It’s not quite Thanksgiving week, but since we’re taking next weekend off in the roundtable department, we’re going with the cheap theme-related question a week early. You can’t stop me! The question this week was fairly simple: “What move would you be most thankful for this winter?” I did require that there had to be some semblance or realism in the answer — i.e. no trade backs for Mookie Betts, etc — but that they could choose any free agent or trade target as well as any other potential move that would be ideal for them. Here are the answers.
A Jackie Bradley Jr. signing is what I would be most thankful for this winter. Not only am I a huge Bradley fan, but a reunion with him makes perfect sense. A George Springer deal would re-energize the fanbase, but his price tag is going to be massive. In addition to an expensive/lengthy contract, the Sox would have to forfeit a high draft choice as well as international bonus pool money. Other available centerfielders are Kevin Pillar, Jake Marisnick, and Michael Taylor — guys who just aren’t on Bradley’s level. Jarren Duran isn’t ready yet, and I would love to see Bradley’s tenure extended a couple of years. I’m not ready to see him making diving catches in a different uniform just yet!
The move that I would be most thankful for would be an extension for Rafael Devers. Devers is one of the best young players in the league and knowing that he would be in the lineup for a long time will help with getting over this year. I think he will be able to play third base for a few more seasons, especially with Alex Cora coming back so he probably would not block Triston Casas going forward.
I would be most thankful this winter for a rotation that’s solid 1-5 without Chris Sale. Maybe Sale is back and ready to go at the mid-point but that’s not a given coming off Tommy John surgery. This doesn’t mean five aces, but having a starting rotation where you’d generally expect all five pitchers to stay on the roster all season. It’s a big ask, but not necessarily impossible. Nathan Eovaldi, Eduardo Rodriguez, Nick Pivetta (who as I look on Baseball-Reference, I just realized, is Canadian, for trivia), Tanner Houck and one more name is all it would take to give the team a solid foundation. Maybe a Martín Pérez reunion. Ditto Rich Hill. Maybe Jake Odorizzi takes a short deal for a bounce-back season? Is this the best rotation? No. Could it drag itself through 162 games with a little help from Sale or a prospect or lightning in a bottle from an unexpected source aka “the Bloom special”? Yes.
I’ll keep this short. I would be most thankful to see Jackie Bradley Jr. back in a Red Sox uniform. Bradley is still an excellent defender and as he showed in the 60-game 2020 season, he can still get hot and hit well for extended stretches. Bring. Back. JBJ.
The move I’d be most thankful for is literally anything that signals we aren’t just punting on 2021, and settling for another losing season. Will the Red Sox have a losing record in 2021? Possibly. And if they do, it’s fine. But I never got the impression the Red Sox were trying to win in 2020 (which was proven very right), and it is a bit of a mood killer when they do nothing but bring in fringe pieces from other organizations to see what sticks.
I’m okay with losing because only half or so of the teams in the league can win in any given season, but I don’t have as much patience for a lack of competitiveness. We don’t need to wreck the future of the club to compete. The Red Sox can bring in guys like Masahiro Tanaka or whatever on less expensive deals to signal that there will at least be a minimal effort to contend while the Red Sox still have a good core at the center of the roster.
So nothing specific from me, just a wish to be more entertaining and more competitive in 2021, even if only marginally.
I would be most thankful for a Rafael Devers extension. When you have a young stud like Devers you need to keep them around for as long as possible, buy out his arbitration years and give him something like the Bogaerts extension to keep him as part of this core for the future. Not that Devers is as elite as Mookie Betts, but we just don’t need to relive that nonsense again every few years. Extend the big fella and lock up the middle of the order.
A trade for Francisco Lindor and Carlos Carrasco
This isn’t going to happen but there’s no reason why it shouldn’t. Cleveland is in a situation virtually identical to the one the Sox were in last year with Mookie Betts. The only difference is they aren’t pretending the luxury tax is the issue because they’re well below it. Mookie spilled the beans on CC Sabathia’s podcast that only two teams were in on him last year: the Dodgers and Padres. Teams are even less likely to spend this year so the competition should be comparable, meaning you won’t have to give up as much in terms of prospects to acquire him. What’s even better is that since the Indians are trying to dump salary, you could get a number starter in Carlos Carrasco and pay less back in talent for taking his contract which isn’t even that expensive! The most likely destination off the top of my head is the New York Mets, who have a filthy rich new owner with a hole burning in his pocket, but that shouldn’t stop the Sox from calling. What will stop the Sox from calling is that this will cost money.
Francisco Lindor is the best shortstop in baseball, just turned 27, and is willing to sign an extension. It’s not normal for these players to be available so when the chance pops up, you better strike. Just ask the Dodgers if they regret trading for Mookie.
I’d be most thankful if the Sox stopped making enraging moves left and right. I think I’ll get my wish, because what are they gonna do, trade Rafael Devers? As far as free agents, I’m so past understanding the strategy right now that I can’t pin my hopes on George Springer or JT Realmuto or something. I guess a more traditional answer would be if they signed Michael Brantley. I like him. Let’s go with that. But really just don’t step in it.
The move I’d be most thankful for this Thanksgiving season is a Xander Bogaerts extension. I’ve written about this before on this site, but I believe that when his career is over we will view Bogaerts as the best shortstop in Red Sox history. He’s a leader on the field, a leader in the clubhouse, and I can’t think of anyone better to be the face of this franchise. I want Bloom and Henry to do the right thing and extend Bogaerts a deal that will effectively keep him here for the remainder of his career. The market will be flooded with shortstops in 2022, give him a fair market deal now and worry about improving other aspects of the club. This would be a major statement about how the team sees itself moving forward as well. Locking up Bogaerts means you intend to compete immediately.
This is a little bit of a weird offseason in that there isn’t really a target — free agent or trade — that I look at and thing the Red Sox need to be in on them. I certainly want them to make big moves, but I’m not going to lose my mind over the difference between, say, Corey Kluber and Masahiro Tanaka or whatever. So really the move to me is extending Rafael Devers. I think Bogaerts should be more of a priority probably because his opt out is sooner than when Devers can hit free agency, but Devers is younger and a more exciting hitter (not the same as better!) and I would like to not have to worry about him leaving in a few years.