Tuesday, January 30, 2007
Now that Todd Helton "...is not walking through that door", the Sox will turn their attention inking players to minor league contracts with an invitation to Spring Training. Most will try to land deals where they have an opportunity to win a job on the bench or the back of the pen. So it is not unusual that the Sox would have a tough time attracting these types. The last spots on the Sox 25-man appear to be set. The Olde Towne Team sports two bench players – Eric Hinske and Wily Mo Pena - that last season had OPS > 800 – and seven relievers with guaranteed contracts. Not many teams, if any, can make that statement.
Alex Ochoa, who will backup Alex Cora in Rhode Island [I thought Ochoa was Citron...my bad...I reader brought it to my attention in comments...thanks], and Runelvys Hernandez, likely an Allard Baird signing as both spent time in K.C., are the Sox minor league contracts. Arthur Rhodes was on my list. He signed a minor league deal with Seattle and possibly the only good move this winter by the Mariners. Rhodes still had a good K rate last season so his stuff is still present, but had issues yielding walks, which is easier to resolve.
Another good fit is Eduardo Perez. Perez plays first base and historically mashes southpaws at a 260/345/500 clip, whether that is a repeatable skill is questionable, but it is a fact. It is also a fact that Eric Hinske hits like a pitcher versus the same side (224/286/365). Perez would make a nice platoon partner at first providing the Sox with a better backup for both Mike Lowell and Kevin Youkilis than Hinske alone.
Perez knows this role well as he signed up to be Cleveland’s southpaw killer last winter and at this point, he may be willing to sign a minor league deal. It is a cheap insurance policy. Get it done.
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