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Sox Season Preview

Starting strong isn't a necessity for making a championship run but it sure helps.  Unfortunately, these Sox will need some real luck to get off to a great start.  They're starting off the year without their #2 starter, starting their 3rd best catcher, lacking a platoon partner for either 1B or 3B, missing their two best set-up guys, and expecting All Star caliber play from a rookie.  That said, all these issues should resolve themselves by mid-June and even a bad Sox '17 team should be in fine position to make a second half run.  But Sox fans will likely be pulling out their hair for the first month or two.

Things do have a way of working themselves out with good teams.  Last year, the Sox started the year with a pronounced lack of home runs, their best pitcher was the last guy to make the rotation (Wright) and we had gone through 2 catchers and lost a live Panda.  Things turned around with the team ending up 7th in the AL in homers - and by far the most runs - the league…
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Sox' Phantom Depth

Two former top outfield prospects who can play a little defense and sometimes be a threat at the plate and a 1B/OF with two years receiving votes for NL MVP.  These guys are the surplus players just off the Red Sox expected 25-man 2017 roster.  And its unlikely any of them will be able to significantly help the team this year even if they played up to the highest expectations.

Bryce Brentz, Rusney Castillo, and Allen Craig are all Red Sox as of today and you could make a pretty easy argument why it's plausible that each one could be strong contributors to a major league team this year - and two of them likely will, but that team won't be the Red Sox.

Brentz is a former first round pick who can hit the ball a mile, has a cannon arm, and is athletic enough to roam the outfield.  He hit rather well last year, especially against lefties, during his tenure as the Sox starter while Chris Young and Brock Holt were hurt - and Andrew Benintendi was in A-ball.  What has held him back ove…

Chris Sale, Bullpen Reboot, Hot Stove Checklist Addition, Sell High

CHRIS SALE TRADE: The Sox just got ace lefty Chris Sale for America's top prospect Yoan Moncada, Michael Kopech, another Basabe, and Victor Diaz.  That's a true ace for a potential superstar who clearly needs more seasoning, a golden arm who seemed to be a possible headcase, and two lottery tickets.  This is a very good trade for the Sox. While the Sox would have found room to play Moncada once he was ready, he didn't exactly fill a void with Peddy blocking him at second, Panda getting another shot at 3B this year, and 3B prospects Rafael Devers and Bobby Dalbec - and maybe Michael Chavis - not too far off possibly.  Moncada might not be the biggest pain felt here. After trading Anderson Espinoza for Drew Pomeranz - a trade that is looking worse these days - the trade of Kopech leaves very little high-end pitching talent in the system right now.  There is now a very large drop off after Jason Groome.  Also, the loss of Basabe, Diaz, Dubon and Pennington today just really d…

Yoan Moncada Is Being Rushed

The Red Sox have the top prospect in baseball.  I honestly don't know when we've ever had that.  He's playing in Portland (...in Portland...), the same spot from which Andrew Benintendi jumped into the bigs with great early success.  So, bring up Yoan Moncada right now. Right?

I know it's too late, but the answer was: no.  There are a lot of logical problems with the calculations at play with this promotion.  Benintendi was the best player in college baseball last year and there is a strong recent track record of players making a quick jump from major college programs to the bigs. Heck, John Olerud had a brain aneurysm, was a part time pitcher in Washington State, and still jumped directly to the big leagues and a very strong 17 year career.  But, Moncada did not play major college baseball.  Instead, he played two years of professional baseball in Cuba, then missed almost a year as he went through the process of joining the Sox.

Moncada, also unlike Benintendi, has si…

Red Sox Reality: Don't Make Another Trade

The Red Sox simply should not make another trade this season unless it's a long-term solution and a real steal.  Aside from getting Chris Sale straight up for Dan Butler, the Sox should not get involved in another trade.

The Sox actually are about as well situated as they can get on pretty much every front.  That's not to say they are a perfect team, just that the cost of getting anyone who would substantially improve them is prohibitive.

The starting rotation is clearly the spot for which most fans are crying for improvement, with the bullpen a close second.  But in the starting rotation, David Price is one of the best pitchers in baseball and we should expect him to pitch like it.  His high strikeout and low walk totals, and his health, bode well for him.  It looks likely that the Sox' fate with rest on the one game Wild Card playoff, so much of the season really hinges on that one start by Price.  Short of Sale, there's no one available on the market who would be an…

The Mike Miller Conundrum

The Sox called up Mike Miller yesterday and you have to feel happy for the kid.  He appropriately calls it "a dream come true."  He's a 26 year old, 5'8", 170 lbs, 9th round pick middle infielder with no power, limited on-base skills but presumably can handle the glove respectably.  He sounds like the kind of kid we'll all root for, but might not see the majors much - if at all - beyond this sip of coffee.

To add Miller to the major league roster, they had to first move him onto the 40-man roster.  The call up of Miller was prompted by the fact that they had just optioned their top minor league utility option, Deven Merrero, back to Pawtucket two days before so they couldn't recall him, and Brock Holt wasn't ready yet.  That is, Boston needed a body who could play middle infield and options #1 and #2 were not available, so they brought up Miller.  (Not exactly a ringing endorsement of Marco Hernandez's glove which has looked to be less solid than …

Promotion Pecking Order Isn't Just About Talent or Impact

It's that time of the Major League season: the time when injuries being mounting up for every team, ineffective play forces teams to cut bait, and trades start becoming possible.  The Red Sox have some choices to make and here's what they should do:
They should send young infielder Marco Hernandez back to Pawtucket and, a la Swihart and Betts before him, have him play mostly leftfield.  Clearly the Sox like his bat in the majors now.  He's not going to play regularly on the infield with Brock Holt, Josh Rutledge, and - at shortstop if Bogaerts were to go down - Deven Merrero are all ahead of him as backups. With Swihart down for a while, Holt hurt and struggling with the bat, there is room for Hernandez as the lefthanded sub for Chris Young in left.  Otherwise, I don't see the value in having him on the roster.When they send down Marco, bring up Bryce Brentz.  He's hitting well in Pawtucket, 27 years old, taking up a 40 man roster slot, and seemingly healthy.  He ca…