October 4, 2010

Like I’ve always said – if I had to choose between the Boston Red Sox going good or the New York Yankees going bad, I’ll take the latter any day. Which made the final Red Sox game of the year so sweet: not only did the Sox defeat the Evil Empire to cap off a disappointing and (at least in my mind) incredibly boring year, the loss also knocked the Yankees into the A.L. wild card slot – seriously jeopardizing (at least I hope) their chances of going far in the post-season.

I’m looking forward to the both the A.L. and N.L playoffs this year, because they’re so wide open. I’m guessing the oddsmakers would make the Philadelphia Phillies and the Tampa Bay Rays or Minnesota Twins the favorites to meet in the World Series, but it really is wide open, anyone who gets hot could win it all. Me? I’m rooting for the Cincinnati Reds – not only because they’ve got one of my favorite former Sox from the magical 2004 season (Bronson Arroyo) on the roster, but it would be a great to see a great manager like Dusty Baker win a World Series with such an exciting and entertaining team.

Back to the Red Sox for a second. Most certainly one can make the argument that radical changes are not necessary – after all, they won 89 games without major contributions from centerfielder Jacoby Ellsbury, second baseman Dustin Pedroia, and first baseman Kevin Youkilis for extended stretches this year. But here’s hoping GM Theo Epstein gets aggressive in the offseason and remakes this team over, even if means trading or not re-signing some long-time players and fan favorites:

Pitching: the Sox should start the 2011 season with a solid starting rotation of Jon Lester, Josh Beckett (whom I’d like see finally commit to getting himself and his cranky back into shape for the first time in his carreer), John Lackey, Clay Buchholz, and Daisuke Matsuzaka, but the bullpen needs a complete overhaul. It wouldn’t bather me one way or the other if Daniel Bard stays a set-up man for closer Jonathan Papelbon or if the Sox trade Papelbon and make Bard their closer, but either way, the bullpen was a disaster this year and Theo needs to get this fixed – no more journeymen castoffs, like he’s been so fond of doing in past years. And it wouldn’t bother me (or my Mom, for that matter!) if they eat some of Daisuke’s salary in order to convince some team (Seattle? the Dodgers?) that a change of scenery is what he really needs.

Catcher: If the Sox want to use a tandem of veteran Jason Varitek sharing time and mentoring Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Theo and I might be on the same page. No more Victor Martinez behind the plate, please: the primary reason the Sox were so abysmal defending the bunt this year was Martinez and his inability to anticipate and take charge defensively.

Infield: My preference would be to have the Sox re-sign Victor Martinez and put him at first, thus moving Youkilis permanently over to third. Marco Scutaro was fine at shortstop and Pedroia is one of the best at second. Jed Lowrie would make a fine backup, but I’m guessing Theo uses him as valuable trade bait, given Lowrie’s fine hitting and defense after he got over the mono that sidelined him for the first half of 2010.

Outfield: I would love to see the Sox make a huge push for Rays outfielder Carl Crawford – he would be an awesome force both in the lineup and patrolling left field at Fenway. If the Sox want to use Ellsbury as valuable trade bait for something else, I’m good with that – the Sox will have Mike Cameron returning and healthy, as well as rookies Ryan Kalish or Josh Reddick to back up Cameron if they choose to go that route. As much as I dislike J.D. Drew and his declining career numbers for the money he’s making, he does play good defense in a tough right field like Fenway, and 2011 will be his last contract year.

DH: Will the Sox pick up David Ortiz’s $12.5 million option for 2011 or try and negotiate a two-year deal at lower, more realistic salary? Ortiz had a great year – 32 home runs, 102 RBIs, and a .267 batting average – but $12.5M is a lot of cabbage for an aging slugger, and I’m guesssing Theo would be open to considering more cost-effective options out there.

One final note: here’s hoping NESN considers adding a third person in the booth alongside play-by-play man Don Orsillo and color analyst Jerry “Rem Dawg” Remy for their Red Sox broadcasts. To me, Remy’s lost something off his fastball, and the addition of a third commentator or a rotating color analyst (Dennis Eckersley, anyone?) would certainly spruce things up broadcast-wise.

No matter what happens, this promises to be a very interesting and entertaining off-season, hopefully resulting in an equally interesting and entertaining team to watch on NESN in 2011.

I know from his most recent comment that fellow Goodboy Ron “Cubby” Myerow is looking forward to hockey season and the Boston Bruins, but I just can’t get excited the least bit about hockey. Heck, I don’t think I could even name one active player in the NHL. That being said, if you’re interested in hearing about the Black-and-Gold’s exploits this season, drop me a comment and I’ll see if I can convince Cubby to provide his expert commentary on an occasional basis as the season progresses.

Pool temp: 82 degrees

Filed in: Golf & Sports by The Great White Shank at 00:25 | Comments (8)
8 Comments »
  1. Always interested in the Black and Gold. Oh, wrong sport. 🙂

    Comment by Rob — October 4, 2010 @ 4:32 am


  2. And your back and gold certainly hung on yesterday. Still have fingernails?

    Comment by The Great White Shank — October 4, 2010 @ 12:48 pm


  3. Yeah, that too-close-for-comfort business is getting old. Arizona up this week. Hopefully, the Cards will continue to play badly. 🙂

    Comment by Rob — October 4, 2010 @ 1:02 pm


  4. You’ll have plenty of time to grow your nails backs with the Cards – they’re awful.

    Comment by The Great White Shank — October 4, 2010 @ 7:29 pm


  5. Good report Doug. Next year’s lineup: 1 Ellsbury 2 Pedroia 3 Youk 4 ? 5 Ortiz 6 ? 7 yes 7 JD Drew 8 C 9 Scutaro. Try (real hard) to sign Jayson Werth and go get 1 more proven slugger. Crawaford is good, but I dunno where he’d bat in this hypothetical lineup.We’re stuck with the rotation and should add a proven 7th inning reliever. That’s a Yankee-like lineup. Forget these Cameron, Hermida, Hall “projects”. I’m sure Cameron can be a valuable contributor. I just don’t wan’t to find out the hard way again. Besides that try grooming some youth and if they’re not in the long-term plans, trade ’em while their stock is up. Exception: Hang on to good young pitching (look how Lester and Buckholz are working out).

    Comment by Jerry "Keys" Palma — October 4, 2010 @ 7:50 pm


  6. Good report Doug. Next year’s lineup: 1 Ellsbury 2 Pedroia 3 Youk 4 ? 5 Ortiz 6 ? 7 yes 7 JD Drew 8 C 9 Scutaro. Try (real hard) to sign Jayson Werth and go get 1 more proven slugger. Crawaford is good, but I dunno where he’d bat in this hypothetical lineup.We’re stuck with the rotation and should add a proven 7th inning reliever. That’s a Yankee-like lineup. Forget these Cameron, Hermida, Hall “projects”. I’m sure Cameron can be a valuable contributor. I just don’t wan’t to find out the hard way again. Besides that try grooming some youth and if they’re not in the long-term plans, trade ’em while their stock is up. Exception: Hang on to good young pitching (look how Lester and Buckholz are working out).

    Comment by Jerry "Keys" Palma — October 4, 2010 @ 7:50 pm


  7. Good report Doug. Next year’s lineup: 1 Ellsbury 2 Pedroia 3 Youk 4 ? 5 Ortiz 6 ? 7 yes 7 JD Drew 8 C 9 Scutaro. Try (real hard) to sign Jayson Werth and go get 1 more proven slugger. Crawaford is good, but I dunno where he’d bat in this hypothetical lineup.We’re stuck with the rotation and should add a proven 7th inning reliever. That’s a Yankee-like lineup. Forget these Cameron, Hermida, Hall “projects”. I’m sure Cameron can be a valuable contributor. I just don’t wan’t to find out the hard way again. Besides that try grooming some youth and if they’re not in the long-term plans, trade ’em while their stock is up. Exception: Hang on to good young pitching (look how Lester and Buckholz are working out).

    Comment by Jerry "Keys" Palma — October 4, 2010 @ 7:50 pm


  8. Like your ideas, Keys. I’d trade Daisuke for a good reliever 🙂

    Comment by The Great White Shank — October 6, 2010 @ 1:41 pm


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