The disappointing ending to the 2009 season for the Red Sox signaled that this
is a club in transition. While still very talented, they are fragile and thin
in some crucial areas, and some changes are going to need to be made. Here are
some possible "big splash" moves that the Red Sox will likely explore
1) Trade for Roy Halladay
This was a move that the Red Sox tried to make midseason this year, and J.P.
Ricciardi just couldn't pull the trigger on any trade for the ace pitcher. A
move this offseason seems likely, with Halladay entering the final year of his
contract, and the Jays unlikely to spend the money it will take to keep him.
Clay Buchholz would likely still be the centerpiece of a trade, especially with
the two-year deal given to Tim Wakefield this week. A rotation of Halladay,
Beckett, Lester, Dice-K and Wakefield would give the Red Sox a counter to the
formidable lineup of the Yankees, and is even more important if the Red Sox
don't get themselves a bat this offseason.
2) Trade for Adrian Gonzalez
The Padres first baseman is a native of the San Diego area, and has an
incredibly friendly contract for the next couple of seasons. So why in the
world would the Padres trade him? New Padres GM Jed Hoyer comes over from the
Red Sox front office, so he is very familiar with the prospects in the Red Sox
organization, which is good and bad. Good because his familiarity with them
might lead to him wanting to be comfortable with bringing in players he knows,
but bad, because he would also know which prospects the Red Sox don't think so
highly of, and have been trying to hype up the last few years in order to get
something of value for them. I think this will be a difficult trade to make,
and would likely empty the Red Sox farm system in order to make happen.
3) Trade for Hanley Ramirez
With Kevin Youkilis, Mike Lowell, David Ortiz, Victor Martinez and Casey
Kotchman all under contract for 2010, the first base/third base/DH/catcher
spots are again pretty full. With the uncertainty of Jason Bay's return, the
need for another bat in the lineup is well documented. However, there is a lack
of good power hitting outfielders on the free agent and trade markets, so with
a hole at shortstop, Epstein could choose to get very creative and fill that
hole and the need for a bat with former Red Sox prospect Hanley Ramirez, who
was sent to the Marlins prior to the 2006 season to obtain Beckett and Lowell.
Once again, the price would be very very steep, and there has been speculation
that Ramirez might be headed to the outfield at some point.
If they want to contend for a World Series in 2010, the Red Sox are going to
need to make some changes this offseason. With few big-name free agents out on
the market, and no position prospects seemingly ready to make the jump to the
majors full time in 2010, Theo Epstein needs to make something happen via
trade. It will be an interesting hot stove season this winter.
Bruce Allen is the creator of Boston Sports Media Watch,
which has recently been recognized by SI.com as one of the best non-corporate
sports web site's on the Internet