Red Sox sign Outfielder Kevin Pillar

The Boston Red Sox recently signed outfielder Kevin Pillar to a one-year, $4.25 million deal. This Pillar signing comes following the loss of Red Sox superstar, Mookie Betts, in a blockbuster deal with the Los Angeles Dodgers.

While this acquisition definitely helps lessen the damage resulting from the Dodgers trade, it does cause a problem in the outfield.Kevin Pillar
In the Betts trade, the Red Sox acquired outfielder Alex Verdugo, who had a very impressive rookie campaign with the Dodgers. This deal now leaves the Red Sox with five outfielders. (Martinez, Benintendi, Bradley, Pillar, Verdugo) Assuming Martinez is the designated hitter, where does that leave everyone else?

Managing Playing Time

Last season, Kevin Pillar had arguably his best offensive year, hitting .259 with 21 home runs. Where Pillar really shines, however, is defensively. He has been a finalist for Gold Glove in center field every year he has played in the majors. His defensive ability is arguably at the same caliber of Jackie Bradley Jr. For that reason, the Red Sox can balance playing time in center between the two. Pillar can start on days a left-handed pitcher is starting against them, and Bradley can start against right-handed pitchers. This same scenario could work with Verdugo instead of Bradley, as long a Pillar is comfortable in Fenway’s right field. Pillar is also a step above Bradley offensively, which makes him a good option to use as a pinch-hitter. However, I believe that, while this option is a good one, making a trade to free-up room for Pillar to play full time is a better option.

Trading Bradley now that we have Kevin Pillar

Trade rumors involving Jackie Bradley Jr. have been circulating this off-season. I believe that now, more than ever, Jackie Bradley Jr. should be traded. Bradley is still young, has loads of talent, and would be a good piece for any team that is looking to make a playoff push this season and needs help defensively. This move would create room for Pillar, who I believe is slightly better all-around than Bradley to become a full-time player. Verdugo would also become a full-time player, which is crucial for him in this stage of his career, as he is likely yet to reach his full potential in the big leagues. Not only that, but the Sox can finally try to get some decent pitching in return for Bradley. After getting nothing in terms of pitching in the Betts deal, it is crucial that the Sox pick-up at least one or two decent arms to strengthen our subpar pitching staff.

The signing of Kevin Pillar is something that Red Sox fans should be happy about during these dark days without Mookie Betts. However, if the organization doesn’t manage the outfield situation correctly, the team will not improve as much as it should.

Sandoval, Ramirez Agree to Terms with Red Sox

hanley ramirezAfter nine long years of being Hanley-free, the Boston Red Sox will be re-united with their former top prospect if all goes according to plan. Joining him will be third baseman Pablo Sandoval who has been a member of the San Francisco Giants his entire career.
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The 30-year-old Ramirez agreed to terms with the Boston Red Sox on Sunday. A four year deal worth $88 million is the contract according to multiple reports.

Ramirez’ tenor with the Boston Red Sox big league club was brief to say the least. He had two at-bats in two games late in the year back in 2005 — he struck out in both at-bats. Before the season, he was rated the tenth best prospect in all of baseball.
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That off-season, he was dealt to the then Florida Marlins along with Anibal Sanchez and two other prospects in exchange for Josh Beckett, Mike Lowell, and Guillermo Mota. Beckett and Lowell were key pieces of the Red Sox 2007 World Series championship, but some people still regretted the traded given Hanley’s success in the big leagues.

A career .300/.373/.500 hitter in ten big league season, Ramirez, who primarily plays shortstop, also has experience at third and has expressed a willingness to play left field if necessary. He is versatile, but a career -4.0 WAR makes him a liability in the field — not a help.
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Right now, it appears as though he would start in left field for the Red Sox as the team also agreed to terms with Pablo Sandoval which seems like overkill. If the Red Sox do indeed sign both him and Pablo Sandoval, Ramirez would end up moving positions. Getting both Sandoval and Ramirez to sign contracts would be nice for the Red Sox, but don’t forget Xander Bogaerts still exists.

For Boston, it appears as though they are getting the better end of the Ramirez deal. $18 million a year for a guy who finished second in the MVP voting back in 2009 seems like a bargain.

Hopefully, Hanley Ramirez does better in Boston than former Tampa Bay Rays superstar Carl Crawford.
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As for Sandoval, it seems certain he will man the hot corner— for now. He lacks the athleticism of Ramirez to roam the outfield making a corner infield spot the right fit.

Sandoval is set to earn more than Ramirez as he agreed to a five year deal worth $100 million after hitting .279 with a .324 OBP in 157 games for the Giants while clubbing 16 home runs. Known for his bat versus right-handed pitching, the switch-hitter should stick to the left side of the plate where he shines.
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After these deals are finalized, the Red Sox need to focus on pitching. They need two starting pitchers to help anchor their rotation after a sub-par performance in 2014.

You’re next Jon Lester, watch out!