Carlos Beltran? Signed by the Astros. Matt Holliday? Signed by the Yankees. Kendrys Morales and Steve Pearce? Blue Jays. Are the Red Sox sleeping? David Ortiz’s retirement has left a big hole in Boston’s organization but, more importantly the lineup. To replace him, the Red Sox need to look outside of the organization.
Since the MLB All – Star game, the Red Sox have been linked to Blue Jays slugger Edwin Encarnacion, who is a free agent this offseason, because David Ortiz himself had said that, “. . . he’d be a perfect replacement”. But, it is pretty well known at this point that the Red Sox do not want to be financially tied up by a player like Encarnacion. So, they pushed for Carlos Beltran ,who was eventually signed by the Astros, as a short term DH until first base prospect Sam Travis is ready. According to reports, the Red Sox are in love with Sam Travis even to the point that scouts last Spring Training dubbed him, “the next Paul Goldschmidt”.
If the Red Sox do not want a long term commitment, players such as Mark Trumbo, Jose Bautista, and Edwin Encarnacion do not fit the bill. But, it seems that the Red Sox are asleep at the wheel. Matt Holliday and Carols Beltran were both great fits to replace Ortiz’s DH role in the short term but, they are already off the free agent market. The most likely free agents remaining on the market that the Red Sox go after are Mike Napoli, Pedro Alvarez, Brandon Moss, Adam Lind, and Mitch Moreland.
President of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski has said that they would like a left handed bat so, I would kind of be surprised if they do sign Napoli if they could get similar production from a lefty. Alvarez and Moss have the power potential to replace Ortiz’s home run total but, they would not even come close to his overall offensive production. Mitch Moreland is an interesting name as he has solid pop in his bat and won his first Gold Glove at first base this past season.That could potentially help Hanley Ramirez slide right into the DH spot but, due to his fielding ability and age (31), Moreland may get a something closer to a 2-3 year deal, a length the Red Sox may not be willing to go. Lind is a solid yet inconsistent player. His better days are behind him at 33 years old but, he still hit 20 home runs last year in only 126 games for the Seattle Mariners. The Red Sox may be able to get him on a short term deal and he is also familiar playing in Fenway park. He played for the division opponent Toronto Blue Jays for 9 seasons. Lind may be the best fit for what the red Sox are looking for ( short term lefty bat ) but, his career is on a down trend and would not be more effective than any of the other names mentioned.
But you have to think with options dwindling, the Red Sox will take a better look at Encarnacion. Encarnacion (EE) suitors are falling off left and right, part of the reason is because of the draft pick compensation the team would have to give up due to the fact that EE rejected the Blue Jays qualifying offer. Astros, Yankees, and Blue Jays have all gone in different directions. The Texas Rangers have been connected to EE but, he was looking for a big deal and it does not seem anyone is willing to go big on him. Encarnacion seems destined at this point to sign a short term deal with a high annual salary. So, if the Red Sox could get EE for 2 year $40 million, do they say no?
Without Ortiz, the Red Sox are still a top 10 offense but, he does leave a spot to fill. It will be very interesting to see what the so-called “master” Dave Dombroski does to try and replace Ortiz’s production.