Inbox: Will Papi history keep Price from Boston?
Beat reporter Ian Browne answers questions from Red Sox fans
Do you think David Price would sign with the Red Sox, given his history with David Ortiz?
I don't think past disagreements between Price and Ortiz would prevent the lefty from coming to Boston. That's a situation that could be patched up with one conversation. Everything can change when you share a clubhouse with someone. Price wants to win a ring, and Ortiz wants to win a fourth. They both have to know that they'd have a better chance of reaching that goal if they join forces.
Dave Dombrowski saw firsthand with the Tigers the type of weapon Price is at the front of the rotation, and I'm guessing a reunion is something he would love. Sure, Price's history in the postseason is a red flag. But I think the durability and dominance he displays in the regular season outweighs that.
Do you think Sonny Gray would be a trade option? The Sox have the prospects to get him.
It seems to me the Red Sox would first try to sign one of the marquee free-agent pitchers, because then they won't have to give up top prospects. However, if the cost becomes too high, then they may try to trade for an ace -- and Gray would be most prominent among them. There typically isn't much in the way of negotiations with Billy Beane. He is going to identify the players he wants from Boston, and if he gets some of them, he would make the deal. If not, he'll talk to another team.
There appears to be a logjam in the corner-infield spots. Who do you see getting the majority of time at third base and first base?
Pablo Sandoval will get most of the playing time at third base. I think there's too much of a temptation to write an established player off one year into a free-agent contract when he was probably trying too hard to justify he was worth the money.
Hanley Ramirez will get the opportunity to prove he can be the first baseman in Spring Training. The experiment will be a crucial one to watch. Travis Shaw and Brock Holt offer the Red Sox nice depth at both of the corner spots. Shaw is playing in Puerto Rico this month so he can get more comfortable at third.
Do you think Shaw will start at first base? Or is it Hanley's job?
The Red Sox have a lot of money committed to Ramirez, and I think they'll give him every chance to prove he should be the first baseman. Ramirez needs to rediscover the stroke that made him one of the best pure hitters in the National League for a long time. He was too power happy last year and seemed to fall into bad habits at the plate. If Ramirez again struggles with his performance and his health, Shaw could be a nice fallback option.
Who from the bullpen returns next season and makes the Opening Day roster?
Koji Uehara, Junichi Tazawa and Robbie Ross Jr. Possibly Craig Breslow. Aside from that, I could see three to four new faces in the 'pen. Accumulating power arms for the mid-to-late innings is a big goal for Dombrowski this offseason.
What do you think the plans are with Deven Marrero, given that Xander Bogaerts is locked in at shortstop?
The way the roster is currently constructed, Marrero is good organizational depth. He definitely showed some flashes when given the opportunity in September, but there just isn't a spot for him right now. If Holt remains with the team, it's hard to see a chance for Marrero to be on the 25-man roster.
What are the chances Blake Swihart is moved with Christian Vazquez coming back?
The Sox have to make sure Vazquez is healthy before they move a player like Swihart. Also, they still don't know exactly what type of a hitter Vazquez is going to be. For now, keep them both. At some point, Boston probably has to decide which one is its catcher of the future.