The mega mega mega blockbuster deal between the Red Sox and the Dodgers is two things for Boston. They are now the proud participants of the biggest salary dump in the history of sports and the Sox drew a get out of jail card. It was really like getting out of the maximum security prison of sports contracts. Before this trade the Red Sox organization was stopped cold from getting the best possible players to fill their needs. Their clubhouse was also freed from the imprisonment of having a clubhouse cancer as their teammate. Now impressionable players like Clay Buchholz, Andrew Miller, and Jon Lester won’t be forced daily to experience the example of soul sucking selfishness that is Josh Beckett.
Now that this insanely huge deal has been consummated, Red Sox Nation has turned its attention to who will replace the departed players. The obvious number one with a bullet need for Boston is an ace of the staff to lead the starting rotation. Now that the organization has been given a mulligan on buying players at 20MM per year, their next move will presumably be done with more discrimination than they have in the past. My favorite candidate for future Red Sox ace is still Jake Peavy. Jake has an ERA of 3.09 and a WHIP of 1.08 in a hitter friendly park. He is also a bulldog and a leader. The White Sox have a $22MM option on him for 2013. This is unlikely to be taken by them as they have attendance problems. However, once Jake becomes a free agent he may prefer to go back to playing for a team with a pitcher friendly park. He may also want to hitch his fate to Nolan Ryan’s Rangers.
My other top choice of a pitcher for them to pursue is Tim Lincecum. Tim is having an off year and the starting pitcher rich Giants have a poor history of developing position players. They also have attendance issues. Losing a big salaried player that is under achieving has to be something they will consider. He will make 18MM per year thru 2014 which is less risky for the Sox than signing a free agent to 3-5 year deal. The Giants also need a SS in a big way. The Red Sox can offer Ciriaco or Jose Iglesias along with Jacoby Ellsbury and a pitcher to sweeten the deal. Aceves with his four pitches is best suited as a starter. The Sox have depth in starters with Lester, Buchholz, Aceves, Doubront, Morales, Lackey, and the two prospects from the Dodgers, Webster and De La Rosa. They need a stopper more than they need two shortstops, six starters and prospects. If Lincecum can get back to his old dominating ways, he is the type of talent and character Red Sox fans will love. Yes there is risk here but any move they make will have risk involved. You can’t win a game of pinochle let alone a World Series without taking risk.
In my opinion Lincecum at 18MM for two years gotten in a trade is a better risk than 3-5 year contracts at sky-is-the-limit free agent money for Jacoby Ellsbury or Josh Hamilton or Zack Greinke. One thing is for certain its slightly easier to add or replace quality players than it is to find takers for 20MM ballplayers that don’t work out in Boston. The Red Sox have plenty of money and a enough talented players in their organization to reshuffle the deck for another World Series run. Time will tell if they choose wisely or not.