23 December 2009
So... here's what I was thinking yesterday as the new broke and a reader (John) and I debated the reality of an Adrian Gonzalez trade:
Yesterday at 8:00 AM I thought the Yankees had the best lineup in baseball, but we had the edge in pitching. Adding Vazquez closed the gap significantly and now the Yankees have the best lineup in baseball - with room to add an OF like Jason Bay or Matt Holliday - and four quality starters in Sabathia, Burnett, Vazquez and Pettitte.
That's pretty scary. So what will the Red Sox do? They've made a conscious effort NOT to chase the Yankees in to the $200 million stratosphere, but who else has the means and the talent to take the Yankee juggernaut down?
Let's pretend for a minute that the Red Sox front office decides to go all in for 2010 and build a roster that can go toe-to-toe with the Yankees... even if it's for one year. Here's how I think it could play out:
1) The Red Sox call Jed Hoyer and offer him whatever he wants for Adrian Gonzalez. Most likely it will cost the Sox Jacoby Ellsbury and Clay Buchholz (among others), so let's role with that scenario.
2) Trading Ellsbury would lock Mike Cameron in at center and the Sox would need to add another outfielder. Assuming they are prepared to brake the bank here, they could sign Matt Holliday or Jason Bay. Let's assume they pick Bay because he'll cost a few less million and he's proven he can play in Fenway.
3) If the Sox add A-Gon and Bay, I'll assume the Yankees counter with Holliday as their new outfielder. They're telling everyone that they aren't interested and plan to look for a bargain OF... but is anyone really buying that story? (see One if By Land for a reminder of the Yankees offseason M.O. as of late)
Those three moves would result in the following potential lineups:
I'd say those lineup are pretty Even Steven if you ask me, but there are a ton of question marks here. Will Nick Johnson stay healthy and/or hit in the AL? Can David Ortiz be a 35 HR, 110 RBI player again or he he destined for a 25 HR, 90 RBI ceiling? What will the Sox do with Mike Lowell if they get A-Gon? Can the Sox get A-Gon and keep Ellsbury? What if the Yankees DON'T sign Holliday... does that give the Sox an edge in this scenario? And if they do sign him, will he hit in the AL? Will Lackey be worth the money? Who will replace Buchholz if they trade him for A-Gon?
I could go all day here...
Bottom Line: Now that the Yankees have improved their pitching staff, trading for Adrian Gonzalez (at the very least) seems like the only way the Sox will be able to keep pace in the AL East... and he won't hurt them financially in 2010. But Theo has told us before that the Red Sox expect the Yankees to win the division and plan to fight for the Wild Card spot every year...
I think the team, as it is currently constituted, could make the playoffs and maybe even win a Championship (thanks to the pitching staff), but wouldn't you love to see them commit to building their own juggernaut of a team?
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