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About Alex Speier

Before he joined WEEI.com, Alex covered the Red Sox for several New England and national publications, including the New Hampshire Union Leader, Boston Metro, Boston Herald and Baseball America. Alex graduated from Harvard, where he served as the captain of the debate team, an experience that has been of surprisingly little use in press boxes across the country.

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11/19/14 10:03 EST
In light of the semi-public courtship of Pablo Sandoval, a question looms: Why not Hanley Ramirez? Sandoval, of course, entered the offseason as the top third baseman on the market, a player whose combination of offensive and defensive ability seemed to separate him from other alternatives, most notably Chase Headley (whose impact in the last two years has been tied more to his defense than his offense). Sandoval would fit comfortably into the middle of the lineup and would address some of the porousness that existed on the left side of the infield for the Sox in 2014. But years and zeros continue to be added to the conversation about what it will take to land Sandoval. Five years? Six years? $80 million? $100 million? As that transpires, there's little mention of the market for Ramirez, even though the three-time All-Star has signaled a willingness to move from shortstop (where he has played for the Dodgers since a mid-2012 trade) to other positions, including third. Some of the
11/18/14 01:35 EST
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The logic behind opening up the Red Sox' vaults and letting Jon Lester dive into piles of money, Scrooge McDuck-style, is fairly straightforward. Not only is Lester an elite pitcher, the kind who can front the designs for a World Series, but he's also a known quantity, someone whose ability to thrive in Boston requires no guesswork. By contrast, while the Red Sox have good reports on Pablo Sandoval's makeup and know that he's been a key contributor on a championship team, there are a host of unknowns surrounding him. Would Boston bring out the best in him or would he recoil at the demands of the more critical baseball environment? Would he commit to keeping himself in shape over the life of a contract or would he take advantage of his financial security? Both players might land deals of $100 million or more this winter. Yet while both players will command huge payouts, the variables for the Sox involved in the two players are very different. "It's one less thing to have to spend a lot
11/12/14 12:49 EST
Is Pablo Sandoval undervalued? Or is the market engaged in a dizzying overvaluation of a middle-of-the-order hitter with a chance to age badly? That is the question looming over the Red Sox' search for a third baseman, with Sandoval representing the obvious fit given both the position he plays, his availability as a free agent and the fact that he would help the team address its glaring need for more production against right-handed pitchers. Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports is reporting (via twitter) that the Sox and Giants appear to be the chief suitors for the third baseman, with the Sox in need of a "big play" if they hope to entice him. Obviously, there's considerable risk in a big play. But is there the possibility for something of a bargain? Yes, there are the questions of how he will age based on his weight. In terms of offensive production, there's reason to believe that he has a chance to remain a productive hitter over the life of his next contract.Yet the small sample of
11/10/14 12:52 EST
The starter's pistol has fired for one of the most fascinating Red Sox offseasons in years. Based on the team's needs -- a pair of front-end starting pitchers, a third baseman, left-handed lineup balance, more impact bullpen arms -- this will be a winter of wild trade rumors for the Red Sox. That being the case, it's worth contemplating the team's trade assets as they prepare to engage with other clubs in finding solutions for 2015. POTENTIAL CENTERPIECES YOENIS CESPEDES The Red Sox did not acquire Yoenis Cespedes -- in exchange for their most significant trade chip in ages, Jon Lester -- with the intention of trading him. And there remains a very real possibility that Cespedes is a critical part of the team's lineup in 2015. But a few pieces of information between July 31 and the end of the season do point to the need for the Sox at least to explore the outfielder's value on the market: -- Though the Sox wanted to see him in right field, Cespedes proved reluctant to shift corners. If he's



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