Ten Free Agents The Red Sox Should Avoid

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By Terry Cushman –  @cushmanMLB

Bryce Harper:

Fortunately for myself, there is no way the Red Sox will make this deal.   Even if Harper was not worth somewhere in the $300M-$400M range, they already have Betts, Bradley, and Benintendi.  Harper has never exceeded 100 RBI, and has only exceeded 30 home runs twice.  For a team to saddle themselves down with a contract that size will surely deplete their financial resources to pursue other needs on the team.   Whether it’s signing Chris Sale, or another top flight pitcher.   Or adequately improving our bullpen.   It’s simply not worth the money.

“The Red Sox have all the money in the world.”  For those who embrace this concept, they will never understand that the farm system will always be weak, nor have a grasp on simple MLB ecconomics.

Lastly, Harper is one of the most polarizing personalities in MLB, and comes from the most toxic clubhouses in the sport.   He has a “hard no” for me.


Manny Machado:

My steadfast preference would be also to stay away from Machado for many of the reasons I listed for Harper.   The Red Sox also have Rafael Devers at third base, along with Michael Chavis and Bobby Dalbec down in the minors, not too far away.

One thing of note, is how Machado’s cheapshot antics seemed to escalate rather dramatically and frequently once he was no longer managed by Buck Showalter.   Whether it was hitting Christian Vazquez with his backswing like he did a few years ago with Steven Vogt.   That same incident led to him trying to literally fling his baseball bat at Fernando Abad.   Or stepping on the feet this post season of Jesus Aguilar and Steve Pearce.   I want no part of bringing this punk to Boston.


Craig Kimbrel:

This is a situation where Red Sox fans should simply be thankful we got a World Series out of Kimbrel at the tail end of his prime.  And that it’s time to let another team pay him the stupid money for his down years.

Kimbrel is arguably the best closer since Mariano Rivera.  He already has hall of fame worthy stats.   However, many American League teams seem to have figured out that he can’t always throw his off speed stuff for strikes, and also at times his rising fastball.   He certainly had his struggles for nearly all of August and September.  There was also some speculation that he was tipping his pitches in the first two rounds of the playoffs.

The industry expectation for Kimbrel is that he is in line to score an “Aroldis Chapman” type contract for five to six years at big money.   Luckily for the Red Sox, there are plenty of relief options on the market this season that can be explored.


Patrick Corbin:

Many fans in Red Sox Nation are largely unfamiliar with Corbin.    He has spent his whole career with the Arizona Diamondbacks, with mixed results.   He reminds of Clay Buchholz in terms of durability and inconsistency, but does have an extremely high ceiling.

In 2018 Corbin pitched 200.0 innings in 33 starts, and pitched to a career best 3.15 ERA.  Which is sort of convenient due to the fact it all happened during his walk year.   Most eye poppingly is his 11.1 SO/9 rate.   He started one less game in 2017, but pitched to a 4.03 ERA.

Aside from durability and command issues in previous years, one of my big concerns is that having been hidden in Arizona his whole career, I am not sure he will handle a big market like Boston too well.   Similar to players who came up in the Tampa Bay system and fizzled else where.

Similar to Yu Darvish, Corbin is projected to early roughly around $130M over five to six years, and it’s simply not a risk I would take.   If it pays off for another team, more power to them.


Nathan Eovaldi:

I wrote an entire article on November 21st  about my reservations on giving Eovaldi a four to five year deal at big money.   He just doesn’t have the durability, or career numbers to say that’s a smart move.

I would be all for giving Eovaldi a two year deal, even at high annual value.  But unfortunately his market is exploding, and I would rather avoid the risk.   If Dallas Keuchel could be had for similiar money, and it seems like he will, that is a smarter and more proven route to go.   Trades could also be explored.


Michael Brantley:

Again, given the fact the Red Sox have a bit of a log jam in their outfield, its hard to imagine they are a fit for Michael Brantley, who is coming off of a strong bounce back season after being limited to just 99 games in 2016 and 2017 combined.

Brantley, who has spent his whole career with the Cleveland Indians, will enter 2019 in his age 32 season.   It’s hard imagine he will be healthy throughout the life of his next contract, which will likely be in the neighborhood of three years.   If another team can get him for one year, it’ll be an absolute steal.

He is a career .295 player with decent power, and absolute doubles machine.  My expectations are that he is destined for the American League where they can hide him at DH to maximize his health.   However, not a fit for the Boston Red Sox.


Andrew McCutchen:

One of the most overrated players of the last decade.   McCutchen’s 2012 season when he won the NL MVP award with the Pittsburgh Pirates was a bit of an anomaly.   He has never came close to hitting 31 home runs since that season, and has never exceeded 96 home runs in a season.

Also entering his age 32 season, with his numbers sharply declining, it’s hard to imagine McCutchen getting more than a two-three year deal with anyone.   In recent years we have seen players hold out during free agency, only to not be offered a contract, and accepting a minor league deal at some point during the next season.    The Red Sox did this with Brandon Phillips.

The league has simply passed McCutchen by, and so will the Red Sox.


Josh Donaldson:

Yet another player approaching his mid 30’s, Donaldson  is simply falling apart physically.   He was limited to 113 games in 2017, and only 52 games in 2018 due to a bum shoulder and sore calf.  There was a point last season where his shoulder was so bad, he could throw the ball from third base over to first.

If ever there was a candidate to sign a “prove it” contract to increase his value for the following season, it’s definitely Donaldson.   The only problem is will enter 2019 at 33 years old, and it’s hard to imagine him landing a big multi year deal at 34.

Donaldson hit 29 or more home runs four straight years from 2014-2017.   Including 41 in 2015 when he won the American League MVP.   He could certainly land a one year deal at high annual value with an American League team especially, but it won’t be the Red Sox.


Adam Jones:

There is not a lot of time that needs to spent discussing Adam Jones.   He is in the twilight of his career.   Rejected a trade to the Phillies by exercising his 10-5 rights.   Seemed largely uninterested in playing defense after he was moved to right field.

Jones would not be a fit in the Red Sox outfield as stated with other candidates above.   And seems to struggle mightily taking criticism from the fans.   Boston would be a terrible market for him, even if he was in his prime.


Yasmani Grandal

Grandal is perhaps a top three of four offensive catcher in MLB.    Has hit 20+ home runs the last three years in a row.   Though does not hit for very high average as it common for players at his position.

The Red Sox have Christian Vazquez signed long term.   They will have some tough decisions to make between Sandy Leon and Blake Swihart.   But I do not see them pursuing Grandal given the high salary he will command, and who is certainly not the defensive wizard that Vazquez is.

A team seeking offense in the bottom third of their order will likely find Grandal as an attractive asset.



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2 Replies to “Ten Free Agents The Red Sox Should Avoid”

  1. I think your McCutchen stats read wrong “he has never exceeded 96 home runs in a season” what player ever has? I agree with your assessmentso on all those players but Boston might go after a catcher if the deal was right.


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