Cafardo On Red Sox, Lackey, Buehrle, Epstein

Upon joining the Cubs, Theo Epstein will leave behind one contractual headache in John Lackey and acquire another one in Carlos Zambrano, writes Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe.  The difference between the two, as a National League scout pointed out, is that Zambrano could once again be a top-of-the-rotation hurler while some doubt if Lackey is even a No. 4 or 5 starter.  The answer for both clubs could be a "garbage-for-garbage" deal that allows them to exchange one bad contract for another.  Some prime candidates include Chone Figgins, Barry Zito, Vernon Wells, and Derek Lowe.  Here more from Cafardo..

  • While Sox pitcher Mark Buehrle is an interesting free agent possibility for the Red Sox if they could get him on a two-year deal.  The veteran could be their No. 5 starter or serve as a strong lefty in the bullpen.
  • It's hard to tell if David Ortiz is serious about leaving the "drama" of Boston for the Yankees, but the veteran wouldn't be a fit in New York as they have no need for a DH.
  • A.J. Hinch, the vice president of pro scouting for the Padres, could have interest from teams like the Red Sox, and possibly the Cubs with Epstein there.  Las Vegas agrees, as oddsmaker Jimmy Shapiro placed Hinch as the odds-on favorite to get the Sox managerial job.  Meanwhile, Josh Byrnes is currently a special assistant with San Diego and could depart for a bigger role with Epstein in Chicago.
  • Mariners skipper Eric Wedge is a very interesting name that could be involved in the Red Sox’s managerial search.  However, getting Wedge out of his deal in Seattle could be a problem as he has a good deal of personnel power there.
  • Tony La Russa would be an interesting choice for Boston, but it appears he'll be staying in St. Louis or retiring.  La Russa has always spoken fondly of the city, but it doesn’t appear at this stage of his career that he would want to deal with some of the issues in the BoSox organization.
  • Brian Cashman's contract extension is nowhere near done.  The Yankees GM’s deal expires at the end of the month, but neither side is feeling any pressure to get something completed.
  • Meanwhile, Cashman's top two assistants, Billy Eppler and Damon Oppenheimer, are being interviewed by the Angels for their GM job.  Cashman told the paper that he feels both men are absolutely qualified to take the next step.  Recently, our own Ben Nicholson-Smith spoke with Oppenheimer about the possibility of becoming a GM.
  • Cafardo wonders if history will be kinder to Dan Duquette now that the Theo Epstein era is concluding in Boston.  Duquette never won a championship as the Red Sox's GM but the 2004 team certainly had his fingerprints on it.  Now working as a business consultant, the longtime MLB exec never got the chance to be a GM again, but hasn't ruled out doing so in the right situation.

50 Responses to Cafardo On Red Sox, Lackey, Buehrle, Epstein Leave a Reply

  1. bglaszcz 4 years ago

    My dad was always a supporter of Dan Duquette, glad he’s getting some recognition for his work on the 2004 team.

    • $6101468 4 years ago

      So true.

    • Howie Handles 4 years ago

      He’s responsible in large part for the 2004 WS. I’d like to see Theo offer him a role with the Cubs, if/when this is finished. 

  2. Do it, sign Mark Buehrle. He’d be a great number 4 starter. Drop Lackey to fifth or bullpen

    • RedSox4434 4 years ago

      Yes. That would be amazing. Cherington needs to do that.

  3. Alfonso Soriano is a much bigger contractual headache, than Zambrano. 3 yrs $57 million vs. 1 yr $18 million. 

    • jammin502 4 years ago

      Alfonso Soriano may have an unmovable contract, but at least he still performs, has a good attitude, and has really improved on his defense in the outfield.  He has also been a big plus to the other Latin players on the Cubs.

      • In regard to his performance, his actual value this season was about 1/3 of what he was paid according to WAR. A sub .300 OBP is dismal no matter how many HR he hits. And to say his fielding has improved is a bit of a backhanded compliment. The only aspect of his fielding that might be above average would be his arm. It’ll be interesting to see what Theo does with him. His value would probably be optimized if he was in a strict platoon. I wouldn’t mind seeing him paired with JD Drew, Seth Smith, or an approximation thereof.

        • Howie Handles 4 years ago

          and wasn’t Alfonso crying about batting so low in the lineup? I’d much rather deal him for Lackey. Why would Theo want to bring that contract with him?

          • johnsilver 4 years ago

            I would take Jason Bay from the NYP and hope his power returns before a non OBP guy like Soriano. Soriano never, ever knew how to not swing at a ball from his ankles to his eyes, not the Red Sox type of player at all and he’s not really a better defender than bay, which ain’t exactly a compliment. Both would have to play LF somehow with either Ells/CC moving to right.

            In a contract swap, neither is really actually preferable to Lackey, but the “hope” that Bay’s power would somehow return and his awful contract would probably be better is my 2c.

      • crashcameron 4 years ago

        i must try and catch the Cubs more often. does this mean ’Fonso has improved from THE worst to ONE OF the worst?

      • MikhelB 4 years ago

        Does he still stands at home staring at his homeruns? he did it with the Yankees until he was reprimanded by the manager after various of his shots hit the wall and he just could get to first base on time to be called safe.

    • Howie Handles 4 years ago

      Exactly, why would you trade a guy with one year left, for a guy with multiple years? I’d rather keep Zambrano, then take on Lackey. 

      • scott brecht 4 years ago

        why would the cubs take on the other huge contracts that he mentioned when z only has a year left on his deal.  they will release him before taking on another contract in return.  not sure what the writer was thinking. 

  4. Why would Buehrle go out of the BP? makes no sense. Of course he’d be the #4 starter

    • StanleyHudson 4 years ago

      Yea, I scratched my head at that too. The blatant need for the Sox is starting pitching so why acquire a proven starter and throw him in the pen? I’d be all for getting Buehrle, though.

    • Howie Handles 4 years ago

      Yeah, this guy Cafardo is showing his stripes. No way is Buerhle a regular season bp guy at this point in his career. 

  5. sox2727 4 years ago

    Right, Mark Buehrle to the bullpen and pitching full-time in the AL East…both are totally logical… 

  6. sox2727 4 years ago

    You stole my thunder, I used to cringe every time he was scheduled to start against an AL East team

  7. kwiell 4 years ago

    I have a hard time believing someone that can durably give you 200+ innings (of pitch-to-contact baseball – which is probably not ideal in the contact=HR AL-east) and double-digit wins for 11 consecutive seasons is going to a) sign up to come out of the bullpen in Boston or b) be relegated to the bullpen on a team full of pitchers that can’t tie their shoes without injuring themselves.

  8. Carlos Zambrano could return to top of the rotation form? This isnt 2005.

    • johnsilver 4 years ago

      Yeah. Odds of that gas bag returning to 2005 form are about as good as Dontrelle willis returning to 2005 form and even then I would go with Willis 1st.

      • tapehead4 4 years ago

        Watchu talkin bout?

        • johnsilver 4 years ago

          Ehhh… Z was worth something way back in 2005, just like Willis who has been worth -0- and cannot even find home plate any longer since the trade to detroit?

  9. vtadave 4 years ago

    What a strange article:

    Buehrle to the bullpen
    Carlos Zambrano a #1 starter
    Someone actually trading FOR Vernon Wells or Barry Zito

    • notsureifsrs 4 years ago

      nick cafardo

    • CaptainCharisma 4 years ago

      Cafardo is a very special sportswriter!

    • start_wearing_purple
      start_wearing_purple 4 years ago

      “Someone actually trading FOR Vernon Wells or Barry Zito”

      Much to the dismay of Angels fans and the delight of Blue Jay fans that one already happened.

      • crashcameron 4 years ago

        many of us urged the Canadian government to give Tony Reagins citizenship. Not to let him anywhere near any of our baseball programs or anything. Just honorary.

        (And, nothing against Shaun Marcum, but Doug Melvin is a future candidate if or when Prince Brett Lawrie becomes King.)

  10. NomarGarciaparra 4 years ago

    Derek Lowe is not garbage. 2011 was an off year…and regardless, you know he will get you a full season every year (32+ starts every season since 2002).

    • vtadave 4 years ago

      …or 2011 is his new baseline.  “Garbage” might not be the best choice of words, but at $15 million, that’s a tough contract to move to say the least.

      • NomarGarciaparra 4 years ago

        He’s got 1 year left in his contract, so it’s not really that big of a deal. If he sucks, deal with him for 1 year. But chances are he’ll bounce back respectably in 2012.

        Unlike the Braves, the Red Sox have to deal with Lackey for 3 more years! And on top of that, Lowe >>> Lackey…by far!

      • bigpat 4 years ago

         Yes, people don’t seem to understand that when a player ages, they begin to regress. Just because he’s been a solid pitcher the past few seasons doesn’t mean he can’t fall off a cliff. Look at Bronson Arroyo.

    • MikhelB 4 years ago

      BUT… it is Cafardo who said it, so, it doesn’t count LOL

  11. windycitywarrior 4 years ago

    Not to beat a dead horse but Buerhle to the bullpen is a joke. You can go ahead and mark him down for 200 innings right now. He definitely isnt a top of the rotation pitcher anymore but hes no slouch either. His ERA ( dont kill me stat dorks I know there are more in depth ways to look at a pitcher but for general purposes Im goin with ERA) is at 3.50 about every year and he gets in the double digit wins every year also. yeah that screams bullpen to me.HAHA

    • MikhelB 4 years ago

      heeey remember who said it, Cafardo, one of the typical bosox fanboys who talks just because he can.

  12. It would be really stupid to see Mark in Boston’s bullpen.  First of all, he’s a lifelong starter who just proved he can still start in MLB this year by leading the White Sox in IP, ERA and Wins.  Secondly, he would be a really lousy relief pitcher:  He usually gives up a ton of hits and he doesn’t strike out a lot of batters.  He will be a starter somewhere next year, guaranteed.

  13. gradylittle 4 years ago

    I wouldn’t mind getting Beuhrle at the right price, he’s thrown 200+ innings every season in the big leagues except his rookie year. If the Sox offer him 2 year deal worth 13-17 mil, I’d be pretty happy, and I think he’d be a valuable vet to have at the back of the rotation, now I don’t know anything about his attitude, hopefully he’s allergic to both beer and fried chicken.

  14. MikhelB 4 years ago

    It is kinda neat that all those people who doubted that the Red Sox and Padres had priority to negotiate between them so the Sox could get what they wanted from the Padres, are in the verge of having their mouths shut once again, with the impending departure of Hinch to help the Red Sox and with the impending departure of Byrnes to help Theo, former boss of Hoyer, GM of the Padres… LOL and there were people who doubted my “inside sources” as the Boston Globe like to call their informants.

    But even without sources like the ones i have, it would be needed a bit of thinking to realize all the connections and lopsided trades benefiting Boston, between those teams since Lucchino and Epstein left San Diego (they even took Craig Shipley with them, a former Padres infielder, to work in their front office).

  15. crashcameron 4 years ago

    hey Tim/MLBTR
    maybe it should be a rule on Chicago/Boston posts that the posters have to clarify “Sox” !!

  16. John Bowman 4 years ago

    Buehrle is from Missouri and he has hinted about wanting to pitch for the Cardinals for a long time. He has also hinted about retiring after this season. I think either the White Sox resign him, the Cardinals sign him, or he retires. I see no chance he signs to work out the Red Sox’s, or anyone else’s, bullpen

  17. BoSoXaddict 4 years ago

    Call me crazy, but I don’t think it would be smart to pay a ton of $ just to get rid of Lackey. I’d certainly entertain swapping him for another bad contract, but The Nation is out for blood and seems to want him gone AT ALL COSTS. IMO, he still has enough ability to be our #4 starter. He just needs to get a SERIOUS talking to about his antics/clubhouse bs.

    • johnsilver 4 years ago

      Agreed. The bad contract options are just as repulsive talent wise, bad attitudes, or a combo of the 2. Would just as soon see Lackey come back and attempt to get his act together than them swap him for a Wells/Zito/ Soriano who have been about useless for years, where lackey has only been sliding for what? 1 season?

      Posted above the only bad contract can think of right off would consider swapping him for is Jason Bay and not even sure about that, since they still would not have a RF amongst the bunch.

  18. soxluv 4 years ago

    HAHA  Buehrle was better than how many Red Sox starters? But he would rate #5 or bullpen arm.

  19. 1Tough9 4 years ago

    Buehrle to anyone other than the White Sox or Cardinals will be the most shocking thing since the steroid era. 

  20. let Z destroy the Marlins

  21. Dont hold your breath

  22. bigpat 4 years ago

    Yeah, I don’t see his talents translating well to the Red Sox. They brought in Lackey who has underwhelming stuff, yet it’s better than Buehrle’s, and he’s been beaten to a pulp. A guy as hittable as Buehrle is going to have a lot of rough outings vs lineups like the Yanks, Rays, and even the Jays and Orioles.

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