Welcome to this week’s edition of Read Sox. This time, we’ll do a quick double-take on the offseason, then look at some pivotal postseason choices and watch Jonny Gomes do his thing. Again.
Nearly everyone with any sort of investment in the Red Sox expects them to have an eventful offseason, but no one’s exactly sure how Dave Dombrowski will approach it in his first winter at the helm, writes Michael Silverman. There are plenty of options available to cure what ails the team – be it David Price, Alex Gordon, or any of the notable relief pitchers on the market. The Red Sox may opt to keep homegrown talent and save money, which isn’t a terrible plan, but that puts a lot on the farm system, which lacks top-tier pitching in its upper levels. Splurging is the most appealing choice, but the payroll is already sky-high, and they risk surpassing the luxury tax threshold if the Sox go overboard. Trades are also an option, but that might deplete a farm system left well-stocked by Ben Cherington. It’s tough, there’s no doubt about that. As observers, keeping low expectations is probably our best bet. Who knows what DD will do?
Remember how fun the Red Sox were in August and September? How they weren’t the dumpster fire that was May-July? Good times, right? Yeah, that whole escapade kept the Sox from having a protected first-round pick next year, and the loss of pick protection might put the Sox between a rock and a hard place this winter, as WEEI’s Rob Bradford explains. Two wins were all that separated the Red Sox from a protected first-rounder. That means it wouldn’t be taken away from them if they sign a free agent that declined a qualifying offer, say David Price or Chris Davis. Most of the free agents that the Sox will be looking to add to the team will require a draft pick to sign, and if Dombrowski plans on trading prospects away, losing a draft pick like that may not be too wise. Welcome to Boston, everyone – the Hot Stove never shuts off.
For their first move of the winter, the Red Sox picked up Clay Buchholz’s $13 million option, and as Tim Britton elaborates, this was an easy decision. Sure, Buchholz’s trademark erraticism has earned him few fans, but when he was healthy in 2015, he was fantastic. Even with some bad luck in April (5.76 ERA, 2.61 FIP), Buchholz shined, posting a 3.28 ERA with a fantastic 2.61 FIP and a 8.50 K/9 in 113 innings last year. That may just make him trade bait, but my money’s on him staying in Boston. The Red Sox need his arm.
A close call in Florida for Brian Johnson, as he was carjacked at gunpoint and came out unscathed. Johnson was in Fort Myers rehabbing an elbow injury he sustained midsummer when he and his friends were approached while in the car and told to get out and hand over their keys. Scary moment for Johnson and his friends, and we’re all thankful they’re alright.
You’ve probably seen every argument about Terry Collins’ decision to pull Matt Harvey a batter too late. It’s not the first time a seven-game postseason series turned on a manager’s choice to leave a pitcher in. Just ask Grady Little. Over at Fangraphs, Shane Tortellotte looks at the most memorable moments in which managers left their starters in with a postseason series on the line.
Jonny Gomes got another World Series ring. The last time he earned one, he got himself a pretty ridiculous tattoo. This time, he made a totally obnoxious, yet endearing speech at the Royals’ World Series parade in Kansas City. Gomes is like one of those Nick Swisher types of players – you hate him when he plays your team, but when he’s on the roster, he’s the greatest thing since sliced bread. Love you, Ironsides.
Photo by Bob DeChiara/USA Today Sports Images