Do the Sox need to add a right fielder?

December, 16, 2011
As the shopping days tick down before Christmas, so too does the window in which Ben Cherington can add an impact right-handed bat in right field.

He said at the winter meetings last week he would be comfortable with Josh Reddick as his Opening Day right fielder, and it’s looking more and more like that might be the case. Another free agent was taken of the board Friday, when Michael Cuddyer reached an agreement with the Colorado Rockies.

The list of remaining free-agent right fielders that can hit right-handed is dwindling, with Carlos Beltran the notable standout remaining. The Sox have had discussions about Beltran and he remains a possibility, but would certainly not fit the buy-low trend of Boston’s offseason moves. The 34-year-old Beltran made $20 million last season and is surely looking for a multi-year deal.

Then again, the Sox would seem to have money to spend in that area, with right fielder J.D. Drew’s $14 million-per-season deal coming off the books.

Another option, of course, is to acquire a right fielder via trade, a possibility’s Gordon Edes brought up in a water cooler conversation today. Edes suggested Boston could pursue someone like White Sox outfielder Carlos Quentin, who hit 24 homers last season.

If the Sox do indeed stand pat, how comfortable would you be with either Reddick or perhaps Ryan Kalish as the everyday right fielder? Both are left-handed, and the Sox would seemingly need a right-handed bat to add more balance to a lineup that already features two left-handed hitting outfielders and four lefties total (not including two switch-hitters).

The 24-year-old Reddick hit .280 with 7 homers and 28 RBIs in 254 at bats with the Red Sox last season, but faded badly down the stretch. After hitting .393 with a whopping 1.101 OPS in 61 at bats before the All-Star break, he hit just .244 with a .682 OPS in 193 at bats the rest of the way.

Reddick underwent a wrist procedure shortly after the season (he’s expected to be ready for spring training) and Kalish was limited by neck and shoulder injuries to just 24 minor league games in 2011. He will be ready for spring training but might be slow starting up. In 53 games with the Red Sox in 2010, the now-23-year-old Kalish hit .252 with 4 homers and 24 RBIs.

“Reddick took another step in his career, and we think he’s going to be a very good major-league outfielder," Cherington said last week in Dallas. "Right now, if Opening Day was tomorrow, he’s probably in right field. We’ll see what happens the rest of the winter. Kalish has a little bit more to overcome, physically, and we think he’s going to be a really good big-league player, too."

Cherington seems confident in his young tandem, but are you? Share your thoughts in the accompanying poll and in the comments section. Do any of these free agents do anything for you?



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