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As a baseball fan living in Boston, I know there will always be offseason, as well as during-the-season, rumors involving multiple players coming to the Red Sox. This winter has been no different. We have all heard the names of Matt Holliday, Adrian Beltre, Alex Gonzalez, Adrian Gonzalez, Miguel Cabrera, John Lackey and many others. Recently two other names came up with one making sense and the other not so much. Those two players are Rick Ankiel and Mike Gonzalez.
Ankiel used to be a decent pitcher for the St. Louis Cardinals and recently turned into a power-hitting outfielder. Well, his power-hitting days didn’t last long either. This past season he only hit .231 with 11 homers and drove in hardly anyone as he finished with 38 RBIs. He turned into an outfielder in 2007 and hit 11 home runs that year as well, but the only difference is that he only played in 47 games that season, while last year he appeared in 122.
A plus that Ankiel would add is his arm in the outfield. Since he was previously a pitcher, he had to have a strong arm and he has shown it off in the outfield the past couple of seasons by throwing out runners when a traditional outfielder wouldn’t. But, that is something the Red Sox don’t really need. He would be playing in left field and we have no need for someone with a strong arm in that part of the field (see: Manny Ramirez).
The left hander made just under $3 million last season, so he would be affordable but he is not the power hitter we would want. Theo Epstein is only looking at him because he is a free agent, he can hit and just in case we don’t get Jason Bay back or sign Holliday. I think this signing is very unlikely and Theo is just looking around at free agents, and there’s nothing wrong with that.
As far as Gonzalez is concerned, Mike Gonzalez to be specific, he would fit in with the Red Sox fairly well. The Sox looked at Gonzalez back in 2006 but never acquired the left hander out of the bullpen, which is good because he only appeared in 18 games in 2007. This past season he posted a record of 5-4 with an 2.42 ERA with 10 saves and 17 holds, but he did also have seven blown saves.
With Billy Wagner’s bags packed and ready to head out of New England, the Red Sox need another lefty in the bullpen and Gonzalez fits that description perfectly. Gonzalez had Tommy John surgery over two years ago and seems to have responded well to it. He struck out a career-high 90 batters last year in a career-high 74.1 innings pitched but did give up a career-high seven home runs and also walked a career-high 33 batters. To say the least, he had a career year last season.
If Wagner is really gone, then the Sox would need another lefty other than Hideki Okajima in relief. Gonzalez made $3.4 million last year and is fairly affordable, but the only problem is that he is now represented by Scott Boras. The Sox have dealt with Boras before, and again this offseason with Jason Varitek’s new contract. No one likes the man, but he sure gets his clients the money they want and don’t always deserve. Whatever the price is, Gonzalez would fit perfectly in Boston and hopefully it doesn’t come with too high of a price tag.