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Construction for that “bridge” to 2012 Theo Esptein and Co. reiterated throughout this offseason is on hold. With the signings of Mike Cameron and John Lackey, the Red Sox seem to be gearing up for 2010. Foxsports.com is reporting that the “bridge” might be built, but the destination would be San Diego to help Adrian Gonzalez get to Boston.
According to Fox’s sources, the Red Sox are working hard to acquire the power hitting first baseman for the Padres. ESPN’s Jorge Arangure posted on his Twitter that sources close to Gonzalez said he believes he will be traded to Boston within the next 10 days. Then again, the Herald’s Michael Silverman says his sources said a deal between the Sox and Paders is “remote”.
If Arangure’s sources are right, the Sox will have undergone a dramatic face lift acquiring Cameron, Lackey and Gonzalez in a matter of a week and half.
There is a lot of smoke, but nothing close to fire. San Diego would be tempted to accept a deal including BOTH Jacoby Ellsbury and Clay Buchholz, but sources in the report said the Sox are very reluctant do include both in a deal. Rumors also have floated around that a deal would have to include both Buchholz and prized prospect Casey Kelly.
Ellsbury and Buchholz may have been untouchable at some points in their respective careers, but the recent signings (Lackey and Cameron) and perhaps future signings could make them expendable for the likes of a Gonzalez.
With the addition of John Lackey, the Sox now have a rotation of Josh Beckett, Jon Lester, Lackey, Daisuke Matsuzaka and Tim Wakefield. Don’t forget about the arms still on the farm like Junichi Tazawa and Kelly. The Sox are also in a very good position to sign Aroldis Chapman, a Cuban lefty who can throw 100 mph.
The Red Sox have already offered Champan a $15 million deal. The Sox also signed fellow Cuban defector Jose Iglesias, which may help the team hook Chapman, because the two played together in Cuba and are friends.
Bottom line: Buchholz is expendable, especially if Boston can sign Chapman.
On to Ellsbury, and the line of expendable/untouchable becomes blurry.
Right now, even as Ellsbury has room to improve, he is one of the best players in the major leagues at what he does. Few teams have a better leadoff man. There are not five better defensive center fielders in the game, either. Also, on the base paths, he is as feared as anyone.
Mike Cameron gives the Red Sox this flexibility. He can play center field at an above average caliber at the very worst, as he won the Gold Glove playing the position in 2003 and 2006.
As for Ellsbury’s offensive abilities, there might be another bridge until 2011. Carl Crawford will likely be a free agent and if the Sox could swoop in an sign the Tampa Bay outfielder, his numbers could come remarkably close to Ellsbury’s.
Here’s how both players stacked up in 2009:
Crawford is only two years older than Ellsbury and perhaps most important to note, his agent is not named Scott Boras (unlike Ellsbury). Also, don’t rule out the fact that Jason Bay still remains unsigned, and could return leaving the Sox outfield as Bay, Cameron, and J.D. Drew.
The other reason the Sox could possibly be inclined to include Ellsbury in the deal is they would be getting Adrian Gonzalez in return. Gonzalez hit 40 home runs and drove in 100 runs…on the worst offensive team in baseball. It wouldn’t be expecting too much from the first basemen to slug 50 HRs in Fenway Park, on a much better team. He led the majors last year in home runs per at bat on the road, slugging a home run just about every 10 at bats.
Gonzalez would also fit right into the Red Sox defensive philosophy. The past two years, he has taken home the Gold Glove at first base.
Finally, the 27-year-old slugger is also one of baseball’s best bargains. He signed for $4.75 million next season with a $5.5 million club option for 2011. What’s not to like?