Johnny Cueto Could be in Play in Free Agency

It’s no secret that the Red Sox need to improve their pitching in the off-season. There will be a few notable targets available in the, including Johnny Cueto. Cueto was traded from the Cincinnati Reds to the Kansas City Royals at the MLB trade deadline in a short-term rental to help Kansas City try to get over the top in their quest to win a championship.

However, Johnny Cueto will be a free agent after the season finishes and he has left the Johnny Cuetodoor open for a move to Boston. Per WEEI, Johnny Cueto told Rob Bradford during Kansas City’s visit to Fenway Park that he would like to come here since Boston has a “championship-caliber team.” According to WEEI, Cueto, who is also friends with Hanley Ramirez, said that he would consider it and that anything was possible.

Red Sox fans, is it safe to start fantasizing about Johnny Cueto in a Red Sox uniform again? His name came up a couple of times during the trade deadline, and Cueto told Rob Bradford that he thought it might happen at one point. Then he was traded to Kansas City, which was a good move for them since they’re trying to win this year, but I don’t think they’ll try to re-sign him in the off-season.  It would take a lot of cash to get him back, so that could mean he comes into play for a team like Boston with the resources to sign him.

And make no mistake—it will take a big contract to get Johnny Cueto to come here. I’m sure the team will try to get Hanley Ramirez to help convince him to make the move to Boston. That is, if Dave Dombrowski doesn’t off load Hanley first, since Hanley is essentially a DH, and the Red Sox have that position covered, at least for the time being, with David Ortiz.

The Red Sox should definitely give Johnny Cueto a long, hard look in free agency. He’ll be one of the top pitchers available, along with David Price, and it sounds like he’d be open to hearing what the team has to say. So, if anyone from the Red Sox front office happens to read this, please at least talk to the guy. Pretty please with a cherry on top?

Red Sox Uncertain as Deadline Looms

With the MLB trade deadline fast approaching, the Red Sox still seem unclear on what direction they want to go in for remainder of 2015. For the second straight season, the Red Sox sit well out of playoff contention. While a 2014-esque fire sale seems unlikely because they have very few pieces of value, it seems like the focus will be more on 2016 then it will be on making the current squad better.

Looking at the Red Sox current team, it’s pretty clear that the Red Sox need to focus on Red Soxpitching. That became much tougher yesterday as ex-Reds ace, and possible target, Johnny Cueto was traded to the Kansas City Royals for 3 prospects. Cole Hamels is still out there, but it’s not a good idea to begin with and the LA Dodgers and Texas Rangers have emerged as the favorites to land Hamels according to an ESPN report.

A few guys will surely not be here come July 31st as well, and that can also make it tough on the clubhouse—especially if there are heavy rumors surrounding certain players. John Farrell acknowledged as much, but also said that he thinks they have enough veterans on the squad to stay focused on the game in hand through the rumors, according to NESN.

The deadline is in a few days, and hopefully the Red Sox roster will be at least a little different on August 1st. The worst thing the team can do is stand pat with a roster in disarray. The 25 guys on the roster have not gotten the job done and, while there have been a few bright spots, the Red Sox have to make at least a few moves before the deadline—whether they’re buyers or sellers.

Who comes and who goes is still unclear. Now, it’s just the waiting game.

Red Sox Lose 4 in a Row to Angels

I probably should have guessed that the Red Sox streak right before the All-Star game was too good to be true—and I would have been right. The Red Sox lost their first 4 games after the All-Star break against the L.A. Angels, putting up a grand total of 4 runs in 4 games. Those 4 runs all came Monday as part of a day-night double-header. Not that they did any good, though, as Los Angeles put up 18 runs in those 2 games against Red Sox pitching. The Angels out scored the Red Sox 22-4 for the series. Yikes!

A small part of me thought this would happen, that the Red Sox didn’t really stand a Red Soxchance, and I probably should have listened to that part of me, because they really are done now. This team doesn’t have the talent or the will to make a push, even in a division as weak as the AL East has been this year. Any hope I might have had died this weekend, watching this sad display against the Angels.

Now, it doesn’t really matter if the Red Sox go out and trade for Sonny Gray, Cole Hamels, Johnny Cueto, or all 3! It’s officially too late for them to dig themselves out of this hole, especially after this weekend’s display. My only hope right now is that the Red Sox can get their act together enough to at least pull themselves out of last place in the Al East, but even that might be too much to ask.

After this series, it’s pretty clear that the Red Sox should be sellers at the trade deadline, because, as I mentioned above, any hopes they might have had of playing themselves back into contention died after being so thoroughly out-played in Anaheim. I thought before the All-Star break that the Red Sox might be able acquire a few good veteran pieces and get themselves back into contention, but I’ve now given up on that. Any moves they make should be geared towards 2016, because 2015 is now a lost cause.

Red Sox Trade Rumors Round-Up

Despite continued troubles on the field, the Red Sox still appear to be in something of a holding pattern at boardroom level, waiting until the last possible moment to declare themselves buyers or sellers before the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline. Let’s take a look at the Red Sox trade rumors though, shall we?

In his latest column, famed sportswriter Peter Gammons offered his thoughts on a variety of Red Sox-related topics. Most importantly, he wrote that, while optimistic coming out of Red Soxthe All-Star break, Boston officials have been forced by the team’s five-game losing streak to consider which Major League players could possibly be sold off. However, simultaneously, Gammons suggests that the Red Sox are still grappling with the notion of pursuing either Johnny Cueto or Cole Hamels, the premier starting pitchers on the trading block this summer.

Indeed, Rob Bradford of WEEI recently reported that Boston may trade for Cueto mainly to give themselves a running start in the sweepstakes when the Reds’ ace becomes a free agent this winter. I personally don’t see the logic here; the Red Sox are nine games adrift of a guaranteed playoff berth, and expending valuable prospects on a player who will be available for cash alone in four months just isn’t something this front office has ever been inclined to do.

Bradford also says that, from a philosophical viewpoint, the Red Sox covet young, cost-controlled arms. In that case, I struggle to see them being legitimate players in the market for Hamels, who will be 32 going into next season, and will likely cost too much in terms of prospects for Boston to be seriously interested.

Nonetheless, the Red Sox did send high-ranking executive Allard Baird to watch Hamels’ last start, as ESPN’s Gordon Edes and others have reported, which would suggest they still feel compelled to complete due diligence on all available players. However, as Ken Rosenthal conveyed in his latest FOX Sports video, Boston would be just one of several teams chasing Hamels, alongside the Dodgers, Cubs, Rangers and possibly Orioles.

Ultimately, the Red Sox have two things making life difficult just now: the standings, and the calendar. Boston is currently a last-place team, perhaps more likely to lose ninety games than overcome the surging Yankees. Furthermore, just ten days remain until the trade deadline, meaning large and crucial decisions will have to be made in a short and panic-filled timeframe. Right now, we can only sit tight and wait for the first domino to fall.

Red Sox Exec Watched Cole Hamels

On Sunday, the Red Sox were rumored to have an executive in the crowd in Philadelphia to possibly scout out Cole Hamels, who started for the Phillies against the Miami Marlins, according to Gordon Edes of ESPN Boston. Edes reports that it was Senior Vice President of Player Personnel, Allard Baird.

On Sunday, Cole Hamels was roughed up for 5 runs on 8 hits in 3 innings, and his last Cole Hamelsstart was even worse—9 runs on 12 hits in 3.1 innings. Aside from his recent struggles, he is owed $70.5 million guaranteed over the next 3 years, plus either a $20 million team option or a $24 million vesting option for 2019, and the Red Sox have been reluctant to make major financial commitment to pitchers over 30 (Hamels in now 31). That was the reason they didn’t bring Jon Lester back after last season.

Cole Hamels has had his ups and downs this season, and to me, he’s not worth what it would cost, both financially and in terms of prospects. Gordon Edes talks about a package deal including the likes of Jackie Bradley Jr, Henry Owens, and Manuel Margot, among others, which would be too much to give up in my opinion.

To me, Hamels is an 11th hour type deal if they can’t get anyone else. If it were me, I would prioritize younger blood – Sonny Gray and Johnny Cueto could both be on the block, and both would be preferable to me, over a guy like Hamels, who could make around $100 million for the next few years, which isn’t worth it in my opinion. He’s had some ups this season, but he’s also had his downs, especially recently, as I mentioned above. We also roughed him up on Opening Day, and I’m going to have to say pass on Hamels unless our options are limited come deadline day. But, we’ll see. The Red Sox might decide to make Hamels a priority, or they might decide to blow it up like last season. It’s still unclear whether they’ll be buyers or sellers at the deadline.