Ben: Grab the “Magic Wandy,” Pull the Extra Starter Rabbitt Out of the Hat


 

With about $6 million to spend on a starter for the Sox rotation, what is the best deal Ben Cherington can make?

In a previous post we suggested a few criteria and speculated on a trade match between the Sox and the Astros.  While an excerpt from that post is spinning on the round glass plate in the microwave, let’s consider the Sox other major option:  not trading any prospects, by signing a FA pitcher, say, Roy Oswalt.

Roy-O had been dreaming about a one-year $10 million deal, but, when there were not takers, his agent Scott Boras floated the rumor that his client may take, say, maybe just $8 million.  This appears to create a gap of $2 million, since Lucchino and his colleagues, the Absentee Owners, are unwilling to cross the Luxury Tax Line.

Ben and his accountant, Howie Cheetham, have devised a solution: a 2-year deal that:

1.  Gives Oswalt his $8 million over a two-year timeframe.

2.  Keeps Ben within his 2012 budget by paying Roy-O $4 million per year.

3.  Allows the Sox to opt-out of year two; still pay Oswalt his $4 million, but gives the Sox the option to send Roy-O to the minor leagues, or, better yet, use a “back problem” to place him on the DL list for 2013 [like Lackey].

4.  To cover the possibility that Oswalt does well in 2012 and the Sox want to keep him under contract, the agree to add several generous “Santa” clauses that add bonus money to the base of $4 million, linked to specific performance goals.

But, the Sox should not sign Oswalt, because: he is a RHP, he has a history of back problems, he is a short-term solution.

Spoiler alert: we recommend that the Sox make a trade for LHP Wandy Rodriguez.

As was reported yesterday on this website by my colleague, Derek Stykalo, the Sox are interested in “Magic Wandy,” but cannot take on his current contract:

“Currently Rodriguez is set to make $10 million this season which is considerably higher than the allotted budget that Cherington is working with.  Oswalt’s $8 million is much more flexible as a result of the Scutaro trade.  For the Red Sox to take on all of Rodriguez’s salary would likely be a deal breaker and given he’s scheduled to make $13 million next year, Houston would have to take on a good chunk of the guaranteed money. The Astros currently have a $13 million club option on Rodriguez for the 2014 season, but that then turns into a player option if he is traded.” [http://bosoxinjection.com/2012/01/22/a-wandy-rodriguez-trade-could-open-up-more-possibilities-for-red-sox/#more-13127]

Ben and his accountant, Howie Cheetham, have devised a solution:

The Sox cover $6 million of the $13 million due Wandy for 2012; the Astros pay the remaining $7 million.  Then, Sox take over the contract in full:  $13 million per year for 2013 and 2014.

While the deal gets Wandy off their payroll for a donation of $7 million to the 2102 salary, the Astros will expect “something else” from the deal:  prospects.  Ben would be in a good bargaining position to take his top prospects off the table and offer a quantity package of 4-6 lower level talent; such as…[see below].

Ah, the microwave is beeping, so it’s time to serve up the warmed up excerpt from our previous post:

Here are the criteria the Sox should apply to their quest for another starter:

1. Prefer not to trade to AL competitors; prefer trade to NL.
2. Desperate “rebuilding” team that needs just about anything.
3. Team with a new GM.
4. A young MLB-proven, lefty starter.

Wandy Fulton Rodriguez
Position: Pitcher
Bats: Right, Throws: Left
Height: 5′ 11″, Weight: 195 lb.
Born: January 18, 1979 in Santiago Rodriguez, Santiago Rodriguez, D.R. (Age 32)
Signed by the Houston Astros as an amateur free agent in 1999. (All Transactions)
Debut: May 23, 2005
Team: Astros 2005-2011
2012 Contract Status: Signed thru 2013, 3 yrs/$34M (11-13) & 14 team option (details) [*]
Service Time (01/2012): 6.105, Free Agent: 2014 [*], Agents: Barry Praver [*]
[Source: http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/r/rodriwa01.shtml]

Let’s look at the chart:

2005-2011: 73-75 .493 4.07 206 [G] 1176 [IP]
162 Game Avg: 12-13 .493 4.07 35 [G] 198 [IP]
2.38 Ks to every W. W/9 3.2, K/9 7.7
WHIP: 1.346

Considering this was on a terrible Houston team and I rest my case.

Q: What does Houston need?
A: Everything!

Remove Aging Carlos Lee, Brett Myers, and starting SS, Jed Lowrie from the 40-man roster and you are left with a AA roster, who would regularly lose to the Portland Sea Dogs.

So, which of those Doggies do we have to cough up to grab the “Magic” Wandy?

Reviewing the Astros’ Top Ten Prospects [http://mlb.mlb.com/mlb/prospects/watch/y2011/] we find five uninspiring pitchers and a bad Draw Poker hand of position prospects. The two who may make it as starters are Jonathan Singleton, the key for Houston in the Hunter Pence Hold-up, whose only competition at 1b is the immobile, future AL DH, Brett Wallace. Singleton’s ceiling is a .300 BA and 25/80.

The other possible MLB caliber prospect is Delino DeShields, Jr., who has exceptional speed and no power and batted .220 in A-ball; he had 30 SBs, but his .305 OBP may limit his steal opportunities.

Since the pungent “Houston Swiss” has more holes than cheese,  we could offer them a “quantity for quality” deal; one where we keep our best prospects, like #1 Middlebrooks [Da New Yook], #3 Anthony Ranaudo [Bard-like heater], #5 Jose Iglesias [Gold Glove SS], #7 Drake Britton, RHP [high ceiling] and fill a gift bag with 4 prospects from this list:

Bryce Brentz, RF, Rank: 2, Salem Red Sox (A+), ETA: 2013 [RF, 115 Ks/115 G’s]
Felix Doubront, LHP, Rank: 4, Navegantes Magallanes, ETA: 2011 [MLB, 6.10, 1.94]
Lars Anderson, 1b, Rank: 6, ETA: 2011 [Adrian Gonzalez]
Stolmy Pimentel, RHP, Rank: 8, Estrellas de Oriente, ETA: 2013 [6.79, 1.61, 65K/39W]
Oscar Tejeda, 2b, Rank: 9, Gigantes del Cibao, ETA: 2013 [lacks power, speed, glove]
Kolbrin Vitek, 3b, Rank: 10, Salem Red Sox (A+), ETA: 2013 [Will Middlebrooks]

Most likely the Astros’ GM will take the top four from the list, but, even if we gave ALL SIX to Houston, what’s the big deal? OK, we get Brett Myers too! That gives the Red Sox TWO potential rotation guys, or, at worst, Myers [21 SVs with the Phillies] goes to the pen.

So, Ben, here’s what we propose…

4 for 1 deal:

Bryce Brentz, RF                                                            for           Wandy Rodriguez, LHP
Felix Doubront, LHP
Lars Anderson, 1b
Stolmy Pimentel, RHP

OR

6 for 2 deal:

Bryce Brentz, RF                                                            for              Wandy Rodriguez, LHP
Felix Doubront, LHP                                                                         Brett Myers, RHP
Lars Anderson, 1b
Stolmy Pimentel, RHP
Oscar Tejeda, 2b
Kolbrin Vitek, 3b

Thus, a “win-win” deal:

The Red Sox get a young, proven, healthy, LHP for their rotation for years.

The Astros get a Bag O’ Prospects to fill their roster.

Ben:  Do it right away! Before Lucchino and Valentine come up with their own plan.

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Tags: 1B 2b 3b Ben Cherington Bobby Valentine BoSox Injection Bryce Brentz Derek Stykalo Free Agents GM Houston Astros Howie Cheetham John Lackey Kolbrin Vitek Larry Lucchino Lars Anderson LHP Brett Myers LHP Felix Doubront Oscar Tejeda RF For Wandy Rodriguez RHP Stolmy Pimentel