Inbox: Could Red Sox trade for an ace?
Beat reporter Ian Browne answers fans' questions
With free-agent pitcher Jordan Zimmermann reportedly agreeing to a deal with the Tigers, does that change Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski's plans if he can't get David Price? Will he be forced to trade?
Not necessarily. Even if Price slips away and signs elsewhere, Zack Greinke could be a really good alternative. In fact, the case could be made that Greinke is the most dominant pitcher on the market. If the Red Sox don't get Price or Greinke, Dombrowski might have to go back to the drawing board and see what kind of trade package the club could put together for an ace. Even after the Craig Kimbrel trade, Boston still has a decent amount of trade chips -- both at the Major League and Minor League level.
If the Red Sox sign an ace, someone from the group of Rick Porcello, Eduardo Rodriguez, Wade Miley, Joe Kelly and Clay Buchholz gets pushed to the bullpen or is traded. Who is it?
Should the Red Sox sign Price, I could see Miley getting traded. I'd be surprised if Boston goes with three lefties in the rotation. If the club gets a righty, Buchholz or Kelly could be the odd man out. Both would have good trade value, as would Miley. Rodriguez isn't going anywhere.
Between Henry Owens, Rodriguez, Matt Barnes and Brian Johnson, which young arm -- or arms -- should we expect in the rotation in '16?
Rodriguez is all but a given to be in the rotation. He was one of the best pitchers on the team last season. Barnes is going to the bullpen, perhaps for good. Johnson is coming back from an elbow issue, but you could see him at some point, depending on how the rest of the rotation performs. Owens will definitely get a chance to show what he can do in Spring Training, but he could get stuck in a numbers game.
What is Yoan Moncada's timetable?
That is still to be determined. Boston's top prospect had a solid first year of professional baseball -- there's no doubt about that. But the Red Sox aren't going to skip any steps in his development. Expect him to start this year at Class A Advanced Salem. If things go well, Moncada could be at Double-A Portland before the year is out. And with that timetable, he could certainly arrive in Boston at some point in 2017.
I'm a little worried about the lack of power in the lineup for 2016. Besides David Ortiz and maybe Hanley Ramirez, I'm not seeing a whole lot of real power. Do you think there is a chance the Sox will try to trade an outfielder for a pitcher and sign someone like Justin Upton to play one of the corner spots?
-- Jon D., Germantown, Md.
I don't believe Dombrowski thinks that power is the be-all and end-all. The more you hear Dombrowski talk, the more you can tell he prefers a line-drive approach that is conducive to a lot of doubles. And when you play 81 games a year in Fenway Park, that is a pretty good thought process. Mookie Betts has some pop.
Xander Bogaerts will probably have more power in the coming years. Dustin Pedroia can give you 15 to 20 homers in a good year. I don't think power is a big concern right now. Look at the Royals. They aren't a big power team. Dombrowski is most concerned with power pitching -- not power hitting.
Is Ramirez playing winter ball? If so, will he play any first base there?
Reading between the lines, I think Ramirez is more interested in playing winter ball than the Red Sox are in seeing him play. The club is more concerned with him fully rehabilitating the injuries he had last season and getting in the best shape possible. If the Red Sox become convinced at some point that he has done everything he needs to do in that regard, they could sign off on him playing for a brief time this winter and getting some reps at first base.
Will the Red Sox start promoting a plan to retire Ortiz's No. 34 during the 2016 season, before he retires? Big Papi deserves special recognition. Retiring his number while he's still in uniform would be appropriate for all he has done.
-- Joe V., Ellicott City, Md.
It is a nice sentiment, but I don't see it happening. Even Carl Yastrzemski didn't have his number retired until 1989, the year he went into the National Baseball Hall of Fame. Same with Pedro Martinez this year. Maybe they will bump up the timetable a little for Papi, but I highly doubt it will happen during the season. Plus, it will be a good chance to re-live some memories a few years down the road if you wait.