The "Replacing Ortiz" thread

Yelling At Clouds

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Seems there is some interest in discussing the plan for replacing Ortiz. I don't have a lot of time now for detail on the different options - which are, basically, sign a free agent like Bautista, trade for someone like Braun, or mostly stand pat. I will update later, but if someone wants to get the ball rolling in the meantime, have at it.
 

Sandy Leon Trotsky

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I'm in the stand pat stands. No to older FA signings- Encarnacion or Bats, etc.... will be extremely expensive and likely underperform their contracts by a wide margin.

Mookie CF
Pedroia 2B/DH
X SS
Hanley DH/1st
Shaw 1st/3rd/DH
JBJ CF
Benintendi LF
Moncada 3rd/2nd
Swihart C/LF/DH

Definitely spreads out the production but also keeps people fresher throughout the season using that DH spot to rotate rest a little and keep guys fresh. Brock Holt, Vazquez, etc... can still get plenty of PA's here too.

And oh crap... forgot about Sandoval*

*If I'm being honest I can see Pablo being in the slot to start the season where I put Moncada and if he's showing health and mobility and sporting an OPS around .775 you hold onto him or deal him to address a need
 

foulkehampshire

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Edwin Encarnacion. He pulls so many deep fly-balls and as a RHH in Fenway, it could be a beautiful thing.

Outside of Ortiz, he's one of the toughest power-hitters to strike out in the MLB. A late bloomer like Papi, I could see him aging very well into his late 30's as a DH for the Sox.

Other than Edwin, meh. The Sox would be fine standing pat considering the continued development and youth of Mookie, JBJ, Mookie, Swihart - and considering the rapid development and potential additions of Moncada, Benintendi.
 

nvalvo

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I've just been playing around with an MLE spreadsheet (admittedly an extremely inexact science), and the MLEs for Moncada and Benintendi are pretty appealing.

Benintendi, A+: .287/.351/.436
Benintendi, AA: .259/.308/.425
Moncada, A+: .256/.359/.399
Moncada, AA: .296/.327/.534

All of those lines would be above league average.
 

Minneapolis Millers

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If teams all see Encarnacion as a DH only and his market therefore suffers, I could see Sox interest in a 3/$60 kind of deal. But that's likely to be at least $5M per too light, so I'd pass. Throw some extra cash at extending X (and even Betts), buy another BP arm (resign Ziegler?), and turn Clay's $13M and Papi's $16M into another starter somehow (maybe trade for someone plus some dead weight as with Beckett/Lowell).
 

PapaSox

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I like the idea of sitting on what we have, including Aaron Hill. We can use the DH role to keep players well rested, yet still in the game and providing a role for bench players to keep their bats fresh. Panda is the great wild-card in this equation. I'm not sure which Panda will show up.

Next seasons FA market for pitching is thin. If we are to spend money next year I'd rather it be spent to add a fourth or fifth arm to solidify the rotation. Someone like "Andrew Cashner".
 

chrisfont9

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Edwin Encarnacion. He pulls so many deep fly-balls and as a RHH in Fenway, it could be a beautiful thing.

Outside of Ortiz, he's one of the toughest power-hitters to strike out in the MLB. A late bloomer like Papi, I could see him aging very well into his late 30's as a DH for the Sox.

Other than Edwin, meh. The Sox would be fine standing pat considering the continued development and youth of Mookie, JBJ, Mookie, Swihart - and considering the rapid development and potential additions of Moncada, Benintendi.
That's tempting, but it also means Hanley plays 1B for two more years, which generally keeps Shaw at third or in a platoon of some sort. If we could deal Hanley, I'd be more excited about Encarnacion, but since that's unrealistic I'd say I'm leaning toward the use-what-we-have camp.
 

rembrat

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What's wrong with Hanley playing 1B for 2 more years? I think he's handled the position better than anyone expected him too .
 

burstnbloom

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It robs you of position flexibility. If Moncada is at 3b and EE is the DH, one of Shaw or Hanley has to go.
 

simplicio

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What's wrong with Hanley playing 1B for 2 more years? I think he's handled the position better than anyone expected him too .
Durability mostly, and flexibility, and paying another 20+ million on a guy with no defensive value on a team that already has Hanley and Sandoval. We still need to replace Koji and Taz and Zeigler too, and Buchholz if he can't turn things around enough to be worth his option.
 

Yelling At Clouds

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I'm in the stand pat stands. No to older FA signings- Encarnacion or Bats, etc.... will be extremely expensive and likely underperform their contracts by a wide margin.

Mookie CF
Pedroia 2B/DH
X SS
Hanley DH/1st
Shaw 1st/3rd/DH
JBJ CF
Benintendi LF
Moncada 3rd/2nd
Swihart C/LF/DH

Definitely spreads out the production but also keeps people fresher throughout the season using that DH spot to rotate rest a little and keep guys fresh. Brock Holt, Vazquez, etc... can still get plenty of PA's here too.

And oh crap... forgot about Sandoval*

*If I'm being honest I can see Pablo being in the slot to start the season where I put Moncada and if he's showing health and mobility and sporting an OPS around .775 you hold onto him or deal him to address a need
So I expect this will be a popular answer around here, and it seems reasonable. I have a few concerns, though.

First, while basically everyone is ticketing Moncada for third, he's yet to play a game there. The word is that they're waiting until he masters second base before moving him elsewhere, and that might not necessarily be to third. Even though we all are collectively wishing to send Pablo to Mandyville, he is still technically under contract and likely to at least get a chance to win his old job back. Either way, presumably they wouldn't want Moncada learning on the job at the MLB level, so this might slow his ascent. Maybe not a lot, though.

Second, while Shaw's bat makes him a valuable third baseman, does it play at first? Maybe it does in this offensive environment - as I look it up, he's 9th in wRC+ among 1B, but 11th among 3B.

Third, I don't think the front office will hesitate to move Swihart in a deal for pitching (or offense!), which would mean starting Vazquez. They could bring in someone like Lucroy or Vogt, and they can probably use prospects from the Chavis/Dubon/Basabe tier to do so.

EDIT: I was going to suggest the Beltran idea. Yeah, he'll be forty, but that makes him more likely to sign a less-risky short-term deal. No, he can't field anymore, but who cares? Not sure I see a downside other than the fact that he's playing well enough that someone might actually offer him a multi-year deal.
 

plucy

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A year from now I could see first, third and DH covered by Shaw, Sandoval, Moncada and Travis. Sandoval would be the LH DH (career 128RC+), Travis off the bench, along with Young, as RH DH.
Oh, I forgot Hanley, did I? Yes, yes I did. He was traded in the offseason with $15-18M to create space to absorb an SP contract.
Sox need to spend as much as possible on pitching, SP and RP. Save for catcher, the lineup should be deep next year.
 

Mighty Joe Young

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In a normal year EE would be the proper choice. However, the Sandoval conundrum really needs to be resolved before committing another big contract to a 1B/DH type. If Pablo manages to resurrect his career he's a useful player - but only if he plays 3B. So you have to slot Hanley in as the presumptive 2017 DH with Shaw moving over to 1B.

If Pablo continues to eat himself out of baseball then you dump him for whatever you can get - or eat the contract. But they're probably not going to know this until ST comes around - which will be too late to sign the likes of EE.
 

threecy

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It's hard to look at right now due to injuries and under-performance, but perhaps introducing Swihart to 1B (or shuttling him through another position) with Vazquez (or Ty Cobb Leon?) to do a C platoon, and having Hanley shuffle between 1B and DH could be an interesting way to have depth.
 

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In a normal year EE would be the proper choice. However, the Sandoval conundrum really needs to be resolved before committing another big contract to a 1B/DH type. If Pablo manages to resurrect his career he's a useful player - but only if he plays 3B. So you have to slot Hanley in as the presumptive 2017 DH with Shaw moving over to 1B.

If Pablo continues to eat himself out of baseball then you dump him for whatever you can get - or eat the contract. But they're probably not going to know this until ST comes around - which will be too late to sign the likes of EE.
If Sandoval, Shaw, and Hanley are all going to play, why does it matter who plays first, third or DH?
 

simplicio

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Yeah, I'd much rather put Sandoval at DH if we have to play him, unless his range has massively improved. Shaw's defense is such a drastic improvement over what we got from him last year.
 

Ale Xander

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If Pablo develops into a useful player don't you just move Shaw (or him) for pitching?
 

TheoShmeo

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I would not hesitate to sign EE because of the sunk cost that is Pablo Sandoval. Pablo has never put up the kind of numbers that we can reasonably expect from Edwin. Just add Pablo to the list with Rusney and Craig of players who should not have been obtained and whose contracts are expensive but not crippling. And if somehow he can come back and play 3b, that gives them some flexibility.
 

Mighty Joe Young

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If Pablo develops into a useful player don't you just move Shaw (or him) for pitching?
This may happen sooner than later .. I think Shaw is gone by the deadline for some Hellickson type.

Regardless, I think the point I made up thread regarding Panda as a "useful" player assumed he would be playing 3b. His bat is not going to play at 1B or DH. "Useful" also assumes he's a good third baseman.

In an ideal world Sandoval assumes his once-upon-a-time status as a good player and they trade him for something of value by next year's deadline - opening up 3b for Moncada. Sadly I think this is rather unlikely but , at least, this FO has the guts to accept a sunk cost and not let Pablo clutter up the roster.

As for the OP .. they have lots of options for filling DH internally without committing big bucks to a FA DH.
 

mwonow

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I really like the EE idea. All of the folks being debated above are good ballplayers (or have the potential to be, or are Pablo) but none of the folks who would be added to the mix (Pablo, Moncado, Benintendi, Swihart) remotely replaces Papi in the lineup in 2017, and most likely, ever. Papi is a top-of-the-major-leagues bat - so is EE. None of those other guys are in that conversation.
 

burstnbloom

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And why exactly is this a problem?

Ortiz has "robbed" them of position flexibility for 13 years and it seems to have worked out just fine.
It's a problem because you have too many players for the amount of positions you can fill and 2 of them aren't easy to move on the trade market. If there is a path to jettison Hanley and Pablo, then by all means, sign EE, but if those two are still on this roster, it would be very difficult to make it work.
 

yep

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And why exactly is this a problem?

Ortiz has "robbed" them of position flexibility for 13 years and it seems to have worked out just fine.
DH is the one position that anyone can play. You can put a good hitter coming back from injury there, you can move a weak infielder there if a better defender becomes available, you can platoon people for pitching matchups, etc. When you put a high-priced name in the DH slot, it now means that your recovering hitter or your second-best 3B is riding the bench instead of contributing.

Over the next three years, there will be a lot of games where the Red Sox can put someone adequate in the DH spot more or less for free, from major-league talent already on the roster. Paying a dedicated FA to DH means that the Red Sox will instead be paying those persons to ride the bench during those games when they could have been DHing.

It's better spend money on the other end of the defensive spectrum, because you can do more with those players. David Ortiz has been something really special, in a lot of ways and for a lot of time. But usually, having a superstar DH is a recipe for creating a logjam at the weak end of the defensive spectrum, as your lineup ages and gets creaky knees and so on.
 

Rasputin

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Count me as opposed to a big free agent signing.

Think of it this way. Instead of having a permanent DH, you have an extra person on the bench, you just have to play one of them every day. You can use it to maximize the flexibility of your roster and give the manager more opportunities to play the matchup game. It makes it possible to carry a third player who can catch, giving your manager more of a chance to pinch hit for the starting catcher.

If Benintendi and Moncada transition quickly, the eight non-catchers will all be better than average defenders, better than average hitters, and better than average baserunners.
 

chrisfont9

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What's wrong with Hanley playing 1B for 2 more years? I think he's handled the position better than anyone expected him too .
What Simplicio and Burstnbloom said, but also you then have some $40 mil tied up in two guys from the same, generally unpalatable profile of age and inflexibility. It isn't a total disaster if things go well, since as you say Hanley is fine defensively at first. It's just a risk, and I'm not sure it's so much better than some other alternatives that preserve the team's flexibility.
 

rembrat

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I hear ya but the only problem with the "DH by committee" is when everyone you put at that position ends up sucking. Encarnacion is a legit power threat and I'd hate to pass up on that much power for another "clever" idea. It reminds me of stock piling a rotation with a bunch of 4's who can get groundballs instead going after bonafide pitchers.
 

luckysox

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I hear ya but the only problem with the "DH by committee" is when everyone you put at that position ends up sucking. Encarnacion is a legit power threat and I'd hate to pass up on that much power for another "clever" idea. It reminds me of stock piling a rotation with a bunch of 4's who can get groundballs instead going after bonafide pitchers.
So all the hitters can get "I'm the DH" t-shirts, right?
 

foulkehampshire

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Edwin can play 1B more than we've seen with Ortiz. The Sox could certainly have EE spell Ramirez at 1B on days off or even weekly to keep him fresh, rotating Hanley to DH on those days.

Whether or not the team would be best served with EE playing the field due to the injury risk is another story.
 

nothumb

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Count me as opposed to a big free agent signing.

Think of it this way. Instead of having a permanent DH, you have an extra person on the bench, you just have to play one of them every day. You can use it to maximize the flexibility of your roster and give the manager more opportunities to play the matchup game. It makes it possible to carry a third player who can catch, giving your manager more of a chance to pinch hit for the starting catcher.

If Benintendi and Moncada transition quickly, the eight non-catchers will all be better than average defenders, better than average hitters, and better than average baserunners.
I think this is a generally reasonable argument, but it loses some appeal if we find ourselves in the specific scenario where one of those rotational hitter types is Pablo Sandoval, who may effectively be a guy who has fallen off the defensive spectrum entirely and who can only sort of DH against RHP. If you want to cycle the DH spot, you also need some guys like Shaw who don't mind not playing the same spot each day / not being "the guy."

So practically speaking, if we are talking about, I dunno, Hanley, Shaw, Young, Moncada and Swihart rotating through some combo of mostly corner IF / LF / DH, that could work.
 

Rasputin

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I think this is a generally reasonable argument, but it loses some appeal if we find ourselves in the specific scenario where one of those rotational hitter types is Pablo Sandoval, who may effectively be a guy who has fallen off the defensive spectrum entirely and who can only sort of DH against RHP. If you want to cycle the DH spot, you also need some guys like Shaw who don't mind not playing the same spot each day / not being "the guy."

So practically speaking, if we are talking about, I dunno, Hanley, Shaw, Young, Moncada and Swihart rotating through some combo of mostly corner IF / LF / DH, that could work.
If management is willing to bench him, I think they're going to be willing to cut him. As far as I am concerned, he doesn't exist.
 

soxhop411

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From January:
/11. Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion: Josh Donaldson is the reigning AL MVP, and new club president Mark Shapiro has a major challenge in store taking over for executive of the year Alex Anthopoulos and trying to build on the Blue Jays' first postseason berth since 1993. But much of the attention in Toronto will focus on Bautista and Encarnacion, who combined for 79 homers and 225 RBIs and helped scare the daylights out of visiting pitchers at Rogers Centre in 2015. Both sluggers are eligible for free agency in November, and their hazy futures will be an inevitable piece of the narrative this summer in Toronto. The buzz is already building that one of the two will eventually land in Boston as Ortiz's DH heir at Fenway.

http://espn.go.com/mlb/story/_/id/14473972/mlb-most-interesting-people-2016


---------------------------
From ESPN this month

Heyman wrote last month that Encarnacion or Bautista could land with the Boston Red Sox in the offseason and mentions both as potential replacements for David Ortiz. Ortiz himself has campaigned for Encarnacion to fill his spot in the Red Sox lineup once he retires at the end of the season.

"He’s a perfect replacement,” the Red Sox designated hitter told Rob Bradford of WEEI.com. "Because of everything, but mostly because he can hit
Encarnacion said he was honored by Big Papi's praise but doesn't see himself as an everyday designated hitter. He can play first base and played third during his time with the Cincinnati Reds but is currently listed as the primary DH on the Blue Jays' depth chart.

"I don’t feel like I’m going to be a full-time DH," Encarnacion told Bradford. "I feel like I can still play defense

http://espn.go.com/blog/mlb/rumors/post/_/id/25430/mlb-rumor-central-encarnacion-blue-jays-no-longer-discussing-extension

So I guess you could say we already have some "smoke"
 

nothumb

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If management is willing to bench him, I think they're going to be willing to cut him. As far as I am concerned, he doesn't exist.
I'm inclined to agree, but if conditions break in a different direction - some combination of budget constraints, internal options not panning out, Sandoval's recovery going well, free agent market going ok - I could see a scenario where signing a guy like EE would make sense. You need sort of a wealth of flexible, appealing position players to make it work, and if someone gets moved for pitching, or the FO isn't willing to totally cut bait on Sandoval without at least seeing if the surgery helps... etc.

For instance - Shaw gets moved for pitching, Moncada needs time to adjust to AAA, Hill walks after 2016, Swihart's recovery goes slowly... it's not hard to envision a scenario where the FO decides to roll the dice with EE, let Sandoval take a crack at 3B for the first month or two and try to re-establish value, with the plan of bringing Moncada up if he can't hack or plays well enough that they don't have to eat his whole salary. I'm not saying it would be my first choice, just that it's early and we don't really know what assets we'll have going into 2017 yet.
 

Bergs

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I genuinely hope the disastrously sunk cost of Pablo Fucking Sandoval enters into DD's mind not one iota.
 

Yelling At Clouds

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I guess to me, the question of "who will replace Ortiz" is less "who's going to DH" and more "where is that lost offense going to come from?" Right now, doing nothing, as many people have suggested, gives you this lineup:

Betts RF
Pedroia 2B
Bogaerts SS
Ramirez DH/1B
Bradley CF
Shaw 3B/1B/DH
Sandoval 3B/DH
Vazhart C
Benintendi LF

With Moncada entering the mix at some point. You can quibble about the order and some positions - my version has four RH batters in a row, probably not going to cut it - but that's the personnel.

A serious question: is that lineup good enough? You've effectively replaced Ortiz's 2016 with Pablo Sandoval. And yes, maybe LF and C have been upgraded (Benintendi > the relay team and a full season of Swihart > Vazquez/Hanigan/Leon), and maybe Moncada hits the ground running when he shows up, but none of those players is an Ortiz-style hitter - Ramirez was in his younger days, but outside of April 2015, he hasn't really been since getting here. Do you need a guy like that? I am not sure, but I would feel a lot better with one around, personally. Who it is would be a different question.
 

Harry Hooper

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I guess to me, the question of "who will replace Ortiz" is less "who's going to DH" and more "where is that lost offense going to come from?" Right now, doing nothing, as many people have suggested, gives you this lineup:

Betts RF
Pedroia 2B
Bogaerts SS
Ramirez DH/1B
Bradley CF
Shaw 3B/1B/DH
Sandoval 3B/DH
Vazhart C
Benintendi LF

With Moncada entering the mix at some point. You can quibble about the order and some positions - my version has four RH batters in a row, probably not going to cut it - but that's the personnel.

A serious question: is that lineup good enough? You've effectively replaced Ortiz's 2016 with Pablo Sandoval. And yes, maybe LF and C have been upgraded (Benintendi > the relay team and a full season of Swihart > Vazquez/Hanigan/Leon), and maybe Moncada hits the ground running when he shows up, but none of those players is an Ortiz-style hitter - Ramirez was in his younger days, but outside of April 2015, he hasn't really been since getting here. Do you need a guy like that? I am not sure, but I would feel a lot better with one around, personally. Who it is would be a different question.

Good stuff. A related point is Ortiz taking the pressure off the youngsters by putting up huge offensive numbers. This year he really made it easier in the early weeks for them all to find their footing at the plate. Granted, they will all have another year of experience when 2017 rolls around, but it's definitely an asset to have that potent veteran bat in the lineup.
 

mwonow

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^^ (Darwin, also HH) +1. The Sox are winning 'cause they score runs; they score runs, at least in part, because the guy who is currently the best hitter in the league is in the middle of the lineup. It doesn't make sense to believe that replacing that production with guys looking for a day off from the field will produce anything like similar results.

EE is a legitimately scary hitter - and hey, he can play at least a little D, so if Hanley et al needs a day off, something can probably get worked out
 

Al Zarilla

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Good stuff. A related point is Ortiz taking the pressure off the youngsters by putting up huge offensive numbers. This year he really made it easier in the early weeks for them all to find their footing at the plate. Granted, they will all have another year of experience when 2017 rolls around, but it's definitely an asset to have that potent veteran bat in the lineup.
Good point. I've had this fear that one or more of the Killer Bs will go into "sophomore slump" type slide. Maybe the Large Father has also kept it loose enough with his huge personality to keep the youngsters from worrying about a couple of hitless days.

Pedro on a post ASG panel was saying he really didn't think Ortiz will retire after this year; his numbers are so sensational. Ortiz has been pretty adamant that this is it though.
 

Harry Hooper

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Pedro on a post ASG panel was saying he really didn't think Ortiz will retire after this year; his numbers are so sensational. Ortiz has been pretty adamant that this is it though.
I think it was the July 2 or July 3rd broadcast, but DOB and Remy were most definitive that Papi was going to retire. Presumably they had chatted with him during that series.
 

Papelbon's Poutine

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For instance - Shaw gets moved for pitching, Moncada needs time to adjust to AAA, Hill walks after 2016, Swihart's recovery goes slowly... it's not hard to envision a scenario where the FO decides to roll the dice with EE, let Sandoval take a crack at 3B for the first month or two and try to re-establish value, with the plan of bringing Moncada up if he can't hack or plays well enough that they don't have to eat his whole salary. I'm not saying it would be my first choice, just that it's early and we don't really know what assets we'll have going into 2017 yet.
Remove Swihart having a slow recovery and change it to resigning Hill and I think this is almost an ideal scenario going forward. The team needs pitching right now and absent the big 4/5 prospects, they have little in trade commodities to use. Cash in on Shaw before he turns into a pumpkin and get a pitcher. End of season resign Hill as protection and then next season you give Pablo a couple months to reestablish himself so you can shop him. If Moncada is ready by that point, you move Pablo for whatever you can, eating a proper balance of money to net a prospect return. Pablo is going to need to play next year unless the team is willing to eat almost the entirety of his contract.
 

Savin Hillbilly

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I think the urgency of replacing Ortiz's production may be a bit exaggerated here. The Sox are currently on a pace to lead the AL in scoring by about 80 runs. David Ortiz is on a pace for a 70 wRAA. In other words, replace Ortiz with a league-average hitter this year and the Sox should still top the league in scoring (yeah, I realize offense is not that granular, and removing a great hitter from the middle of a lineup may affect others' performance as well, but I doubt that effect is substantial enough to negate the point that our offense has been good enough to make Ortiz almost superfluous).

Obviously, a lot depends on Benintendi and Moncada--how soon they're available and how quickly they adjust to major league pitching. And what happens with Pablo will matter as well. But for now, I'm not convinced that the best way to pivot into the post-Papi era will be to sign a 34-year-old Papi Lite to a multiyear contract.
 

rembrat

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I think it would be foolish to expect the same level of production from everyone going into 2017. That's what screwed us post 2013.
 

TonyPenaNeverJuiced

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I'm guessing that one of Shaw/Sandoval/Swi/Vaz is gone by opening day next year, if not two. The Sox *might* be wise to hold off on banking on Yoan, AB or anyone, and make a couple of moves like another team that had a hole at DH (and 1B...): the 2003 Red Sox. Brought in a couple of potential power bats and saw what stuck. We don't need to bring in 4 players like that team did (Ortiz, Je. Giambi, Millar & Mueller), and I'm not saying that Steven Pearce or his ilk on a $5m flyer is a good idea, but might want some insurance against the young kids not being quite ready.
 

Savin Hillbilly

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The wrong side of the bridge....
I think it would be foolish to expect the same level of production from everyone going into 2017. That's what screwed us post 2013.
It was foolish to expect that post 2013 because nearly all of our key positional contributors in 2013 were over 30 by 2014 (the only exception was Saltalamacchia, who was a year short of 30 in 2014 and whom we wisely let go). This is a really different situation. Of course it's possible that not all of our young players will be as good next year. But it's also possible that one or more of them might be even better. There's no particular reason to expect that they'll be worse. That's quite different from 2014 where it was 100% predictable that Victorino, Napoli, Gomes, Drew, Nava, and even Ortiz and Pedroia would be worse.