Norichika Aoki has been nothing but disappointing for the Kansas City Royals this year, so it’s no wonder they are reportedly interested in Boston Red Sox outfielder Jonny Gomes. The 33-year-old is known for his clutch-hitting, history of winning, and ability to inflate left-handed pitcher’s ERAs substantially. He was a pivotal piece to the 2013 Red Sox World Series team, but all good things must come to an end. Boston will most definitely be sellers, and Gomes is a free-agent at season’s end. It’d be surprising if they didn’t deal, or at least try to move him. He won’t draw a huge return (top-prospect-esque), but could land the Red Sox a young and serviceable piece for the future. One guy Boston should be targeting on the Royals is relief pitcher Scott Alexander.
Alexander, age 25, was drafted by the Royals in the 6th round of the 2010 Amateur Baseball draft. He didn’t pitch in the Royals’ system in 2011, but did so in 2012, justifying his early-round selection. In 35 and 1/3 innings of work, the left-handed pitcher compiled an impressive 2.55 ERA and 3.87 FIP in Single-A Kane County.
He followed up with an arguably better year in 2013, dominating Single-A Lexington and High-A Wilmington with an ERA under 1.35 in each. He did, however, hit a snag when reaching Double-A later that year. Despite his ugly 5.18 ERA in 33 innings, Scott had excellent peripherals which resonated into a strong 2.54 FIP.
Now, this brings us to the current year. Alexander has compiled a nice 3.86 ERA and 3.57 FIP in 33 games out of the bullpen in, again, Double-A Northwest Arkansas. Scott’s shown throughout his professional career he has the potential to be a solid major-league bullpen piece, and Boston would probably like to supplement their farm with some relievers.
Andrew Miller, Koji Uehara, Craig Breslow, and Burke Badenhop are all free agents after this season, and I’m not too sure whom Boston will re-sign. Yawkey Way Report writer Thomas Joyce wrote a good article the other day looking ahead at next year’s Boston Red Sox bullpen. He made note at the end that Boston does not have too many left-handed relief pitchers within the system or at the MLB level — especially if Miller and Breslow leave — and they’ll need to target a southpaw in the offseason.
Acquiring Alexander will provide Boston with a left-handed reliever with a high-ceiling. Whether he’d be ready to go — and he probably won’t — or not to start the season in Beantown remains a question. Regardless, he’s an investment worth taking a chance on.