Tuesday, March 11, 2014
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Boston Red Sox GM Ben Cherington has had a busy offseason, but none of the moves have been major-impact upgrades.
Down the road, Garin Cecchini, 21, looks like a budding major leaguer, although he has not played beyond low Class A Greenville.
• Outfield: The newly signed Gomes is a pull hitter who could thrive at Fenway, but he has to prove he can play the Green Monster. Jacoby Ellsbury returns to center (we think), but likely leaves for the big bucks after 2013. Victorino brings his excellent defense to Fenway's tricky right field.
For backups the Red Sox have Ryan Kalish and Daniel Nava.
Down the road, some of the best prospects are in the outfield, led by center fielder Jackie Bradley, who could see Fenway in 2013. Pawtucket will be filled with players wanting their chance, including Juan Carlos Linares and Bryce Brentz. Alex Hassan is developing, and Brandon Jacobs likely will reach Portland this year.
• Starting pitching: Begin with Jon Lester, Clay Buchholz, John Lackey and Felix Doubront, and that looks good on paper. But such potential hasn't always converted to wins. Cherington likely will sign or trade for another starter (as well as try out Franklin Morales, Alfredo Aceves and/or Junichi Tazawa for the role).
Down the road, Rubby De La Rosa, obtained in the mega Dodgers deal, may slide into the rotation. If he goes to Pawtucket, he will have good company, with knuckleballer Steven Wright, lefty Chris Hernandez and possibly Allen Webster (also coming from the Dodgers).
Also, more talent is on the way. Stolmy Pimentel and Drake Britton are likely bound for Pawtucket in some capacity. Portland will have a prospect bonanza with Anthony Ranaudo, Matt Barnes, Brandon Workman and Keith Couch. Henry Owens could see Hadlock in late summer.
• Relief pitching: Uehara brings impressive numbers to Boston. In the last four years, in 211 innings, he has 231 strikeouts and 29 walks. Add him with Andrew Bailey, Daniel Bard, Mark Melancon, Andrew Millers, Morales, Aceves, Tazawa and Craig Breslow, and Boston should be able to build a strong bullpen.
Down the road, Alex Wilson will begin his second season in Pawtucket, with a call-up coming at any time. Brock Huntzinger still has promise and is now in Triple-A.
Cherington's plan seems sound. Fill current gaps with free agents on short-term contracts, while using the farm system to prepare for the future.
A winner? Maybe not in the offseason. But wait until the game begin.
Staff Writer Kevin Thomas can be reached at 791-6411 or: