Skip to main content

Filling Out the Line Up Card

Looking into the post season - past the drama of the manager search and media-fueled blame game - it's time to start speculating about the players we'll see on the field next year. Let's look at a few areas by position:
  • Not changing: first base, second base, leftfield, centerfield.
  • Catcher - The Sox should be very happy with Jarrod Saltalamacchia behind the plate. The man his 16 homers in 103 games and became a much better catcher by the end of the year. That, and he's 26 years old, massive, has tasted the bitterness of failure, and switch hits. That said, the Sox want to find a place for Ryan Lavarnway. There's a good shot they don't invite Tek back and they go with these two. My ideal is that they teach Lavarnway to play third in addition to catcher and first, but that seems unlikely. They could also keep all three catchers and not Papi. They then rotate Lavarnway, Gonzo, Youk and others through the DH spot. That said, I expect Salty and Tek to start the season on the roster with Lavarnway forcing his way up early on due to an injury.
  • Short - The Sox will likely enter the season just as they did last year. They will resign Scutaro to a one or two year deal, hope that Lowrie forces his way onto the field, and that this year is the year that Jose Iglesias learns to hit. After this year, they will have to decide if Lowrie will every be healthy and if Iglesias will ever hit. Scutaro could be a solid sub for a few more years but they'll need more soon.
  • Third - Youk didn't look the same last year. He's 32 years old and hasn't played a full season either of the last two years. He doesn't strike anyone as the type of athlete who will play third into his late 30s. The Sox should try to get one more year out of Youk with Lowrie (or Mike Avilies) as a solid backup. They will hope that Will Middlebrook develops at Pawtucket and is ready to compete with Youk in 2013. By that point, Youk will either be struggling to keep a job or he'll be ready to move toward the comfy armchair of DH. I hope for the former but frankly expect the later. If Middlebrook looks years away, Lavarnway can't try 3B, and there's no good reason to expect Youk to improve, there's a decent chance that the Sox look to move on from Youk this off season.
  • Rightfield - JD Drew is likely to retire and, even if he doesn't, Cherington isn't going to take the heat that would come with bringing back "Nancy." So, that leaves us with Ryan Kalish, Josh Reddick or J.C. Linares as the possibilities in right. The Sox will have to sign someone to compete with these guys. I'd love to see Kalish take it but it's unlikely - and a good problem to have. This is the position most likely to be taken by a new acquisition.
  • Starting Pitching - the Sox clearly need a 4 and 5 starter. There's an outside chance that a youngster will grab one of those spots, but Doubront, Tazawa, Alex Wilson, and Weiland don't look like quality major league starters at this point. The Sox will have to be busy in this market.
  • Relief Pitching - this is where I am most concerned because losing Pap means Bard will likely be the closer. We don't know how he'll do there. Assuming he does well, we have a massive hole in the set up role. I have a hunch that Michael Bowden might be a great reliever, but that's pretty much baseless. The Sox will have to get a few solid free agents here and give some shots to the aforementioned youngsters. It's not looking good.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

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…

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…

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…