Welcome to our newest addition to Sports Grumble – the mailbag. Here we will be answering the questions you have submitted on our site or from Twitter. Our first mailbag is centered around the questions we received from the world of baseball – specifically the current MLB free agency period.
QUESTION: The Red Sox need a third baseman and offense. Pablo Sandoval is looking for a big contract. Is this too perfect of a fit to make sense? – Shawn
Answer: The Red Sox and the Big Panda do seem to be the most ideal match on the free agent market. Currely, Will Middlebrooks and Brock Holt sit atop the depth chart at third base for Boston. Last season, Middlebrooks hit .171 with two home runs and 19 RBI while Holt hit .281 with four homers and 29 RBI. Sandoval his .279 with 16 home runs and 73 RBI. While Sandoval’s OBP was the second lowest in his seven year career (.324), there is reason to believe he will again reach his career average of .346. Adding Sandoval in the middle of the Boston lineup would be a huge boost.
Can you imagine being a pitcher and having to face Dustin Pedroia, David Ortiz, Yoenis Cespedes, Sandoval and Mike Napoli? That’s potent right there. It will take a pretty penny (maybe six years and over $100 million), but this seems like a piece the Red Sox really need moving forward.
With that being said, the other Sox team could be a quiet player in need of Sandoval’s services. With an open spot at third base, having Sandoval across the diamond from Jose Abreu could be legit. Sandoval could add some pop into a lineup that will be in need of more offense after losing Paul Konerko and Adam Dunn.
[Side note: I also have the Red Sox possibly James Shields, so it could be a very exciting offseason for you if I’m correct, Shawn.]
QUESTION: Are there any surprise teams you could see sweeping down and signing Max Scherzer? – Jon
Answer: The Max Scherzer topic is an interesting one. He is by far the best available pitcher on the market, but he is getting very little publicity. Scherzer reportedly turned down a six-year, $144 million contract from the Detroit Tigers so now we know where the bidding will begin – well north of that. Now we look at who needs him and, most importantly, who can afford him.
You specifically mentioned “surprise teams” so I won’t go into detail on the Tigers or Chicago Cubs (two obvious suitors).
Houston Astros – Scott Feldman did fine last year anchoring that rotation, but the dude has still been pitching professionally for 12 years. The Houston rotation (and organization) is in need of a jolt of adrenaline and Scherzer would be just like. Much like Robinson Cano to Seattle last year, this would be an “out of left field” signing. Yes, the Astros would have to overpay, but it could be well worth it. This team is spending very little money, and investing it in Scherzer could be a big move for the future of the team.
Toronto Blue Jays – They do have a rather expensive rotation at the moment with RA Dickey, Mark Buehrle and J.A. Happ, but that money hasn’t translated into overwhelming success. It would be a long shot for them, especially after signing Russell Martin to an $82 million contract, but they could see an opening in the AL East to become next year’s Baltimore Orioles. If that’s the case, they may take a leap of faith.
Milwaukee Brewers – General Manager Doug Melvin has made some shrewd moves in the past, such as signing Matt Garza and trading for CC Sabathia. It seems unlikely that he would shell out big money for yet another high-priced starter, but he cannot afford another epic collapse like the Brewers had last year. And the idea of a rotation featuring Yovani Gallardo, Kyle Lohse, Garza and Scherzer is incredibly tantalizing.
Miami Marlins – They have a lot of young, talented arms in the organization. What they do not have is a veteran starter to anchor the rotation. Jose Fernandez is a sensational talent, but he is still just 22-years old. Adding Scherzer to that rotation would give the Marlins a great deal of stability at the top. It would also give Miami more pieces to build a winner around Giancarlo Stanton.
QUESTION: The Yankees really need help, what moves could they make without spending much money? – Perry
Answer: Believe it or not, the Yankees seem to be set with the exception of shortstop. Brendan Ryan is just not an acceptable replacement at short since Derek Jeter retired. Luckily for the Yanks, there are a few options for them to beef up the position. Jed Lowrie and Asdrubal Cabrera are two names that would be strong additions to an offense that can be solid, when healthy. Some folks have the Yankees reaching out to sign Hanley Ramirez. Yes, that seems the prototypical Yankee move, but does anyone really believe Ramirez can play any defense these days at short? Sure he can hit, but the Yanks can’t afford to have a stiff left side of the infield (I’m looking at you, Alex Rodriguez).
Another name to watch out for is reliever Andrew Miller. The Yankees saw a lot of him when he was with the Red Sox and he would provide much needed assistance to the New York bullpen.
With all of that being said, I could also see the Yankees shelling out the money and going out to land Scherzer. Yes, I know I didn’t mention that above but the Yanks are never really “surprise” teams in free agency, are they?
QUESTION: Give me three outlandish predictions for free agency or off-season trades. – Mads
Answer: Oh gosh, are you asking questions for our mailbag or wanting an entire article? I’ll give you a few, how’s that?
The NL Central will sign two of the three top starters on the market – Scherzer, Jon Lester, Shields.
The Texas Rangers will sign Melky Cabrera.
The Atlanta Braves will sign Yasmany Tomas.
The Chicago Cubs trade for Justin Upton.
The Kansas City Royals sign Nelson Cruz.
The Oakland Athletics trade for Starlin Castro.
The Cincinnati Reds will trade Mat Latos to the Colorado Rockies for Carlos Gonzalez.
The San Francisco Giants sign Ervin Santana.
The Seattle Mariners trade for Matt Kemp.
The Chicago Cubs sign David Robertson.
Is that good enough for you, Mads?
QUESTION: Is there any way that James Shields returns to Kansas City? He was a big reason we had such a memorable season. I’m a Royals fan and I’d hate to lose him! – Shauna
Answer: Sadly I think that ship has sailed. You are definitely right though, Shauna, Shield was a huge reason for the success Kansas City had this season. However, that doesn’t mean that the Royals will stand pat this offseason. I did get bold in the question above and predict a Nelson Cruz to KC signing, though that is admittedly a rather big stretch. But I do believe that GM Dayton Moore will do all he can to continue improving the Royals. The future is bright, and I don’t foresee that changing anytime soon.
QUESTION: The Cardinals traded for [Jason] Heyward, are they done making moves before the season? – Jesse
Answer: This is the Cardinals we are talking about and as I said last week, they are always finding ways to improve. Bernie Miklasz covers the Cards for St. Louis Today and had a very interesting article where he stated that he believes the Cardinals might just be positioning themselves for a big move – potentially even Jon Lester or Max Scherzer. Yes, that big of a move. So to answer your question, no they are not finished this offseason. After three straight appearances to the NLCS, they are tired of coming up short. I wouldn’t be surprised to see the St. Louis version of “going all in” in 2015.
QUESTION: You gave three possibilities the other day where Jon Lester will land – pick one! – Pete
Answer: AH! Get off my back, Pete. I’m incredibly torn between the Red Sox and the
Blue Sox Cubs, but I will put my money on the Cubs. There is something exciting about what the Cubs are building and it might just be what Lester is looking for.
QUESTION: What team needs to have the best offseason in order to improve in 2015? – Kevin
Answer: I’m tempted to say the Texas Rangers, but they were hurt badly from injuries last season. They still aren’t a great team, but healthy player will go a long ways. There are a ton of teams in need of a big offseason, but I am going to go with my hometown Cincinnati Reds. I do that only because I believe their window of opportunity is closing faster than any other team in baseball. They are at a crossroads and need to decide if they are going to go young or go all in for one more year.
My hope? Go young. They aren’t going to be able to make the trades or signings needed to overtake the Pirates and Cardinals in the NL Central. Go young and build it the right way.
QUESTION: What do the White Sox need to do before Spring Training to avoid another sh*t storm in 2015? – Bobby from Chicago
Answer: Dang Bobby, that’s a loaded question. I would like to see them add Nelson Cruz or maybe even trade for Justin Upton. Last year they had Konerko and Dunn in the lineup with Abreu, now they only have Abreu. The White Sox need to find him proper protection in the lineup, and Cruz or Upton would fit the bill perfectly. [UPDATE: It looks as though the White Six have begun their offseason by signing Adam LaRoche to a two-year, $25 million deal.]
QUESTION: What are the Braves going to do next? Lester? Bring back Chipper? TELL ME. – Chris
Answer: You know, I’d pay to see Chipper Jones return. He’d probably still produce, too. But I did predict the Braves to land Yasmany Tomas, the big hitting Cuban defector. I also think they will find a way to trade one of (or maybe both) the Upton brothers. Trading Heyward was the first piece of the semi-rebuilding project. As
for Lester, there is an outside chance he signs there, but there is too much in limbo with Atlanta for it to be his top destination. I do hope the rumors of trading Evan Gattis prove to be untrue as he could be a centerpiece for the Braves going forward.
Have a question you want answered? That’s simple, ask away right here!
Cover Photo: MLB Mailbag: Bold Trades and Free Agent Predictions Justin Upton
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