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Updated: Where would the Red Sox go minus Gonzalez, Crawford, Beckett?

Aug 24, 2012, 8:55 PM EDT

Josh Beckett, Adrian Gonzalez Getty Images

The deal isn’t yet official, but it looks like Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford, Josh Beckett and Nick Punto are all Los Angeles bound in exchange for four minimum-salaried players and  free-agent-to-be James Loney. That would cut $58.25 million in 2013 salaries from Boston’s payroll and leave the Red Sox committed to only four players for next season:

John Lackey: $15.25 million
Dustin Pedroia: $10 million
Jon Lester: $11.625 million
Clay Buchholz: $5.5 million

That’s just $42.375 million in commitments. Here are my guesses for what the arbitration-eligible players would make, with Ryan Sweeney getting non-tendered:

Jacoby Ellsbury: $10 million
Jarrod Saltalamacchia: $5 million
Andrew Bailey: $4.5 million
Alfredo Aceves: $2.4 million
Mike Aviles: $2.2 million
Craig Breslow: $2.2 million
Daniel Bard: $1.8 million
Franklin Morales: $1.8 million
Andrew Miller: $1.6 million
Rich Hill: $1 million

That’s another $32.5 million. Throw in the minimum salaries of the new acquisitions and guys like Will Middlebrooks, Felix Doubront and Mark Melancon and the Red Sox are essentially at $80 million with big question marks at first base, left field, right field and DH.

Theoretically, the Red Sox would already have five starters in Lester, Buchholz, Lackey, Doubront and Morales. Rubby De La Rosa should be in the picture as well. However, in reality, they’d surely want a veteran to plug in at the top there. The bullpen should is pretty well stocked, though, with Bailey, Aceves, Bard, Melancon, Breslow, Morales, Junichi Tazawa, Clayton Mortensen, Pedro Beato and Hill all in the mix.

I doubt the Red Sox would want to tear things down any further this winter. They could make a strong effort to bring back David Ortiz to DH. First base would be a problem; aside from Nick Swisher, who will also be looked at as an outfielder, there won’t be much available in free agency. Ironically, the best option would be Kevin Youkilis. The Red Sox would probably have to go the trade route there.

With so much financial flexibility, the Red Sox would have to be viewed as big players for all of the top free agents this winter. It’s a weak crop, but names like Josh Hamilton, Zack Greinke, B.J. Upton, Mike Napoli and Stephen Drew are available. They can offer Ellsbury a Crawford-like deal to prevent him from becoming a free agency after 2013.

Even if the Red Sox do land a Hamilton or Greinke, they’ll enter a season as underdogs for the first time in a long time. But that might not be such a bad thing. There’s still going to be plenty of talent around and money available for bold moves.

  1. mybrunoblog - Aug 24, 2012 at 5:45 PM

    Tough to say what would happen to the Red Sox if those guys left but I’m sure Dustin Pedroia and the Boston media will blame Bobby V if things go bad.

    • itsmekirill - Aug 24, 2012 at 9:30 PM

      http://www.nesn.com/2011/01/2011-red-sox-will-challenge-1927-yankees-for-title-of-greatest-team-in-major-league-history.html

      • hokiegajanisgod - Aug 25, 2012 at 12:50 AM

        Uh, isn’t this the 2012 season???

        You’re a tad late whipping that overplayed article out, old sport.

      • chumthumper - Aug 25, 2012 at 9:56 AM

        You’re only as good as yesterday’s box score.

  2. hackerjay - Aug 24, 2012 at 5:48 PM

    Mike Napoli would be available for first base. Not as good as Gonzalez, but I’m guessing significantly cheaper.

    • Matthew Pouliot - Aug 24, 2012 at 5:50 PM

      Good point. Hadn’t thought about him. The Red Sox made a play for him a couple of years ago when he was with the Angels.

      • townballblog - Aug 24, 2012 at 7:37 PM

        Napoli in 19 games at Fenway:

        .306, .397, .710 – 13 runs, 7 homers, and 17 RBI. Oh yeah, and the green monster… I like it. And after this year he is having, he could be relatively cheap.

      • bigleagues - Aug 24, 2012 at 9:21 PM

        Napoli would be OK. Remains a little too streaky for me.

        In case people have not yet noticed, the Red Sox have an uber prospect in Xander Bogaerts now tearing up his 3rd this season, currently at AA Portland. At the rate he is going, it is no longer far fetched to believe that he could arrive in Boston by Opening Day next season . . . if not a following a route similar to that of Harper/Trout.

        Virtually everyone who has seen him play this season, some of which have spoken to Red Sox officials, believe that at 19 years old and 6’3″ with a frame that’s still filling out – he will inevitably be moved to Thirdbase.

        Which begs the question . . . is Will Middlebrooks destined for 1B? And my belief is, in the wake of Gonzo’s departure . . . why not clear out 3B now, find an adequate defensive stop-gap at 3B for the short term.

      • bigleagues - Aug 24, 2012 at 9:22 PM

        [EDIT FUNCTION] “now tearing up his 3rd level this season,”

      • bigleagues - Aug 24, 2012 at 9:37 PM

        And a candidate to be that stop-gap at 3B would be? Kevin Kouzmanoff.

      • Alex K - Aug 24, 2012 at 9:48 PM

        Wouldn’t Chase Headley work pretty well for the Red Sox? If you’re going to move Middlebrooks why not get Headley who can move to LF when Bogaerts is ready?

      • townballblog - Aug 25, 2012 at 1:43 PM

        I like the Bogaerts idea…very nice. My thought is that they might try and make a trade for J.Upton – they have the talent to make a trade for him now. Alternatively, they might also try and sign B.J Upton who will now be a free agent at the end of the year. I really like B.J Upton at fenway.

        Who knows, they might try and get both and move Ellsbury to Arizona (they tried once already but the deal fell through). Ellsbury is going to become way more expensive than Upton is at the moment, and I believe he, upton, is signed through 2015 (please correct me if I’m wrong). B.J Upton at CF, J. Upton in RF, and R. Kalish in LF. Hook, line, sinker.

        I had a tone of coffee so bear with me:

        1. LF – R. Kalish
        2. 2B – D. Pedroia
        3. DH – D. Ortiz
        4. CF – B.J Upton
        5. RF – J. Upton
        6. 1B – M. Napoli
        7. 3B – W. Middlebrooks
        8. SS – X. Bogaerts
        9. C – J. Saltalamacchia/R. Lavarnway

        Bench: P. Ciriaco, M. Aviles, and C. Ross

  3. townballblog - Aug 24, 2012 at 5:50 PM

    I’ve been saying this: Mauro Gomez, Kalish, Lavarnway, the kid they got for Youkilis (his name escapes me right now)…. Light is green, I’ll be back. I love this.

    > >

    • tfbuckfutter - Aug 24, 2012 at 6:47 PM

      Lillibridge?

      Did you mean Lillibridge?

      If Lillibridge is an opening day starter next year, I will just start punching everyone I see in the face.

      • townballblog - Aug 24, 2012 at 7:35 PM

        lol. No, Zach Stweart.

  4. natslady - Aug 24, 2012 at 5:51 PM

    And, in non-blockbuster news–who is the best pinch hitter in MLB?

    Mark Zuckerman‏@MarkZuckerman
    Davey says #Nats have given Chad Tracy a contract extension, signed for next year.

    • Chip Caray's Eyebrows - Aug 24, 2012 at 11:17 PM

      Who cares?

      • natstowngreg - Aug 24, 2012 at 11:39 PM

        Nats fans. Duh.

  5. sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - Aug 24, 2012 at 6:14 PM

    Sign Canseco to play first next year. It should draw focus away from Bobby V

    • teaspoon1731 - Aug 24, 2012 at 7:47 PM

      Bobby V will find a way to draw it back. And then Canseco would try and steal it back. And wow would things get Jersey Shore style stupid really fast.

  6. pisano - Aug 24, 2012 at 6:46 PM

    Throw that whiny ass runt (pedroia, notice lower case) in with the rest of these crybabies and start with a clean slate, bring some respect back to a long time franchise.

    • teaspoon1731 - Aug 24, 2012 at 7:48 PM

      Ok, I have to ask this. WTF is your deal with Pedroia? Did he stand you up for prom or something?

      • vallewho - Aug 24, 2012 at 8:15 PM

        He sure looks like a cancerous rat to me.

      • teaspoon1731 - Aug 24, 2012 at 9:19 PM

        This is the one time I wish this board had profile pictures….

      • pisano - Aug 24, 2012 at 11:43 PM

        He pissed me off for doing your mother.

      • teaspoon1731 - Aug 24, 2012 at 11:52 PM

        Oh. I see. Yes, that makes sense. How could I have missed that flawless logic. My apologies, you’re obviously right.

    • 1943mrmojorisin1971 - Aug 24, 2012 at 9:15 PM

      He’s the only guy trying this year. I can’t blame him for what seems to be an incredible amount of frustration getting the better of him.

  7. pftcensorssuck - Aug 24, 2012 at 7:04 PM

    Just get rid of these over-paid, under-producing, whiny a$$ d-bags. Worst bunch of Red Sox players to take the field in over 50 years …. maybe EVER.

    • hammyofdoom - Aug 24, 2012 at 9:23 PM

      That is just… how… really?

      • skeleteeth - Aug 24, 2012 at 9:32 PM

        He obviously never saw Rich Gedman or Rob Deer take the field…

  8. rockthered1286 - Aug 24, 2012 at 9:09 PM

    Yea I’m sure Grienke is just clamoring to go to a nice quiet small market team like Boston where the fans are pleasant and theres no insane pressure…

    On a side note the O’s are willing to offer up Reynolds for your 1B needs. After seeing Davis knock his 3rd HR of the night he’s pretty much locked that spot up. Oh an after striking out Adrian Gonzalez a few months back.

    • 1943mrmojorisin1971 - Aug 24, 2012 at 9:16 PM

      I wouldn’t be opposed to seeing what Reynolds could do playing 81 games with that Green Monster to go after.

    • bigharold - Aug 24, 2012 at 10:38 PM

      Grienke’s aversion to to big markets would seem to be over stated. But, I seriously doubt that he wants to swim in the Boston Fish bowl. If the Nation/local media like you great, .. otherwise it’s reminiscent of the Bataan Death March.

      Grienke will be in Yankee Pinstripes before he EVER gets near the RS. And, I’ve ZERO expectation that he’ll be pitching for my Yankees next year.

  9. tfbuckfutter - Aug 24, 2012 at 9:16 PM

    The Sox are crazy if they commit huge long term money to Ellsbury.

    That is not a going-forward type of move.

    The guy is awesome when he’s healthy.

    When. He’.s. Healthy.

    You don’t pay someone tens of millions of dollars for 1 great and 1 pretty great season spread over FIVE.

    • teaspoon1731 - Aug 24, 2012 at 9:26 PM

      Why does everyone talk about Ellsbury’s health? He missed most of a season due to broken ribs, which is proven was a failure of the medical staff to correctly diagnose and this season due to an injury hardly anyone would have walked away from. He’s not fragile.

      And while I’m on this topic, last season’s beer and chicken wings shenanighans was only caught because many of the players put on weight during the season. This season, along with two years ago (when Ellsbury was dealing with the ribs) most of the team spent significant amounts of time on the DL. Why aren’t there more questions about the training/medical staff?

      • tfbuckfutter - Aug 24, 2012 at 9:30 PM

        Even if they are freak accidents, they STILL often happen to the same guys.

        Trust me. I used to defend Trot Nixon. “Ohhh, it’s a random this” “Ohhh, it’s just a random that.”…..But regardless of how random the act is, it doesn’t change the fact that, in 2 of the last 3 years, Ellsbury has played in considerably less than 100 games.

        And aside from last year, he was good but not GREAT. 810 potential games, and 158 of which he can legitimately be estimated as a top-flight performer. 652 of which he either missed due to injury, or was an average hitter (but exceptional base stealer….a skill that he no longer takes advantage of as often)

    • skeleteeth - Aug 24, 2012 at 9:28 PM

      This is of course is all speculation and not fact yet but yes, I couldn’t agree more. You have all this complaining about overpaid, oft-injured players with crippling contracts and then turn around and offer a ‘Crawford-like contract’ as Matthew states immediately following one of the most embarrassing, if not the most, years in Red Sox history? Can we please get back to the days of not going more than 4 years in contract negotiations?

      • teaspoon1731 - Aug 24, 2012 at 10:25 PM

        That I will agree with. I don’t understand anything more than 4 years, and people drawing up 14 year contracts is just frickin madness! Did nobody learn anything from Rick DiPietro?! (and yes I realize I crossed sports there, but when I think of crazy long and completely useless contracts, that’s the first one that comes to mind)

  10. kinggw - Aug 24, 2012 at 9:20 PM

    Cherington shouldn’t have to pay for dinner in Boston for at least a month after pulling this off.

    • spudatx - Aug 24, 2012 at 10:01 PM

      He wasn’t buying everyone else dinners for having put this steaming pile together in the first place…

  11. natslady - Aug 24, 2012 at 9:22 PM

    LaRoche might be available if the Nats don’t re-sign him. Got two guys coming up through the system plus they might want to put Morse at 1B if we get another outfielder. We love ALR but he might want a longer deal than we are willing to give.

  12. sabatimus - Aug 24, 2012 at 10:00 PM

    Cody Ross, anyone?

    • teaspoon1731 - Aug 24, 2012 at 10:26 PM

      FA at the end of the year, not worth much of anything as a trade at this point.

    • tfbuckfutter - Aug 24, 2012 at 10:45 PM

      Cody Ross is one of the worst things to arise this season.

      He’s had a great year….basically a career year….at 31 years old.

      I am very concerned that they are going to sign him and then rely on that kind of performance….and they are going to get his typical performance which is a sub-.800 OPS.

      Not that he’s a bad player….it’s just that they are going to have to pay him based on this year to keep him, and he’s really only slightly above average.

  13. rcali - Aug 24, 2012 at 10:41 PM

    Wow, what a trio of overpaid turds. Dustin better learn to like Bobby because ownership has spoken.

  14. bigharold - Aug 24, 2012 at 10:56 PM

    ” … they’ll enter a season as underdogs for the first time in a long time.”

    You are aware that this team hasn’t finished better than third the last two years, .. that they haven’t won a playoff game in 4 years.

    The RS have been overrated for years, .. mostly because of their pitching. Their pitching has been highly touted for reasons that are unfathomable. Matsuzaka, .. one decent season, .. too bad bad he doesn’t have another few years on his contract. Lackey, .. overpaid, overrated and fortunately will be with the RS at least two more years. And, since his contract calls for a league minimum salary because he had TJ surgery he might well be there three more years. Beckett, .. very streaky. An aging injury prone power pitcher that refuses to realize he’s no longer has that ability. Lester is the best pitcher they have and he’s looking shaky of late.

    Next year will be the first time in a while that there will be little or no expectations for the RS. Frankly. .. I think they have been overrated for years.

  15. xmatt0926x - Aug 24, 2012 at 11:40 PM

    Please tell me they still have Lackey!! Sure, he absolutely blows but I couldn’t live without seeing that scowl on his chubby face as he gets lit up again and again. Oooh, what a bulldog!!

  16. cmack15 - Aug 25, 2012 at 2:28 AM

    Where would the Red Sox go minus Gonzalez, Crawford, Beckett?

    Where they and their idiotic fan base belong to go….Straight to hell

  17. thepancakebandit - Aug 25, 2012 at 2:31 AM

    Random (but not unfounded) thoughts from a die-hard Sox fan…

    1) To me, this makes it look more and more like Gonzalez was (one of) the “clubhouse cancer” so many spoke of. Coincidence Boston’s brass is letting their expensive, shiny new(ish) toy go? Not by a long shot.
    2) It took them this long to give up on Crawford? I liked the initial idea of both signings (him and Gonzalez) but was it all that realistic? Eh…..
    3) Beckett? Chicken and/or beer cliches aside (Yes people, we get it. Your little cracks stopped being clever months ago), fanatical passion, like many of us Boston fans, will undoubtedly bring out both sides of the spectrum, to an extreme. I’m not completely opposed to it.

    To me, this deal is essentially waving a big (okay, enormous) white flag for the last year or two of the Theo era. No knock on Theo at all, but this is literally THE deal where the Boston Red Sox began to completely rebuild the franchise.

    Long story short — I don’t love the deal, but I don’t hate it either. I just wish the Dodgers would take Bobby V with the rest of ‘em….haha.

    This deal is the beginning of the complete revamping/rebuilding of the Boston Red Sox. I think we’re headed in the right direction.

    Then again, at this point, there’s really nowhere to go BUT up…right?

    • scalfor3 - Aug 25, 2012 at 1:07 PM

      thats the point. who knows if they’ll get better from this, but at least they wont be committed to these guys for the next few years. what we have isn’t working, now we can actually try to build something else

  18. pftcensorssuck - Aug 25, 2012 at 10:09 AM

    “They can offer Ellsbury a Crawford-like deal to prevent him from becoming a free agency after 2013.”

    Right. Have them be lucky enough to get out from one huge mistake, only to immediately make another.

    You’re a freaking genius.

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