Is It Time For Lester To Go?

 

With the Royals announcement that mega-prospect Will Myers is available to be traded, and because of the Royals previous interest in Lester it’s time to think about letting him go. Lester had a miserable 2012 season, setting career lows in ERA (4.82) and strikeouts (166) and at 28 he really should be in his prime. He has a good chance to bounce back to pre-2012 form but an upgrade from that is significantly unlikely.  Will Myers is a top 5 prospect on every list and a prospect like that almost never is available for a trade. He has bounced back very nicely from an injury and transitioned into being an outfielder this season. Will Myers would be an excellent addition to a farm system that already has three players in the Top 40 prospects list. Myers can hit for power and walks at a great rate, although he still strikes out twice as often as he walks. I believe the Red Sox need to embrace a short rebuilding period, and this long term investment is a great move. And if Ben Cherington doesn’t want to give up on the season, the addition of Myers could free us up to move other prospects and players for R.A Dickey, who is likely to be traded according to sources. Although Lester was solid during some great periods for the Red Sox, he never developed into a bona-fide ace like he was supposed to, and has fared even worse during some darker periods. It looks like it’s time to pull the trigger and get a piece to the puzzle of our future.

Introducing Juan Nieves

Still trying to recoil from the Valentine Disaster, the Red Sox have gone with another low-profile addition to the coaching staff. Juan Nieves has served the past five seasons with the Chicago White Sox as the bullpen coach. Nieves is a former pitcher, and although his career was short and mediocre for the most part, he threw a no-hitter, becoming the only Milwaukee Brewer to ever do so. He was also the second youngest pitcher to ever throw a no-hitter. Now John Farrel’s staff is only missing a hitting coach. Tino Martinez has been interviewed for the spot, but GM Ben Cherington has stated they are considering using two-men to fill the vacancy.

Free Agent/Trade Targets

 

 

Adam LaRoche: He won’t be a free agent this season, but he could be a good player to trade for. He’s had a solid season, beating .271 and hitting 33 HR’s. He could be a good addition at a relatively low price.

 

Hiroki Kuroda: He’s a veteran, a class act, and would serve as a good and consistent second or third arm in the rotation. Clearly he’s getting up there in age, but he’s shown an ability to still perform and getting two more years out of him isn’t unreasonable.

 

Alex Rodriguez: It couldn’t be, could it? It seems as if the Red Sox might be interested in acquiring A-Rod, who spurned them in free agency in 2004, from the Yankees. A-Rod has become a cancer to the Yankee clubhouse and they could be willing to eat the majority of his contract. For the record, I’m hoping against it, but he could be plugged in at SS and do fine.

 

Mike Napoli: He could be a slightly higher profile signing. No one we’ve rotated through the catcher position has stuck this season, so although he struggled after the first half, he could be the answer. His contact might be in the 2 year/$16 million area.

 

Elvis Andrus: Apparently the Rangers are willing to trade him if they re-sign Josh Hamilton, and he could be the long-term answer at shortstop. He’s young, improving every year, and would be an interesting player to develop. Jacoby Ellsbury is apparently going to be used as trade bait and this could be a good swap.

 

Ike Davis: The Mets have already considered trading him after he rebounded in the second half. The Red Sox don’t have a long-term answer at first base unless James Loney does a 180. Jon Lester is another player the Sox seem to be willing to part with, and as the Mets have a thin rotation this would be another trade to watch for.

V is for Vacant

After the first losing record since 1997, there’s not a big question as to whether or not Bobby Valentine should be fired. We are only to wonder who should replace him. Here are five great candidates for the job.

Dave Martinez: After sitting under Joe Maddon, possibly the best manager in baseball, for five years, Dave should finally be able to take over a team for himself. The Rays have been the opposite of the Red Sox, extremely well managed, well disciplined, and with great pitching. He was a top candidate for the White Sox managerial position last year, and has interviewed for the Astros this year. It may take a lot to get him, but he’d be worth the price.

Rick Honeycutt: The Dodger’s pitching coach is among the most undervalued coaches in the MLB. The Dodgers rank in the top five for runs allowed, ERA, and batting average against this season. The man simply knows how to teach and motivate his team. He would be a slightly underwhelming pick, but a deserving one.

Jackie Moore: The Ranger’s bench coach would be an unexpected and savvy pick as manager. He has served for the most consistent team over the past few years, as well as having managed for the A’s and in the minor leagues for a period. He knows the game inside and out, as he has played or managed in baseball for 54 consecutive years.

Larry Bowa: Some may think he would end up being another Bobby Valentine-like misadventure, but this is not the case. Bobby Valentine is crazy in the sense that he doesn’t have a tight grip on reality or how to handle a team. Bowa is sometimes driven to “meltdowns” by his passion for the game and his team. Bowa could do a better job of handling the brutal Boston media, and would give the players a figure in the dugout who really cares about them.

Terry Francona: I can dream, can’t I?

 

What Took So Long?

The Red Sox finally fired first year pitching coach Bob McClure. McClure led the Red Sox’s pitching staff to an MLB eighth worst ERA (4.30) and a sub .500 record, so it’s seemingly a miracle he lasted this long. McClure was brought in as a scout before Bobby Valentine, but was promoted to pitching coach shortly after Valentine was introduced. The two worked together during Valentine’s managerial stint with the Mets. Most of the Red Sox’s troubles have come from the pitching staff this year, as they’ve scored the third most runs in the MLB but have given up the seventh most. Bob McClure inherited a talented, if undisciplined, rotation that he wasn’t able to rein in. I really don’t understand why he was able to keep this position until now, as they are all but eliminated from the playoffs. Randy Neimann, formerly the assistant pitching coach, was promoted to the vacant spot, Neimann will become the Red Sox’s fourth pitching coach in as many years.

Sox Fall Short

It seems like today’s game against the Rangers was a microcosm for the 2012 season. The pitching puts us at a big disadvantage, and the offense falls just short of making up for it. Both teams came out swinging today but the Rangers finished victorious. Beckett went five innings, allowing 8 runs (2 in the sixth without recording an out.) Mortensen let up one run in the seventh and the Red Sox came into the bottom of the seventh losing 9-5 and scored 4 runs to tie it up 9-9. Unfortunately Mortensen let up one more run in the ninth, and the Red Sox bats went cold in the bottom half.

Beckett did not look good on the mound, letting up three homers (Hamilton, Moreland, Soto). It’s not often a day with a 14.4 ERA doesn’t get you the loss but Beckett passed the buck off to Mortensen. It’s a shame such a good offensive day went to waste. Gonzalez was 3 for 5 with 3 RBI’s and Middlebrooks hit a three run homer of Roy Oswalt and drew two walks. Unfortunately, they also left 10 runners in scoring position (3-13). Ellsbury was the goat of the night, going 0 for 5 with two strikeouts and two players left on base.

Things are looking up for tomorrow however, as Felix Doubrount faces the Indians, a team he has fared well against. The Indians snapped an 11 game losing streak today, and we have a good shot at starting another.

Red Sox 9 Rangers 10 BOXSCORE

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