Slow week in baseball. No big stories to speak of, really. Sure, there were some awards handed out, and a couple of players got moved around. But basically this was just another week in the early offseason, with nary a generalized internet freakout to be seen.
Despite the big stories roiling the rest of the baseball world, things were generally pretty quiet in Boston. The biggest story was a report that the Red Sox have begun discussions with Dustin Pedroia regarding a contract extension. Marc followed up on this story with the obvious question: should Boston extend the scrappy second baseman? I'll confess to being completely and totally irrational when it comes to Pedey, so it's probably for the best I'm not running the team in this case. Hopefully a deal gets done, provided it's a rational deal for both sides.
Boston's outfield is presently full of holes, and it'll probably be helpful to the team's pitching staff (and Jacoby Ellsbury) if Ben Cherington finds a couple of guys to stick in the corner outfield spots. Who's on the table? The preferred solution of the fan base seems to be retaining 2012 right fielder Cody Ross, whose free agency we've been closely monitoring. Of similar quality (and perhaps lower cost) to the Flipper of Bats is Ryan Ludwick, whose skills match up pretty well with Boston's needs. With the Indians looking to trade, Shin-Soo Choo could be a nice pickup, as Matt Collins argued on Tuesday. Regardless of who Boston acquires, short-term deals will be the name of the game, since as Matt Sullivan points out, a young, homegrown outfield isn't too far off.
While Boston's front office was deciding whether contention in 2013 should be a priority, Toronto's front office made their opinion on the matter quite clear. With the Red Sox rebuilding, the Yanks suddenly looking very old, and the Orioles' impressive 2012 run perhaps unsustainable, the Blue Jays have clearly decided that their window has opened. They pulled off an enormous trade with the Miami Marlins, acquiring Josh Johnson, Jose Reyes, Mark Buehrle, John Buck, and Emilio Bonifacio. Yesterday, they signed Melky Cabrera to a two-year deal. Toronto suddenly looks much improved, and the Red Sox' climb in the AL East just got harder
So where does this leave the Sox and their offseason plans? Ben points out that the appearance of one more strong contender doesn't change Boston's plan to rebuild this year and leap back into contention in 2014. Marc reminds us that there's a whole lot of offseason left to improve the Boston squad. Matt Kory makes the point that Miami, eternal embarrassment to the major leagues, now has one very angry and very talented outfielder in the form of Giancarlo Stanton, and that perhaps it's time for Boston to offer him a more stable work environment. I heartily endorse this plan, by the way, even if it means we'll have to install an armored roof on the garage across Lansdowne. And it's not as though Boston wasn't active on this front. Peter Gammons reported that Boston did inquire about Reyes and Johnson, and could have had them. For the low, low price of Will Middlebrooks, Felix Doubront, Xander Bogaerts, and perhaps more. So... Enjoy Toronto, guys.
Finally, there was the big controversy of the week: the AL MVP vote was announced on Thursday night, and Detroit third baseman Miguel Cabrera won the award over Anaheim center fielder Mike Trout. Cabrera won 22 of a possible 28 first-place votes, a surprisingly overwhelming vote despite the fact that, as Ben pointed out, Trout was simply better this year. Honestly, I wasn't terribly surprised by the outcome, since this particular debate hadn't been about Trout or Cabrera since about August. It was, as I wrote on Monday, about two differing outlooks on baseball. The clash between those outlooks isn't going away anytime soon, unfortunately. But at least it'll keep us talking about baseball all winter.