
The bad news is the earliest we are likely to see one of them (Barnes) is 2014.
The Red Sox like to push top prospects – so expect Barnes to reach AAA and Owens AA sometime in 2013.
Another intriguing player: Michael Olmsted. A big arm that Boston grabbed after he played in Japan.
Relievers can zoom in from nowhere and Olmsted could arrive on the Fenway scene sometime next season. His 92 strikeouts in 59 1/3 innings jump off a page.
Note: Olmsted is also on the SoxProspects list.
Instructional League Progress
Alex Speier reports pitchers Anthony Ranaudo and Kyle Stroup posted strong performances in the Fall Instructional League – making up some for lost seasons in the minors during 2012.
Ranaudo was a big money draftee out of LSU. A player who slipped in the draft because of large bonus demands and injury in college.
Well, the injuries have continued for Ranaudo in the pros. While the Instructional League stint is a step in the right direction, Ranaudo needs to prove he can hold up and pitch well over a full season.
Stroup battled a knee injury (again) this year. He needs to pass the same test as Ranaudo.
Bottom-line: Right now, both pitchers look more like trade fodder or pitching depth than key contributors. But you never know with pitchers. Good arms have value – either on the big-league club or because there is usually some other team willing to take a chance on one.
Which prospect or prospects do you see making an impact on the Red Sox in 2013? And after Bogaerts, Barnes and Bradley – who do you see as Boston’s most valuable prospect?
Ranaudo in Form. Anthony Ranaudo came up big in his last start in Portland with his fastball topping at 97 mph. Why is that big? Trade bait. Should Ranaudo gain premier prospect status, it increases Boston’s options. Trade Ranaudo as part of a deal to gain a premier starter like the Cubs’ Matt Garza (don’t forget Theo Epstein drafted him). Or hang on to Ranaudo if he is getting closer to The Show.
What’s Next for Kalish? Ryan Kalish officially moved off the disabled list and was optioned to Pawtucket. It is a small sample size – but Kalish is tearing it up with the PawSox. Boston’s outfield is starting to get crowded (as Marlon Byrd found out). And it will get more crowded as Jacoby Ellsbury and Carl Crawford get ready to join the team. It will be interesting to see if Kalish lands in Boston before September.
Bard Flaw. Daniel Bard declared watching film down in Pawtucket helped him discover a major flaw in this delivery. Aren’t the Sox watching film in Boston? And finding the flaw and fixing the flaw are two distinct activities – as Bard found in his first PawSox outing.
Red Sox Draft. Boston leaned heavily on pitchers in the recent draft. We won’t know for three – or maybe even five – years on how the Red Sox did in the draft. But experts liked their picks. Keith Law gave thumbs up – calling first pick SS Deven Marrero a “steal.” And Matt Huegel looked at the Red Sox strategy under the new draft rules this year – and also gave an in-depth overview on the team’s top three picks.
Bailey Hurt. Closer Andrew Bailey has an injury-prone track record in his career. And he is now reporting a thumb injury that will send Bailey to Boston to have it checked. It may be nothing serious – however, the Red Sox don’t need uncertainty in their closer spot. Mark Melancon can step in – but moving him from set-up man shrinks the bullpen. If Bailey’s injury lingers – or if another pops up – it will be interesting to see if the Red Sox move Alfredo Aceves to closer or consider bringing Daniel Bard back to the bullpen.
25th Man. The Red Sox are leaning towards keeping a position player instead of another bullpen arm in the last roster spot. Former manager Terry Francona kept things pretty stable in the everyday line-up – and during the game. The extra bench player is probably an indication of Bobby Valentine’s more aggressive “style” – having someone for pinch-running, bunt situations and defensive switches. Top contenders: infielders Pedro Ciriaco and Nate Spears and outfielder Jason Repko. However, with Bailey’s injury – the Red Sox may need to reconsider and add some bullpen depth by carrying a 13th pitcher.
Down on the Farm. The Red Sox have some help in nearby Pawtucket with Jose Iglesias, Will Middlebrooks and Ryan Lavarnway opening with the PawSox. Expect all three to play in Fenway sometime during this season. Here is a list where each of Boston’s top 20 prospects will be playing. Keep an eye on: Xavier Bogaerts – a potential elite shortstop, Anthony Ranaudo – does he establish himself as a top starter and Blake Swihart – a top 2011 draft pick playing in Greenville.
Ross Red-Hot. I am not a big believer in Spring Training statistics but Cody Ross’ power display this spring has been impressive. Ross is shaping up to be an excellent acquisition by GM Ben Cherington. Look for Ross to hit 20+ home runs this season – filling in for Carl Crawford in left and then getting the bulk of the playing time in right when Crawford returns from the disabled list.
Here’s a quick list of things to watch for among Red Sox Prospects.
Will Middlebrooks. He had a great year in AA Portland last season – but poor results in a short AAA Pawtucket stint. Middlebrooks is a player who has shown steady improvement each year in the minors. Will he continue his progression with the PawSox this season – and establish himself as heir apparent to Kevin Youkilis at 3B? And be ready for a 2012 call-up if Youkilis gets hurt once again?
Anthony Ranaudo. Another “tale of two cities” performer last year. Ranaudo delivered in Low A Greenville but was pretty mediocre in High A Salem. It was Ranaudo’s first year in pro ball – so most likely adjustment was needed to the longer season. Does Ranaudo step it up in 2012 and show he can be a #2 or #3 starter? Do the Red Sox push Ranaudo getting him to Portland during the season?
Xander Bogaerts. He more than held his own as an 18 year old SS in Greenville (16 HRs, 45 RBIs in 72 games). How fast will the Red Sox push Bogaerts – Salem seems likely, perhaps even at the start of the season. Will Bogaerts reach Portland? And the bigger question – how high does he move up the charts on the top MLB prospects lists?
Jose Iglesias. He was a media darling this week – fielding grounders in pre-camp workouts. Iglesias added some muscle in the off-season. Will this additional strength help him move beyond being a good-field, no-hit SS? And whether he hits or not – will the performance of the Mike Aviles – Nick Punto combo – push Boston to promote Iglesias during the 2012 season?
Bryce Brentz. He fits the bill for what the Red Sox need most offensively: a righty power hitter who can play RF. Brentz has a breakout year last season – smashing 30 HRs with stops in Greenville and Salem. Will he continue the success in Portland – with perhaps a jump to Pawtucket during the 2012 season? And establish him as a bona fide big-league power hitting OF prospect?
Who’s on your “watch list” for Red Sox prospects? And what are you watching for them to do in 2012?
Thanks Wake! It’s not ending the way Tim Wakefield wanted it to – but my hat is off to Wake for a terrific career and for his contributions off the field too. Wakefield will always be remembered as part of the 2004 and 2007 World Championships – which obviously have special places in the hearts of Red Sox fans. I will also remember Wakefield as stand-up player willing to do what was best for the team – start, spot start, relieve (15 saves in 1999). He was an excellent fielding pitcher too. Here’s a nice overview on Wakefield’s career from Ian Browne. I am happy Wakefield will continue to be associated with the Red Sox. I expect he will be a popular visitor to the Fenway Park Legends Box.
Pitching Problems. Alex Speier zeroed in on what he sees as the real problem with the Red Sox pitching staff – no prospect emerged as a critical contributor in 2010 or 2011. I agree – and this is an issue one can extend to the entire team. Red Sox management promised a player development machine – but the results have not been there the last few years. This contributes to late season holes (like last September when Boston had no one in AAA who could be counted on to deliver one quality start). And to big (and bad) free agent investments like John Lackey. But there is good news. The status of prospects can move up quickly as they progress through the system and the Red Sox appear to be strong in the lower minors. Keep an eye on Anthony Ranaudo and Matt Barnes in the coming season. While they may not help in 2011, how they play will tell you whether Boston is developing any premium pitching prospects.
Still Big Spenders. Jeremy Lundblad went through the numbers on the Red Sox 2012 payroll – and they show Boston has definitely not gone cheap. This coming season will most likely be the highest payroll in team history. The big issue is bad contracts – notably Lackey, Daisuke Matuszaka and Bobby Jenks. And we will learn if Carl Crawford should be added to that list. This past off-season GM Ben Cherington took a conservative approach in the free agent market (hello, Cody Ross and Nick Punto). A big test on for Cherington comes in the future, when he makes a big-money, long-term commitment – does he demonstrate better judgment than his predecessor?
Theo Compensation. Gordon Edes has an update on the Theo Epstein compensation from the Cubs – no major league player or premium prospect coming to Boston (although Edes puts Josh Vitters on the not-coming-to-Boston list, someone not typically considered a top prospect). Edes reports the Red Sox still hope to get a quality prospect – a player who has a chance to contribute at the major league level one day. My prediction (with my typical caveat – I don’t know anything) – pitchers Trey McNutt or Chris Carpenter. Who do you think Boston will receive as compensation?