With the 2011 Major League Baseball season winding down we are now left to face a long, cold winter. With the long winter comes the MLB Free Agency season and one team in particular, the Boston Red Sox, have some holes to fill and a lot of question marks. Here are just some of the names I believe Ben Cherington and the Red Sox brass should take a look at:
- Chicago White Sox pitcher Mark Buehrle
The Red Sox have a huge need when it comes to starting pitching. John Lackey is very inconsistent and Red Sox Nation's patience has grown thin and Daisuke Matsuzaka probably not coming back, it just makes sense to look at Buehrle. Mark Buehrle has been a consistent pitcher for the Chicago White Sox and has never missed a start since his career began back in 2001. This is in contrast to Lackey, Beckett, Buchholz, and Dice-K who seemingly miss starts. Buehrle is a great southpaw and would give Boston a great 1-2 punch with Jon Lester. Mark Buehrle also is the only pitcher in history to throw multiple no-hitters and win multiple Gold Gloves.
- Minnesota Twins RF Jason Kubel
The Red Sox need a right fielder. Bad. J.D. Drew just is cutting it and is likely gone. Jason Kubel seems to be a good fit and would be considerably cheaper than Carl Crawford. Kubel is a left handed bat and, although not a power hitter, would enjoy the confines of Fenway Park. Right field at Fenway is 302 down the line and Kubel could easily increase his home run totals.
- Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Jonathan Broxton
The Sox bullpen, while improved from 2010, still needs help. Jonathan Broxton might be that answer. Broxton seemed to have lost his touch in 2011 losing his closer's role, but could help Daniel Bard bridge the gap between starter to Papelbon (or whoever is the closer). If Papelbon leaves town, Broxton could be a closer considering Daniel Bard's breakdown down the stretch and inexperience at closing so you need some veterans in that bullpen. Broxton should be looked at.
- Pittsburgh Pirates catcher Ryan Doumit
Jarrod Saltalamacchia had a better than expected season in Boston, but is he really the answer? Ryan Doumit, while not fantastic behind the plate, could be a great compliment to Salty. Doumit is durable for a catcher too. He has played in right field and first base in the past for the Pirates. Saltalamacchia and Doumit could make a solid catching tandem, not fantastic, but just enough to get by.
- Milwaukee Brewers 1B Prince Fielder
This is a long shot, but the Sox could use Fielder if Big Papi leaves. Ortiz has stated that the drama in Boston has gotten to be too much and could leave Boston. That would open the door for Prince Fielder. However, Fielder would almost certainly have to play Designated Hitter with Adrian Gonzalez at first base and being a better defensive player. Fielder is younger than Pujols and will cost less money, but the Sox have that money? I don't think the Red Sox will sign him but they should at least kick the tires.
That is just some of the names I think Boston should go after. Ben Cherington has a tough task in front of him, but I think he will make some good moves and improve from last year. First and foremost, he needs to re-sign Ortiz and Papelbon. If not it will be that much harder to fill those gaps left in their wake.