The Boston Red Sox did quite an amount of work during this past offseason in order to be contenders again, but it hasn’t worked out. They may only be 6.5 games out of first in the AL East, but the Sox are 5 games under .500. The reasoning behind their struggles is not just one answer it’s everything. Firstly, the offensive production has been a disappointment batting for an average of .257 and 13th in the league in homers. Their new acquires of Pablo Sandoval and Hanley Ramirez have not been worth the $183 million in contracts. As for pitching, besides Clay Buchholz, the starting rotation has been pitiful, while the bullpen has been half decent. Going into the season the Sox rotation had a handful of #2’s and 3’s with a solid power lineup to back them up, but the plan hasn’t exactly work out, however, thanks to the division being hot/cold, Boston has a decision to make.
Since before the Winter Meetings in Sand Diego back in December, there have been ongoing talks of the Phillies dealing lefty ace, Cole Hamels. For a while the Sox seemed to be frontrunners, but the prospects that Philly wanted from Boston was too high of a price, so the Sox shot the offers down. But now that the all-star break is here and the men at Fenway are 5 games under .500 and only 6 games back with a hurting starting rotation, the acquisition of Cole Hamels could very well be the solution to give the team one more chance at the 2015 playoffs.
By the numbers Hamels may not look like an ace the last few seasons, but that is due to the Phillies not giving him much run support. Since 2013, he has not received more than 3.4 runs of support behind him, so that is why his win totals are down. In order to face American league bats, especially in Fenway Park, strikeouts are key, and that is exactly what Hamels is; a power pitcher. Since 2010 Cole Hamels has had at the minimum 8.1 K/9, while collecting 200+ punch-outs 3 times. He may not have Clayton Kershaw type stats, but he is most definitely a solid #2 guy who will give a squad 67% of quality starts (league average since rookie year: 51%) with 200+ K’s, while pitching into the 7th inning almost every game with 100+ pitches thrown. He may cost a good amount of money, but the Phillies are willing to help with the cost in exchange for some top prospects.
The biggest name that the Phillies were going after of the Sox was Mookie Betts, along with Blake Swihart, however, those names may both be off the table for good. Betts is having a solid year hitting .277 in centerfield, while the small portion the Sox have seen of Swihart has told them that he is the next Carlton Fisk. Swihart should be off the table for sure, but if the Sox really want a chance at the postseason this year, than Mookie may have to go along with a top pitching prospect in Henry Owens or Brian Johnson. However, now that the season is mid-way through, the Phillies have indicated that they are also willing to attach a guy like Chase Utley to the deal, which in the Sox case, would move all-star Brock Holt back to the outfield. There is a deal there somewhere there, but is it the right way to go? Or should the Sox accept defeat and sign two big arms during the 2015 offseason, and go for it all in 2016?