The Boston Red Sox have been very active this offseason.
The club signed outfielder Shane Victorino to a three-year, $39 million contract. Boston also agreed to sign free agent Mike Napoli, though the deal has yet to be made official.
Even after the two signings, Boston still may go after one more high-priced hitter. Rob Bradford of WEEI.com reports that the club has remained in contact with Nick Swisher’s representatives. The Red Sox have been eying Swisher, who hit 24 home runs and drove in 93 runs for the New York Yankees in 2012.
If the Red Sox were to sign Swisher, it might spell the end for Jacoby Ellsbury in Boston. Jon Heyman of CBS Sports says Swisher to the Red Sox would likely mean dealing the centerfielder before the start of the 2013 season.
Josh Hamilton is also on the Red Sox radar, but they are unwilling to give him the lengthy contract that he desires.
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Having already signed a few hitters, Boston is now turning its attention to improving their pitching. Their starting staff was one of the worst in the MLB last season, and there aren’t many big names remaining in free agency.
Zack Greinke, the biggest available name this offseason, signed a $147 million deal with the Los Angeles Dodgers. Pitchers like Hiroki Kuroda, Dan Haren and Brandon McCarthy have also already been signed.
Anibal Sanchez is best starter that remains on the market. Since his first full season in 2010, Sanchez has been very consistent. He’s posted ERA’s of 3.55, 3.67 and 3.86 in the past three years, striking out just under one batter per inning.
While Sanchez would likely be a fine addition to Boston’s rotation, the only issue is his asking price. Sanchez is reportedly looking to make around $90 million over six years. Heyman reports that he even asked one team for $100 million.
The Red Sox have remained steadfast in their commitment to not handing out lengthy contracts. If Sanchez is unable to find a team that meets his request, there’s a good chance Boston could snag him. He proved with the Detroit Tigers that he can pitch well in the playoffs and be a top starter on a winning team.
Besides Sanchez, Boston is also looking at a lesser name that is available in free agency. Kyle Lohse is available for any team to sign, and the Red Sox view him as an option to fill out their rotation.
General manager Ben Cherington is looking to find value on the open market. Lohse has the potential to be a very valuable signing for Boston. He isn’t one of the biggest names available, but Lohse had one of the best seasons for any pitcher last year.
Lohse had been considered a mediocre pitcher for most of his 11-year career, as indicated by his 4.45 career ERA. He turned things around, however, in 2011, with the St. Louis Cardinals. His 3.39 ERA for the 2011 champs was only surpassed by his 2.86 earned run average and 16 wins in 2012.
Lohse may be somewhat of a risky signing given his past struggles. From 2001-2010, he had just one season with a sub-4.00 ERA.
The Red Sox are leaving no stone unturned in their quest to round out their pitching staff. According to Sean McAdam of Comcast Sports Net, Boston has also shown interest in starters Ryan Dempster, Francisco Liriano and Shaun Marcum.