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Playing Pepper

Let's just run through some of the hot topics in Red Sox Nation these days shall we?
  • In no way does the signing of Stephen Drew hurt the Red Sox.  He is a very good major league player and it's not really my money so I don't care what he is paid.  Even if his oblique injury lingered for months, the Sox are not worse off for signing him.  Not only is he an excellent shortstop with decent hitting ability, but he's popular with the other players.  Xander Bogaerts is too good of a player to be bothered by moving to shortstop.  The reality is that if Bogaerts fills out as one might expect as he gets older and hits with more and more power, he won't be at shortstop long term anyway.
  • Speaking of Drew, let's stop all this irrational hating of JD and Stephen Drew.  Disliking players for not being emotive is really just weird.  From what I've heard, teammates like both these plays.  Ok, Philadelphia can hate JD, but not Boston.  The fact that they don't look like they are playing hard is a testament to their talents and refinement, not proof that they don't play hard.  I also do not like when players are disparaged for getting hurt.
  • Mookie Betts will not be a significant factor on the 2014 Red Sox.  He may see some time in the bigs, but it is unlikely to make a huge impact.  At best, he plays a little toward the end of the season and earns a full time spot if we were to make the playoffs - a la 2013 Bogaerts.  The fact is that he is not ready yet.  I expect he will come up in August at least for a cup of coffee then spend all of September with the big club.  Next year, he will fight for the centerfield spot.  At that point, if JBJ starts hitting, I could see Bradley playing rightfield against righties and Betts playing most of the time in center.
  • Grady Sizemore probably should be released or, ideally, he would accept an assignment to Pawtucket to see if he can really get his swing back.  It seems like he needs to play as much as his body will allow if there's any chance that he becomes a good player again.  I suggest that the Sox call up Corey Brown to replace Sizemore.  Brown has a low average and strikes out a lot, but no more than Sizemore.  He can legitimately play center, perhaps better than Sizemore.  But mostly he has real power now.  He leads the PawSox in homers and has major league experience.
  • Clay Buchholz will be in the rotation if he's anything close to his normal self so there is no debate there.  If Workman keeps pitching as he has been, he might have supplanted Felix Doubront.  That said, if Doubront is healthy, there is a lot of value to having another lefty in the rotation.  I do expect this to work itself out.
  • The Sox are going to have to give John Lackey an extension with a decent annual salary.  Right now, he is due to make the league minimum next year because of his missed Tommy John year.  He deserves to not be embarrassed in that way and I do think he would retire rather than make Alex Wilson money.  That said, he agreed to a contract and the Sox did pay him $15.25 million in 2012 when he didn't pitch a single inning.  They should give him a new 2 year contract with a decent annual salary and he needs to accept that the Sox get him on a discount because they would be helping him save face.  I would go with 2 years at $10 million.


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