Zack Greinke (Mark J. Terrill/Associated Press)

We’ve already been over how the Red Sox need starting pitching, particularly a top-end starter. National League Cy Young contender Zack Greinke is one of the most readily available options on the free agent market, and some have suggested that he should be the next great Red Sox Ace. There have also been reports that Greinke suffers from social anxiety, making a market like Boston a less than ideal fit for him. Even if that were the case, it should be left off the table entirely because it is not the fans’ (or reporters’) place to diagnose or judge any player’s personality or mental competence. But even excluding the alleged disorder, Greinke is not the right fit for to lead the Red Sox rotation.

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Clay Buchholz (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

When the news came out on Wednesday that the Red Sox had exercised their option on Clay Buchholz, it seemed obvious and mystifying at the same time. The news itself was largely unsurprising, but the next step in the process remains unclear. For some reason the Red Sox were expected to pick up the $13 million option, even though Buchholz has become the very definition of unreliable in recent seasons. While some see the price as a relative bargain given how much starting pitchers are being paid around baseball, there is also a legitimate argument that the Red Sox could have been better off by allocating that money elsewhere. That argument is what makes Buchholz’s future team a mystery, as it is starting to make more sense by the day.

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Johnny Cueto (Tony Dejak/Associated Press)

Earlier in the week we proposed a similar question regarding David Price, in wondering whether the Red Sox should consider a serious run at a major free agent in their search for an Ace for the starting rotation. Johnny Cueto is a very, very similar player to Price, and will most likely cost just almost as much to sign, in both years and dollars. The Red Sox, as a major market team, have the capability to acquire either player off of the free agent market, but there is merit in wondering if they actually should take the plunge. Free agent megadeals almost never work out for the signing team, so there is legitimate reason to speculate on the wisdom of making a splash just for the sake of spending to capacity. A deeper look into the situation reveals that the Red Sox should probably look elsewhere to find their Ace.

As stated above, Cueto is a very similar pitcher to Price, and that is why he will get paid at the top of the market this offseason. Cueto is only 29 years old, has averaged about 178 innings per season in the Major Leagues, and has a 3.30 career ERA, with only 2.60 BB/9, and a .236 Average Against for his career. So we can agree, solid marks all around. He has been good, he has been relatively durable, and he limits walks. This sounds like a solid pitcher that would be worth a decent investment in, especially since Cueto’s numbers are slightly worse than Price’s and would therefore mean a cheaper contract in signing him. And to be sure, Cueto would easily be an upgrade over any starter the Red Sox currently possess.

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David Price (Michael Peake/Toronto Sun)

Maybe a more accurate question would be: “should the Red Sox want David Price?” Even a casual fan could probably tell that the Red Sox are a team in desperate need of an Ace, and Price will be one of the most easily available options in this coming offseason. In fact, there is an argument to be made that part of Price’s appeal is that he would only cost the dollar value of his contract to acquire, thus saving the team from having to deal from its farm system. In theory, a large-market team like the Red Sox should be all about these kinds of deals, especially when they have some money coming off of the books from Justin Masterson, Mike Napoli, Shane Victorino, etc. With that being said, Red Sox ownership has previously been unwilling to approve of the type of contract it would take to sign Price off of the free agent market, even when it came to keeping a fan-favorite like Jon Lester. It hurts to say, but ownership might be right in this case, that they should not sign Price this offseason.

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Three Red Sox Needs

October 9, 2015 at 7:43pm in Featured, Opinion, Red Sox, Top Story
Hanley Ramirez (Rich Gagnon/Getty Images)

Earlier in the week we looked at some of the Red Sox’ current organizational strengths heading into the offseason, and now we are taking a look at some needs the team will be working to improve on this winter. Most of them are pretty obvious and involve pitching, but let’s get into it. Below are the Red Sox three most glaring needs, in no particular order.

An Ace

This one has already been talked about a lot and is pretty obvious, as 2015 proved the harsh reality that a rotation full of mediocre pitchers gets a team nowhere. The Red Sox are in a good position with some of their younger pitchers, including Eduardo Rodriguez, Henry Owens, and Brian Johnson, but those guys are not yet ready to be legitimate number one starters. Fortunately, the Free Agent and Trade markets are likely to be flush with top-notch starting pitching; it will be up to Dave Dombrowski to decide how to allocate his resources and improve the roster. Aside from the obvious talent improvement that would come with an established Ace, such an acquisition would also create more competition among the rest of the roster’s pitchers, as there would be one less spot in the rotation available. This competition would be great for both veterans, like Wade Miley and Rick Porcello, and younger players like Owens and Johnson. Competition breeds improvement, which is sorely needed throughout the Red Sox pitching staff.

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It's been a couple of days, but I'm still giddy and grinning that the Yankees lost and former Red Sox/$153 million man Jacoby Ellsbury didn't even start. (US News)

It almost made this season entirely worth it. Another year out of the playoff race by August (and that’s optimistic), another last place finish, and one American League Wild Card game nearly undid all the futility of the 2015 season – and the Red Sox were already home hitting the links.

Such is my hatred and vitriol for the New York Yankees that I can find near complete solace in their shutout loss at the hands of Dallas Keuchel and the Houston Astros in the AL Wild Card round. Yes, that’s how pathetic this past season was.

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Three Red Sox Strengths

October 7, 2015 at 8:30pm in Featured, Opinion, Red Sox, Top Story
Jackie Bradley Jr., Mookie Betts, and Rusney Castillo (Caylor Arnold/USA Today Sports)

Now that the offseason is officially upon us a month sooner than most fans would like, the time has come to take stock of the Red Sox organization, see just where they stand, and try to figure out how they will proceed going into and through the offseason. Since there is always a give/take, ying/yang, etc. we will cover both ends of the emotional spectrum, but for now let’s start on a positive note and take a look at three areas of organizational strength that can be built upon going forward.

The Lineup

It’s no secret that the Red Sox need a good amount of pitching improvements if they want to contend in 2016 and beyond. The everyday lineup, however, appears to be in very good shape as currently constituted. Five Red Sox posted an OPS right at or near .800: David Ortiz (.913), Dustin Pedroia (.797), Mookie Betts (.820), Jackie Bradley Jr. (.832), and Travis Shaw (.822). Additionally, the Red Sox as a team finished among the Major League leaders in several offensive categories including:


6th in Batting Average – .265

5th in OBP – .325

7th in Slugging – .415

4th in Runs Scored – 748

4th in RBI – 706

6th in wOBA – .321


Pretty impressive. Keep in mind that all of this was accomplished despite two of the lineup’s alleged staples – Hanley Ramirez and Pablo Sandoval – were worse than replacement level and a complete drain on the offense. The Red Sox had a top-6 offense in the baseball in 2015, with potential to be top-3 in 2016.

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