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Rosenthal: No Jason Bay? Matt Holliday or Mike Cameron Instead

Ken Rosenthal of FoxSports writes that if the Red Sox are out on Jason Bay, they'll turn their focus to either Matt Holliday or Mike Cameron. His sources conflict a tad there:

Some rival executives insist free agent Matt Holliday is the Sox's preferred target. Other sources, however, say the Red Sox will shun Holliday in favor of building a more athletic, defensive-oriented club.

Adrian Beltre at third base. Mike Cameron in left field. And perhaps a starting pitcher to further enhance the Red Sox's quest for better run prevention.


Beltre would appear the logical replacement at third for Mike Lowell, whose trade to the Rangers could become official next week. Cameron, who turns 37 on Jan. 8, would sign a short-term deal, leaving the Red Sox flexible enough to pursue a left fielder in next year's free-agent class, Carl Crawford or even Jayson Werth.

Neither Beltre nor Cameron is Holliday — or, for that matter, Bay. Still, both hit for power, and their overall value to the Red Sox might be greater than Holliday's if one combines their offense, defense and base-running — along with their respective price tags.

Cameron works -- a whole lot better than Matt Holliday, in my opinion.

Cameron would be a perfect player for this "bridge" that Theo Epstein is building and escorting every Red Sox fan over. He's going to be 37 next season, which means the Sox wouldn't give him a contract for any more than two years. If a Ryan Kalish or a Josh Reddick (or even a Ryan Westmoreland if he quickly jumps up the system) is ready by then, it's a perfect transition. Or if Theo tries to sign Carl Crawford next season, it'll still be a good one-year stopgap.

Cameron is a great defender who shouldn't have too many troubles in left field. He also brings a power bat to the Sox's lineup; he's good for at least 25 home runs in Friendly Fenway full time.

The Sox could move Jacoby Ellsbury to left field and play Cameron in center field, but I'm not sure Terry Francona will want to do that to Ellsbury. Perhaps if Ellsbury's defense really is a problem midseason they would make a switch, but I'm not 100 percent sure Ellsbury would be moved if Cameron is signed.

If Bay is out, this is what I want as a Sox fan. Cameron, Ellsbury and J.D. Drew in the outfield would be fantastic (Cameron in center a little better than Ells, but still good). Offensively, Cameron won't hit 36 home runs like Bay, but he's not going to struggle either. Jeremy Hermida will be a solid corner outfield backup as well.

Sign Cameron. Trade Mike Lowell (officially). Sign Adrian Beltre. This is what I want if Bay really is no longer coming back.