By Steve Perrault – Follow on Twitter @Steve_Perrault
Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski addressed the media Tuesday and expressed some of his biggest goals for this upcoming offseason. While the Red Sox clearly have a young core in place that can help the team succeed for years to come, there are still several questions to be asked on how the rest of the team will be handled. Here are the biggest takeaways from Dombrowski’s views on this upcoming offseason for Boston:
John Farrell Is Doing Well
Dombrowski made a point of saying right out of the gate that he met with John Farrell and new GM Mike Hazen this past weekend and spoke with both of them at length about a number of topics surrounding the Red Sox. While the teams’ offseason expectations were certainly at the top of their talking points, Dombrowski said that confirming Farrell’s immediate health was the most important part of their meeting. Farrell appears to be in good spirits and doing much better after receiving treatment for Stage 1 lymphoma.
“I’m surprised at how strong he is, looking-wise,” Dombrowski said Tuesday. “He’s encouraged . . . He felt good and he looked good.”
Hanley Is “Committed” to Learning First Base
I know, I know. That headline may appear to sound like a joke, but it’s exactly how Dombrowski tried to sell it in his discussions with the media on Tuesday. It was by far his most compelling answer of the day. Here, see for yourself..
Can we all agree that Dombrowski is trying his best to not just come out and say the obvious fact here? He knows, we know, the baker down the street knows that Hanley Ramirez will NEVER work as the first baseman for the Boston Red Sox. Just watch how Dave caught himself at the 0:19 mark of that clip. “We’re committed to trying….to making the effort…to have Hanley play first base.” It’s as if he went over this exact speech in his head before addressing the media. He had one goal, and that was trying to sell everyone in that room, and all of major league baseball, that Hanley Ramirez could have some form of value playing first base.
And you know what? I can’t blame Dombrowski here for a second. Ramirez has never had less value in his career, so what does Dombrowki lose in trying to increase this man’s value? Nothing. While this will be Dave’s hardest sell this offseason, it has to be done. He knows that, and that was clearly shown in how delicate he was in describing the situation.
Dombrowski Wants a “Horse” for the Sox Rotation
When asked on how many starting pitchers he is looking to acquire this offseason, Dombrowski simply replied with, “I’ll start with one, and then we’ll go from there.”
Clearly one of the top necessities on Dombrowski’s offseason to-do list is to improve the starting rotation. This can’t be too surprising considering it was a rotation that finished with the 3rd worst ERA (4.39) in the American League, only ahead of the Orioles and – Dombrowski’s former club – the Tigers.
Dombrowski summarized his feelings on the state of the Sox rotation by saying, “I don’t think that it’s the depth as much as you’re looking for that one guy that maybe can be your horse if you can get him.”
So you want a horse, Dave? Well, to make it easy on you the reader, I threw together the top potential “horse” free-agent starters that Dombrowski will have to pick from. In most scenarios you can trust these guys to be a losing-streak stopper if things are going bad, or to continue an impressive stretch with a shutout performance if things are going well. I present to you the top “horse” starters that hit the free-agent market this offseason (Includes age at start of 2016 season, stats from 2015 season):
David Price – Age: 30 (18-5, 2.45 ERA, 225 K w/ DET/TOR)
Zack Grienke (has opt-out) – Age: 32 (19-3, 1.66 ERA, 200 K w/ LAD)
Johnny Cueto – Age: 30 (11-13, 3.44 ERA, 176 K w/ CIN/KC)
Jeff Samardzija – Age: 31 (11-13, 4.96 ERA, 163 K w/ CWS)
Jordan Zimmermann – Age: 29 (13-10, 3.66 ERA, 164 K w/ WAS)
John Lackey – Age: 37 (13-10, 2.77 ERA, 175 K w/ STL)
Mark Buehrle – Age: 37 (15-8, 3.81 ERA, 91 K w/ TOR)
With the exception of John Lackey and Mark Buehrle, all of these pitchers will be looking to cash in BIG this offseason. So this begs the question: Which “horse” would fit best in Boston?
I think the easy answer is one David Price. Price simply has that look of a starter who doesn’t mess around. He always wants the ball in his hand, and he is the kind of pitcher that would thrive in a baseball-crazed environment like Boston. While his postseason numbers continue to struggle this October, I would be willing to bet that this trend will not last forever and that Price would be a perfect fit in Boston. He would fetch an enormous contract for sure, but would be a fit well with the Red Sox if Dombrowski and the front office could pull it off.
Now if only we can solve this Price vs. Ortiz rivalry, then everything will work out just fine..