Red Sox have a painful option to solve a dilemma


Is there a way for the Red Sox to extricate themselves from the Sandoval and Ramirez contracts?

Escalating prices are not a new dynamic in professional baseball as yearly salaries continue to make players and their agents very wealthy. Even the minimum salary now exceeds $500,000 per year and then there is lifelong health insurance for just one day on a roster and a pension that becomes available for 35 days – when I last looked – on a roster.

This off-season I had sticker shock! The contracts for David Price and Zack Greinke were astounding. But the real fall-out is how that flutters down the food chain. Jason Heyward is a good, but not a great outfielder. This is not Mike Trout or Bryce Harper, but his contract may seem a bargain in a few seasons. Then, there was Shelby Miller.

Arizona apparently just let the Braves take their farm system in a trade. And that summarizes the value of pitching. A premium must be paid. The Red Sox have pitching and the pitching comes in two convenient sizes for your use – the controllable kind that is young and promising and the veteran model signed for a few years.

More from BoSox Injection

The Red Sox have a problem – well, actually two problems: Pablo Sandoval and Hanley Ramirez. Rumors had Dave Dombrowski and his minions attempting to square the circle and somehow do some roster housecleaning by disposing of one or both. Performance issues and the fiscal strangulation of onerous contracts made this adventure in salesmanship a failure – but there is an option and it is a painful one.

To paraphrase Henny Youngman – “Take my problems – please” and other teams, or at least a few teams, will gladly do so providing the Red Sox toss in pitching. A talent such as Henry Owens or Brian Johnson could possibly be packaged with Sandoval or Ramirez and sent elsewhere. That, of course, means the potential of underselling on controllable talent for payroll relief or is it?

Having promising pitching does not mean that such pitching will continue to develop in the future. There is an exceedingly long list associated with every team in MLB where a “can’t miss” talent did just that – missed. The Red Sox have certainly not been immune to over value of their most “prized” possessions.

This is where the evaluators earn their salaries. Just who can you project as expendable? And, of course, on the other side of the evaluation chess board is the trading partner. Deals are expanded or even contracted as talks progress since that is the nature of GM’s. The real target areas are those with an empty shopping cart.

More from Red Sox News

Certain teams – well, just about every team – has need of pitching and many came home from the winter meetings with nothing of merit. That does not sell tickets or enhance advertising revenue. Which brings us back to the salary of Heyward and the talent exchange for Miller. Desperation can certainly be a motivator and DD could potentially take advantage of his contemporaries own short comings.

The Red Sox have such as opportunity with their pitching either young or signed. A Clay Buchholz has value as does Joe Kelly and even more value if a trade is conditional on taking on some of the previous administration’s failures. The same certainly applies to some of the younger talents that are on the cusp of contributing or potentially flopping. The Red Sox would, no doubt, still be under the mysterious designate of “Cash Considerations,” but the idea is to minimize that as much as possible, but with the contracts being handed out the two the Red Sox wish to scuttle may even start to be a tad more reasonable.

With the history of aggressive dealing in DD’s portfolio, I would certainly not discount any move. Time is on his side as is the frustration of empty handed GM’s. What would be delivered into the Boston menagerie would also be of concern and that is where the goal is to be a bit shrewder than the other guy. You would certainly expect some degree of value to also have a post mark for mail delivery at Yawkey Way. To exit HR and Panda would be a task that is a balancing act worthy of the Wallenda’s with the goal of payroll relief, getting some return and choosing just the right prospect(s) to package.

Next: Boston Red Sox all-time best free agent signings

We all play GM and this is just one potential avenue for removing some real or perceived roster demons. With my own GM hat firmly in place, I would stay the course with Panda and HR and hold on pitching – but that does not exclude the possibility that you could see such maneuvers happen.