There was more than a blip on the baseball blogosphere radar today when multiple media outlets reported that the Red Sox were interested in Indians starting pitcher Justin Masterson and outfielder Shin-Soo Choo.
After two years in Boston, Masterson was traded in 2009 to Cleveland as part of the Victor Martinez deal. I intellectually understood the move but emotionally, for a number of reasons, really wanted the Sox to hold onto the promising now 27 year-old.
First, he’s big (6′ 6″, 250), strong and healthy. Second, he’s got loads of upside. He’s heading into the his prime years, making him at the very worst a .500 workhorse innings eater. Although his winning percentage (.352) and average ERA in Cleveland (4.35) were underwhelming, he’s played on some pretty awful Indians teams. Boston was terrible this year and the Indians had just one more win. Third, Masterson is flat out a nice guy and great teammate. He does what he’s told and keeps his nose clean. Given the Beckett/Lackey/Lester circus alternative in the rotation over the past few years, I’ll take it. Hey Ben, bring the kid back. You won’t be sorry.
Masterson’s teammate Shin-Soo Choo has also been mentioned in trade talks between Boston and Cleveland. Choo is another player that fits the mold of Boston’s new, less splashy, more value driven philosophy.
Burned time and again over the past three years by mammoth contract busts, these would be smart moves to make that don’t deplete all your cash reserves on a few high rollers. The Red Sox appear to be reflecting their New England roots by taking a sensible approach this off season.
Choo, a former pitcher who, with the exception of the 2007 season (Tommy John surgery), has been fairly durable (112 games per season) is a good fielder with a solid bat (an average slashline over six seasons of .291/.380/.471/.851) and has decent speed. The 30 year-old Choo had another consistent 2012 season and could fill either of Boston’s current corner outfield positions
Even if Masterson and Choo don’t end up in Boston, the Red Sox have signaled a more sane approach to trades and acquisitions; low key, low to mid-priced, solid players that don’t come to the team with expectations so high they may very nearly never be able to live up to them.
Low key, smart, conservative, building approach. Those are some words Sox fans can buy into after a three-year orgy of over-price, underperforming talent.
All my friends know the low rider
The low rider is a little higher
Low rider drives a little slower
Low rider is a real goer
- Low Rider, War