Even though 2015 has been a bleak year for the Boston Red Sox, they have plenty of things to look forward to going into the 2016 season and beyond. The future depends on new President of Baseball Operation Dave Dombrowski and how he goes about his business going forward. Unlike Ben Cherington, Dombrowski has no ties to any of the players on the roster or all the young guys down in the minors. He may have no issue just shipping any of those guys away, but it won’t be for nothing. He will put a team on that field that will compete unlike in years past, besides 2013.
Before the season started, we were led to believe that guys like Mookie Betts, Blake Swihart or maybe even Henry Owens were available to obtain the services of pitcher Cole Hamels, but an agreement was never reached, and the Sox should be thankful for that. Mookie is having an outstanding year, even with a few injuries, he has some of the best bat speeds in the majors and he’s putting it to good use. Blake Swihart, on the other hand, faces uncertainty going into 2016 as Christian Vasquez comes back from Tommy John surgery and is more than likely to take over the backstop position. I’d like to see Vazquez out there as he has been hitting a lot better in August, which seems to have been a good month for the rest of the team as well. Then you have the 6’6 starting pitcher Henry Owens who looks like he’s already outgrowing his uniform with his lanky frame, although he is not outgrowing his stay on the pitching staff for the Boston Red Sox. He has had some adventurous starts with the Red Sox, his best was against the best team in the American League, the Kansas City Royals. He pitched 8 innings only giving up one earned run against an aggressive Royals club.
The perfect offseason for the Boston Red Sox would be to trade Pablo Sandoval and Hanley Ramirez for Clayton Kershaw, dare the Dodgers be so generous once again? No, but hopefully they can try and a figure out a way to dump one of those guys as they are a huge burden for the last-place club in just their first year in their contracts. Up until August I think it was fair to say that the Red Sox Nation wanted Joe Kelly and Jackie Bradley Jr gone, but they have gone above and beyond and put ownership into a bind, leaving with them no choice but to give them a shot next year. Joe Kelly has gone 6-0 this month and JBJ has consistently tore the cover off the ball and has played superb defense like another player who sported “Jr” in their name, whose name has escaped from my mind at the moment.
In all likelihood, I believe the Sox will target David Price, who I know is 30 years old, which to the Red Sox means he might as well have a walker and his 401k in his hand. Regardless of that, I think he is a perfect fit, he knows the division very well, and was acquired by Dave Dombrowski last year for the Tigers, so there is some familiarity with this team going forward. Some other choices could be Chris Sale on the White Sox, whose contract is set to jump from $6 million this year to $9 million in 2016, eventually jumping to a cool $12 million in 2017, so it’s a contract they could look to move, even with him being their indisputable ace, they don’t have much else to work with. They could ask for guys like Brian Johnson or possibly Henry Owens in exchange, but we’ll see how that plays out when the season’s over. They could also target Oakland’s Sonny Gray, being that anyone on that team is not safe from any trade. The Josh Donaldson trade made that apparent, and the film we know as Moneyball, which isn’t at a high success rate as a strategy for ball clubs. I’ve also heard some of the staff from the Cleveland Indians could be made available with the likes of guys like Danny Salazar or maybe even Corey Kluber, the last one being a stretch.
Just remember, Red Sox fans, cherish these youngsters you have now, because some of them may be gone by Opening Day next year. But by next October you’ll see that whatever happens, was worth it.