Jul 19, 2013; Chicago, IL, USA; Atlanta Braves starting pitcher Tim Hudson (15) throws a pitch against the Chicago White Sox during the first inning at U.S. Cellular Field. Mandatory Credit: Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports

Sox Should Say No To Beltran, Hudson

As rumors about the Red Sox being interested in free agent veterans Carlos Beltran and Tim Hudson swirl, I must admit I am puzzled as to why they would have interest in these players.

From what I am reading right now it’s probably going to take a four year deal to land Beltran.  He no longer has fear of his creaky knees and believes he can make it through a long term deal in the American League, where he can DH part of the time.

Oct 27, 2013; St. Louis, MO, USA; St. Louis Cardinals right fielder Carlos Beltran hits a RBI single against the Boston Red Sox in the third inning during game four of the MLB baseball World Series at Busch Stadium. Mandatory Credit: H.Darr Beiser-USA TODAY Sports

Beltran is 36 and despite him robbing David Ortiz of that grand slam in the World Series, his knees make him limited on defense.  That is not a recipe for success in Fenway’s spacious right field.  We all saw this year how much of a difference Shane Victorino made in the outfield with his defensive ability. It was like having a second center fielder out there.

If/when Jacoby Ellsbury leaves, the smarter play is to keep Victorino where he is and promote Jackie Bradley, Jr. to play center. I’d much rather have that outfield combo than have age at both spots.  And this idea that Beltran can come here and DH at times to give him a break?  When exactly are you going to sit Ortiz to accomplish this?  I hope the Sox’ interest is merely a smoke screen to drive Beltran’s price up for other suitors, like the Yankees.

As for Hudson, the name is familiar and sexy and the production is still pretty good but he is 38 years old and coming off a broken ankle.  You have to figure he will be looking for at least a three year deal.  The Red Sox already have a very veteran pitcher on their roster named John Lackey.  But there are rumors the Red Sox would like to trade Lackey as part of importing Hudson.  Huh?

If they sign Hudson for three years he is going to be 41 when the pact ends in 2016.  That’s not a good age for a starting pitcher.

Lackey is three years younger, coming off an outstanding comeback season, was big in the postseason and his contract is up after 2015.   It includes an incredible $500,000 team vesting option for 2015 due to the surgery he had.

If the Red Sox are considering moving that now incredibly manageable contract, replacing him with a young pitcher is the way to go, not a 38 year old veteran.

The Hudson of 10 years ago in his prime would be a no brainer.  He was one of the AL’s best pitchers back then.  So even though I know Hudson won 17, 16 and 16 games in the three years before the injury cut his 2013 short, his ERA has also gone up each year.  That’s not a trend I’m comfortable with.

The bottom line is the Red Sox just won an unexpected championship.  If there was ever a time to import some of the many prospects the team has in the minors, this is it.  The hangover from the World Series will last into 2014 with the fans.

As a result, management should be trying to build the next great Red Sox team with youth and diversity.  They shouldn’t be trying to emulate the Yankees by adding age to their ball club.

There are other impact moves Ben Cherington can make this offseason.  Just not these two, please.

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Tags: Boston Red Sox Free Agents

  • Rick M

    The key word is interest. I have an interest in a new Tesla Sedan, but that does not mean I will buy one.

    So much blather is generated prior to the various meetings and deadlines as agents attempt to build a market. I imagine Benny is polite and astute enough to listen and inquire, nothing like setting up a communication line for when an agent has something you really want.

  • John Fahrer

    Beltran’s crazy to think he’ll get anything over two years.

    I personally have no problem if they pursue either of these guys. If they can land Beltran on a two year pact, he can play LF for 2014 and shift into the DH role in 2015.

    Hudson could be a decent one year buy. He made $9 million last season and shouldn’t cost anymore than that. To sign him would require dealing away two of the current veterans on the staff to free up some salary space. Having him as a fifth starter wouldn’t be bad.

  • http://bosoxinjection.com/ Earl Nash

    Beltran’s knees are shot; he needs to train to become a manager. Hudson may have a few miles left, but he’s a #5 at best…Go with the Youth Movement and fill in with some second tier vets who are still healthy.

  • John Cate

    I think your theory that the Red Sox are trying to increase the cost for the Yankees to buy new players is the correct one. Beltran and Hudson make absolutely no sense for the team. One is a bad outfielder who can really only help as a DH, and the other is a declining starter. The Red Sox don’t need either one, but since the Yankees almost have to double down and import more veterans, they do make sense for them.

    • John Fahrer

      Beltran wouldn’t be a liability in left field. He’s really not a liability period. You really wouldn’t want another proven postseason stud? Can you imagine what he and Ortiz could do in the playoffs?

      Hudson would be a good five. Would rather have him at the back end than Dempster or maybe even Peavy.

      • John Cate

        A 3.97 ERA in the NL might translate to 4.50, at best, in Boston. Hudson might be better than Dempster, but not enough to be bothered with. (Dempster actually pitched way better than in the NL in 2012 than Hudson did in ’13.) No way is he better than Peavy.

        As for Beltran, playing left field with the Wall behind you isn’t easy. And if you don’t think he’s a liability in the field, you haven’t seen his advanced defensive metrics for 2013. They were so bad, there’s no way it was a fluke. And no, I don’t want “another proven postseason stud” if there’s a distinct possibility of him kicking away so many runs in the field that the team never makes the postseason in the first place.

        • John Fahrer

          His defensive metrics are down due to not covering as much ground as he used to. Left at Fenway is less ground and he should benefit from it just like Gomes did. One year in LF and a second at DH would be fine.

          Whether they sign Beltran or trade for Stanton, this team is likely to bring in another outfielder as insurance. And I don’t mean Bradley. Who’s to say Nava’s season wasn’t just a flash in the pan like Mark Bellhorn in 04?

          Hudson’s WHIP was 1.188 and he does a great job at keeping the ball down and in the park. Give him a good defense and that ERA will be fine.

          • John Cate

            Well, then I hope they bring in an outfielder, not a 37-year-old DH in all but name. And I don’t think anyone expects Nava to hit .303 again, anyway. His real level of ability is a .275 hitter who gets on base a lot and has medium-range power. He’s a useful player on a good team, but not a star.

            As for Hudson, his ERA’s the last four years: 2.83, 3.22, 3.62, 3.97. I’d much rather that the Yankees find out what the next number in that sequence is than the Red Sox.

          • John Fahrer

            Weren’t people calling Gomes a DH in all but name last year too?

            Hudson won’t go to the Yankees. The Yanks bring the same stigma to any veteran wanting to win now just like the Sox did last offseason. They’re going to be an expensive mess for the next couple seasons due to a barren farm system and albatross contracts.

            Hudson’s total home runs given up the last four years: 20, 14, 12, 10 and that’s in a park with a more inviting RF than Fenway. He would be a good addition to this team.

          • John Cate

            So he’s giving up more runs, but fewer home runs. If the Red Sox are giving up Major League Baseball to join the Home Run Derby League, he’s a great pickup. But if they’re staying in MLB, not so much.

            Avoiding the home run isn’t the key in Fenway, anyhow. As a home run park, it’s only about average most years. It’s tough on pitchers because it increases batting averages and turns what would be routine flyouts in most parks into Wall Ball doubles.

          • John Fahrer

            Got to hit him first. You’re acting like he gives up 200+ hits a year like Joe Saunders. His WHIP is low and he’s a groundball pitcher. If you give him a good infield defense behind him, he’d be a decent add.

            I’m not campaigning that they sign him and I don’t think he’ll ever leave Atlanta since he’s a hometown guy. But the guy is still an effective pitcher and will go down as one of the best of his era. Would’ve loved to have gotten him after 04 instead of Clement or Wells.

          • John Fahrer

            You’re acting like Beltran’s completely inept, which he’s not. St. Louis did just fine with him playing in their spacious right field. Even at age 36, he made much better routes than Jon Jay who’s over a decade younger.

  • Len Biz

    Lackey is a cheap #4 or 5 in the next two years. Remember, the Sox have him for an extra year at the league minimum because of his surgery.

    I’d take a gamble on Hudson if the ones leaving were Peavy and Dumpster. They both showed what they are worth…and it ain’t much!

  • Willy W

    Wow, jump to conclusions much? Pretty clueless. Beltran can play leftfield and Ortiz only has 1 more year. Also Hudson will sign for 1 to 2 years

  • Rick M

    Peavy and Dempster would have stipulations attached – namely the Sox pick up portions of their contracts. Probably very large portions. And dealing Peavy? You give up a top of the line defender for a two month rental? Sox no longer do business that way.

    Then comes the message to the next greatest – Bradley. Sox want someone for LF? Gomes/Nava/Carp did rather well. So forget the hefty price tags of questionable vets and stay the course.