In the press conference this afternoon announcing the signing of Pablo Sandoval to a Red Sox contract, Sox General Manager Ben Cherrington talked about the impact Sandoval would have on their ability to score runs. He pointed out that ‘… run scoring is down around all of baseball’ and went on to say how important it is to get players like Sandoval in the prime of his career to improve your offense.
There is no question that the addition of Sandoval and Hanley Ramirez, who is reportedly just a physical exam away from joining the Sox, will give the Red Sox more run scoring ability. With the veteran bats of David Ortiz, Yoenis Cespedes, Mike Napoli, Shane Victorino, Allen Craig and the potential hitting ability of Rumsey Castillo, Brock Holt and Xander Bogaerts, the 2015 Red Sox could be an offensive juggernaut.
Sandoval is a switch hitting, good fielding third baseman who hits a lot of line dives which is what is needed in Fenway. He has plenty of playoff and world series experience which should make it easier for him to handle the media circus that is Boston. Ramirez is a career .300 hitter who spent the last three years in Los Angeles with the Dodgers. In seven years with Miami before going to Los Angeles in 2012, he hit .300 and hit .299 in his time in L. A. He will be 31 next month and rumor has it he may be going to play the outfield in Boston although he is a shortstop by trade and has no outfield experience.
If the Red Sox hold onto Cespedes, Castillo fulfills his potential and Ortiz has the kind of year he is capable of, this Sox team should be able to score runs with the best of them.
On the other hand, if Cherrington does not come up with a couple of starting pitchers, Red Sox fans could be in for a lot of high scoring losses. Jon Lester is meeting with the Cardinals next week and the Cubs, Braves, Giants, Blue Jays and Royals are also competing with the Sox for his services.
The new additions leave the Sox with an excess of outfielders and infielders that could be used to secure some pitching help in trade where it would probably be much less expensive but perhaps not as good.
There are some good Free Agents out there but the question is how much are the Red Sox willing to pay to get the pitchers they need. Max Scherzer, James Shields, Jon Lester and the other starters out there are all looking at big numbers and Sox just committed themselves to roughly $200. million for the Panda and Ramirez.
In addition, as of this writing the Sox still need another catcher to handle whatever kind of pitching staff they end up with. Christian Vasquez proved his ability last year but he is still relatively inexperienced and it would be nice to pick up a veteran to share the load and mentor him.
For the fans of Red Sox Nation, lets hope that the Sox ownership is committed to giving this impressive offense the pitching it needs to be successful.