At 10:30 (EST) this morning, Theo Epstein introduced Adrian Beltre as the Red Sox new third baseman. Now that the deal is official, it re-raises the question about what to do with Mike Lowell. When Theo addressed the situation this morning he made it clear that there was no immediate move lined up to unload the veteran third baseman.
“I think this is a situation that will take care of itself, because if Mike gets out on the field and shows that he is 100 percent healthy as we expect him to be a couple weeks into spring training and starts playing well, there will be an opportunity for him. If it’s here, if other players don’t show up in good health, or elsewhere, he’s going to be a sought-after player and we’ll probably be able to put Mike in a situation here or elsewhere where he can really make an impact on a team.” -Theo Epsein, Red Sox GM
My concern for the Sox is that now they acquired Beltre, there are no teams that want to pick up Lowell’s salary and give the Sox a reasonable player in return. I would love to see Lowell come back and look great in Spring training, because then Theo would be able to move him to another team a bit easier, but what happens if he struggles? It appears that plan B is to keep Mike Lowell and use him in some capacity. If that is the case, do the Sox keep Lowell as a backup third baseman/DH if Beltre or Ortiz get hurt or under-perform? That would be a huge salary sitting on the bench.
As valuable a personality as Lowell is in the clubhouse, it is in the Sox and his best interest to move him elsewhere now. As Spring training moves closer, team rosters will become more set and there will be less opportunities for Lowell to fight for a starting job, or even a bench spot. Ultimately, the Sox aren’t going to get much in return for Lowell anyway, so they should look to move him as soon as possible to give him an opportunity to rehab and start spring training with his new club. It is the least the Sox could do to for their former clubhouse leader.