The Red Sox can make it through the majority of the season without a proven #1. With one of the best lineups in baseball, Boston should be able to make it into at least July without a proven ace. GM Ben Cherrington and company have made it clear that they are not going to overpay for Cole Hamels or someone of that nature. Personally, I think that this is great for the organization. For once, they are sticking firm to what they believe in and are running with it.
If the Boston lineup is even 75% of what we think it is going to be, the Red Sox should be able to score at least 5 runs a game for the majority of the season. If they are able to do so, then they should win close to 90 games. In a poor division, that should easily be able to win the AL East. However, if the Red Sox want to contend for a World Title, which John Henry has expressed is his priority every single year, they will need to give up prospects, eat a lot of money, and part with players that they may not want to.
Reports surfaced yesterday from CSSNE.com's Sean McAdam that the Red Sox are in "no urgency" to make a move for Phillies ace Cole Hamels. Boston is reportedly unwilling to trade top prospects Blake Swihart and Mookie Betts. Philadelphia GM Ruben Amaro has been widely known to expect the world in return for his players. Fortunately and unfortunately, many deals have not happened because of this. Whether you like Cole Hamels or you are someone that thinks Mookie Betts is the next great Boston outfielder, there is one thing for certain: if the Red Sox want to make it deep into the postseason, they need an ace.
With an apparent deal for Cole Hamels stalled as of now, the Red Sox could be looking at cheaper options to get that #1 guy for their rotation. Sticking in Philly, one of the guys that the Red Sox should at least kick the tires on is Cliff Lee. A deal for Lee would require far less assets than a Blake Swihart or Mookie Betts. Philly is even said to be willing to entertain an offer of a reunion with fan favorite Shane Victorino, which would solve Boston's crowded outfield problems. Although Lee has to prove that he is healthy, people close to the Red Sox organization have said "he's hard not to like."
Lee is due $25 million for the upcoming season, while he also has an option for the 2016 season at $27.5 million with a $12.5 million buyout. He has a no trade clause that includes 12 teams he would go to, but no one is certain if the Red Sox are on that list. The Rangers, Padres and Cardinals are also said to be interested in acquiring the lefty's services, but no traction is said to be made with any team.. Prior to his elbow injury last year, Lee boasted six consecutive seasons with at least 200 innings, while also boasting an ERA of 2.89, a 8.1 K/9, and 1.3 B/9.
While Lee may be older and coming off of an injury, if the Red Sox are able to get him for a bag of baseballs, a tub of Hubba Bubba, and Shane Victorino, they should jump all over that. John Henry and Boston brass has made it quite clear that they would rather pay money than trade away top prospects. If the Red Sox eat most of Lee's deal and give Philly a few mediocre prospects to go along with Shane Victorino, I think a deal can and should be made.
By Pete Packowski @Pete_BBS