Red Sox hunt for an ace could be internal?


Ace? We don’t need no stinkin’ ace! Unless, of course, the money is there. The signings of Pablo Sandoval and Hanley Ramirez may have created a fiscal conundrum that could prevent tossing 200M+ to a pitching savior.

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The Red Sox ownership is not a group of bindlestiffs who fell off the turnip truck on the way to Fenway Park. Their collective acumen is well noted as the entire group is steeped in baseball experience, but often in different areas that lend itself to a different view through the baseball prism. Decisions seem to have a collective quality to them and apparently that will apply to the latest shuffle that has taken place in the front office.

John Henry – as principal owner – is certainly a larger than life target – even within the confines of his own media mouth piece – The Boston Globe. But Henry is a clever dude and that is evident from how successful the Red Sox have been under his leadership. I will now put down the pom poms and look at just what can be done with two budget busters on hand.

The Red Sox have a budget. Henry is not Yawkey in that he will not direct money from his personal fortune into the team. This is a pay as you go system and right now there is a huge commitment to two players – Sandoval and Ramirez – who are essentially untradeable. That is a pure fait accompli with no time machine available to go back and hold management in a cage until both signed elsewhere.

The Red Sox have two possible options: (1) Just dump them. Maybe they will get some degree of compensation, such as a player resting on the bench on a Gulf League team. Both players now represent a loss unless they can prove otherwise. The Red Sox will have to pay. Point (2) is you simply chalk it up to a bad year a baseball convergence of bad karma for the 2015 season and see if things reverse in 2016. A risky baseball double-down.

Is this a baseball Gordian Knot? The Red Sox have made public statements that they are willing to exceed the luxury tax. Is there any “proof” of this? Yoan Moncada! Untried and untested and the Red Sox were willing to pay a 31M+ penalty to sign him. Yes – case closed. But 200M is a bit more extravagant than 31M. The proverbial champagne and beer budget to make a rather perverse comparison. There is nothing in the history of this ownership to show they will go on the cheap.

The question that will be answered regarding finances will become clear in the off-season manipulations. A signing of Clay Buchholz could signal a hold regarding an ace. The apparent health of Joe Kelly could tack on a ditto to that. Henry Owens and his late season positive impression. The sudden recovery of Rick Porcello and the consistency of Wade Miley are of consideration. But one player surfaces that puts a damper on ace speculation – Eduardo Rodriguez.

Rodriguez is only 22-years-old and certainly made an impression during 2015. The final record was 10-6 with several performances that simply stood out. Every bump in the road – I.E: Getting the snot kicked out of him – was answered with a remarkable follow-up performance. The Red Sox just may consider E-Rod their apparent ace in waiting and place a world of faith in his talented left arm.

The Red Sox may evaluate their starters and temper the lust for say a David Price or a trade with the Mets, Nationals or White Sox for an ace of legitimate standing. The cost in a trade could be prohibitive with the departure of one or more MLB players and a duck boatload of prospects. Management just may be reluctant to trade-off talent that is controllable.

With young players and patience with vets who have suddenly resurrected from their early implosions a change could be delayed. The staff finished off strong in August and September with the sixth best statistical evaluation among American League staffs. Something to build on.

If the Red Sox have any faith in their evaluators, there was something with Porcello that made them open the vault and in Porcello’s post DL performance that has been on display. There are enough complementary pieces that provide depth to the rotation, but that ace – I’d risk it and go with E-Rod. Incredible pressure to place on such youth.

Sandoval and Ramirez are at the absolute nadir of their professional careers. A total disaster for the players and the organization. With the type of expenditure it may be fortuitous to give another season for seeing if 2015 is a trend or a mirage.

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