Where else is Papi headed?


Where else is Papi headed?

OK, so we can obviously rule out the entire National League.

You have a better chance of seeing Larry Lucchino standing outside Theo's bedroom window with a boom box than you do of seeing David Ortiz in the N.L.

Next, let's consider the reigning American League playoff teams.

After all, you assume that Ortiz wants to play for a winner:

Texas: They're already paying Michael Young 32 million over next two years. At 35, Young can still play a little third base, and a little more first base, but more than anything he's a DH. Made 69 appearances last year, and that will increase.

Tigers: Hey, remember Victor Martinez?
Yankees: They've already expressed their disinterest, although things can always change. But what won't change is that 37-year-old Derek Jeter and 36-year-old Alex Rodriguez are at the point where they'll need their share of reps in the designated slot. (Also, I don't care that they're Yankees, that last sentence is depressing as hell).

Tampa Bay: This one's interesting, especially if the Rays don't bring back Johnny Damon. But then again, if the Sox aren't willing to give Papi what he wants (and we have to assume that, all offers being equal, Ortiz would stay in Boston), why would the Rays? Overpaying is not their style.

OK, so how about other perennial contenders?

Angels: They still have Bobby Abreu on the hook for another season, and Kendrys Morales should finally return after the most costly home run celebration in Major League history.

White Sox: They owe Adam Dunn 44 million over the next three years. Ha. Also, soon-to-be 36-year-old Paul Konerko's around for the next two years and getting DHier by the day.

And perennial non-contenders?

A's and Mariners: Both these teams are in the market for a DH, but there's no way Ortiz makes the leap. Or if he does, he'll immediately regret the decision. You don't spend nearly a decade as a hero in the most obsessed baseball city in America and make a seamless transition into the doldrums of the AL West. Also, while we're here, let's eliminate the rest of the AL Central: Indians, Royals and Twins = not happening.

And lastly, how about the rest of the A.L. East?

Blue Jays: Their need for Ortiz decreased when they picked up the option on Edwin Encarnacion, but I suppose there's still might be some interest. Idea: If the Jays want Papi so badly, the Sox should sign him themselves and then offer Ortiz straight up for John Farrell.

Orioles: You know Buck Showalter would love this. The guy's more concerned with the Red Sox than he his own team. But then again, if they're looking for an aging Dominican DH, they're better off re-signing Vlad Guerrero he'll come cheaper. Or better yet, how about bringing both Vlad and Papi in and having them race around the bases for the job? At the end of the day, much like with the A's and Mariners, I don't see Papi sucking it up and committing two (or three) years to basement Baltimore.

And at the end of free agency, despite alleged interest and other offers, I don't see Papi anywhere but Boston. He and his agent can posture all they want.

There's no better fit and no more likely destination.

Rich can be reached at rlevine@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Rich on Twitter at http:twitter.comrich_levine

A farewell to the many prospects Dave Dombrowski traded Tuesday

A farewell to the many prospects Dave Dombrowski traded Tuesday

A baseball lesson: There’s trading a top prospect because you know he’s not as good as everyone thinks (a la the Atlanta Braves back in the day with Andy Marte) and then there’s straight-up dumping out the treasure chest because you’re Dave GD Dombrowski and you’ll be damned if “promise” is going to get in the way of you making a zillion trades… a la Dave Dombrowski.  

Since the start of the 2016 season, Dombrowski has traded four of his top 10 prospects by Baseball America’s rankings, and three of his top five. The group is led by Yoan Moncada, who was considered the team’s best prospect before he was shipped to Chicago in Tuesday’s blockbuster trade for Chris Sale. 

All in all, the Sox sent out six prospects in two trades Tuesday, and they’ll join the likes of Anderson Espinoza, Manuel Margot and others with whom Dombrowski has willingly parted since taking over as Boston’s president of baseball operations. 

Here’s a look at the players the Sox gave up Tuesday: 

Baseball America Red Sox ranking: 1
MLB.com Red Sox ranking: 1

Moncada’s eight games in the Major Leagues to this point haven’t been impressive, but using that as rationale (as some may have when the Sox traded a young Hanley Ramirez in the Josh Beckett trade) is likely wishful thinking. 

The Cuban infielder was ranked the No. 1 prospect in baseball by Baseball America last season. The outlet projects him as a five-tool player whose potential to hit for average and power will outweigh strikeout concerns. 

From August: 

Built like a running back at 6-foot-2, 205 pounds, Moncada is an explosive athlete with true five-tool potential. A switch-hitter, Moncada has electric bat speed, which combined with his strength allows him to smash hard line drives all over the field. He has at least plus raw power, with that power starting to translate more in games thanks to mechanical adjustments he’s worked on this season.  

Baseball America Red Sox ranking: 5
MLB.com Red Sox ranking: 5

A first-round pick of the Sox in the 2014 draft, Kopech has yet to reach Double A, but, per two radar guns, has reached 105 miles an hour with his fastball. If that number is accurate, it ranks just one tenth of a mile-per-hour behind Arolis Chapman’s 2010 fastball for the fastest pitch recorded. 

Regardless of the pitch’s exact speed, it does damage. Pitching in High-A Salem last season, Kopech struck out a whopping 82 batters in 52 innings. 

Baseball America Red Sox ranking: 9 
MLB.com Red Sox ranking: 8

The switch-hitting outfielder spent most of last season in Single-A Greenville, hitting .258/.325/.447 in 105 games with 12 homers and 52 RBI. The Venezuela native is considered a decent fielder with a very good arm. 

If his name sounds familiar, it’s because it’s the same first and last name as twin brother Luis Alejandro Basabe. Perhaps not surprisingly, Dombrowski also traded him over the last year when he shipped the second baseman to Arizona in the Brad Ziegler trade. 

(Not ranked among Baseball America’s top 10 Red Sox prospects) 
MLB.com Red Sox ranking: 17

Maybe the kind of guy you want to keep on the same day you trade Yoan Moncada. 

Dubon is considered a very solid infield prospect, so much so that The Boston Globe noted Tuesday that “teams were absolutely drooling over Dubon’s defense and his offensive potential.” He finished the season at Double-A Portland, hitting .339/.371/.538 with six homers, six triples and 40 RBI. 

(Not ranked among Baseball America’s top 10 Red Sox prospects) 
 MLB.com Red Sox ranking: 28

The hard-throwing righty reportedly hit triple digits with his fastball this season and, like Kopech, used his fastball to his advantage. He struck out 63 batters in 60.1 innings for Single-A Greenville

(Not ranked among Baseball America’s top 10 Red Sox prospects) 
MLB.com Red Sox ranking: N/A

This is an interesting one. He was drafted as a project in the 2014 draft after learning that he would need Tommy John Surgery. He was starting to make good on his potential this past season, posting a 2.86 ERA and striking out 49 batters in 56.2 innings for Short-Season A Lowell. 

McAdam: For Dombrowski and Red Sox, the future is now

McAdam: For Dombrowski and Red Sox, the future is now

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. -- Dave Dombrowski has jumped in. All in. With both feet.


For an executive with a reputation for making bold moves, Dombrowski may have made his boldest one yet Tueday by shipping arguably the organization's best position player prospect (Yoan Moncada) and its best pitching prospect (Michael Kopech), along with two others, to the Chicago White Sox for lefty ace Chris Sale.

Adding Sale to a rotation that already includes reigning Cy Young Award winner Rick Porcello and David Price gives the Red Sox the American League's best rotation and makes the Sox the team to beat in the A.L.

Hired 17 months ago with a mandate to make the Red Sox winners again after three last-place finishes in the span of four seasons, Dombrowski has acted aggressively and decisively.

Since then, he's obtained Price, Craig Kimbrel, Carson Smith, Drew Pomeranz, Tyler Thornburg and Sale. That translates into three lefty starters and three back-end power arms in the bullpen.

Of course, all those moves have come at a significant cost. Dombrowski has gone through the Red Sox' minor-league system and shredded it, sacrificing Anderson Espinoza, Manuel Margot, Javier Guerra, and now, Moncada and Kopech.

The pitching, in particular, has been stripped bare, with Espinoza and Kopech representing the two best arms in the system. And in Moncada, the Sox gave up on arguably the single most talented propsect in the entire sport.

At a time when teams protect their best young players as though their existence depends on them, Dombrowski has demonstrated a willingess to move them for a chance to win now.

In exchange, the Sox have now built a super rotation, with three front-line starters, augmented by two other lefties (Pomeranz and Eduardo Rodriguez) along with Steven Wright and Clay Buchholz.

It's a virtual certainty that the Sox will move one of those arms now, in a market where there's virtually no quality free-agent starters available.

Buchholz, who stands to earn $13.5 million in 2017, would give them payroll relief, while Rodriguez, because of his youth and upside, might give the team its biggest return.

Dombrowski's moves create a window for the Red Sox. Sale's deal runs through 2019, while Price has an opt-out in his deal after 2018.

That creates some urgency for the Red Sox to capitalize on the strength of their rotation and a nucleus of young position players -- Mookie Betts, Xander Bogaerts, Jackie Bradley Jr., Andrew Benintendi -- and win multiple titles in the next few seasons.

Anything less will be considered a failure.

It's championship-or-bust time at Fenway.