|Notes and Observations Week 15: Patriots Blow Out Dolphins 41-13; Clinch AFC East||Connelly’s Top Ten: Patriots Defense, Special Teams Carry Home Team||Fantasy Football Start ‘Em, Sit ‘Em: Week 15||Right Idea? Red Sox Bring in Rick Porcello, Wade Miley, Justin Masterson|
The Boston Red Sox continued its active offseason, despite many media outlets reporting that Ben Cherington’s roster moves were complete. On Wednesday, the Red Sox acquired Jonathan Herrera from the Colorado Rockies in exchange for Franklin Morales and minor league reliever Chris Martin.
Offensively, Herrera boasted a reliable .292/.336/.364 line in 2013. He has the ability to play all three infield positions, having split his time roughly evenly between second, third, and short. With this acquisition, the infield, particularly at the corner, runs deep on the Red Sox roster. However, Herrera profiles more to serve the utility role with his complementary left-handed bat. This leaves room on the roster for Xander Bogaerts and Will Middlebrooks to start, and possibly even the return of Stephen Drew.
Another noteworthy acquisition that took place on Tuesday was the arrival of Shunsuke Watanbe from Japan. He is slated to join one of the Red Sox’s minor league teams. Watanbe has a crazy side-arm delivery that throws off batters; however, based on his stats, his pitching is not all that reliable. As a member of the Nippon Professional Baseball League in Japan, he was a starter with a 0-4 record in 2013. ESPN reports that the Red Sox invited Watanbe to spring training and may utilize him as a reliever if he proves his worth.
While Watanbe joins the Red Sox, former Red Sox reliever and free agent Matt Thornton will depart, having signed with the New York Yankees. He is currently the only left-handed reliever that the Yankees have for 2014. He inked a two-year deal for $7 million. It will be interesting to see what the Yankees do with him after a 3.74 ERA and some shaky moments in the Red Sox bullpen in 2013. With the departure of Boone Logan, perhaps New York is desperate for a southpaw. The Red Sox made no use of him in the postseason, not even carrying him on the roster.
Cherington has more decisions to make during this offseason with Drew still a free agent, Bogaerts primed to break out following on his impressive postseason, Middlebrooks dangling as potential trade bait, and possibly some members of the bullpen still on the bubble. Clearly, the Sox are still moving and shaking.