The Red Sox hitting attack, so often their trademark, seems to have disappeared. As of last weekend, they were last in the AL in average (.244), runs, slugging percentage, and total bases. They were next-to-last in homers and rbi’s. If it were not for David Ortiz’ totals, they might have the worst stats since the “pitchers’ season” of 1968, 46 years ago.
The Sox do have some good average hitters in the minors, but no one approaching the power of Ortiz or even Mike Napoli. So, as Ben Cherington said when he dealt Jon Lester for Johannes Cespedes, the team will have to look outside the organization for power men. Cespedes has been a good-but not great- addition so far. But the team will need to add more in the offseason. At age 40, they can’t truly expect continued power from Papi indefinitely.
It will be interesting to see how the rest of the season unfolds. The Sox may make a bid for Cuban defector Rusty Castillo, but the price could be too high. There is always the free agent market, where they can try to add a better-than-average power man like Mike Napoli. But if they wish to pursue someone on even Cespedes’ level, they will have to give something in return. Young pitchers like Allen Webster or prospects like Mookie Betts or even Xander Bogearts will not be enough. Here the status of Clay Buchholz becomes very important.
If Bucky, who has pitched better in his last two starts, could morph back into the guy who started 2013 at 12-1, he might bring something. But if he stays his normal up-and-down self, he would have little value at his salary.
The Sox outfield is heavy on outfielders- Allen Craig, Jackie Bradley Jr, Shane Victorino (if healthy), and Brock Holt as well as Betts and Cespedes. Moving a Bradley or Betts may be necessary to sweeten the pot in a possible trade. I know dealing Buchholz will leave the Sox with a very young and inexperienced rotation. A lot depends on how hurlers like Joe Kelly, Rubby DeLa Rosa and Brandon Workman develop in the final weeks. The Towniews are approaching this offseason with many unanswered questions.