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Ask Nick: More answers on the Red Sox' rebuilding plans

Posted by Matt Pepin, Boston.com Staff  November 20, 2012 11:00 AM

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What do you think is the biggest splash the Sox will make in the free agent market? In the trade market?
Ethan, Somerville, Mass.
No crystal ball here. The Red Sox must know what they want to do, but probably don’t know what they’re trying to do. It was telling to me they went after Josh Johnson and Jose Reyes in a deal. So they’re obviously thinking about upgrades at those two positions. They seem to be positioning Jarrod Saltalamacchia as one of their trade chips. He might land them someone like Gavin Floyd, a middle- to end-of-rotation starter. They want two outfielders and would like one of them to be Cody Ross. Beyond that, they’re looking all over the map. Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau are in play with the Twins. I think Michael Cuddyer is in play in Colorado. The real gem for me would be Troy Tulowitzki. I think Josh Hamilton is still in play. I think they’re thinking very big and thinking very in-between. They say they won’t be tempted to stray off course by reacting to the Blue Jays deal, but I think that course is all over the map right now.

What are the chances of seeing Josh Hamilton, Jason Bay, and Mike Napoli in a Red Sox uniform in 2013?
Joel, Newark NJ
I’d give serious consideration to all of them. Hamilton is a tremendous player, baggage and all. Don’t think the baggage has affected the final numbers year after year. What would be concerning is his age and the number of years you’d have to commit. Napoli fits with his swing and his ability to catch and play first. You’d be giving up some first base defense. Bay is intriguing to me. He has to come in under a minor league deal, but if he’s over his post-concussion issues and the comfort of Fenway gets his juices flowing again, why not give it a shot, as long as you have another outfielder ready to step and it seems you do in Ryan Kalish.

What would you consider a fair trade package for Alex Gordon?
John, Omaha, Neb.
They want a starting pitcher. You’d have to give them Felix Doubront.

Justin Upton ... what is all the fuss? Would you rather welcome Cody Ross back for half the price?
David, Ellington, Conn.
Little slow this morning, but it sounds like you’re not a big Justin Upton fan? The Uptons have had the benefit of coming up to the big leagues sooner than most players. So as they enter their prime years, you assume they’ll get better and their great natural talent comes out. That’s the chance you take. I think that unknown is the reason Kevin Towers is willing to deal him.

Why don't we hear more about the Red Sox really pursuing the Indians in a Cabrera/Masterson trade?
Josh, Brooklyn NY
I agree. I think there’s a deal there for sure and the two teams have exchanged conversations on that idea, I’m told.

With the great purge over the summer, could the Sox be looking to establish a specific philosophy, Moneyball-like, if you will, focusing on players with specific attributes, rather than stars?
Larry, Homosassa, Fla
I think that’s a great concept that all teams would love to adopt. It seems anything goes in Oakland. You can experiment with all sorts of things. Billy Beane essentially traded his All-Star players last winter for youngsters and got to the playoffs. If it didn’t work, there wouldn’t have been a lot of repercussions. You do that in Boston and it doesn’t work, it’s a major disaster. Not sure those young pitchers would have flourished in this environment. Guess what I’m trying to say is your philosophy has to fit your environment. Ben Cherington is well aware of that. Sometimes having a lot of money is a curse. But this team is expected to spend it and become contenders again.

What do you think of the Sox going after the Marlins' Logan Morrison? He was to be their first baseman until Sanchez had the big season and then Morrison converted to OF to accommodate the team. What about Giancarlo Stanton?
Wes, Plantation Fla.
The Red Sox have had a lot of discussions with Miami already. He’s a cheap player, so can’t see why Miami would deal him. But I have no idea what Miami’s thinking is on a lot of things. As for Stanton, I don’t see that either. They need a player or two that attracts the fans to that ballpark.

Do see Alfredo Aceves not on the 2013 team and do see Dice K gone also?
Forest, Manchester, NH
The Sox will keep Aceves if they can’t get something significant for him. He’s a handful to manage; a lot of issues so I’m sure they’re debating this internally. He’s a very emotional guy and so there’s a fine line between that emotion being good emotion and bad emotion. A lot of bad emotion last year. But he has great stuff so there would be a market for him. I think Cherington could make a big deal, but I think it would have to involve Salty and one of their starting pitchers (Doubront and Buchholz would be in demand). You’d have to know you can sign two starting pitchers if you did that.

Should the Red Sox bring up Xander Bogaerts and play him at starting shortstop ahead of Jose Iglesias?
Ronald, Keene, NH
I would say not. Bogaerts is very young and needs to develop a little bit more. Unless you trade for or sign a veteran shortstop, Iglesias should get the shot. You paid him a lot of money and his time has come to show whether he can be good enough offensively to keep the job.

Are the Sox going to make any moves this off season? Seems every other team has a vision for the future but the Sox. What is the plan?
Jim, Randolph, Mass.
These are legitimate issues, but I think the fact they were trying to obtain Josh Johnson and Jose Reyes is an indication they were willing to spend money.

What's the situation with Ryan Kalish? How much of a chance will the Red Sox give him? Do they still have confidence in him or have they basically given up that he can be a starting outfielder?
Alan, Richmond, Va.
No they haven’t given up on him. He’ll likely be their fourth OF or even start if they fail to come up with two more OFs. They’ve been waiting for him to get healthy and the shoulder injury he had takes a full year to heal. They still have confidence he can be a very good player.

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