When the Red Sox signed Ryan Dempster to a two-year deal worth 26.5 million, a lot of fans rolled their eyes or vocally condemned the move as an overly-generous package.
Sean McAdam says the Red Sox approach was dictated by players like Anibel Sanchez, who just agreed to a five-year deal with the Tigers worth 80 million.
The Red Sox got the impression that Sanchez was looking for four or five years in his next contract and the team just wasn't willing to go that high. With Dempster willing to go two years, the Sox saw him as the top pitcher in a very limited pool of pitchers who were willing to take a short-term contract. With their extra spending money, they decided it was worth the extra money to lock up a pitcher who wouldn't require a long-term deal.
Now that Dempster is on board, giving the Red Sox the reliable veteran arm they've been looking for, McAdam doesn't see the Sox doing anything flashy for the rest of the off-season unless something comes up on the trade market for Jacoby Ellsbury. McAdam says the return in an Ellsbury trade would need to be significant - along the lines of the Cliff Lee offer that floated around recently.
So what's left to do?
McAdam identifies a few depth options the Sox should address:
- A first baseman, preferably left-handed
- Someone who can push Jose Iglesias at shortstop
- One or two starting pitchers who offer depth - the kind of players who could be stashed at Triple-A until an injury pops up
A word of caution: This outlook for the remainder of the off-season is contingent on the Mike Napoli deal being completed. If that deal falls through, the Red Sox will have a lot more they need to accomplish before spring training starts.