Thursday, November 13, 2003

Free Agent-rific

Here's a list of available players the might spark the interest of the Red Sox. They don't all necessarily fit their needs, but there are some good players here that wouldn't cost a fortune. Every addition doesn't have to be a Vlad Guerrero - you can get quality without breaking the bank. So here's who I like:

  • Pat Hentgen (Baltimore Orioles): Mentioned in Thursday's Boston Herald, Hentgen is coming off a very solid second-half of 2003. After the All-Star break, Pat was 6-3 with a 3.10 ERA and a .216 BAA. No longer a top of the rotation starter, Hentgen could add some depth to the 4-5 slots. A "bull-dog" type with good control.

  • Tom Gordon (Chicago White Sox): Former Red Sox closer, Flash seemed to finally rebound from his shoulder surgery with the White Sox last year. The curveball isn't quite what it was, but he still throws in the mid-90's with solid control. A great option to set-up and occasionally close. Gordon struck out 91 in 72 IP in 2003.

  • Scott Sullivan (Chicago White Sox): Right-handed reliever who spent most of his career in Cincinnati before being traded to the White Sox last year. Can go long or set-up. Has pitched over 100 innings 4 times in his career and has 104 career Holds. Righties hit .187 against him.

  • Brian Anderson (Kansas City Royals): Left-handed starter/reliever who was 12th in the AL in ERA last year. In almost 200 IP, Anderson walked only 43 and compiled 14 wins for Cleveland and KC. Not a world-beater, but a nice lefty option for the back-end of the rotation. Sadly, might be better than Casey Fossum.

  • Raul Ibanez (Kansas City Royals): A solid corner outfielder who can hit the ball hard to the gaps. The last two years Ibanez has averaged 35 doubles, 21 HR's, 96 RBI, and an .841 OPS. Raul does most of his damage against righties, hitting .319 against them. A good option if Boston decides to move Trot or Damon.

  • Curtis Leskanic (Kansas City Royals): Don't panic, there's always Curtis Leskanic. It rhymes, you see. Hard-throwing set-up man who spent most of his career in the NL, Leskanic was the Royal's primary reliever down the stretch. At his best, Leskanic can throw in the mid 90's with biting movement. AL hitters went .180 against him in 2003.

  • LaTroy Hawkins (Minnesota Twins): Perhaps the best set-up man on the market, Hawkins finally showed what all the hype was about in 2003. Always a big "potential" guy, LaTroy figured something out, as he began throwing consistently in the high 90's with great precision. In 77 IP, Hawkins had a K/BB ratio of 5.0, and was third in the AL with 28 Holds. Watch the Yankees on this one.

  • Ricardo Rincon (Oakland A's): As long as he's not facing Todd Walker, he's just fine. Lefties hit only .200 against Rincon last year, with 1 HR in 80 AB's. Good slider/sinker stuff with respectable control. Not just a lefty specialist, Rincon can go multiple innings. Interesting option if Boston let's Sauerbeck walk.

  • John Thomson (Texas Rangers): Lots of innings, not lots of walks. 7th in the AL in IP last year (217), Thomson walked only 49. Might be a little too much John Burkett for the Sox, Thomson is the proverbial "professional pitcher". More times than not, he'll keep you in the game.

  • Kelvim Escobar (Toronto Blue Jays): Frankly, I've never liked the guy much. Has tried to start, close, and set-up and all he's proven is that he's not particularly good at any of them. He does however throw very hard and interested the Sox heavily at the trade deadline. In 2002 Escobar averaged 9.81 K/9 innings. So he's got that going for him.

Next, the NL......