Mookie Betts on the Trade Block?

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I find it weird that this even a question, but here we are! Multiple reports have come out over the last few days about the Red Sox entertaining the idea about trading one of the game’s premier players, Mookie Betts. When I first heard this, I thought the notion of the Red Sox even considering putting Betts on the trade block was absolutely bananas. Why would you trade the face of the franchise, who is just about to hit his prime and is already one of the best players in baseball?

Well, you have to ask yourself, how the heck did we get here?trade block

Earlier this year Mookie Betts turned down an 8 year $200 million contract to stay in Boston. If you’re Mookie it makes sense considering you saw Mike Trout, Bryce Harper, and Manny Machado get huge pay increases with their new contracts. Mookie isn’t stupid. He knows he’s better than Machado and Harper and is nipping at the heels of Mike Trout in terms of production. I’m sure if the Red Sox offered something north of $300 million Mookie might have considered giving in and agreeing to that sort of deal.

 

However, that is where the next issue lies, payroll. The Red Sox have the highest payroll in baseball and, if you haven’t noticed, are a bit strapped for cash. I guess making upgrades to the bullpen in the offseason is tough when you’re allocating almost $19 million to Pablo Sandoval for literally just existing at this point. It also doesn’t help that they owe Dustin Pedroia (who only has one functioning knee) almost $30 million over the next two years. David Price isn’t getting any younger either and is owed roughly $90 million over the next three years. In addition to these poorly managed and dead money contracts, the Red Sox used some additional payroll flexibility to sign Chris Sale and Xander Bogaerts to long term deals.

I know I’m playing captain hindsight right now, but the less frivolous spending would have given the Red Sox a bit more flexibility to lock in one of the best players in baseball. Now, by trading Betts, I can only imagine they could use the assets to bolster a depleted farm system and maybe add some depth to their pitching staff.

Keeping Mookie Long Term? Or Is The Trade Block In His Future?

If the Red Sox somehow sign Betts to a massive contract, I don’t know where else they will be able to improve the rest of the team? The Red Sox can print money all they want, but being at the top of the payroll in baseball means you are subject to a high luxury tax. Now, if you want to pay that type of luxury tax, fine, but make sure you actually stay competitive and not pretend like everything’s okay (I’m looking at you, Dombrowski).

Let’s just hope both sides figure things out and are able to come to a common ground to benefit the team and the player. I want Mookie Betts to retire in a Red Sox uniform and have number 50 retired with the likes of Ortiz, Martinez, Williams, Fisk, Yaz, Boggs, etc. However, I also want this team to be competitive in the future.

Bogaerts, Bradley, Future of the Red Sox

Jackie Bradley Jr Xander Bogaerts

Xander Bogaerts, Jackie Bradley Jr, and Will Middlebrooks are three players who are essential parts of the team’s future. All three might have given the Red Sox a glimpse of what the future may hold for each player in the team’s opening series against the Baltimore Orioles.

Bogaerts hit safely in his first three games of the season. Bogaerts also made key defensive plays throughout the series, including a play that forced a big out at second base with the Orioles threatening in a 4-3 game in the eighth inning

Bradley had a disappointing game-ending strikeout in game one of the series, but he was able to put that behind him. In his first start of the season, 23-year-old outfielder collected two hits, including an RBI single into center field. Bradley also scored Boston’s second run on a hustle play in the third inning, hustling all the way from first base on David Ortiz’s blooper to left field.

Bradley lost the center field competition to Grady Sizemore, but made the Opening Day roster once outfielder Shane Victorino was placed on the disabled list. With the Sox expected to give Sizemore days off every few days, expect Bradley to get more opportunities to prove he can become a productive major league player.

Middlebrooks broke an 0-for-8 slump to start the season by going 2 for 4 with a single and a double in the fourth and sixth innings, respectively. This is an encouraging sign because Middlebrooks struck out three times in the first two games. He gave fans flashbacks to last season, when the 25-year-old third baseman was sent down to the minors because he struggled offensively for most of the season.

While it is only a small sample, Bogarts, Bradley, and Middlebrooks all looked good at times during the first series of the season. It remains to be seen if they can continue with the same success throughout the season, but their play has to be comforting to Red Sox fans everywhere.

Futures at Fenway Game Preview

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Sea Dogs’ Third Baseman Garin Cecchini

The Futures at Fenway game is tomorrow, Saturday, July 27th at 12PM. I highly recommend that you attend. The Portland Sea Dogs face the Harrisburg Senators, both are Double-A teams for their respective franchises. Earlier in the season, Brandon Workman and Drake Britton were part of the Sea Dogs five-man rotation. Now they play for Boston. The future, for these guys, is now. So what will become of the current players on the Sea Dogs roster?

The current Sea Dogs roster is strong, but I may be bias because I am a pretty big fan girl. Christian Vasquez and Michael Almanzar are making a difference on the field and at the plate. Pitchers Anthony Ranaudo, Matt Barnes and Keith Couch have improved their games over the course of the season. Most notably, Ranaudo, who tied a team record of 13 strikeouts on June 13th. He shares this record with Jon Lester. Right-handed pitcher Couch will start on the mound on Saturday. He is currently 7-3, winning four of his last 10 starts. Couch has a strong curveball and has made steady progress on mechanics throughout the season.

One other player to keep an eye on is infielder Garin Cecchini. He moved up from High Single-A  Red Sox (Salem, VA) in late June. He makes a massive impact offensively for this team. Cecchini holds the second highest on-base percentage in the entire minor league.

I am proud of the depth the Sox have in their system. I say we just hold off on any trades. The team does not need to go looking for other players to add to the club. We risk upsetting the chemistry of the current team. In addition to the chemistry, the Sox do not want to lose the talent they have, for someone that is just as good as a player we have down on the farm.

At the poker table that is July 31st, I encourage the club to fold. Let’s see how far these players, including those on the farm, can take us.

Brandon Workman, Others, Represent the Future

Brandon Workman

Brandon Workman Courtesy of minorleagueball.com

The future is now for the Boston Red Sox. Brandon Workman made his major league starting pitching debut on Sunday. He joins the likes of Ryan Lavarnway, Brock Holt, Brandon Snyder, Jackie Bradley Jr. who have all had their shot on the major league diamond. Never have I seen so many minor league players move around throughout the system, not come up to Boston so often and with such rapid-fire frequency. This is a testament to the depth that we have in our farm system. Workman is a perfect example as he quickly proved himself in Portland and then Pawtucket, and finally Sunday in California against Oakland.

This is what has made this year’s Red Sox team so fun to watch. You never know who will be at what position until the lineup comes out. Those from the minor league teams play with heart, feel the pressure, and rise to the occasion. Snyder proved himself useful until he was not, botching throws to first and not producing at the plate. Bradley Jr. experienced the same fate in the few occasions he made it up to the Bigs. Jose Iglesias and Holt seem to be making the most of their moment in the sun. With great plate patience and strong defensive skill they have maintained positions on the team for the longest periods of time, among their fellow brethren from Pawtucket. The future is now for these guys.

The Futures of Fenway game is scheduled on Saturday, July 27th at 12PM at Fenway Park.  Fans will be able to see the other great players the Red Sox have within their farm system. A few days later the League reaches its trade deadline. Will we need to make any big trades, or will we stick with guys we have in the system? Perhaps, there are some that need to go, like Stephen Drew, to make room on the 40-man roster. And, after all, you can’t have too much of a good thing.