Here’s the latest notes column from Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe, with a particular focus on how the Red Sox will be targeting DH, the bullpen and the rotation as their three main areas of need this offseason…
- Acquiring Chris Sale would be a major rotation upgrade for the Red Sox, and since they had discussions with the White Sox about the star southpaw this summer, talks could be revisited in the offseason. Cafardo figures Boston would have to give up Jackie Bradley Jr. (who the White Sox have long liked) and at least one of top prospects Yoan Moncada or Rafael Devers to land Sale; Chicago could also ask for Eduardo Rodriguez as part of the trade package. It would be a heavy price to pay, though the White Sox are obviously going to shoot for the moon if they explore dealing their ace, who is both one of the game’s best pitchers and one of its best bargains thanks to his team-friendly contract. The Red Sox would have Andrew Benintendi take over for Bradley in center field, while left field would presumably be handled by some combination of Chris Young, Brock Holt, Blake Swihart. If not dealt, Moncada would also be in the mix for both 2017 and as a long-term answer.
- Beyond those three big areas, catcher is also something of a question mark for the Red Sox. Boston seems to be looking at a tandem of Sandy Leon and Christian Vazquez behind the plate in 2017, which would indicate an $800K buyout of Ryan Hanigan’s $3.75MM club option for the coming season. Leon had a huge breakout at the plate but rather came back to earth over the last six weeks of the season, while Vazquez has yet to show any ability to hit Major League pitching.
- There’s still a chance the Red Sox could reunite with Jonathan Papelbon, as Cafardo figures the team will again check in with the veteran reliever. Papelbon drew interest from several teams (including Boston) after being released by the Nationals last summer, though he didn’t sign anywhere. There hasn’t been much Papelbon news in the last several weeks, so it’s unknown what the former closer’s plans are for 2017.
- In his sole year as Red Sox manager, Bobby Valentine wanted to use both Andrew Miller and Daniel Bard out of the bullpen. Miller was turning to relief pitching after failing to catch on as a starter, and he went to become one of the game’s best relievers. Bard was already a bullpen star for the Sox, though both he and the front office wanted to transition to starting pitching. That move proved disastrous for Bard, as he developed severe control problems that have curtailed his career. He last pitched in the bigs in 2013 and has since bounced around the minors with four different organizations.
- Marlins management will soon meet with club owner Jeffrey Loria to decide on the team’s offseason plans, which were thrown into disarray in the wake of Jose Fernandez’s tragic death. Miami was in need of pitching even with Fernandez in the fold, and this winter’s very thin pitching market could leave the team unable to augment its impressive lineup. Cafardo notes that rumors of the Marlins reloading the farm system by trading Giancarlo Stanton have swirled for years, though with Fernandez gone, Stanton may have become even more of a cornerstone piece for the club.