Fingers OFF the Panic Button. ...however...

...so that is what the professionals call a ball-busting loss. Neither Schilling, Snydes, or Pineiro had it going on tonight, and the Rockies absolutely took advantage. Kudos to them, a nice win, and our rivals were able to beat the Diamondbacks for them.

Does something need to be done with this team? Now, I'm not suggesting a Bochy/Bonds-esque shot in the arm. Is the offense sluggish? Will it need a little something extra towards the end of June/beginning fo July? ...now? And where, oh where, could we put this little something extra/mystery hitter?

It's become pretty common knowledge that Adam Dunn is on the market, and he both A) Would require the type of players the Sox have. (Namely, young high-quality starting pitchers) and B) Fit the organizational philosophy (high OBP, power, patience, etc.). However. I'm not exactly chomping at the bit to add him, and it's not because of his contract (which past this season, only includes a $13M team option). That's a problem the Red Sox can work around. I also wouldn't be thrilled at parting with Buchholz or Bowden for him.

...where would we put him? Dunn is the type of fielder you have to hide at 1B (or DH in the AL), or possibly in LF. Last I checked, our 1B and DH were producing at or beyond their normal rates, and our future-HOF LF is beginning to show his true form. RF? Raise your hand if you want this guy holding down the RF corner at Fenway. ...I thought not.

It's not that I don't like him as a player, but there are a litany of reasons we can't put him on this team right now. Just thought I'd go ahead and quash that rumor, so we can move on to other options.

The obvious positions where we need better hitting performances are SS, CF, and RF. Who could be available? How big an upgrade do we really need?

By the way, though many of them don't come true, MLBTR IS an excellent source as long as you're willing to wade through those rumors that seem illogical.

Also, some of the names I came up with are just going by those teams with players up for FA after this season, who are not currently in contention.

SS:

  1. Omar Vizquel. We can cross this one off immediately, as Vizquel is 40 and has hit just as "well" as Lugo this season.
  2. David Eckstein. Yes. I'm kidding. Do we really want to supply the Globe or the Herald with this type of automatic headline writing? And he's not that good, and has pretty poor range at SS. Also, it's probably too early to count the Cardinals out in their division.
  3. Juan Uribe. See the Vizquel entry, except Uribe isn't old.
There's also the problem of turning Lugo, effectively, into a $9M utility man. He wasn't pleased with it when he went to LA last season, though I'm not sure his offensive "production" could get much worse regardless. I think we're stuck here, folks, so let's hope for an uptick.

CF:

  1. Torii Hunter. We'd have to wait awhile, but if the Twins fall far enough out (and the Twins don't think they're able to/won't resign him), then he should be available. For the right price, I wouldn't mind taking advantage of his career/contract year performance.
  2. Kenny Lofton. He'll be playing somewhere else by July 31st, bet on it. His walk rate has been almost as good as his Cleveland days, and his speed (16/19) hasn't deserted him. I'd be concerned about his defense, because I think that's where his age has really shown the last few years.
  3. Aaron Rowand. We wouldn't miss a beat on defense, and Rowand is similar to Hunter in that he's having a classic contract year performance. This is one to watch, however, because the Phillies have brought themselves to within 2.5 of both the WC and the division-leading NYM.
  4. Ichiro. Ichiro is having his typical season, on pace for 457 hits and 12 BBs (nevermind that he actually already has 23). Speed, defense, and a high batting average resulting in a leadoff hitterish OBP. However, Seattle has been playing very well recently, 1 GB of the WC, and probably won't be sellers unless they start playing poorly soon, and for an extended period of time.
  5. Ryan Church. The only real question here is whether or not he could play a credible CF (any Nationals fans/DC-area Sox fans, feel free to provide a scouting report via comment/e-mail). Jim Bowden, IIRC, has long been enamored with WMP, and a straight-up swap probably isn't out of the question.
There are others I could have listed, but I'm not really interested in any of them/or their teams will probably be in the race until the end. Hat Tip: Eric Byrnes, Mike Cameron.

Rentals would be ideal here, because Jacoby will probably be up with the big club, if not Opening Day 2008, then very early in the season. If we upgrade here, it's likely we'd part with WMP in the deal or in a corresponding deal.

RF:

Actually. Let's be honest with ourselves. Drew is not going to be benched, and I feel like he'll find his way eventually. Feel free to put your own candidates in the comments (as a jumping off point...Jermaine Dye, Jose Guillen, Cliff Floyd, Jacque Jones, Brad Wilkerson), but I feel the possiblity is so remote that I'm not going to devote any "analysis" (if I can even call it that) to any of these individuals.

Chips:

No, not delicious potato chips, or corn chips and salsa. Trade chips. What do we have that other teams might want?

  1. Clay Buchholz. You can be sure that GMs are going to inquire, though I'm sure (hoping) that Buchholz has the untouchable tag.
  2. Michael Bowden. Bowden may be a little easier for other GMs to pry, as he's not as close to the Majors as Buchholz is.
  3. WMP. He's never lost that "potential" tag, and has been improving his walk rate in increments. He's also still only 25. His defense may never be acceptable on an everyday basis unless a team can caddy for him in late innings and also has a CF with very good range.
  4. David Pauley;Kason Gabbard;Devern Hansack. The question is here is whether there's a GM who sees any of these guys as better-than-AAAA SPs. Doubtful that they have a lot of trade value, but don't be surprised if they get thrown into a bigger deal.
  5. Brandon Moss. At this point, if we're not going to use him, I think we owe it to him and his hot start to trade him. He has hit all season (.306/.402/.555), with a good arm in RF to boot. Not sure where he fits, but AAA is no longer providing a challenge.
  6. David Murphy. Murphy may be a AAAA player as well, though I think he could provide a NL team in need of a CF with above-replacement level production at the position.
Who goes? Who stays? (Jacoby and Clay for sure, please) Have a trade proposal?

I'll put one out there.

WMP + Kason Gabbard OR David Pauley

FOR

Ryan Church + Jon Rauch (don't be scared, he should be better than he's been thusfar).

Probably not a good idea, but it makes some sense to me at almost midnight.

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