Red Sox Armchair GM: Conor’s take

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Sep 21, 2014; Baltimore, MD, USA; Boston Red Sox left fielder Yoenis Cespedes (52) catches a pop-up by Baltimore Orioles left fielder Alejandro De Aza (not shown) in the third inning at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. Mandatory Credit: Joy R. Absalon-USA TODAY Sports

As it stands:

During the early portion of the season, the Red Sox had one of the worst offensive outfields in baseball. However, after acquiring Craig and Yoenis Cespedes at the trade deadline, signing Rusney Castillo to a 7 year/$72M deal out of Cuba, and the emergence of Mookie Betts, the Boston outfield is stacked. Between Yoenis Cespedes, Mookie Betts, Rusney Castillo, and Shane Victorino, the Red Sox have four starting-caliber outfielders and even more considering that Holt, Craig, Jackie Bradley Jr., and Daniel Nava are also serviceable outfield options.

Course of action:

Considering their depth, the Red Sox should try and thin out that depth a bit this offseason and that’s just what I’d do as GM, as hard as it may be.

  1. While it would remove a great deal of power from their lineup and take away a flashy fan-favorite, dealing Cespedes is the right move from a practical perspective. He only has one more season on his 4/$36M contract and will likely sign a huge contract next winter; however, due to his prodigious power, he still has more trade value than anybody in the outfield not named Mookie Betts. The Red Sox would likely be able to net a solid return of prospects and the Reds come to mind as a team that could be interested in Cespedes’s reputation as a powerful left fielder. It’s not likely that the Red Sox pry dominant pitching prospect Robert Stephenson from the Reds but a package headlined by Michael Lorenzen and/or Jesse Winker could be intriguing to the Red Sox.

The final product: 

Even with Cespedes out of the picture, the Red Sox have the potential to put one of the best outfields in the league out on the field. A trio of Betts, Castillo, and Victorino would be a phenomenal defensive outfield that would inject speed and even some power production into their lineup. In addition to the starters, the Red Sox would also have Daniel Nava on the bench while giving Bradley some additional time to figure out his hitting approach in Triple-A.

That outfield would be a strong component of what is shaping up to be an excellent Red Sox lineup even after subtracting Cespedes.