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What Good Is A "Firstbaseman" Anyway?

I have a doctor's appointment tomorrow.  Something is terribly wrong.  I don't write this to alarm you but only to let you know, as my friends (cause really, who else reads this blog when posts appear magically only every quarter).  So I'm sorry to break this to you.  But what else could explain my excitement for the Red Sox 2013 season?

I mean, their current first baseman is a player to be named later, their shortstop is optimistically supposed to hit .150 next year while routinely catching everything between the Fens and Worchester, they have one outfielder and he's got Boras glasses on for 2014, and John Lackey is their forth starter.  But come on...

I'm excited because I knew Valentine was going to be a disaster and they've gotten that out of their system.  I'm excited because Iglesias may hit less than a tee ball player getting an at bat in the Babe Ruth league but he might be the most exciting defensive spectacle to hit Boston since... ever?   Will Middlebooks might well have a sophomore slump but he'll be solid in the field and might well be on his way to stardom.

Meanwhile, the Sox do have two stars in the lineup (Peddy and Ellsbury), likely two other solid vets playing every day (Papi and Ross when/if they resign), and they have a catcher - maybe two - who can hit more than their peers and maybe defend less.  So, that's five spots filled with solid vets and two spots filled by elite prospects.

That leaves us with two spots to fill: first base and outfield.  For first base, the in house candidates are not great: Mauro Gomez (possible hit, little field), Jerry Sands (part of the Dodgers' trail, can also play outfield), and maybe some position switch types like the catcher duo of Saltalamacchia and Lavarnway.  I'm personally of the opinion that they could do alright with a platoon of the catcher-not-catching and Sands, but they really do need more than that.  Given the free agent list this year, it looks like the Sox will have to look for a trade and hope that Kendrys Morales isn't too pricy.

As for outfield, Ryan Sweeney isn't the answer.  He doesn't hit too much when he's healthy and he wasn't that very often last year.  I would love to see Ryan Kalish earn the role.  But he needs to earn it.  The Sox need to bring in someone who can legitimately play the corner outfield for 150 games.  If Kalish beats him out, great.  But the reality is that Kalish seems injury proned; Cody Ross hasn't been the world's most consistent offensive player over his career, and Ellsbury also has health issues.  The Sox really should look for two outfielders, but I'll take one good one to go with Sweeney, Kalish, Sands, and maybe J.C. Linares or Pedro Ciriaco (as super sub) playing roles.  Then there's top prospects Jackie Bradley and Bryce Brentz who might play roles by the end of the season.

With that, I'll go back to the sick bed.  Next time, how about we chat about pitching?


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