(Too many) Angels in the outfield: Boston's outfield problem
What to do, what to do. With the signing of Rusney Castillo, the Red Sox added another layer to an outfield that now seems overloaded with talent. The Red Sox signed Castillo to a 7-year/$72 million deal after trading Jon Lester and Jonny Gomes to the Oakland Athletic's for outfielder Yoenis Cespedes and bringing in Allen Craig (along with Joe Kelly) from St. Louis for John Lackey before the trade deadline.
Right now, the starting outfield looks this: Cespedes in left field, Mookie Betts in center and Craig in right, with a number of others also in contention for outfield playing time. Those guys are Brock Holt, Jackie Bradley Jr., Daniel Nava,and Shane Victorino (whenever he gets healthy). Including Castillo, that's 8 outfielders who could be vying for playing time in 2015.
You'd have to think a 7-year/$72 million contract is enough to guarantee a starting job for Castillo in center. As for the others, there are no givens, except for maybe Cespedes. That is, unless the Red Sox turn around and trade him come winter. I don't think they would - my guess is he'll be in a Red Sox uniform for the remainder of his contract (he's under contract through next year), then the Red Sox will make a decision in the off season about him.
BUT some of the outfield guys do have to go. Whether back down to the minors or to another team could be a matter of debate. Mookie Betts could certainly use some more time in the minors. But, according to Soxprospects.com, he's the top prospect in the system, so he could be dangled as trade bait, along with a Jackie Bradley Jr, who has had his struggles at the plate, but has flashed some leather at the big-league level. Brock Holt is another young guy, but I don't see the red Sox trading him. Aside from his immense talent, he can play just about every position on the field, it seems, so he's too valuable to give up. That's just me, though. I'm sure most fans would probably agree, I'd bet.
So, who stays, who goes? That depends on the organization, but I would say Daniel Nava, JBJ and Allen Craig are definitely expendable. I'd like to see Betts sent down to the Pawtucket, work on his game, and come back up even better than before, but I think he could well be used in a trade to bring in some pop or a starting pitcher.
My starting OF:
Agree? Disagree? Leave a comment below and follow me on Twitter (@C_Frederick1016).