Decisions looming:Poor outfield production has Sox looking for upgrades

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    Decisions looming:Poor outfield production has Sox looking for upgrades

    by Alex Speier/Boston Herald

    It is an offensive position.

    In the American League, right field is a spot where teams expect to get some thump. Players such as Jose Bautista and Carlos Quentin and Nelson Cruz have made right field one of the positions upon which teams are most reliant for run producers. The average team in the AL features a .264 average, .340 OBP, .425 slugging mark and .764 OPS from that spot on the field; only one position (first base) has yielded a higher OPS in the American League.

    That, in turn, makes the Sox’ deficiency at the position all the more glaring. Among the 14 American League clubs, Sox right fielders had the worst average (.220), OBP (.304), slugging percentage (.336) and OPS (.640) of any team. It was a position where, entering the year, the Sox expected a platoon could offer them fairly strong production.

    J.D. Drew was expected to deliver his usual impact against right-handed pitching, while Mike Cameron and/or Darnell McDonald were viewed as capable of offering above-average production against left-handers. But clearly, it hasn’t worked out that way.

    “We need more out of that position,” a team source acknowledged.

    Drew is hitting .232 with a .330 OBP, .326 slugging mark and .657 OPS. Against righties, he’s hitting .239/.344/.323/.667.

    McDonald’s poor overall numbers (.109/.163/.174/.337) look little better when limited to his performance against left-handed pitchers (.107/.167/.214/.381).

    Cameron, meanwhile, has done little in his first foray into part-time duty. The 38-year-old is hitting .154/.218/.275/.493 on the year, and .150/.224/.317/.541 against southpaws.

    That, in turn, has the Sox approaching a pair of interesting crossroads in the coming days and weeks.

    Left fielder Carl Crawford is nearing a return from the disabled list; he could be activated as soon as next weekend in Houston. When he is ready to be added to the roster, the Sox must make a decision about their corresponding roster move.

    In some ways, the path of least resistance would be to send Josh Reddick to the minors, given that he has options, and Cameron and McDonald do not. Yet despite the fact that — like Crawford, Drew and Jacoby Ellsbury — Reddick is left-handed, shipping him back to Pawtucket seems unlikely given that he is hitting .414 with a .457 OBP, .690 slugging mark and 1.147 OPS in 35 plate appearances. He is showing a maturing approach at the plate, an ability to impact the baseball and he also presents a defensive player with the versatility to offer solid defense at all three outfield positions. He has shown enough that the Sox would feel comfortable keeping him on the big league roster going forward.

    Indeed, Reddick is part of the reason why the Sox aren’t terribly worried about the left-handed side of a platoon going forward. Between Drew, Reddick and eventually rehabbing outfielder Ryan Kalish, the Sox feel that they should have a player (or a combination of players) capable of giving them solid production against right-handed pitchers.

    The greater concern for the club lies in its ability to get right-field production against left-handers. This roadtrip was viewed as an opportunity to see whether either McDonald or Cameron could assert himself against southpaws. Thus far, McDonald is 1-for-9 and has stranded 14 base runners. Cameron is 0-for-4 (0-for-3 against lefties) with a pair of strikeouts.

    In recent days, playing time would suggest that McDonald has seemingly emerged as the backup outfielder of choice, as he was the player who was inserted into Sunday’s game when Drew had to leave in the second inning due to his eye contusion. Even so, the Sox are hardly tethered to either Cameron or McDonald at this point, unless one begins to produce. And it wouldn’t come as a huge surprise if either player is in danger of losing his roster spot when Crawford returns.

    Naturally, the Sox would prefer an internal solution — whether improved performance from Cameron/McDonald against righties and/or Drew/Reddick against lefties. Or, perhaps one player will catch fire and assert himself as an everyday option who can be used against both righties and lefties. Drew has been that in the past; Reddick showed a strong approach against both lefties and righties in Triple-A this year, and has done the same in a small sample in the majors.

    Even so, with the trade deadline now five weeks away, it is clear that the Sox hedge their bets and explore the trade market as a potential means of addressing their deficient production at a position that they expected to be a strength, but that in practice has been anything but.

    Given the team’s optimism that Drew, Reddick or Kalish will at some point produce against righties (if not both), the Sox may not end up pursuing the top-tier talents at the position (such as Mets outfielder Carlos Beltran). Even so, the Sox’ interest in players who could serve as right-handed outfield/bench complements seems to be growing as their needs become more clearly defined.

     
  2. You have chosen to ignore posts from trouts. Show trouts's posts

    Re: Decisions looming:Poor outfield production has Sox looking for upgrades

     You've got 3 guys hitting .109, .154, and .232 respectively. Then you've got a 4th guy hitting .414. Geez, what a mindbending decision! Is it that much of a stretch to think that we ought to go with the hot bat?
     
  3. You have chosen to ignore posts from maxbialystock. Show maxbialystock's posts

    Re: Decisions looming:Poor outfield production has Sox looking for upgrades

    Boy, those Boston Herald guys are so astute.  They noticed that Drew, Cam, and Mac can't hit spit, plus Cameron can't catch spit.  Next thing you know, they're going to say Beckett is having a good year and the AGon just might stay in the 3 slot in the lineup. 

    Obviously, a slow day at the Herald.  The Sox might go after another outfielder, but I doubt it unless Ellsbury or Crawford gets a serious injury and is out for the year.  Among Crawford at $20M, Drew at $14M, and Cameron at over $7M, I think the Sox are tapped out in their outfielder expense account.  This time I think they'll go with Reddick or Navarro of someone else in the farm system. 
     
  4. You have chosen to ignore posts from ctredsoxfanhugh. Show ctredsoxfanhugh's posts

    Re: Decisions looming:Poor outfield production has Sox looking for upgrades

    Josh willingham.  May not be realistic, but I think he'd be a good fit. 
     
  5. You have chosen to ignore posts from redsoxpride34. Show redsoxpride34's posts

    Re: Decisions looming:Poor outfield production has Sox looking for upgrades

    trading for guys like willingham, francouer, etc is pointless. We will get better production out of josh reddick. The only type of trade that makes sense is for a rightfielder of the future. I think josh reddick has increased his trade value by the way he has played since being called up. The dodgers who's owner just filed for bankruptcy have 2 outfielders that would be good pickups in matt kemp and andre eithier. Other options could include hunter pence from the astros, and maybe logan morrsion of the florida marlins. The dodgers current financial mess makes it all the more likely that kemp or ethier or both get dealt at some point. They are both free agents after next year and will likely not resign with dodgers. The dodgers can get the most value for them or either one of them by trading them at the deadline this year. They could wait for till the offseason as they could potentially have more suitors but would get slightly less in return. They are both going to command large contracts especially kemp. Obviously of the 2, matt kemp is the guy who i would want the most and i am sure most sox fans would agree. He is exactly what the sox need. He is young, entering into his prime, right handed, has the ability to hit 35 homers a year, hits for a high average, and is a good fielder.Obviously it would cost alot to get him. The package would start will a replacement for kemp who would be in the form of josh reddick. The next piece would be a young starter in the form of felix doubront. With rafael furcal getting up there in age and likely gone after this year the sox could include a young ss in the form of jed lowrie or yamaico navarro. They currently have jame loney at first who is good defensively provides little with the bat at a power position. Thus the final piece of the puzzle is lars anderson. If he reaches his potential he could be a produtive first basemen for years to come. So the trade ends up being:

    red sox get:  

    OF Matt Kemp

    dodgers get: 

    OF Josh Reddick

    SP Felix Doubront

    SS Jed Lowrie/Yamaico Navarro

    1B Lars Anderson

    I think the dodgers would have a hard time turning that trade offer down. They get cheap controllable players with potential at positions of need. 

    The sox line up would then be:

    ellsbury
    pedroia
    gonzalez
    kemp
    youk
    ortiz
    crawford
    salty
    scutaro

    pretty solid all round. kemp fits nicely into our line up and you could switch him with gonzalez to give gonzo more rbi opportunities.
     
     
  6. You have chosen to ignore posts from betterredthandead. Show betterredthandead's posts

    Re: Decisions looming:Poor outfield production has Sox looking for upgrades

    No way do the Dodgers part with Kemp for Reddick and that package. But you have the right idea. Dodgers are likely going to have to sell and rebuild with a smaller payroll and promoting younger talent to look towards a couple of years away towards recovering from incompetent ownership and management.

    While it might look as though the Dodgers want to rebuild around Kemp, they are not in a position to promise either the money or a nearer term contender market status for at least a few years to come. Kemp isn't likely to want anything to do with the Dodgers, long term, even if new ownership comes in with heavy capital.

    The Red Sox have Crawford and a 2011 mid season .275 OBP, but they are stuck with that. He has to be Ellsbury's replacement, plain and simple. No, there isn't room for both of them in a future constructed with complimentary balanced OF.

    They either ride out Theo's mistakes or make a deal for the RH OF'er of the future and say goodbye to Ellsbury, a popular but highly overrated player throughout his career.

    Ellsbury no extension 2013 FA  (Kemp + extension to 2016-2017 age 31 or 32)
    Dodgers get control through 2013 season, one year beyond Kemp
    Cost Added about 9 to 10M over 2.5 years.
    Cost subtracted about 20 to 25M over 1.5 years


    Lowrie (blocked at 2B and 3B and time to move up Iggy and/or Navarro and Scutaro or other one year veteran cheap UIF contract for 2012 as Lowrie is a butcher at SS) or Hassan
    Dodgers have two solid OF prospects in Rayvon Robinson and Jerry Sands

    Doubrant or Weiland

    Will get the Dodgers attention.

    The Red Sox will need a solid young RH OF'er for the future, because Theo has done little to develop such a 2012 ready player profile on the farm. Ellsbury is now moving down from career highs and is what his career averages say he is. Drew and Cameron and over 20 million come off the books at year end. Ellsbury will soon be entering the less than two years left before FA. Unless Theo is going to sit down and let Boras play him like he was played in the Crawford negotiations, he needs to plan ahead and forget hopes of Ellsbury being a Type A (he isn't now) and draft compensation (CBA will expire and there is no guarantee the MLBPA will agree to the same system which works against the MLPBA).

    Kemp
    Reddick (Kalish)
    Crawford (If he isn't Ellsbury's future replacement than Theo doesn't have a brain)

    Cameron (Theo needs to accept the fact that Mac isn't going to be a better alternative as a 4th OF'er and this is Cameron's last year on the books at 7.5 million, and Mac will likely clear waivers)

    While Reddick isn't going to put up a higher OBP, long sample, he is a better defensive OF'er than Ellsbury (better arm, better depth perception and upper body control) and he can hit for better pop and at least similar slugging.

    Kalish is almost ready to return to the OF in AAA and will be added OF depth behind Reddick. Mac would likely end up back in AAA Pawtucket.

    The Red Sox are overloaded with lefty scatbacks, so there is no reason to look on the market for that. The best move, long and short term, is to subtract one long term non-fit with the highest trade value and add a profile like Kemp by reaching an extension with him that takes him 4 to 5 years or 2 to 3 years past Ellsbury's FA date.

    Kemp isn't the only profile to look at trading for, but he's the most likely fit. Upton and the DBacks are likely playoff contenders and playing well, but the Dodgers are in financial distress and need to cut long term obligations and costs. Kemp would jump at the opporunity to get out of LA and joing one of the title contending favorites, and Ellsbury is a better fit in a NL market.

    The Red Sox can likely extend Kemp and reduce the cost that Drew and Cameron cost this year. This year, the increased payroll would be no more than 3 or 4 million. Next year, Ellsbury is likely to get around 4 to 7 million for 2012. Drew will be gone at about 14M. Reddick and Kalish cost almost zero base cost points for years to come. Good chance the Red Sox could get Kemp locked up at about 18M X 5 to 7 years. Kemp can either gamble and take 4 or 5 years and hit FA again at 31 or 32, or take a 6 or 7 year deal at a discount from the last OF FA market rate of 2011 but get the sure large base extra years. Very easy negotation that would work for both parties.

    Crawford should be moved to RF, Kemp to LF, and use the cheap young lefties (Reddick or Kalish or other farm talent) for 4 or 5 years in CF. Crawford should leadoff and be told not to think #3 hitter but adjust his approach and just focus on reaching first base. The #3 hitter talk was incompetence from Theo.

    2011 post AS break would be v. RHP:

    L Crawford
    R Pedroia
    L AGon
    R Kemp
    L Ortiz
    R Youk
    L Drew or Reddick
    L/R Salty
    R Scutaro

    v. LHP:

    L Crawford
    R Pedroia
    L AGon
    R Kemp
    R Youk
    L Ortiz
    R/L Salty or Varitek or Lavarnway or farm catcher profile at expansion
    L Drew or Reddick
    R Scutaro

    Rotation:

    Lester
    Beckett
    Buch
    Lackey
    Miller

    Aceves
    Doubrant or Weiland
    Atchison
    Millwood
     
  7. You have chosen to ignore posts from redsoxpride34. Show redsoxpride34's posts

    Re: Decisions looming:Poor outfield production has Sox looking for upgrades

    betterredthandead, 

    I get where you coming from and you very well may be right and dealing ells (who i would trade to get kemp) may be the way to go. But i do think that package would get the dodgers attention. They would be getting alot of good players. That being said, if we gave the dodgers ells for kemp i would not give them much more than that. Ells is the best player the dodgers can get for kemp. No other team can offer a player of ells caliber that is cheap for a few more years. I would give them ells, navarro, and someone like weiland. 
     
  8. You have chosen to ignore posts from BurritoT. Show BurritoT's posts

    Re: Decisions looming:Poor outfield production has Sox looking for upgrades

    Ellesbury along with Reddick, and a high level pitching prospect?  

    Or maybe just JD Drew straight up? Oh thats right he spurned them even worse then he spurned the Phillies.

    Eh... I would like to have Kemp.  Elles I like but I like Kemp even more.
     
  9. You have chosen to ignore posts from redsoxpride34. Show redsoxpride34's posts

    Re: Decisions looming:Poor outfield production has Sox looking for upgrades

    burritoT,

    reddick would not be included if we give them ells. maybe someone like hassan or another outfielder in the minors but not reddick.
     
  10. You have chosen to ignore posts from betterredthandead. Show betterredthandead's posts

    Re: Decisions looming:Poor outfield production has Sox looking for upgrades

    Ells is not on a level with the stature of a younger and more talented and experience Kemp. Offering Ells and Navarro (B prospect) and Weiland (B prospect) isn't going to get it done. The Dodgers would laugh at that.

    Lowrie or Hassan gives them their choice of MLB ready and experienced RH bat v. LHP to help cushion the blow of Kemp departing, but also allows the the option of going with a young and even cheaper RH OF'er like Hassan (B prospect) who is likely only a year or two away. But offering Lowrie as a 2nd MLB young cheap profile with good numbers v. LHP will get their attention.

    That wouldn't do it, nor should it. Kemp is haivng a career year and is a young true slugging star with superstar potential.

    Adding their choice of Doubrant or Weiland makes it clear that they have to consider doing the deal because they would get up to two MLB ready young players and a near MLB ready pitcher, or they could go with younger combination with Ellsbury. It gives new management the chance to give the one star expensive up during a rebuilding period yet still add more parts and give fans belief that the new parts might make the team play better immediately and sets them up for a better 2 to 3 years out contender status. It allows them to say "we're not giving up" but we're looking to the future, too, where they will be able to add some FA to fill gaps over the next 2 to 3 years. 

    This isn't the kind of deal Epstein is likely to consider because he likes to react after the fact instead of make decisive decisions and implement the plan in advance of hindsight.    
     
     
  11. You have chosen to ignore posts from rkarp. Show rkarp's posts

    Re: Decisions looming:Poor outfield production has Sox looking for upgrades

    the trades mentioned for Kemp are down right laughable!

    In addition, MLB will not allow any Dodger trades are signings until the CH11 mess is sorted out. For all we know Cuban is the next Dodger owner and will pay everyone big bucks to stay.
     
  12. You have chosen to ignore posts from soxmeister. Show soxmeister's posts

    Re: Decisions looming:Poor outfield production has Sox looking for upgrades

    Els also has Boris as an agent.  Not sure that makes him attractive to another team or not.   

    Kemp would be great ... but I see them getting a solid RH RFer - and not a star.
     
  13. You have chosen to ignore posts from maxbialystock. Show maxbialystock's posts

    Re: Decisions looming:Poor outfield production has Sox looking for upgrades

    You guys play way too much fantasy baseball because that's what acquiring Kemp is all about--pure fantasy. 
     
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    Re: Decisions looming:Poor outfield production has Sox looking for upgrades

    In Response to Re: Decisions looming:Poor outfield production has Sox looking for upgrades:
    [QUOTE]betterredthandead,  I get where you coming from and you very well may be right and dealing ells (who i would trade to get kemp) may be the way to go. But i do think that package would get the dodgers attention. They would be getting alot of good players. That being said, if we gave the dodgers ells for kemp i would not give them much more than that. Ells is the best player the dodgers can get for kemp. No other team can offer a player of ells caliber that is cheap for a few more years. I would give them ells, navarro, and someone like weiland. 
    Posted by redsoxpride34[/QUOTE]

    I'm not in favor of trading Ells, but for Kemp I would do it.  I also believe the Dodgers might trade Kemp to the Sox without Jacoby being part of the package.  With Reddick or Kalish the Dodgers wouldn't have to deal with Boras at some point.

    Then again there are teams out there who could probably put a better package together for Kemp if Jacoby isn't included.  I don't see the Sox getting Kemp without giving up too much in return.  The AGon trade used up some of our best trade pieces.
     
  15. You have chosen to ignore posts from adam4522. Show adam4522's posts

    Re: Decisions looming:Poor outfield production has Sox looking for upgrades

    If you trade Jake for Kemp are'nt you still in the exact same situation...a weak hitter in RF.  Jake is the best leadoff hitter in the game right now, and despite what softy thinks, an exciting young player.  Sure Kemp has more power, and may even be a better player both now and in the future, but would not be a huge upgrade or fix the RF problem.  I like the original package of Reddick, anderson, dubront or Bowden, and navarro.  IF the dodgers need to save money both now and in the short term, that is the type package they need.  Jake crawford Kemp is a great OF.  Massive range, and top knotch offensive potential, especially as crawford heats it up.

    IF the dodgers are not trying to save $...we aren't getting him...
     
  16. You have chosen to ignore posts from jrh1194. Show jrh1194's posts

    Re: Decisions looming:Poor outfield production has Sox looking for upgrades

    Kemp would be a very nice addition. I just don't think that the Dodgers would be very eager to trade for a package that features Ellsbury. I don't like the idea of trading for Beltran with his fragile knees.  Theo may need to stay with the players that we have. The team is doing pretty well as it is.
     
  17. You have chosen to ignore posts from betterredthandead. Show betterredthandead's posts

    Re: Decisions looming:Poor outfield production has Sox looking for upgrades

    the trades mentioned for Kemp are down right laughable!

    There isn't anything laughable about a trade offer of Ellsbury, Lowrie and Doubrant, with the Dodgers also being allowed to swap out Lowrie or Doubrant for younger and even cheaper talent.

    In addition, MLB will not allow any Dodger trades are signings until the CH11 mess is sorted out

    In addition, the Dodgers will not be denied the same team rights as any other team. Any trades will simply have to be approved by MLB, which will be a formality. The Bankruptcy, when it involves cutting payroll, will have no restrictive impact on trades of that sort whatsoever.

    To get Kemp you can't say Kalish, Reddick, Doubrant and B prosepcts. Kalish and Reddick and Doubrant are still not MLB proven.

    Mr. Excitement is moving closer to FA and the Red Sox have plenty of young and cheaper lefty OF talent. They don't have a solid young RH OF, which is both a short and long term need. This notion about going out and signing these retreads or C grade rejects for the OF is silly.
     
  18. You have chosen to ignore posts from ctredsoxfanhugh. Show ctredsoxfanhugh's posts

    Re: Decisions looming:Poor outfield production has Sox looking for upgrades

    The Dodgers would be stupid to trade Kemp for Ellsbury.  Yes they save some money, but they are only getting one extra year untill a BORAS client free agent.  For what they are giving up long term talent would be more interesting to them, Unfortately Reddick/Kalish don't have the ceiling or value to appease L.A. but they could be replacements if other top talent went to L.A. perhaps a Ranaudo.  

    Ellsbury for Kemp does work out much better for the Sox than it does for L.A. and even better for Softy who hates Ellsbury.  While I've called you crazy for this scenario before Softy I think it is somewhat plausible now in light of L.A.'s financial situation they may get desperate to make certain trades.

    Still I think when it comes down to it one of the other 28 teams will offer top talent that doesn't have boras as an agent and is under team control for much longer......and I'm sure L.A. would love that over Ellsbury.  
     
  19. You have chosen to ignore posts from Beantowne. Show Beantowne's posts

    Re: Decisions looming:Poor outfield production has Sox looking for upgrades

    Much ado about nothing...when Crawford's activated, McDonald gets cut, Reddick stay's for now and I could see him getting play in RF, and if Drew continues his season long slump, he might even take the everyday job away form him. In this senario, Drew & Cameron are the 4th & 5th ofer's...Cameron & Reddick both can play all three OF positions so in terms of defensive depth we're covered and Cameron get's to be the RH bat off the bench and is the primary BU...

    In terms of us aquiring an RH hitting RF, of the names I keep seeing bantered about (Willingham, Francouer etc). They make sense if we're looking to replace Drew, both of them are "everyday players" and as RH hitters would be in the lineup only 25% of the time based on the math of the opposing pitchers. Neither can play CF Which means that Cameron would then be relegated the BU centerfielder...

    Aquiring Kemp to play RF, is frankly a very long shot and one that I just don't see MLB allowing with the Dodgers franchise in such a mess...He's too valuable a commodity and allowing the MCCourts to trade a player of his stature, given the inevitable sale of the team, would be a dis-service to the incoming owners.  Stay tuned it's gonna get ugly in LA...
     
  20. You have chosen to ignore posts from betterredthandead. Show betterredthandead's posts

    Re: Decisions looming:Poor outfield production has Sox looking for upgrades

    The Dodgers would be stupid to trade Kemp for Ellsbury. Yes they save some money, but they are only getting one extra year untill a BORAS client free agent. For what they are giving up long term talent would be more interesting to them

    Wrong.

    1. They aren't keeping Kemp passed FA in a year and a half
    2. They would be keeping Ellsbury for 2 and a half years much cheaper
    3. They have a much better chance of signing Ellsbury past FA becuase there is no way Boras can fool anyone into thinking he's more than a poor man's Johnny Damon
    4. They would get one or two more MLB caliber young talents for many years to come
    5. They also could mix in one or two good prospects they like and would control for many years to come in addition to one or two MLB young talents under control for years to come

    In fact, it works out well for both teams. The Red Sox get the solid young RH OF slugger for the present and the future. The Red Sox immediately have a better team with a deeper lineup. Kemp can do everything that Ellsbury can do, almost all areas better except total base stealing where Kemp can still get plenty of steals, but Ellsbury cannot do what Kemp can do. CF can be turned over to Reddick/Kalish, and Crawford can make himself useful by moving to RF. Mac should be put through waivers and what's left of Cameron and Drew's final contract years should finish out the year as backups. If Reddick and Kalish aren't quite ready, Kemp can move to CF and Drew/Cameron to RF and Crawford back to LF.  Cameron would get a few reps on the few games Crawford rests, and a few reps for Reddick. Drew would get a few reps for Kemp and platoon with Cameron in RF if Reddick/Kalish aren't ready.ng over to LF. 

    LF Kemp/Crawford
    CF Reddick-Kalish/Kemp/Cameron
    RF Crawford/Drew/Cameron

    Kemp, Reddick-Kalish, and Crawford is a balanced OF and youthful and sets the stage for the future.      

    Crawford
    Pedroia
    AGon
    Kemp
    Oritz/Youk
    Youk/Ortiz      high quality slugging 4 deep and much better lineup than:

    Ellsbury
    Pedroia
    Agon
    Youk
    Ortiz

    No chance trading for quality young MLB proven pitching, so making a powerful offense even more powerful is the path of least resistance to making the team stronger for the present and the future. It is highly likely that this lineup wins 3 out of the 4 games lossed during the 4 game losing streak.

    It's nor surprising that trading Ellsbury for a profile like Kemp would not be popular. Most fans think that Ellsbury is more exciting than Kemp. Most fans think the team is better keeping Ellsbury over trading for Kemp. Most fans are wrong, as usual.  


     

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