Red Sox have passed on appealing available puzzle pieces
By Rick McNair
The Boston Red Sox have passed on some interesting available talent that could complement their roster. Here are a few who may or may not have been worth a look.
And another one got away – and another….and another. The Boston Red Sox are chalking up a nice list of missed opportunities that appear on MLB Trade Rumors.
Let’s start with the most valuable of all and that is pitching. The Red Sox are – as is every MLB team – on the never-ending hunt for depth. The first is a local player.
Right-handed Steve Cishek has now put, or will shortly, his signature on a two-year $14 million deal to pitch for the Cubs. Cishek has moved around more than a 20-year Gunny with the army, but last season the 31-year-old appeared in 49 games with a 2.01 ERA with Seattle and Tampa Bay. So much for bringing home a local (Falmouth H.S).
My arm aches just watching the quirky delivery of 37-year-old right-handed Pat Neshek who signed a two-year deal with the Phillis. Neshek will get a reported $14 million, so the figure for quality set-up appears to be in the $7 million per season range. Neshek was an All-Star in 2017 and finished his two-team season with a 1.59 ERA in 62.1 innings.
On the cheaper side of set-up is former Houston Astro Luke Gregerson who signed up for a life of servitude thanks to a two-year and $11 million deal with the St. Louis Cardinals. Gregerson would be a long shot coming off – for him – a disappointing 4.57 ERA with the champs.
Joe Smith is now the replacement part for Gregerson with the Astros. The veteran righty signed a two-year deal for $15 million. Smith appeared in 59 games and posted a 3.33 ERA.
My free agent pitching target of choice was Jake McGee. McGee recently returned to the fold with the dreadful Colorado Rockies and Coors Field. McGee – a lefty – signed for 3 years at $27 million, but I guess Robby Scott or Brian Johnson are better options.
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You can certainly cull the herd with the above names. I’d stay away from Smith or Gregerson, but the rest? Especially McGee who would lock down the lefty out of the ‘pen role. The Red Sox logic (apparently) is Carson Smith, Heath Hembree, Joe Kelly, Matt Barnes and maybe Tyler Thornburg will suffice. Based on the previous history this is as risky as taking your vintage Indian Chief bike out for a spin in a blizzard.
What help desk do the Red Sox call regarding infield depth? How about seeking out Ian Kinsler? Seems the Angels stepped in and picked up the veteran infielder for prospect chump change. The price tag in money is $11 million for a player that slipped to .236 with “only” 22 home runs.
We are told by the propaganda department of the Red Sox that they inquired about Marcell Ozuna. The 26-year-old All-Star was sold off for pennies on the dollar by Miami. Where exactly did the Red Sox fit in? I guess Jason Groome is far too valuable to ship elsewhere. Groome – undoubtedly – will join the extensive list of Red Sox homegrown pitching success. The last thing Boston needs is a young right-handed slugger who went 37/124.
Next: Five free agents to avoid
The Red Sox will (I hope) sign the big fish or fishes to juice up their lineup, but what happens with any puzzle is you cannot complete it with pieces missing. So far, the Red Sox have passed on some small pieces.