FORT MYERS, Fla. – Welcome to Spring Training 2024. Before pitchers and catchers formally report on Wednesday, I’ve some questions:
1. Does buying and selling Jarren Duran make sense for the Red Sox?
The San Diego Padres are amongst a number of groups sniffing round Jarren Duran.
But whereas the Padres definitely want Duran – their solely established outfielder is Fernando Tatis Jr. – the Red Sox do, too. Somehow, he’s truly one in every of Boston’s extra veteran outfielders, at the least, when it comes to enjoying for this group. They have sufficient outfield choices to commerce him, however nearly all of them include vital threat. Free-agent signee Tyler O’Neill has averaged 80 video games per season over his six years within the Majors and doesn’t supply a lot in the way in which of power-hitting. Rookies Ceddanne Rafaela and Wilyer Abreu have every performed 28 profession video games within the bigs, too small of a pattern measurement to go judgment. Masataka Yoshida was thought of a bat-first participant earlier than he arrived from Japan final yr. He was minus-8 Outs Above Average and ranked within the third MLB percentile in Arm Value and twenty third in Sprint Speed. Rob Refsnyder is at all times a strong choice off the bench, however has by no means been an on a regular basis participant; his 89 video games final yr had been almost double his earlier profession excessive. He does completely demolish left-handed pitching, although.
So, what offers?
A Duran commerce wouldn’t be a lot of a cost-cutting transaction; he’s nonetheless making the league minimal. He’ll be arbitration eligible in 2025, and a free agent in 2029.
Perhaps the Red Sox don’t suppose he can maintain final season’s efficiency – the ZiPs projections point out as a lot – by which case, buying and selling him may change into a savvy ‘Sell high’ transfer, particularly in the event that they bought some younger, club-controlled pitching out of the deal. Over his first two sporadic seasons within the Majors, Duran struggled in nearly each facet of the sport. He didn’t make final yr’s Opening Day roster, however with Kiké Hernández within the infield and finally traded, and Adam Duvall out for months with a wrist fracture, Duran grew to become an on a regular basis participant, and a powerful one, at that. In some of the gorgeous turnarounds by a younger participant in latest franchise historical past, he hit .295 with a .828 OPS, 24 doubles, two triples, eight residence runs, 46 runs, and 40 RBI. He led the group with 24 stolen bases, essentially the most by a Red Sox participant since Mookie Betts swiped 30 in 2018, and was within the ninety fifth MLB percentile in Sprint Speed.
Parting with Duran would additionally make sense if the Red Sox really consider that Roman Anthony is on the verge of knocking on debut’s door. Of course, Anthony has solely ascended so far as Double-A Portland, and that was late sufficient within the ‘23 MiLB season that he only played 10 games. He’s additionally 19 years outdated, and the Red Sox aren’t going to hurry the event of a prospect that younger, and threat losing such immense potential.
With the outfield already missing energy hitting, pace, and protection, giving Duran up may additionally make what’s shaping as much as be one other disappointing season simply that, or worse.
2. Are the Red Sox placing an excessive amount of inventory of their prime prospects?
I requested one thing like this in a earlier “Starr’s 7 Questions,” however after seeing Spencer Turnbull signal a one-year, $2 million contract with the Philadelphia Phillies on Sunday, I’m revisiting.
The Red Sox have spent the final month or so heaping reward upon Roman Anthony, Kyle Teel, and Marcelo Mayer, primarily portray the trio because the harbingers of the subsequent period of profitable in Boston. But about half a decade in the past, Turnbull was the pitcher who was going to steer the Detroit Tigers into a brand new period of profitable, and now, at 31 years outdated, he’s in search of a second probability after being lower unfastened by the Tigers.
It’s one in every of numerous tales that illustrate why it’s dangerous to place an excessive amount of inventory in prime prospects. The most highly-touted might quantity to nothing, whereas somebody who by no means reaches their group’s Top 30 may grow to be a Hall of Famer. Most of the time, they find yourself someplace in between.
Of course, Turnbull isn’t an ideal instance. He made it to the Majors in 2018, and pitched nicely for the Tigers, even throwing a no-hitter in 2021 earlier than present process Tommy John surgical procedure shortly thereafter. He struggled in his 2023 return, resulting in a demotion, stint on the 60-day injured listing, and eventual non-tender.
But total, prime prospects are nothing however potential till they show themselves. That’s already a tall sufficient order with out a prospect’s big-league bosses telling the world to place all their eggs in mentioned prospect’s basket.
3. Lucas Luetge continues to be pitching?
In case you missed it, the Red Sox are signing Lucas Luetge to a contract. The pitcher, who turns 37 subsequent month, first reached the Majors in 2012.
Luetge was dominant out of the Yankees bullpen in ‘21 and ‘22, posting a mixed 2.71 ERA throughout 107 outings, together with one begin and 31 video games completed. Over these two seasons, by which he racked up 129 ⅔ regular-season innings and confronted 552 batters, he struck out 138 batters and solely allowed 10 residence runs and 32 walks.
4. Who will lead the Red Sox offense?
Rafael Devers is the plain reply, however for stretches in the course of the season, his bat was chilly. Justin Turner was the group’s most constant hitter, and now that he’s a Toronto Blue Jay, the Sox have much more offensive floor to make up than earlier than.
It doesn’t undertaking to be a powerful yr on the plate for Boston, however for higher or worse, there’s normally at the least one participant one every time whose efficiency comes as a giant shock.
5. How quickly till Corey Kluber will get his first teaching job?
Much like Dustin Pedroia, who was primarily teaching his Red Sox teammates in later years – keep in mind when he taught Eduardo Rodriguez a brand new pitch? – Corey Kluber has been a coach-in-the-making for a very long time. Before he left Cleveland, he was a go-to for younger arms, who wished to absorb any experience the two-time Cy Young winner needed to supply.
Now that Kluber has introduced his retirement and said a want to discover a new strategy to contribute to baseball, it feels prefer it’s solely a matter of time earlier than he finds a spot to start out that journey.
6. Who will create essentially the most meme-able second within the 2024 Red Sox Netflix docuseries?
With the announcement final week that the Red Sox would be the topic of not one, however two Netflix docuseries – one about 2004, the opposite in regards to the upcoming season – I’m considering again to the weekly meme-fest that accompanied every episode of “The Last Dance.”
Among the highlights: Michael Jordan trying skeptically at iPad footage of Isiah Thomas, Jordan’s safety guard John Michael Wozniak mimicking Jordan’s iconic shoulder shrug, the clip of Jordan jamming out to music on the Chicago Bulls’ bus within the ‘90s, and naturally, Jordan telling Larry Bird, “You bitch, (expletive) you” whereas hugging him.
I can’t wait to see what web gold is mined from these two Red Sox collection.
7. Why gained’t the Red Sox signal Jordan Montgomery?
He’s wholesome. He’s a confirmed winner. He’s used to the American League East from his days with the Yankees. He’s residing in Boston whereas his spouse does her residency at an area hospital.
I’m going to maintain asking this till somebody indicators him.