So if Theo Epstein ever wanted to go Gangsta, this is the move …..
What if Adrian Beltre is sitting on the market two weeks from now and it is clear that there is no bid in sight? Forget that … what if he is sitting there on Wednesday with no bids in sight. Try this out.
Epstein pulls DBack’s GM Kevin Towers into a corner and whispers something. He gets a nod and makes a beeline for the Sox suite. Over the next four hours, Epstein throws Adrian Beltre a life preserver …. 4/56. You have two hours … fill or kill! Baltimore is out now that they have Mark Reynolds. The Angels are suffocating from the sticker shock on Carl Crawford. The Nationals already have a third baseman. Arizona is tempted but on the fence at these price levels.
Epstein gets a call back. Beltre is in but he wants a Jeter-like kiss so it doesn’t seem like he has lost all of his self-respect. Ok, 4/60. Done.
But what do the Sox now do with Kevin Youkilis? After all, they have Adrian Gonzalez inked to play first through the 2018 World Cup in Russia. They now have Beltre in the fold. Are they going to stick Youkilis in Left. Of course not.
This is where Epstein throws down the gauntlet. Remember that conversation he had with Towers? Well, Epstein rings up Kevin and says the pieces are in place. Kevin Youkilis and parts for Justin Upton! BANG! The Snakes are looking for a high-OBP corner infielder and Youkilis is all that. The Snakes are looking for much more than a rental and Youkilis is under control through 2013 for just $37M. And if the Snakes are looking for pitching help, the Sox can meet them with Doubront.
When this hits, there wil be smoke everywhere but when it clears, the Sox are sitting with this lineup: Ellsbury, Pedroia, Gonzalez, Upton, Ortiz, Beltre, Drew, Lowrie, Catcher. Decent health and 80% of the “2010 Beltre” and that is a 925-run lineup with an option on 950. And if Ellsbury has to go with Youkilis, so be it. Slide Kalish in to play center this year and hope he can muster a .350 OBP. If he can’t, try Lowrie or Scutaro at the top.
The beauty of this is three-fold. First off, the entire team would basically be under control through 2014. Yeah, Drew needs to be replaced but that is where Upton comes into play. Two, if Iglesias is involved, Lowrie becomes the SS of the future, but what is wrong with that? And three, while the top of the system will be gutted, the Sox will have years before any internal parts are needed.
Other brownie points to consider:
1) Yes, the Sox will not collect draft picks for letting Beltre walk but they won’t give up their own pick for making a move on Crawford. Nor will they have to pay what will be a huge nut for Crawford.
2) Crawford would need a twenty-foot ladder to sniff Upton’s upside.
3) Did I mention that the Sox would control their whole roster through 2014 so any inflation works to their advantage?
4) The Sox have a ton of payroll coming off the books next year and Gonzalez and Upton are bargains for 2011. So when Gonzo’s contract explodes and Upton’s ticks up, the Sox will have the savings from Papelbon, Drew, Scutaro and Cameron to easily mitigate.
5) This would be an excellent defensive club. Two “Hoovers” at the corners, speed in center, a playmaker at second, solid guys in the outfield corners. Let’s put it this way …. John Lackey will have only himself to blame over those four-run innings if this group takes the field.
This is the ultimate gangsta move. I know .. Youkilis is a favorite. And he doesn’t deserve to be exiled to the desert. But this isn’t just a warning shot. This is dropping the fucking hammer. Theo, you’re close. Now take this across the line!