After the 2015 logjam in the outfield, can you believe that the Boston Red Sox may want to consider adding another outfielder?
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Nick Cafardo of The Boston Globe reported that the team is lacking some power. Whether that’s true or not, according to Cafardo, the Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski is looking for another bat and glove in the outfield. Cafardo stated that free agent Brandon Moss may be the solution: “Moss is an interesting, low-cost left-handed power option for a few teams, including the Red Sox. Dombrowski said he will be looking for a fourth outfielder, likely someone who could platoon with Rusney Castillo. Moss also would protect them at first base.”
As Moss can play both outfield and first base, it would make the drama in Boston increase a notch, if he signed.
Moss is 32 years old with a lefty bat that could be useful. However, he hit terribly in Cleveland for the Indians before being traded to the St. Louis Cardinals, making his slash line for the two clubs .226/.304/.407. This result just after being named an All-Star in 2014 for the Oakland Athletics. It’s worth noting that he hit .234 with 81 RBIs in that season; this season, he knocked in just 58 RBIs even though he played only two fewer games.
Defensively, Moss is a sure-handed righty. As an outfielder, Moss has a .986 fielding percentage and a range factor of 2.12, the majority of the success being in right field. He has played left field as well, but he is not seen as a threat to Mookie Betts‘ job in Boston’s center field. As a first baseman, Moss has a .990 fielding percentage and an 8.50 range factor, making him already more solid than Hanley Ramirez, whom has never played the position, and just behind Travis Shaw‘s .993 fielding percentage. Considering Shaw’s small sample-size of just 65 games, it’s too early to tell if this 25-year-old prospect would perform better than Moss.
Oct 10, 2015; St. Louis, MO, USA; St. Louis Cardinals first baseman Brandon Moss (21) fields a ground ball during the fourth inning in game two of the NLDS against the Chicago Cubs at Busch Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports
The nine-year veteran from Georgia could be on the decline, but maybe not. At least, his present salary may allow teams like the Red Sox to take a chance on him. Moss made $6.5 million in a contract year where he didn’t fair so well. Teams may lowball him in negotiations to see if they can get Moss on the cheap. He will be able to seek arbitration in 2016, but even the judge may feel that a low price tag is suitable for Moss’ services.
If we were to look at Cafardo’s idea closely, we have to examine Castillo, as well. The 28-year-old from Cuba bats right and throws right with a six-year, $60.4 million yoke around his neck for the future. His age doesn’t translate to a typical phenom prospect, but his two years of MLB experience sure does. After playing 10 games in 2014, hitting two homers and six RBIs, Castillo was injured during spring training and had trouble making it back to the Red Sox starting lineup in 2015. He played 80 games, the majority played in right field like Moss but with a .960 fielding percentage and a 2.45 range factor. Castillo’s bat, which looked like unstoppable power in 2014, hit .253/.288/.359 in 289 plate appearances. Five homers and 29 RBIs later, Castillo didn’t help himself too much to put doubt in Dombrowski’s mind that he was worth that kind of money for such a long period of time.
Whenever you hear the word ‘platooning’ as a fan, you can’t help but feel that there’s a problem at the position. If Moss was brought in, many of Red Sox Nation would want it under the circumstances that he would take over the duties in right field by making a comeback to All-Star form, even if it wasn’t that great before. However, if he was signed in the offseason, his mere presence would send many ripples in the Red Sox talent pool. The deal would mean that the Red Sox would give up on signing a top free agent at first base, like Chris Davis, because they would feel that the position can be Hanley’s with Shaw and Moss backing him up. Judging by Han-Ram’s list of injuries this year, that support is a necessity. If they sign Moss, Castillo would be put on notice to either shape up or he will be shipped out, if Dombrowski doesn’t beat him to it in December.
Many balls in the air, if Moss is signed. But, that’s even if Dombrowski decides to make Moss an offer. Very early still in the market, but it’s a possibility.
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