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The Sawx, and Yoan Moncada

January 21, 2015

The Red Sox have been linked with Cuban-FA-but-yet -to-be-cleared SS Yoan Moncada, who is expected to receive a 4-5 year deal at about $8M/season. On the face of it, that seems a little ridiculous. There is nowhere for him to play in Boston.

Pedey is signed through 2021 at 2B. Bogaerts is playing short. If Bogaerts were suddenly out of the picture, HanRam (LF) would play short. If HanRam were also out of the picture, Mookie Betts (CF/RF) would be given the opportunity. Betts is a 2B by trade and there is some question as to whether he has the diving range and the arm for short, but by the end of a dismal 2014 the Fenway faithful were being sold that Betts could play anywhere on the diamond and cure cancer while composing symphonies in his spare time.

The logic, then, is that one or both of Bogaerts and Betts would get sent to the Phillies in a trade for Cole Hamels. This would make some sense but the Phillies appear to be asking for way too much and they appear to prefer catching prospect Blake Swihart anyway. This writer would be excited to see the Sawx land Hamels, but doesn’t think the money works for the Sawx.

Bogaerts, Betts, Swihart and the other various prospects are on MLB-minimum deals. Hamels has 4/$96M left on his contract, $24M a year. While the Red Sox could make the Hamels money work, to then add on $8M for Moncada… that’s a $32M annual outlay. While I’m not saying the Sawx couldn’t do that, Max Scherzer just signed in Washington for $30M/year with half the money deferred. If the Sawx wanted to splash that kind of money at a pitcher, they could have just signed Scherzer. Hamels vs. Scherzer is a toss-up, perhaps, but not having to ship off prospects in the transaction would make the Scherzer move the no-brainer.

I think people with long memories know what’s going on here: the Sawx are trying to bid Moncada up on the Yanks. The Yanks bid up Carl Crawford–Yanks GM Brian Cashman gloated as much before the ink was dry on Crawford’s deal in Boston. New York desperately needs MI help, and $8M/season seems reasonable enough for a team whose current starters are Didi Gregorius and Stephanie Drew backed up by Brendan Ryan and Robert Refsnyder. I still like Gregorius and I think Refsnyder is close to being ready for the Show, but Moncada is better than anybody on that list. If the Sawx could push the Yankees from $8M AAV to $10M AAV, it would give the Sawx front office the sense that some small measure of revenge was gained over the full-blown Crawford fiasco.

That’s all this is.

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