What Would it Take To Get Doug Fister?

Doug Fister

With nine games in the books, the Boston Red Sox have taken two out of three games three times this season. Yes, now two out of three is nice, but Boston seems to be relying on their offense way too much. Teams that have done that in the past, most notably the Toronto Blue Jays, have not been able to succeed down the stretch.

Three times in nine games this season, a Boston starter has allowed over seven runs and that’s something to be worried about. Well, Washington has a pretty good pitcher named Doug Fister Doug Fister that could be up for grabs.

Right-handed Doug Fister, 31, is entering his second season with the pitching-heavy Washington Nationals. Fister is also entering his last season under contract and will be heavily targeted come free agency. So, what does Washington do?

Washington has shown it’s not going to shy away from committing big time money to big time players, as they gave ace Max Scherzer seven-years and $210 million, but Fister could be in a different situation. Washington’s lineup has really struggled at times this season and we’ve seen Boston go three deep into their bench and still put up ten runs. Washington also has 28-year-old Jordan Zimermann(2.66 ERA in ‘15) up at the end of the year as well.

 Here is my proposed trade:

Boston Trades-

1B/OF- Allen Craig

3B- Garin Cecchini

Washington Trades-

SP- Doug Fister

This trade would be a good deal for both teams. Boston would be able to grab that work horse veteran starter that they desperately need come playoff time. Fister and his 3.32 career ERA would immediately work at the top of the Red Sox rotation, adding an arm Red Sox fans would be comfortable throwing out there come the playoffs. Justin Masterson would be able to slide into the bullpen, where he excels, and also be able to make spot starts here and there. Washington would acquire an a-plus bat in Allen Craig who can fill in for the injury prone, Ryan Zimmerman. Craig would also bolster a thin Nationals bench. Cecchini would serve in a utility player form for Washington, as he can play third base as well as outfield.

PawSox Set Opening Day Roster


While the Red Sox opened their season on Monday afternoon with a win in Philadelphia their full season minor league affiliates all open with night games on Thursday.  The PawSox will open the season in Lehigh Valley, against the interestingly named Iron Pigs, the Phillies AAA affiliate.

On Tuesday it was PawSox media day, which was moved inside due to inclement weather—something to always be expected during April in New England. The PawSox players, staff, and new owner James Skeffington, were all on hand to answer questions regarding the upcoming season. PawSoxThe PawSox, coming off a Governor’s Cup Championship, have another loaded roster. Eight out of the top ten Red Sox prospects according to MLB.com are on the PawSox opening day roster, with many who made appearances in the big club last September.

The expected starting rotation for the PawSox early on this season will be lefties Henry Owens, Brian Johnson, and Eddie Rodriguez, and righties Matt Barnes and Keith Couch. All five made starts with the PawSox last season while Barnes was with the team for most of the season. Barnes, who was working in spring training as a reliever, was one of the final roster cuts and will be stretched out as a starter. Brian Johnson will have the privilege of the Opening Day start after an eye opening spring, where he quite possibly declared himself next in line, should an injury occur in the big clubs rotation.

In the bullpen the PawSox will feature a good chunk of players with major league experience, some with the Red Sox. Right handers Miguel Celestino, Heath Hembree, Dalier Hinojosa, Noe Ramirez, Zeke Spruill, and Brandon Workman are joined by the lone lefty Dana Eveland. Workman was moved to the bullpen by the Sox this off-season and was quoted saying, “I’ll pitch when they tell me to warm up.” The uptick in his velocity is seen to be a reason for the move, and the 2013 postseason was an example of his success out of the pen.

It is rare a roster features three catchers—never mind four—but the PawSox start off the season with four on their roster. Humberto Quintero accepted his assignment to AAA and will likely be the backup for  #1 Red Sox prospect Blake Swihart who will start the season in Pawtucket after making a good impression this spring. Matt Spring and Luke Montz join Swihart and Quintero as the backstops to start the year.

The infield has its own set of veterans with Travis Shaw, Garin Cecchini, and Deven Marrero returning from last season, joined by major league veterans Jeff Bianchi and Jemile Weeks. Newcomer Sean Coyle spent all of last season in AA Portland and was added to the 40 man roster this winter.

The outfield is what Bryce Brentz referred to as the “no fly zone.” Brentz returns to the PawSox and will be joined by Jackie Bradley Jr., Quintin Berry, and the highest paid player in the minors Rusney Castillo. All outfielders have major league experience and one has to believe Castillo will not be with the PawSox for long. Brentz introduced a new leg kick to his swing this off-season, which took much of spring training to get comfortable with. The Red Sox have depth in the outfield in the major leagues, but these outfielders are all serviceable should an injury occur.

Many Red Sox fans recognize a lot of the names on this PawSox roster and, I predict, will see a lot of these players appearing in Boston at some point this season. The PawSox home opener is Thursday April 16th against the Rochester Red Wings.

Garin Cecchini Not Worried About Surroundings

garin cecchini

When the Boston Red Sox signed Pablo Sandoval to a five-year $95 million deal, Red Sox nation was relieved that the third base spot would be filled for the next few seasons.
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The deal, however, effects third base prospect Garin Cecchini the most, as he looked to compete for a job at the hot corner in the near future. Despite being blocked at the big league level, Cecchini is trying to say positive.

garin cecchini“Well, I mean, honestly, when I first heard that they signed him, I was happy because I get to work with someone who was a World Series champion, an MVP,” Cecchini told MLB.com. “I know how good a player he is and I can learn all aspects of the game from him and obviously you see how good he is. It’s only a plus that I can learn from someone like that.”

Highly-touted in the Minor Leagues, there has been a considerable amount of hype surrounding Cecchini in recent seasons. A lifetime .298 hitter in the farm system, Cecchini got his first taste of the show last season, going eight-for-31 with three walks and a home run.

Even though scouts have high hopes for the Louisiana native, he is apathetic to where he is ranked on prospect lists.

“I don’t really think about that,” said Cecchini. “I’ve always been told that good players don’t get blocked from the Major Leagues. I’ve always believed that. I feel like I’m a good player and I feel like I can help the Red Sox win, so any way I can help them win, I’m capable of doing it. You just wait for your opportunity and produce at Triple-A and have patience.”
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Last year for the Paw Sox, Cecchini experimented by playing left field while Will Middlebrooks was on a rehab assignment. Manager Kevin Boles said that the organization tried to create versatility in the organization to try to help out the big league club so that players have a way to make the team.

Despite what Boles made clear last season, Cecchini has not been getting much work in the outfield this season.
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“They told me to strictly work at third base until told otherwise,” Cecchini said. “That’s what I’m going to do and I’m excited about the opportunity to get to show what I can do at Triple-A. It’s going to be good.”

Garin Cecchini Confident In His Ability

garin cecchini

Signing former San Francisco Giants third baseman Pablo Sandoval to five year deal worth $95 million, the Boston Red Sox locked up the hot corner for the next few years. Backing up Sandoval will be utility man Brock Holt, who has shown off all kinds of versatility by playing everywhere except for pitcher and catcher. Left out of the picture for now is prospect Garin Cecchini and although there is not a spot for him on the big league club, he is happy that Boston signed the Kung Fu Panda.
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garin cecchini“I take it as a positive for my career,” Cecchini told The Boston Globe’s Peter Abraham last week in Fort Myers. “I get to hang out with a great player like Sandoval and work with him in spring training. That has to help me.”

“It’s easy to say, ‘Where is my spot?’ But I can’t worry about that. You have to create your own opportunity.”

Last year, Cecchini added to his versatility by taking reps in left field for the Paw Sox, impressing manager Kevin Boles. Making the most of his big league opportunity last season, Cheech went 8-for-31 in 11 games for Boston, drawing three walks with a homer in his tenure.
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“Now that I’ve had a little success in the big leagues, I have confidence in my ability and know what I can do. I know I can help the Red Sox win. I understand Pablo is in front of me, but I hope I can do something to help.”

Headed into the 2015 season, Cecchini will resume his role as the Paw Sox starting third baseman and likely will still be making an occasional appearance in the outfield. He got hot late last year, hitting .333 with a .413 OBP in August and is on the Red Sox 40-man roster. If he is able to carry some of that momentum over into this season, nothing but good things will happen.
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Should The Red Sox Pursue Pablo Sandoval This Off Season?

Pablo SandovalFor many baseball fans October 2014 has been an exhilarating time of year. However, for fans who saw their teams’ seasons end late-September, the focus is now on the upcoming offseason. The Boston Red Sox unfortunately fit in the latter category, and are consequently in full-offseason mode. But while us Red Sox fans have in mind what we would like to see on the Opening Day roster, the brasses’ projected squad likely looks entirely different, with myself (purposely) neglecting to acknowledge the all-too-real concept of an open market where Boston will have to vie against twenty-nine other teams to acquire a single piece.

So, yes, I do not know what this offseason will behold for the 2014 A.L. East cellar-dwellers. I do know, however, that there have been rumors linking the Red Sox to looming free-agent Pablo Sandoval. And, though, it is a dull time of year for Boston baseball fans, there is always something to talk about; this time around being whether or not Sandoval is the best option for the Sox at the hot corner in ’15.

Before we even begin comparing Sandoval to other potential free-agent third basemen, it is imperative that we acknowledge the Red Sox’ internal options for next season. To start, there’s Will Middlebrooks, a now-26 year-old, who has lost the ability to hit altogether, on top of sub-par defense. How much longer can Ben Cherington and Co. really be hung onto the fallacy that he will revert to his 2012-self? Hopefully not much longer.

Then, there is touted prospect Garin Cecchini who compiled an outstanding 131 wRC+ in his first and only month (so far) in the big-leagues. His minor-league track record is sterling, sans a blip in his performance in Triple-A Pawtucket this year, and you have to believe Boston will use him in some advantageous fashion in ’15 whether it be indirectly (trade) or directly.

Finally, there’s Brock Holt. He had a surprisingly delightful season this year, but his September drop-off makes him a dubious case to occupy a starting position next year.

Middlebrooks, one has to surmise, will not be on the roster next year. Yet Cecchini and Holt will be pending an unforeseen trade. Now, let’s delve into Boston’s external options, including and starting with Sandoval, for next season.

The hefty third basemen’s offense has been gradually declining each year: .909 OPS in ’11, .789 OPS in ’12, .758 OPS in ’13, and .739 OPS in ’14. He’s still an above-average offensive player in a tough hitters’ park, and, according to the metrics, holds the position down well. All said, he’s a pretty good gamble, but probably not a $100 million one.

Other market-sensible options include Chase Headley, Hanley Ramirez, and maybe Aramis Ramirez. Aramis has a mutual option in ’15, and even if it isn’t exercised the guy is entering his age-37 season. Hanley, on the other hand, can hit but is almost certainly too expensive for the Red Sox’ taste.

Finally, Headley is an intriguing case; he is a stud with the glove and has shown he can handle the stick in the past. In fact, Headley has amassed a 15.2 fWAR the past three seasons, whereas Sandoval has a 7.9 fWAR in that same time-span.

To me, there’s three sensible things the Red Sox could do: 1. Sign Headley to a multi-year deal 2. Sign Sandoval to a multi-year deal or 3. Find a capable right-handed hitting complement for Cecchini. Wedged in the middle, the signing of Sandoval, seems to be the most-favored among Red Sox fans; however, the Headley signing and Cecchini complement seem to be the most wise from an economic standpoint. With that said, the Red Sox seemed to make conservative and financially-restrained moves last off-season; and how did that work out?

Will Middlebrooks Struggling Since Callup

Will MiddlebrooksSure, it’s only 12 been games since Will Middlebrooks was activated on August 1, but the third baseman has yet to hit a home run or show any sort of power since making his return to the Boston Red Sox after fracturing a finger in his right hand in May.

With players like Garin Cecchini and even Brock Holt waiting in the wings, Middlebrooks really needs to start showing signs of improvement at the plate.

In 41 at-bats entering August 18, the 26-year-old has hit .171 with a .220 slugging percentage and a .209 OBP. The .429 OPS is the worst among players on the team with the same amount of games/at-bats since the All-Star break.

The 10 strikeouts to two walks is right around his career average, but Middlebrooks has really been better at putting together good at-bats by taking pitches he used to swing at. He may be swinging through a lot of fastballs in the zone that he used to crush, but eventually those balls should be flying off his bat.

The plate approach is one sign that he is working on becoming a better overall hitter all while dealing with swelling and pain in the same fractured finger.

With six weeks left in the season, Middlebrooks needs to just show the Red Sox he can stay healthy while also being a power source towards the bottom of the lineup. If that means still striking out at a high rate and having a batting average that isn’t something to write home about, then the team should be all for it, especially if he keeps the long at-bats going.

The pop will eventually come for the right-handed slugger and once he hits his first since his activation more should come. First he has to show that he can stay on the field for an extended period of time.