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Next winter's FA's

While enjoying the current streak the team is on, I got to thinking about next year's mkt, and who the Sox should go for. With over 50 million coming of the books, there are thing they could do to improve. IMO,P. Fielder is the cream of the crop. Don't think he will come here unless he is willing to DH. Also don't think Sox would pay what it would take. Just for the record, Prince's average season looks like this. PA 556 Hits 161 Runs 93 HR's 37 RBI 105 BB 88 Ave .280 OBP .384 and OPS 919. And, he is only getting better, as his plate disipline continues to improve. He would be 28 starting next year. His weight is the main issue, but his Daddy played into his 30's. The weight would have to be monitered, if against all odds, he came to the Sox. Your lineup would look like this.

Ellsbury CF

Pedroia  2b

Gonzalez  1b

Youk  3b

Fielder  DH

Lowrie  SS

CC  LF

Kalish RF

Salty  C

This L-Up is subject to change in RF and behind the plate. It would be a thunderous L-UP and might be the best way to spend the money. This will probably never happen 1. The Sox wont pay that much for a DH, no matter how much production he brings,and would worry to much about his weight.. 2. Fielder would find Y Stadium much more to his liking and numbers. 3. I can easily see the Steinbrenners jumping all over him for obvious reasons. Even with A Rod and Jeter aging, that won't stop Hank from grabbing this glossy superstar. Again, he would have to agree to DH, but most players would stand on their head to put on the pinstripes .I:E: Soriano willing to be te setup man for Rivera. The Yankees will over pay to get him. If he insists on playing 1st, I could see an opening with the Angels, if Arte is ready to write the check.  Also, St. Louis if Pujols goes else where, or more likely, the Cubs. (This would be  great move by the Cubs)  My guess is he will be in NY.  That out of the way, the next attractive option for the Sox could be Jason Kubel .With Drew gone, Kubel would make a nice replacement.  His numbers for an average season:  AB 546 R 73 H 150 HR 22 RBI 91 BA .274 OBP .338  At age 29, he is improving and should exceed those seasonal numbers.  He will not be the fielder that Drew is, but few are.  His salary should not be outlandish . This could be a nice move for the Sox.  Kalish could be kept as a BU OFder, or used in a trade.  Kubel, as we all saw the other night, is one tough out. If they should sign him, they might want to bring in Cuddyer also.  He could platoon with Kubel and be a valuble UT man. His demands should not break the Bank. The Bullpen. if they choose not to go with Jenks or Bard as the closer, the 34 year old H Bell could be the right choice.Pros:  In his 5 seasons with S.D., he has W 25 L 15  ERA .248  IP 326 H 245  K's 350 BB 116 SV 100 (Not sure about BS's) He had one so-so year during this run in 2008 where his ERA rose to 3.60. Since then, he gets better and better. Cons: His age. What he might demand in salary and years. Benifit of pitching at Petco and in the NL. Still, he would not be a bad gamble IMO.  Another cheaper option could be Jose Valverde.  His ave season in 9 yr's is:  WL 3 @4  IP 69  H 52   SV's 30 ERA 3.08   K's 82   BBs 29. For Detroit he has been better. In two years plus, he is 4-5  ERA 2.67  IP 81   H 59  K's 83 BB's 29  SV's 36  Pros: Improving numbers and experience in the AL. Pitching forDetroit teams that have not been that good. Has had only one poor season in 2006 whe his ERA was 3.60.  Cons:  AGE and pitching in Comerica. Alot will depend on years he wants and the Sox traditionally fall short there with RP's.  Is he a good gamble. Yes as long as his demands are not to high. Keeping Bard in the setup role is a good idea. Jenks would have to get used to being part of a bullpen rather then it's closer. For LH RP"S, there really is no one worth looking at. Other possibilities might be CC Sabathia, if he should opt out of his contract. This would be an absolute coup. To take CC from the Yankees would be great, but more importantly is the Sox need for one more good starter This would give them two lefties qand two righties, a nice balance. Would the Sox do it if they had the chance? Probably not. Not counting who they may have already signed, they would site age, weight and salary. Its pure speculation, but passing on CC would be a large mistake . Another who could opt out of his contract is Soriano. If he is healthy, he is a proven closer who could fit right in to the spot for the Sox. Another coup against NY.  Would they do it?   Very doubtful.  They would cite age, mental stability, and salary.  But, when he is heathy and in the right role he is dominating.  Of all the ones mentioned, I would think that Kubel might be the one the Sox would be willing to reinvest al of those savings in. He fits a need at the right time in terms of age and ability. Again, he may be the most affordable of all the ones listed I am not convinced that Kalish is anything more then a 4th outfieder I would love to see Kubel here. One other point. By installing Lowrie as the DH, you have a good switch hitter who can also play the field at a very low salary, which is what you want from a DH.  With Iglesius at SS you have another minimum wage player in the lineup, who won't hit but  will cover more ground. Here is your lineup with Kubel.

Ellsbury  CF

Pedroia  2B

AG  1B

Youk  3B

Kubel/Cuddyer  RF

Lowrie  DH/UT

Crawford  LF

Salty  C

Iglesius  SS

To conclude, my first three picks if only one were to sign would be: Fielder,  Sabathia, and  Kubel in that order.


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