4 possible bats off the bench options for the Red Sox
A look at potential bats for the Red Sox
My Red Sox wish list is a competent bat off the bench, and I could look for that light-it-up slugger who could play the outfield without making Manny Ramirez look like Jim Piersall. That reality and payroll thingy put a damper on it. Sorry, Nelson Cruz.
Where do you get someone? Well, friends and neighbors, baseball does have a dollar store or, in the case of MLB, a million-dollar store. As I embarrass myself with another article, I have pondered the names available. Is there a Jonny Gomes type available? Has Smokey Burgess passed?
I will start my latest roster adventurism with a personal favorite Trey Mancini. Mancini was on the fast track to moderate stardom when cancer hit his career. Mancini recovered, but the righty still had a distance to go before matching his 2019 (35/97/.291).
Mancini will soon be 31 years old, can play first base or the outfield, has respectable power, and could be had on a one-year deal. Mancini’s splits show he hits equally proficiently against righties and lefties, has hit .269 as a DH, .381 as a small sample pinch hitter, has a career .338 at quaint Fenway Park, and from all reports, is a solid locker room citizen.
Next up is a former AL home run champion, Luke Voit. Voit can whiff with the best of them but brings some substantial home-run power. Voit’s splits show a .215 career DH average, .298 as a pinch hitter, and .307 at Fenway. I view being a DH and pinch-hitting as similar. Voit probably would accept a minor-league deal.
Another bat on the outside looking in is a name recently mentioned as connected to the Red Sox – Yuli Gurriel. In 2021 Gurriel was the AL batting champion (.319) and can sometimes power up. Versatility is his ability to play first or third, and the real plus for me is his ability to get the bat on the ball with a career 11.2 SO%.
Gurriel has little to measure as a DH or pinch-hitter but does have a career .333 average at Fenway. Alway that Fenway average is a key in late-game comebacks. Gurriel may be holding out for a longer-term deal, and I would not rule out a signing with Japan of Korean baseball.
Lastly on my short list is a player who murders the ball and can murder you defensively, and that is Gary Sanchez. Sanchez is scary at the plate when he hits that ball and scary when he does not. As you would expect, Sanchez is a low-average guy with a career of 26.9 K%.
One potential redeeming feature of Sanchez is he is a catcher or, at times, pretends to be one. His footwork is not a replication of a baseball Fred Astaire, but his arm is a real gun. With questions regarding the duo of Reese McGuire and Connor Wong then, Sanchez could provide some depth.
Sanchez is 30 years old and has a negative rep for burning more bridges than Napoleon on his march into Russia. A high-maintenance personality – ask Joe Girardi and Aaron Boone.
That is my shortlist available as of 1/8, and as noted, I am price-conscious, right-handed, hitting-oriented, and versatile. I expect Mancini and Gurriel to be scooped up by this time, but as the market stalls, the price and commitment will drop.