The Red Sox traded Jed Lowrie to the Astros yesterday then signed Nick Punto. Clint Barmes signed as have Alex Gonzalez, Jamey Carroll, and host of others. The Braves still don’t have Frank Wren’s mythical “veteran shortstop that can hit.” Now what?
The free agent market is easily summed up; nothing there. Okay, that’s unkind. Nothing I would sign there. How’s that? Here’s the list as of this morning in neat little groups.
Good glove no bat
Ronny Cedeno – Slick fielder but hits like a pitcher
Jack Wilson – I like Jack but he like many others lost his bat in Seattle
Hits a little fields okay
Andres Blanco – Fielding was okay for Texas, hits a little from the left side a bit, should stop switch hitting
Jeff Keppinger – Not really a SS in a while but he can hit now and then
Orlando Cabrera – Old. Nice guy. No longer has SS range
Alex Cora – Old. Nice guy. Lacks SS range
Craig Counsell – Old. Nice guy. No longer has SS range
Edgar Renteria Old. Nice guy. No longer has SS range
Omar Vizquel Old. Nice guy. No longer has SS range
Bad glove weak bat
Yuniesky Betancourt – Doesn’t hit consistently, erratic arm, equally erratic glove
Erratic glove but hits better than the rest
Ryan Theriot Not really a SS but has played there a bit, Glove is shaky but bat is solid.
Note: This is not an endorsement of any of them.
A Trade Option
GM Frank Wren indicated he wanted to trade rather than sign a free agent. Based on what’s left of the FA market I doubt anyone would disagree. One name that came up about a week ago in a discussion and again last night was former Brave Brent Lillibridge.
Lillibridge was dealt to the White Sox from the Braves in the Javier Vasquez deal. In Chicago and under the guidance of our new hitting coach he became a much improved hitter; .158/.273/.179 in 2008 vs. .258/.340/.505 in 2011. Bill James projects him to be .241/.311/.386 in 2012
He also improved his versatility by learning how to play all outfield spots as well as all infield slots. His infield glove remains dependable and he made several important and difficult catches in center field and right field for the Sox in the past two years. He finished 2011 with an rWAR of 1.9 and an fWAR of 1.3.
I could see a package of Lillibridge and Carlos Quentin for three or four minor league players being agreed to without ravaging our young pitching corps. We have first baseman Ernesto Mejia – blocked by Freddie Freeman – Braeden Schlehuber a catcher blocked by Brian McCann and Christian Bethancourt meeting the Sox needs. Of course what I see and what the two GMs think mazy well be two different things. Let me know what you think!