Last weekend, we introduced the OTM Mailbag and asked for your questions, and to my surprise you had a whole lot of them. Enough that, well, we’re definitely not getting to all of them because I would prefer to not write a novel’s worth of words on a Sunday morning. But if your question didn’t get answered today, just know that those that can be saved for a later date (i.e. they won’t be outdated in two days) will be held for next week’s, or the week after’s, and some will also be switched over to the podcast as well.
As far as what will be answered this week, we’re taking a look at things ranging from the 40-man roster and Dustin Pedroia’s status to a reunion with an old friend to the pitching staff as a whole.
mahkymayhem on Twitter asks:
Currently, is the 40-man roster full? If so, what names are essentially locks to be removed before start of spring training? What is the delay in getting Pedroia’s name off?
The 40-man roster is full as of this writing, with Deivy Grullón somewhat surprisingly being the most recent castaway as he was put on waivers to make room for Matt Andriese and subsequently claimed by the Reds. Presumably more removals will have to take place, but it’s a little more complicated finding those spots than it was at the start of the offseason. All of the obvious names have been removed to this point, with Pedroia being the most obvious left. That is a complicated situation, though, and as we’ve talked about before it really has to be a mutual decision. I do expect him to be taken off the roster at some point, but I don’t think it will be (nor should it be) rushed.
As far as the non-Pedroia options go, I think recent waiver addition Joel Payamps is the kind of guy they could try to sneak through waivers again to keep him in the organization but not on the 40-man. It also appears C.J. Chatham has fallen a bit behind on the infield depth chart based on last season, so I wouldn’t be surprised if he was part of a trade at some point, whether it be something minor or him being a secondary player in a bigger deal. Beyond that and potential deals involving Michael Chavis and/or Andrew Benintendi, it becomes a bit more difficult. Marcus Walden and Jeffrey Springs are probably the next best DFA candidates, though I think the latter is better than the perception around him would suggest.
Ultimately, while the decision is harder than it may have been in October, there are still some viable options on the table and if this team is going to be improved they’re going to have to make those decisions at some point.
Richard via email asks:
Does a Rick Porcello reunion make sense for Sox? Seems to me he is a reliable mid to back end starter who has always stayed away from injury. I think his price tag would be reasonable, he knows Boston and has been at the very worst league-average. Unless I’m not aware of some behind the scenes issues, I think he slots in well as a 4 or 5 starter. We need inning eaters and he certainly is that.
I don’t think the idea of a Porcello reunion is ridiculous at all, though I would very much argue with the “at very worst league-average” statement as he has certainly been worse than league-average at multiple points, even just going back to his Red Sox career. That said, I think the idea that the Red Sox need innings eaters is not wrong, and Porcello has long been able to do that. Throw in his experience here and the fact that everyone in the organization seemed to really respect what he brought to the table, I wouldn’t close the door on the idea.
That said, it would be a bit disappointing. Yes, the Red Sox need innings but I would argue they need talent more than that, and Porcello just isn’t that guy. The righty has had an ERA over 5.50 in each of the last two seasons. He wouldn’t cost much money, but there’s a reason for that. I would much prefer some of the bigger names out there and even if you want to go with a low-cost reunion, Jon Lester is right there.
Enrico via email asks:
My question is about Darwinzon Hernandez. Given that they are high on him, what are the chances that he will be tested again as a starter? I know he’s at the moment one of the best pieces in our bullpen, but if we add a pair of good relievers Darwinzon could be an internal and better option than some risky and expensive veteran such as Corey Kluber or James Paxton. At least he could be one of the new starters that we are searching for so hard. It depends on how the market evolves, but they should consider this route, in my opinion.
While I don’t think this is a ridiculous idea and I’m sure it’s come up in the Red Sox front office, I do not agree it is the route they should go. There could very well be some upside with Hernandez in the rotation, but I don’t think it’s as high as people think and I also don’t really see a clear path to getting there. The best-case scenario would seem to be that Hernandez would have slightly below-average control for a starter if he takes steps forward developmentally, which limits his ceiling despite the stuff. I certainly don’t see how he’s a better option than Kluber or Paxton unless you see both of them as major injury risks, which wouldn’t be totally unfair.
But with Hernandez, I see a guy who I know can be an outstanding reliever. He’s not all the way there yet, but we’ve seen the stuff and his control is less important in that role. Personally, I’m not wild about delaying or perhaps even missing out on that upside for a slim chance that he can make it work as a starter. Big arms in the bullpen, particularly those who can go a couple of innings if need be which Hernandez can do, are more valuable than ever. I’d concentrate on getting him to that much more attainable goal.
Phantom255x in the comments asks:
In addition to the recent Andriese signing, how would you further address the pitching staff, both rotation and bullpen? Specifically, I’m talking about major moves for the more established players, not minor league signings or these cheap waiver pick-ups.
We did a Roundtable earlier in the offseason and I said they needed two starters and two relievers brought in on major-league deals, along with some minor-league depth additions. We’ll ignore the last part, and Andriese I’ll count as one of the bullpen additions. I think they need a late-inning arm there, too, not just a middle reliever. There are a few interesting names there and I would be happy with any of them, but if I had to pick one I’d go with Brad Hand. In the rotation, I still think they need at least two legitimate starters brought in, and I’d love to see them go after two of the best in the non-Bauer tier in Tomoyuki Sugano and Corey Kluber. I don’t know necessarily how realistic that combination would be, but I think it’s the best option on the table.
subP25 from the comments asks:
Were the Sox really “in” on Arihara? Seems to me they could have easily gotten him if it was just about money.
I can’t really speak to the Arihara deal in particular, but I figure this is a good chance just to say that sometimes this does come down to things other than money. Looking more at Ha-Seong Kim, for example, the Red Sox could have potentially offered him more money but things like weather and west coast versus east coast and how close a team to competition is played a role there as well. That’s the case for most free agents. Granted, money is always going to be number one, but this is another side effect of the Red Sox getting significantly worse in the last 12 months. They are now less appealing to some free agents and have to make up the difference financially, which they may or may not be willing to do for certain players.
Thanks again for all of your questions. And again, if I didn’t get to yours look out for it in a future edition of the mailbag or on the podcast. We always appreciate more questions, so please if you have any you can either ask me on Twitter @OverTheMonster, you can leave a comment on our Facebook page, you can drop a comment down below on this post, or you can send it via email to firstname.lastname@example.org.