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?

AL East Could Be Open Again

The Red Sox are doing it again – playing well enough to make me think they could go on a run. The Red Sox have gone 5-2 in their last 7 games against AL East opposition, and have won 3 of their last 4 series (8-5 overall). Which includes a series victory against the defending AL champs, the Kansas City Royals, by the way.

If they want to have any chance at making a run, Gordon Edes points out that they wouldAL East Red Sox 2015 have to go on a ridiculous tear worthy of what the 2004 Red Sox did. Hypothetically, if 90 wins were enough to win the AL East, the Red Sox would have to go 53-28 for the rest of the season. As Edes points out, the only time the Red Sox have been able to put together that kind of run since the schedule moved to 162 games in 1961 is when they went 54-27 down the stretch in 2004 en route to a World Series title.

Could they do it? Talent-wise, they might (key word being might!) be able to. In reality, though, probably not, given the way this season has gone. The problem, as Edes points out (and I agree with him), is that the 2004 team was loaded – they had Curt Schilling (still in top form), Pedro Martinez, the best 3-4 offensive combination at the time in David Ortiz and Manny Ramirez, and a Gold Glove infield, among other pieces. The 2015 team falls woefully short of that, to say the least.

They’ll have to make a few trade deadline deals and fill some of their holes if they want to have any shot of contending for the AL East this year, and I hope they do. If they can make a few moves without breaking their farm system while fetching good, major league-ready talent in return, then I’d be for it.

This could just be me starting to tell myself that there’s still hope where there is none, but I hope not. I’m sick of losing, and I would love to see the Red Sox at least make some kind of effort to get back into contention for the AL East. And hope some of the other guys

Hey, I can dream, can’t I? We’re only 6.5 out at the moment.

Webster Solid In First Win

Webster

Back in spring training, perhaps Allen Webster dreamt of a June call up.  Maybe spell a starter or two in the dog days of summer.

Well June is over now, and Webster has seen his fair share of action.  The rookie hurler has now started five games for the Sox, earning his first win against the San Diego Padres.  A lingering shoulder injury to Clay Buchholz has warranted the starts, not necessarily Webster’s performances.

In his five starts, Webster owns a 7.88 ERA and a glaring 4.50 walk rate.  I’m not bashing Webster here.  Surely no one expected him to come in and dominate.  In fact you should have expected him to get roughed up a bit.  He’s faced the teeth of the AL central in the Tigers and the much improved Royals.  He faced the Royals in his first start and pitched his best then, allowing only one walk while striking out five.  His next two starts were ugly.  He lasted only an inning and a third against the Twins, and the Tigers knocked him around for five in four and a third innings.

The last two starts have been better.  In Toronto he was able to battle through six innings to keep the Sox in the game, eventually winning it.  Then, Thursday night, he was even better.  He scattered five hits and four walks through six innings to keep the Friars to two runs.

My knock on Webster is the walks. Even in the minors his walk rate is consistently high, but the strikeouts have always been there too.  We’ve seen both so far in his young career.  If he can command his pitches better he could be potent.  His fastball lights up the gun at 98 and his slider is nasty.  These two pitches are good enough to keep him around.  He just needs to command them.