Alex Speier of WEEI.com is reporting that the Boston Red Sox will continue searching for outfield upgrades this winter. Speier notes that a possible Red Sox addition could be someone that would slide in as a platoon player or an outfielder that would command a larger role.
As the offseason commenced, the Red Sox had an opening in right field as veteran J.D. Drew’s contract had expired. They had an opportunity to bring in one of several full-time starting options from the 2011-12 free agent market including Carlos Beltran, Michael Cuddyer, Jason Kubel and Josh Willingham.
Instead, the Red Sox decided to pass on spending big on a right field solution. Instead, the Red Sox traded Josh Reddick, who started 56 games in right for Boston last season and was their most viable option to start in right next season, for bullpen relief. In the same trade the Red Sox acquired outfielder Ryan Sweeney, who only mustered an OPS of .687 last season for the A’s.
While Sweeney offers the club defensive versatility and outfield depth, he’s probably not a starting right fielder for a club that hopes to contend. Instead, Speier says the Red Sox could look to bring in another player that would platoon with Sweeney, who has fared much better against right-handers throughout his career.
This addition would have to be a right-handed hitter, or at least someone who can handle left-handed pitching. Of the free agent options remaining, only a few names jump out. If the Red Sox are looking to spend a little more, they could go with Ryan Ludwick or Cody Ross. If they’d rather go the thrifty route, Boston could look at a Marcus Thames.
There is a chance the Red Sox could also look to acquire another player through trade, but Speier says the club could ultimately stick with what it has. Darnell McDonald is a career .285/.348/.451 hitter versus lefties and played well down the stretch for the Red Sox in 2011.
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