Posts Tagged ‘Adam LaRoche’
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?
While retaining David Ortiz with a two-year deal was a good start, the Red Sox still have much to do this off-season. So let’s take a look at free agent options.
A sampling from the pundits:
- Keith Law published his list of the top 50 free agents (subscription required).
- David Schoenfield posted his five crazy free agent signing ideas (no Red Sox moves included).
- Matthew Leach speculation on where the top 10 free agents will end up.
- Ken Davidoff list of where the top 30 free agent will go.
- Ben Reiter goes through the top 50 free agents and predicts their next teams.
Red Sox Options
Here’s a look at free agent options for the Red Sox in their top three priority positions. And note: these are just free agents for consideration – what’s available on the trade market needs to be part of the mix too.
Proposed strategy: Red Sox should use their massive financial flexibility (from the Dodgers trade) to be aggressive in annual salary with a goal of over-paying as a trade-off to limit contract length.
This is not a stellar free agent crop (Josh Hamilton excepted). And the Red Sox need to rebuild (that process will take multiple years).
Don’t lock good – but not great – players into long-term deals so the team maintains room to pursue the great ones when they are available.
- Getting a Starter. The thinking is: Land a veteran starter on a short-term deal to pitch some quality innings and buy time for Allen Webster, Rubby De La Rosa and Matt Barnes. Let’s put Dan Haren as option number one – with two big caveats. Boston needs to check out Haren’s back and get a green light. And the team needs to be able to land Haren with a one- or two-year contract. Maybe Haren will buy into a one-year deal to have a comeback season so he can get one more big, multi-year contract. Plan B: Hiroki Kuroda – if he can be had on a one-year deal. Plan C: Jeremy Guthrie – good AL East experience, two-year deal max. Plan D: Anibal Sanchez – but don’t go beyond three or four years. Don’t see Zack Greinke as worth five years and monster money. And don’t see Edwin Jackson as a top three starter. He will be looking for a long-term deal after pitching on a one-year contract last season.
- First Base. Adam LaRoche on a two-year deal over Mike Napoli. I like Napoli’s versatility but LaRoche’s defense gives him the nod. Let’s not revisit Kevin Youkilis – that ship has sailed. And pass on Lance Berkman if he is returning as a player.
- Outfield. Start by at least discussing Hamilton. Could he play left for a couple of years – and then move to DH to replace Ortiz? My thinking is: It is too much of a gamble to go four or more years with Hamilton. But it should be examined. Nick Swisher needs to be on the list – especially if Cody Ross leaves via free agency. Also, Boston has to check out Melky Cabrera – don’t see him necessarily as the All-Star he was last year, but he is better than Ryan Kalish. The PED suspension may make him open to a one-year to get a bigger contract in his next deal. If Torii Hunter goes for a one-year deal – he jumps ahead of Swisher and Cabrera.
Which players do you think should be Boston’s free agent priorities?
One of the big player decisions that Red Sox GM Ben Cherington faces this off-season is how does the team upgrade at first base.
Traditionally, the Boston first baseman has contributed big offensive production.
That was the thinking in acquiring Adrian Gonzalez from San Diego. And the role Kevin Youkilis played before him.
James Loney and Mauro Gomez don’t fit that profile.
Loney is a free agent and most likely a short timer in Boston. While Gomez was more productive than Loney in limited play, I don’t see the Red Sox opening a starting role for him.
Here are five first base targets for the Red Sox to consider:
- Chase Headley. Put up a monster year. The question is: did he price himself out of the San Diego market – or did Headley make himself into an invaluable keeper? Getting him would cost a ton – but he is someone the Red Sox need to look into. If Boston lands him – the decision is who is the better fit at first: Headley or Will Middlebrooks. (Note: Not counting on David Wright hitting the market – but he also fits into this category if available as a free agent or trade candidate.)
- Adam LaRoche. The Nationals and LaRoche have a mutual option for a $10 million deal in 2013. It’s possible the Nats will pass – and turn first base over to Michael Morse – making LaRoche a highly sought after free agent. But LaRoche posted big power numbers this season (33 HRs, 100 RBIs) so Washington is more likely to hold onto him. Which may make Morse available (who is in the 2014 free agent class).
- Nick Swisher. The Yankees may be looking for some younger blood (or go older by keeping Ichiro Suzuki) rather than committing to this free agent to be. Like LaRoche, Swisher is more a power guy (24 HRs, 93 RBIs) than high average. Also like LaRoche, on the north side of 30 years old.
- Kendrys Morales. The Angels have a logjam at first – with Morales, Albert Pujols and Mark Trumbo. Morales put up decent – not great – numbers after missing 1.5 years with an ankle injury. The question on him: Will he return to form with more playing time or is this as good as it gets with Morales?
- Mike Cuddyer. He has two years remaining (at $10.5 million/year) on his Rockies’ contract. This season was an injury-plagued, down season for Cuddyer (does not sound particularly enticing) – but with Colorado going nowhere, he is likely trade bait. Another warning sign: Cuddyer will be 34 years old next season.
Others on the list: Mike Napoli (free agent – pass), Alex Gordon (yes, look into at first or leftfield), Alfonso Soriano (would need to switch positions and is too old – pass).
How do you think the Red Sox should address first base next season?