The 2011-2012 offseason was a big one for the Red Sox. Several players came and went, and many of those who left Boston were much beloved players. Today, I’ll be looking at those Red Sox players who went to pursue their careers elsewhere last offseason and what it would be like if they had stayed. The names I will be covering today are Erik Bedard, Jed Lowrie, Josh Reddick, and Jonathan Papelbon.
Erik Bedard- Bedard only pitched for the Red Sox for two months last season, and his time in Boston was marred by injuries. He was acquired on the Trading Deadline of July 31, 2011 from the Seattle Mariners in return for four minor leaguers. In 8 starts for the Red Sox– Bedard went 1-2 with a 4.03 ERA and 38 strikeouts in 38 innings. Since signing with the Pittsburgh Pirates on a one year deal this offseason, Bedard has seen some success in the Steel City. So far, he’s gone 3-6 with a 3.72 ERA and 56 strikeouts in 55.2 innings. The Red Sox certainly could use some pitching help this year, as their pitching staff is ranked 28th in the league with a 4.51 ERA this season. However, I’m not sure where the Red Sox would put Bedard, as it probably would have involved either Felix Doubront or Daniel Bard not being in the rotation; and Doubront has been the Red Sox’ best pitcher this year.
Jed Lowrie- Many thought that it was a pretty fair deal when the Red Sox sent Lowrie and prospect Kyle Weiland to Houston in return for reliever Mark Melancon. Melancon has been stuck in triple-A Pawtucket all year since starting off this season in a miserable fashion, so it’s looking like the Astros lucked out on this deal. Lowrie has been a pleasant surprise for the Astros this year, batting at a .291/.371/.506 slash line with 9 home runs and 23 RBIs so far. Mike Aviles has been solid for the Red Sox this year, with a .258/.279/.433 line this year, but it looks like Lowrie has been legitimately better. With the Red Sox’ bullpen pitching great lately, it doesn’t look like Melancon is in line for a call up, so the Astros had a major steal in Lowrie.
Josh Reddick- Many fans of both Oakland and Boston, myself included, thought the Red Sox had a steal when they traded Josh Reddick and two prospects to the A’s in return for Ryan Sweeney and Andrew Bailey. However, Bailey was quickly injured and had thumb surgery before the season even started and is still on the 60-day DL. Ryan Sweeney has been good for the Red Sox (.321/.356/.450, 16 doubles, 13 RBI) but Josh Reddick has been money since his arrival in Oakland. Reddick leads the A’s in batting average (.265), home runs (14), RBIs (29), slugging percentage (.545), and runs (33). In the Red Sox’ injury-filled outfield, slotting Reddick in that lineup card would look really nice right about now.
Jonathan Papelbon- Papelbon was the big departure from the Red Sox when the Red Sox’ all-time leader in saves (248) signed the largest deal of any reliever in history (4 years/$50 million) with the Philadelphia Phillies. Don’t get me wrong– Papelbon has been fantastic with the Phillies, a 2.01 ERA and 15 saves in 15 chances. However, Papelbon hasn’t really been missed since April 21, when the Red Sox blew a 9-run lead to the Yankees. Since then, the Red Sox bullpen and new closer Alfredo Aceves (4.73 ERA, 14/17 saves) have both been great. At this point, I would prefer Aceves blow a couple more saves than Papelbon while making about $47 million less.