Ben Cherington’s “Next Great Red Sox Team” has a gaping hole at 1b.
In Part One [http://bosoxinjection.com/2013/09/10/next-great-sox-1b-cheringtons-choices/], we covered options 1 and 2; now, in Part Two, we will consider options 3 and 4.
- Promote a player from his farm system.
- Make a trade for an available 1b prospect from another team.
- Make a trade for a 1b on the 40-man roster of another team.
- Sign a Free Agent from the 2014 pool.
- Draft a college player from the June 2014 MLB class.
TRADE FOR A MLB 1B
The list could run on into Super Bowl Sunday and then there will be the proposed trades; so, let’s see who the other teams would be looking to deal and give them a grade from A to F.
Ike Davis, Mets
“…team insiders appear satisfied that Davis will not be cost prohibitive in 2014 in a way that would force them to cut him loose.” http://risingapple.com/2013/09/09/team-insiders-mets-unlikely-non-tender-ike-davis/ Not exactly a ringing endorsement for a problem child with tempting power and .240 BA, who kept re-adjusting his batting stance and ended the year on the DL.
Nor is this encouraging:
“Mets general manager Sandy Alderson noted that he was disappointed with the lack of power Davis displayed once returning from the minors. Alderson intimated that Davis may have been sacrificing power in an effort to get on base more – something that won’t fly in the long-term.
If Davis is the first baseman with the Mets in 2014 and beyond, it’ll be because he’s rediscovered his power stroke.” http://risingapple.com/2013/09/09/team-insiders-mets-unlikely-non-tender-ike-davis/
COMMENT: His 67 HRs in 1488 ABs may tempt some team to take a flyer on Ron Davis’ son.
Kendry Morales, Seattle
Listed as a switch-hitter, he hit about 60 points better from his “un-natural” side [LH]. If you want a 1b who can pull to RF, he is not your guy:
“Morales has just done his damage to center and right, regardless of where he’s stood.
If we know that Morales has been worse as a righty, and if we know that he’s hit as a righty to the opposite field, what that suggests is that Morales has been later to get around. We can’t refer to him as a punch hitter or a slap hitter, because those isolated sluggings are substantial. Morales has had power from his natural side. Just not so much pull power.” http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/kendrys-morales-and-partial-uselessness/
“Morales has hit safely in five of his last six games, going 9-for-21 with three home runs and six RBI. He is hitting a very respectable .282 with 20 homers on the season.”[9/9/2013] http://www.xnsports.com/2013/09/09/daily-fantasy-baseball-lineup-september-9/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=daily-fantasy-baseball-lineup-september-9
COMMENT: Yes, he’s 30, but he is on pace to meet the Baseball Reference projections him for 2013 at .281, 20/75, 0.7 WAR, as he is currently .280, 20/75. http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/m/moralke01.shtml
Morales is a FA in 2014, but his agent is the dreaded Scott Boras; he accepted a one-year deal with Seattle for $5.25 million. [Napoli (31) got $5 million for 2013.]
Mark Trumbo, Angels
“The thin market for free agent pitching might ultimately lead the Halos to consider trading Mark Trumbo, Peter Bourjos, Erick Aybar or Howie Kendrick for young, controllable pitching help.” http://www.mlbtraderumors.com/mark-trumbo/
With Pujols at 1b, Trumbo either plays OF, or gets traded.
“For all the people who have started calling Trumbo the new Adam Dunn, it should be noted that Adam Dunn can actually draw a walk.” http://www.monkeywithahalo.com/2013-articles/september/la-angels-player-power-rankings-week-24.html
WAR: 2012 [2.7], 2013 [1.7].
Fielding % at 1b: .993, Napoli .992
1,647 ABs/443 Ks.
If, he’s Dunn, stick a fork in him.
“2010, in which he established himself as a bona fide offensive prospect by hitting 25 homers and driving in 100 runs. There’s more power to come from his left-handed bat, and he’s an excellent defender to boot.”
COMMENT: Theo isn’t giving this guy back to Ben.
Yonder Alonso, Padres
“Hitting for average, power and getting on base.”
“In his first full season, Alonso’s power was non-existent, as he posted just a .120 ISO and 6.4% HR/FB rate. He was never a big power hitter in the minors though, so he wasn’t your prototypical first base prospect.” http://www.fangraphs.com/fantasy/opening-day-homerin-heroes/
“Big power isn’t Alonso’s game. He’s all about walks and high contact rates which help him to maintain a strong BABIP and a healthy batting average.” http://www.fangraphs.com/fantasy/daniel-nava-and-yonder-alonso-waiver-wire-help/
BOTTOM LINE: Middling power, doubles hitter, Oakland A’s poster boy OBP.
A product of the Oakland system: “He can hit the ball out to any part of any ballpark. While he will draw some walks, he’s always going to strike out a healthy amount. He can play some left field, which might get him to the bigs this year, though first is clearly his better spot defensively.” http://mlb.mlb.com/mlb/prospects/watch/y2011/
COMMENT: Think Adam Dunn. Big power, .220, low OBP, not athletic on defense.
Logan Morrison, Marlins
A heralded prospect in 2009, with Baseball America gushing: “Offensively there’s not much not to like.” And “he projects as a .300 hitter with 30-nomer potential.” He even beat the Sophomore Jinx in 2011 and put up impressive stats: 23 HRs/72 RBIs, but batting average dropped from .283  to .247. The past two years have been dismal [WAR –0.1 and -0.3] and his career BA is .251; still his career season avg. is a decent 20/74.
COMMENT: None of the above players inspires excitement and the Sox would need to give up a prospect, or two, to acquire them. Napoli is no Yaz at 1b, but he may be a better interim option in 2014 for the Red Sox than any of the above players.
Sign a Free Agent from the 2014 pool
The 2014 FA pool for First basemen is shallow and tepid. Did the pool boy forget to change the filter?
They range in age from 30-40 and include Napoli, Morales, and former Sox: Youkilis, Pena, Kotchman, and Loney.
Let’s sort this rank group with point values:
Paul Konerko (38)  .248 10/49 “Outta’ gas.”
Corey Hart (32)  .270 30/83 “Out powering Napoli in 2013.”
Mark Reynolds (30)  .225 17/60 “Yankee bench depth guy.”
Carlos Pena (36)  .209 8/25 “Fading power.”
Kendrys Morales (30)  .280 20/75 “Solid offense, especially as LHB.”
Justin Morneau (33)  .259 17/74 “ceiling .277, 28/108.”
Adam Lind (30)  .280 19/54 “Power short for corner.”
Mike Morse (32)  .226 13/27 “Crashed since 2011: .303, 31/95.”
Mike Napoli (32)  .259 21/85 “Adequate place holder.”
Kevin Youkilis (35)  .219 2/8 “Bad back; the fork, please.”
Casey Kotchman (31)  .260 12/67 “Gold glove, mediocre bat.”
James Loney (30)  .307 11/63 “Maybe just an aberration in 2012: .230?”
Todd Helton (40)  .248 13/51 “A decade of decline for a real gamer.”
Lyle Overbay (37)  .252 14/56 “Journeyman bench guy.”
Jeff Baker (33)  .286 11/21 “Career year in just 140 ABs.”
COMMENT: If the Sox can get another good year from Napoli, he may be the best option for $5 million rental. A case can be made, elsewhere, for Hart [30/83], Morales [.280], or Lind [.280], but it would likely involve longer contracts and more money.
First baseman on current rosters would require giving up some young talent in a trade and multi-year contracts, while the FAs will want contract commitments and will be over-priced.
Unless a sensational Cuban player defects, Mike Napoli, with some relief from Carp and Nava [or Lavarnway], may be the best option for 2014.
NEXT: PART THREE… Draft a college player from the June 2014 MLB class.