H. Darr Beiser-USA TODAY
The Red Sox asked about Josh Johnson and Jose Reyes, but maybe we should all be happy that all they did was ask
The Blue Jays weren't the only team inquiring about the availability of Josh Johnson and Jose Reyes, as the Red Sox were also involved in negotiations. And there is no reason they shouldn't have at least inquired, as they could use a shortstop, and there's a hole in their rotation. According to Peter Gammons, though, it seems pretty easy to figure out just why those two players will be north of the border, rather than at Fenway, in 2013:
Middlebrooks, Doubront, Bogaerts + had to be in Boston deal— Peter Gammons (@pgammo) November 14, 2012
Will Middlebrooks, Boston's third baseman, presumably for the next five years, who hit .288/.325/.509 in his first taste of big-league action at just 23 years old. The current fifth starter on the Red Sox, who again, is under control for five more years, and for all of his warts, still struck out 2.4 times as many batters as he walked out thanks to 9.3 punch outs per nine in his first full season. Then, without getting into the fact this says "plus", Xander Bogaerts, Boston's top prospect, potentially their best one in at least a decade, who is either the shortstop of the future or, failing that, a potentially significant bat in an outfield corner.
The Red Sox want to compete in 2013 and 2014, but it's unlikely that any plan that allows them to compete but depletes their ranks of cost-controlled, potential impact players is going to surface. Doubront could be moved, for sure, as he's a potentially useful piece, but not considered elite or an impact one. In the right deal with the Marlins, maybe even Middlebrooks or Bogaerts would be moved, but that deal involves Giancarlo Stanton, not Jose Reyes and his remaining $96 million over five years, or a single season of a pitcher who might spend half of it on the disabled list.
Credit the Marlins for their high asking price, but more credit to the Red Sox for sticking to their guns and keeping some of the best parts of their planned youth movement intact. Reyes and Johnson would have been solid gets, but at this price? No thanks.