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Coming to Grips with the Facts

In our current universe of Red Sox Nation, we find ourselves too often caught up in a wild vortex of false equivalencies, what-ifs, and horrible things that could happen.  Let's try to dispense with a few of these so we can move on:
  • The Red Sox weren't going to make a run this season if they didn't make the recent trades.
  • Jon Lester was not going to resign with the Sox at the end of the season if they kept him.
  • Jon Lester is not going to sign with the Sox as a free agent this offseason because he can get more money and more years at a number of other places.
  • John Lackey is a very good pitcher but not exactly a shining light of valor.  This guys seemingly was going to refuse to play next year rather than play under a contract and, specifically, a provision of that contract, that he signed.  He was part of the Chicken & Beer thing.  Of course, I wanted them to sign him for two more years (next year and one beyond that at, say, the market value of one year for his caliber of pitcher), but he didn't seem bright enough to understand that that would be a gift, not an insult.
  • The Red Sox will add at least one, and probably two,front of the rotation, major league starters this offseason via trade or free agency.  There is zero chance that Clay Buchholz is next year's top starter. 
  • The Sox will not open up more than two opening day spots in next year's rotation for the kids (De La Rosa, Webster, Ranaudo, Workman, Barnes, and Owens).  The Sox will start the year with Vet #1, Vet #2, Joe Kelly, maybe Buchholz, and 1-2 rookies who win a spot in spring training.  No youngster is getting handed a rotation spot next year unless they earn it.
  • Henry Owens, out top pitching prospect and one of the best lefty prospects in the game, will spend at least half of next season in the minor leagues.  The kid is barely 22 years old.
  • One or two of those young starters will not have a real major league career; one or two of them will be in the bullpen; and one or two of them will have successful careers as starters.  It's not a log jam because none of them are major league starters yet.
  • Catching uber-prospect Blake Swihart will also play at least half of next season in the minors.  He's also 22 and is still in Portland despite both the primary Pawtucket catchers (Vazquez and Butler) moving to Fenway.
  • Mike Napoli will be a Red Sox next year.  No way the Sox subtract his bat - and glove - from their roster when he's still productive and only has a year left on his deal.
  • The Sox will ride Koji Uehara as long as he's productive and interested in playing in Boston.  I expect him to close next year and at least some the year after that.
  • James Shield will be a Red Sox next season.  Unless he has a personal reason to go elsewhere - eg he loves Kansas City or hates Boston - , he is the perfect Vet #2 candidate.  He's solid, eats innings, and is too old (34) to command more than 4 years in a contract.
  • The Red Sox will add a major leaguer in the offseason who can start at 3rd base or short.  Bogaerts will start somewhere.  Middlebrooks, Holt and Deven Merrero will have to - and should have to - outplay the new guy.
  • The Sox will not carve out a starting position for Brock Holt in 2015 but will hope that he will again force his way into the lineup as super-sub and utility guy.


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