The Nation: Free Agent Frenzy

The World Series is over, the offseason is underway. There are plenty of notable free agents available, like Max Scherzer, Jon Lester, Pablo Sandoval, James Shields, etc.

The Red Sox could obviously use some help, particularly in the starting rotation and at 3rd base. With a surplus of money and a loaded farm system, the Red Sox are primed to have a big offseason. Who do we need, and can we afford them? Here are my top choices and why:

1) Jon Lester – former ace of our staff, a guy that knows the organization and that is an obvious fit. Putting Jonny back in the number one spot would be perfect.

Chances it happens: Low.

Lester will command big money. Much more than that bullshit offer of 70 million we offered back in spring training. Will the Red Sox offer more this time? I think they will, but the bidding will simply be too much than what they’re comfortable with.

Prediction: Lester reunites with Theo Epstein in Chicago

2) Pablo Sandoval – the Kung Fu Panda. Okay, that’s an awesome name. But this guy is clutch. He has a great personality, would be a huge left-handed bat in the lineup, and could be the future replacement for David Ortiz at DH (not until he reaches his 30’s and Ortiz retires). People tend to assume Sandoval is a liability defensively, but that’s not the case. He’s actually a plus defender and provides 3 WAR – a huge upgrade from Will Middlebrooks, whom I would gladly trade for a rotten, half-eaten Apple.

Chances it happens: Good

Outside of the Giants, I don’t see Sandoval going anywhere but Yawkey Way. The Red Sox have already reached out to him and can certainly outbid San Francisco for his services if they want. The real question is: will Pablo want to leave an organization that has won 3 World Series titles in 5 years? Tough call.

Prediction: the Red Sox go hard for Sandoval, offering him at least one more year and more money and he reluctantly leaves San Fran for New England, joining David Ortiz and Dustin Pedroia as a new face of the franchise. And if not, well, I’ll cry for days.

3) Cole Hamels – Not as free agent, I know. But a quality starter in my opinion. Sure, some of you reading this think it’s absurd: Hamels has been rather bad against AL teams, right? Well, yea. But, I have faith he would take the measures to make adjustments and prove to be a good pickup. The Phillies’ asking price has been extremely high, because Hamels is controllable for 4 years at a rather friendly price. However, they LOVE Blake Swihart, and if Vazquez is our catcher, we have no need to keep Swihart in the minors forever. Trade him and add a few more prospects and go get Cole.

Chances it happens: fair to good

If we miss out on Jon, which I hate to say, I think we will, acquiring Hamels is a good backup option. Is he the ace he used to be? No. Is he an ace at all? I don’t think so. Would he be a good number one? Yes. I like Hamels and I would gladly welcome him to Boston.

Prediction: Jon Lester signs with the Cubs, so Ben works out a trade for Hamels.

4) James Shields – Big Game James was almost a no-show in the World Series. His ERA was beyond horrifying. Why sign him if he’s bad in the postseason? Simple. He’s good in the regular season, and the playoffs are a small sample size. He’d be a great #2 in our rotation, and after the performance he had, he may actually be a tad bit cheaper. Recent polls have already suggested James will be wearing a Sox jersey next year, and I firmly believe that.

Chances it happens: Very Good

The Red Sox have the money, Shields is familiar with the AL EAST, and it would be a good fit for both sides.

Prediction: the Red Sox sign Shields to a 4 year deal.

5) Jason Heyward – again, not a free agent. And why him? We have a surplus of outfielders already. Correct. But you have to imagine Ben will dump some of those outfielders. Heyward’s defense is stellar, and in right field at Fenway, he’s a perfect fit. What about Vic? I love him, I do. But you can’t deny Heyward is a big upgrade, especially since Vic can’t stay healthy. You add all that together along with Heyward’s speed and left-handed bat, you have a really good weapon. Who do we trade? That’s the tough part. Cespedes seems like the best candidate, but trading the two straight up wouldn’t work. The Braves would certainly want more, given Heyward’s pedigree and youth and the fact that Cespedes won’t sign an extension in Atlanta. But by giving him to Atalanta, they still have that offensive threat to replace Heyward for a year, and could look for a long term solution afterwards.

Chances it happens: Low to very low

Heyward is really good. And I’m not sure what prospects the Braves would ask for: they have no need for Swihart, so I assume they would want Owens and or Devers along with Cespedes. That’s a big asking price.

Prediction: Heyward plays the 2015 season with the Braves, and the Red Sox ask about his availability NEXT offseason.

The free agents the Red Sox are projected to sign are Shields, Liriano, and Headley. I’m doubtful on Headley because he and those jackass Yankees are already working to bring him back to NY. We have a lot of work to do, and signing those 3 alone wouldn’t be enough to get us over the hump next year. Ben has to be bold and be unafraid to spend big.

Thanks for reading, God bless Red Sox nation.


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