The Nation: The End of 2014

Injuries, inexperienced rookies, underperforming veterans, and another dead-last finish in 3 years. A year that saw Jon Lester being traded and Yoenis Cespedes (along with Joe Kelly and Allen Craig) being acquired. No, this team won’t finish behind Bobby V’s 2012 squad, but they won’t finish ahead of anyone in the AL East either. Hard to imagine that this time last year, we were gearing up for a playoff run en route to a World Series title. If you’re like me, you’re just ready to close the book for 2014. I can promise you, it won’t happen again. At least, not next year.

The Red Sox have an immense amount of money to spend this offseason. More than they’ve had in years. They have a few contracts coming off the books and a surplus of talented kids in the system. What does all that mean? For starters, it means the Red Sox are going to go after starting pitching. James Shields is a lock to me to be in the rotation next year. I won’t count out a return for Lester, but I have a feeling he’ll be pitching for the Cubs. There’s also a good possibility of a trade for Cole Hamels or even Chris Sale. Expect at least 2 high caliber pitchers to be the 1-2 for us next year. Position player wise, 3rd base needs a solution. Will Middlebrooks is not it. I don’t think Brock Holt is either. Look for the Red Sox to talk to Pablo Sandoval and yes, perhaps even Chase Headley of the Yankees. And while a trade for Stanton is highly unlikely, we can’t rule it out. Ben will surprise us with some really good signings and trades. Fear not, the future is bright. Be prepared to part with some prospects. I see Blake Swihart as a lock to be traded in a deal. Hopefully the Sox hold onto Owens and Betts, but I can’t guarantee it. Ultimately, we will be better next year. I can promise you that. Thanks for reading all my articles. I’ll be sure to write many, many more for next season. God bless the Red Sox and all of you, Red Sox nation.

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The Nation: Third Base Solutions

Can’t hit, can’t stay healthy, average to below average defense, speed, and arm. By now you know I’m talking about Middlebrooks. As most of you who follow me know, I don’t like Will Middlebrooks. He has no value to my beloved Boston Red Sox. If someone offered me a sack of rocks for him, I’d feel like I was cheating that person in the deal. So, what do we do for 2015?

Brock Holt? No. Look, I like Holt. He’s provided a great spark in an abysmal season. But if you want my cold hard opinion, I don’t think Holt will put up the same numbers he did this year. That being said, I still want him on the team as a bench/super utility player, but not playing third base everyday. Unpopular, I’m sure. But this is an opinion.

Garin Cecchini? Not quite. Talented, yes. But I still don’t think he’s the solution for the immediate future. Still, I’d like to see him there in a few more seasons. But not quite yet.

Mookie Betts? Maybe. His frame isn’t exactly a third baseman’s, and the Red Sox have already stated they see him as an outfielder. But, with the way Betts hits, and with his athleticism, I could see him getting a tryout at third to keep his bat and speed in the lineup. This is unlikely, though.

Well, damn. Who then?

Pablo Sandoval. That’s my solution. 28 years old, in his prime. He’s a switch hitter with some pop, owning a nice .282 batting average and 16 homers this season. Signing him to 5 year deal would be okay with me. Remember, the Red Sox have a ton of money to spend this offseason. And outside of starting pitching, there’s no one to spend that money on outside of someone like the Panda. Put him in a lineup with Ortiz, Cespedes, and Napoli and you have a very, VERY formidable middle of the order. This is the guy I go with if I’m Ben. Doubt the Giants will be able to bring him back. Thanks for reading, and thanks for riding out this horrendous season with me. Here’s to 2015

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The Nation: A Dream Come True

Let’s say in late December, after tons of calls, franchise pitches, appeasing, and let’s face it: begging, the Miami Marlins finally realize Giancarlo Stanton doesn’t want to play for a perennial loser; especially one that can’t pay him to put up with it. Dan Jennings finally realizes he’s got to trade his star, or suffer being without him with no compensation when he leaves via free agency. He calls multiple teams like the Dodgers, Cubs, Astros, and Red Sox to gauge willingness to trade for Stanton.

Let’s face it, all would be interested. And theoretically, all teams mentioned COULD acquire him. BUT, the only real threats are the Red Sox and Dodgers, not because they have better prospects, but because Stanton is going to want to play for a team that constantly wins. Why would he sign with the Astros or Cubs? So, both of those teams would be too hesitant to trade high caliber prospects for a rental. Now, what about the Dodgers? The Marlins love Seager and Pederson. It would be hard for Miami to say no to those two (along with much more). But, as we saw at the deadline, LA is very hesitant to trade either one. Would they go as far as to include BOTH along with Urias and at least 2 more high end players for Stanton? Doubtful. So, Dan Jennings hangs up the phone, slightly discouraged. Then he calls the Boston Red Sox.

Ben Cherington immediately answers the call with, “Betts, Owens, Swihart, Marrero, and your choice of Ranaudo or De La Rosa. We’ll throw in Allen Craig, Will Middlebrooks, or Daniel Nava as well. Hell, pick two if you must.” Jennings is stunned, immediately contemplating his options, he calls Ben back a few hours later. The deal is in place. Betts, Owens, Swihart, Marrero, Ranaudo and Daniel Nava along with Will Middlebrooks all say their goodbyes and buy condos in Miami. Stanton packs his bag and his bat and heads to the beautiful New England area.

You’re saying, “Damn! That’s a lot for one player!” You’re right. It is. I sure as hell would NOT offer this package for any other player in the Majors other than Mike Trout. Let me tell you why Stanton costs so much: he’s damn good. The man is 24 years old. TWENTY FOUR. He draws raw power comparisons to George Herman “Babe” Ruth. Can you fathom him playing 81 games in Fenway a year? Let me give you a rough estimate of how many home runs he would hit: 45-50 A YEAR. Put him in a lineup where you get to keep Cespedes, you have Ortiz and Napoli as well. That would by far be the most powerful lineup in Red Sox (maybe major league) history. Of course, if the Red Sox get Stanton, they’re going to extend him on a minimum 7 year deal. Imagine the potential for the team. Imagine if they can muster enough prospects for a trade for Cole Hamels and they sign Shields, or, dare I say Lester. That team would be incredibly fun to watch. Trust me, getting Stanton would be the equivalent to the Yankees getting Babe Ruth from us. I’m going to firmly stand by that. So, just for a little bit more fun, let’s make a potential 2015 lineup.

1. Castillo – CF
2. Pedroia – 2B
3. Stanton – RF
4. Ortiz – DH
5. Cespedes – LF
6. Napoli – 1B
7. Bogaerts – SS
8. Vazquez – C
9. Holt – 3B

Sure, right-handed heavy, but at Fenway, that’s a good thing. And having Holt bat last provides an extra lead off man at the bottom of the order. Again, this is all my opinion, you’re not obligated to agree with me. But if Dan Jennings calls, you better believe I’d find a way to get Giancarlo on Yawkey Way.

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