Stove is getting fired up
Rumors are starting to turn into action, and it didn’t take long, as today was Day One of the General Managers Meetings in Orlando. The Marlins made two deals, signing a new catcher in John Buck while trading slugger Dan Uggla to the Braves.
So what will be on Theo Epstein’s docket? The Red Sox’s GM spoke to the Boston media today from Orlando on several subjects. Full disclosure. I am not covering the GM Meetings. So I will print some of Epstein’s quotes, attributing them to their source.
The bullpen was obviously a glaring weakness last year and Epstein does not rule out making a multi-year offer to a free agent reliever. Scott Downs and Joaquin Benoit are two of the more intriguing names in on the market.
“There’s a good chance of it,” Epstein said in a quote that was printed on WEEI.com. “I’m not opposed to the right multi-year deal for the right reliever. If it’s a reasonable multi-year deal that adds some value to the club, and if it’s a pitcher whose performance, stuff, command and health gives some compelling reason to say this is a guy we can trust going forward, then sure, we’ll do a multi-year deal. What we’re trying to avoid is the over-reaction of a pitcher who has an up-and-down career, who happens to have one good year and then you’ve locked yourself into a three-year deal for that pitcher and you’re surprised when they don’t live up to it and it really hamstrings you. That’s the type of thing you want to avoid. No club operates in a vacuum. You can’t just pick the player, pick the contract that you want. You have to be competitive in the marketplace. So you just work hard to find the most reasonable deals you can and move forward.”
Epstein also reiterated the club’s confidence that Jarrod Saltalamacchia can be a considerable part of the catching equation in 2011.
“We’ll probably have a more experienced guy than him on the roster as well, but I think we’re comfortable with him in a role anywhere from backup to job share to everyday guy, depending on how the rest of the club shapes up,” Epstein said in a quote on ESPNBoston.com. “We like him. Obviously we liked him from a scouting standpoint. We took an opportunity to buy low after he’d been through a rough period. He really impressed the staff, which had no vested interest in it. He really opened some eyes, from the manager (Terry Francona) to (catching instructor and bullpen coach) Gary Tuck to the pitching coach. The way he handled the pitchers, the way he threw, the way he conducted himself in the clubhouse, he was impressive to everybody.”
The GM added that the club isn’t afraid to take chances on young players within the organization.
“At some point you’ve got to give a chance to young players, let them build value, and he’s one of those guys. (Jed) Lowrie is potentially another. (Ryan) Kalish is potentially another. We’re not going to have high-profile solutions to all our needs, so it’s good to have those alternatives you can turn to,” Epstein said.
While the Sox will be active when it comes to talking to agents for free agents, Epstein said that trades are preferable.
“Generally I’d rather through trades. When you make trades, you tend to capture players who are closer to the primes of their careers and you’re paying through acquisition costs for future performance,” Epstein said in a blog printed by WEEI.com. “In free agency, often times you’re paying for past performance. That said, we’ll proably do a little bit of both. Ideally, you have a surplus of everything and you can make trades and fill all your needs while staying out of the free agent market. But that’s not the reality. The reality is free agency is a necessity at times for teams that try to compete every single year. When there’s elite players available in free agency, that’s a great way to acquire talent beca ause then you’re getting an elite player and not surrendering your best young talent to get it.”