11/30/09 11:34 AM EST
Inbox: Would Sox trade Papelbon?
Beat reporter Ian Browne answers fans' questions
By Ian Browne / MLB.com
-- Aaron G., Reno, Nev.
First of all, the Red Sox control Papelbon's contractual rights for the next two seasons. That said, I wouldn't rule anything out. In Gonzalez, you are talking about one of the finest young hitters in the game. This is a guy you could build your lineup around for years to come. For those types of players, I don't think you leave very many players off limits.
Whether Papelbon would be enticing to the Padres in such a deal is the question. I think that San Diego GM Jed Hoyer's main motive if he traded for Gonzalez would be to stockpile a collection of top prospects. I'm not sure Papelbon would be the best fit in this deal.
There have been rumors of the Red Sox pursuing a trade for Roy Halladay this offseason. Is there any truth to that? I don't think it makes sense for them to give up so much (as is expected for any Halladay trade) if Halladay is due to become a free agent next offseason. Why not wait and try to sign him next offseason?
-- Ariel H., Miami
If any team makes a deal for Halladay, I'm pretty sure that a new long-term contract would be part of it. You aren't going to mortgage your farm or give up a high-impact player for a player you are renting for one season. Look for the Red Sox to monitor the Halladay situation very closely and remain engaged throughout the process. After facing him for the past several years, they know full well what a competitor this guy is and how durable he is.
Halladay is the type of guy you build a staff around. Imagine having a front three of Halladay, Jon Lester and Josh Beckett for one season. It will be interesting to see how new Jays general manager Alex Anthopoulos handles negotiations for Halladay compared to former GM J.P. Ricciardi. As you may recall, the Red Sox were one of several teams to push for Halladay last July, but he went untraded.
Any word on the status of Cuban defector Aroldis Chapman? Also, would he be an option for the Red Sox's rotation?
-- Dan Y., Boston
Chapman recently switched agents and is now represented by the Hendricks brothers, who have represented several star players over the years, including Roger Clemens and Andy Pettitte. The Red Sox are one of several teams intrigued by Chapman. The biggest question -- other than how much money it will take to get him -- is how close to Major League-ready is Chapman? Some scouts think he's not quite ready for the Majors and will need a little more Minor League seasoning.
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I think David Ortiz had an off April and May partly due to his recovery to the wrist injury. With his contract nearing its end and David just turning 34, do the Sox think that his wrist could be a nagging injury, or do they think he's fully recovered and worthy of a new four- or five-year deal?
-- Anthony C., Augusta, Maine
If the wrist had any impact on Ortiz last season, it was probably that he didn't take as many swings as he normally does in the offseason, and perhaps playing through pain the year before forced some bad habits into his swing. He seems healthy now. The question is whether he can still produce at a high level on a consistent basis. I don't see Ortiz signing another long-term deal with the Red Sox. I think that after 2010, he will be on a year-to-year basis, similar to what Tim Wakefield has done the past few years. Of course, that could change if Ortiz turns back the clock and has a monster '10.
Is there a chance that the Red Sox could somehow reacquire Hanley Ramirez? A huge bat and an All-Star at shortstop would be a nice change.
-- Joel H., Churubusco, N.Y.
It doesn't look like it. Understandably, the Marlins see little reason to trade Ramirez, who is one of the best all-around players in the game. The Red Sox made a run at Ramirez last winter and were fairly quickly rebuffed. I don't think much has changed. Shortstops like that don't come along very often. That said, the 2007 World Series championship likely would not have happened in Boston if Ramirez hadn't been traded for Beckett and Mike Lowell.
What do you believe will happen with Jed Lowrie? If healthy do you feel he will become the starting shortstop or will he continue as a utility man?
-- Luke M., Portland, Maine
You mentioned the big if yourself. "If" healthy. I think that Lowrie could become a very stable player in the mold of Bill Mueller if he could stay healthy. But there's no way to predict health. I think that 2010 will go a long way toward telling us if Lowrie is just one of those guys who will always battle a malady, or if it was just a little blip at the beginning of his career.
Trading Lowell is a bad idea. He can still hit and be productive on the field. It would be a mistake trading Lowell. What do you think?
-- Gregory K., Warwick, R.I.
I don't think the Red Sox have ever tried to say that Mike Lowell wasn't a good and productive player. He has done nothing but give that team everything he's had since the day he showed up in 2006. The question is, will the Red Sox acquire an elite hitter? And will that elite hitter be a corner infielder? If so, Lowell could be moved to make room for the new addition. Lowell is a realist. If the Red Sox move him to get a better player, he might not be happy about it, but he would understand why they did it.
I was wondering how hard you think the Red Sox will try to get Joe Mauer in 2010?
-- Chris R., Vancouver, British Columbia
Mauer is eligible for free agency at the end of 2010. But that is assuming the Twins don't negotiate a new pact with him before then. Yes, if Mauer does become a free agent, the Red Sox will see if they can land him, as will just about every big-market team in the game. Mauer is a once-in-a-generation catcher.