I did an article a week ago about the Red Sox, as BUYERS. Look, the Sox are sellers again, lets face it? But what should they do? Well, lets start with who to sell.
Napoli needs to find a new team, or get released. I still think you should sell Napoli and Koji in one deal, but for a young right handed pitcher. I liked the move with Victorino. Maybe also sell De Aza, but not without an interested team willing to give you wicked good prospects. They should have some luck finding one after what De Aza’s done.
Well, what do they do without Victorino, Napoli, Koji and maybe De Aza?
Well, lets start with the starting nine. In the outfield, I’d try a Bradley Jr./Betts/Castillo outfield. It’s better to experiment now then realize it won’t work next March. Nava? If this outfield isn’t reasonable for 2016, bring in Nava to replace the struggling youngster next year.
Now onto the infield. Keep Panda at third. Even though first is an easy position, he’s made so many errors, and changing positions could just cause more. Bogaerts fits great at short. Pedroia’s got second covered, but while he’s on the DL and Holt’s day to day, try Josh Rutledge at second. Rutledge was acquired for Victorino. Holt can also play it when he returns. First is another issue. Holt, Shaw, Big Papi, I’d try Big Papi again at first, but if he doesn’t hit well with it, then it’s only temporary. Train Ramirez at first. Start the Hanley at first experiment now. We all know that when Papi retires Ramirez will be best at DH. The Sox already said they signed him for his hitting, not his fielding.
At catcher, it’s a no-brainer. Don’t change anything. Swihart, and Hanigan for now, but Vazquez and Swihart next year. And Big Papi is a lock at DH, as long as he wants to keep playing. When Holt comes back, he’s a lock at second by the way.
Here’s my lineup for them. If Castillo hits well, try him earlier in. But, really, not much change is required.
Bradley Jr. LF
Now for pitching. The rotation needs a fix. First up should be Eduardo Rodriguez. He’s a young starter of the future that needs to be treated like the ace now, with Buchholz on the DL until most likely September. Second, Wade Miley. He still has been decent throughout the year, and you have to be able to count on him. Third, I regret it, but you’re stuck with Porcello. Pay him $22 million for nothing, and that’s just what happens. Fourth, I’d call up Henry Owens, starting super-prospect. However he’s doing in Pawtucket, give him a try. Maybe he’ll be the next Eddie Rodriguez. Give Johnson another try to wrap up the rotation. But that would be four lefty pitchers. If that doesn’t work, option Johnson down, and replace him with Steven Wright or the young righty you get for Koji. The young knuckleballer has a long career ahead of him, and if he can adapt to a complete MLB environment, he might go down as a famous knuckle ball pitcher someday. And whoever that guy is, you need to consider him. When Buchholz returns, likely not till mid-September as he was transferred to the 60 day DL, maybe not for the rest of the season, bump everyone down a spot, and send either Wright or Owens to the bullpen.
Lastly, the bullpen. Justin Masterson, Craig Breslow, Robbie Ross Jr. and Tommy Layne are your everyday relievers. Then you have Junichi Tazawa, your set up man, Alexi Ogando, a speed thrower, and Joe Kelly, a possible minor leaguer. Kelly can’t start, but he can pitch an inning or two decently. Make him the closer. If he stinks at closer, try out Ogando closing. Why Ogando? One, he has an 100 mph fastball, two he’s a former Rangers starter, so it’s not a big move. If they make those moves, the future is very bright for the Sox in 2016, maybe not until 2017 or 18 if they need a couple developmental years, but the future is bright, with plenty of prospects you can count on waiting to be recalled from the farm system.