July 13, 2013

On Baseball: Future looks secure as Red Sox prospects mature

The Red Sox, in first place, have little reason to trade any of the major pieces either in or on the way to Boston.

By Kevin Thomas kthomas@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

(Continued from page 1)

Fenway Park
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The pipeline from Portland and Pawtucket feeds the faithful in Boston. Who will fans from the top of the Green Monster and all around Fenway Park be watching over the next few years?

The Associated Press

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Xander Bogaerts may force the Red Sox to find a position for him – possibly at third base.

Telegram File

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Regulars: Jon Lester, Clay Buchholz, John Lackey, Ryan Dempster and Felix Doubront.

Contracts: Dempster through 2014. Boston has options on Jon Lester (through 2014), Lackey (2015) and Buchholz (2017). Doubront is in his second season.

Future options: Allen Webster, Rubby De La Rosa, Steven Wright, Brandon Workman,
Drake Britton, Anthony Ranaudo, Matt Barnes, Henry Owens.


Regulars: Koji Uehara, Andrew Bailey, Andrew Miller, Alfredo Aceves, Franklin Morales, Craig Breslow and Junichi Tazawa.

Contracts: Uehara is a free agent after this season. Bailey, Miller, Aceves and Morales are free agents after 2014. Boston has a club option on Breslow in 2015. This is Tazawa’s third season.

Future options: Alex Wilson, Daniel Bard, Jose De La Torre, Chris Martin, Brock Huntzinger, Chris Hernandez and Will Latimer.


Regulars: Mike Napoli, Dustin Pedroia, Stephen Drew, Jose Iglesias

Contracts: Napoli and Drew are free agents after this season. Boston has an option on Pedroia in 2015. Iglesias is in his rookie season.

Future options: Will Middlebrooks, Xander Bogaerts, Brock Holt, Michael Almanzar, Garin Cecchini, Deven Marrero.


Regulars: Jacoby Ellsbury, Shane Victorino, Daniel Nava, Jonny Gomes and Mike Carp.

Contracts: Ellsbury is a free agent after this season. Gomes is signed through 2014, Victorino through 2015. Nava and Carp are in their third years.

Future options: Jackie Bradley Jr., Bryce Brentz, Ryan Kalish and Alex Hassan


Regulars: Jarrod Saltalamacchia, David Ross and Ryan Lavarnway.

Contracts: Saltalamacchia is a free agent after this season. Ross is signed through 2014. Lavarnway is in his second season.

Future options: Christian Vazquez, Blake Swihart and Dan Butler.


Regular: David Ortiz

Contract: Through 2014.

Future options: Plenty.

Middlebrooks, however, still has a future with Boston. It might be at first base, especially with Iglesias at shortstop and the Red Sox needing to find a way for Bogaerts to break into the lineup.

But third base has another candidate for the future, with Cecchini tearing up Double-A pitching(.385 through 18 games). And Deven Marrero, in Salem in his first full pro season, may challenge at shortstop. Holt seems like a valuable utility player, while there may be no room for Michael Almanzar.


Jacoby Ellsbury is looking for a big free-agent payday, which means Bradley may become the regular center fielder in 2014. There are no other sure bets among the prospects. Bryce Brentz is a streaky power hitter who is on the disabled list because of a sore knee. Alex Hassan has also been playing first base and may someday fill Mike Carp's versatile role. Ryan Kalish was once on the fast track but has spent too much time on the DL.


Who knew David Ortiz would be so productive at age 37? But when his contract is up, would Boston gamble on a 39-year-old slugger in 2015? More likely, Boston will have a more versatile lineup after 2014, with different players filling in at DH, which may help keep Bogaerts, Cecchini and Middlebrooks in the lineup together.

BOSTON APPEARS to have a solid plan. Don't expect Cherington to deal any of the sure-bet prospects.

But he will trade excess, even if it looks like a small deal. When it became apparent that first baseman Lars Anderson did not fit into Boston's plans, he was dealt to Cleveland last year. In return the Red Sox received Wright, the knuckleballer who was Boston's winning pitcher Thursday night.

Fans in Portland have seen Boston trade prime prospects before, like Justin Masterson and Anthony Rizzo. And they have seen Boston groom others for a future at Fenway (Ellsbury, Dustin Pedroia, Jon Lester, Buchholz, etc.).

As Boston gears for a drive to the playoffs this year, we will see who they hold onto for later.

Kevin Thomas can be reached at 791-6411 or:


Twitter: @ClearTheBases


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Additional Photos

Jackie Bradley Jr.
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Jackie Bradley Jr. is poised to be the regular center fielder next season if Jacoby Ellsbury moves on as a free agent.

The Associated Press


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