Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Waiting For The Other Shoe

Just when you thought the Red Sox picture for 2011 was as muddled as possible, they lose Victor Martinez to the vast wasteland that is 21st century Detroit. We won't debate the merits of that move here (all I will say is I hope the Liverpudlians are enjoying their new shipment of jock-straps). The more important issue is: will this be the theme for the 'Bridge Year Two' Red Sox? And, as a result, should we start calling our GM "Stand Pat" Theo?

From where we sit, there had better be a few more shoes dropping this off-season or tickets will become very easy to obtain for the 2011 campaign. There is a revolt a-brewing and the NOG seems too pre-occupied with soccer and NASCAR to see it coming.

So, where do we start with the tasks that need attention? How about catcher? Does anyone really believe the mutterings from Yawkey Way that Jarrod Saltalamacchia is our starting backstop? By not offering Jason Varitek arbitration, they will likely re-sign him at a sub-$3 million tag and use him as back-up, but is this really enough? Hopefully, Theo is looking at Rod Barajas or A.J. Pierzynski as a "grown-up" everyday option behind the dish. Beyond this, with all the freed-up cash from the actual departure of V-Mart and the likely departure of Beltre, the Sox had better sign or trade for two impact players.

My primary choice would be to deal whatever we have to deal to get Adrian Gonzalez as our first baseman. Moving Youk to third would make for one of the best all-around infields in all of baseball (and after this year, Iglesias at SS will make it even better). Next (assuming Ellsbury was in the A-Gon trade), I would go all out to sign Carl Crawford to join a Kalish/Cameron/Drew combo in the outfield.

My second choice would be to trade for Justin Upton, go with Jed Lowry for a year at third base, and hoard cash for next year's free-agent first base bonanza (A-Gon, Fielder). This is far less satisfying an option, but at least the team gets younger with a potential super-star in the making with Upton.

Choice three would be a classic free-agent "shell-out" that brings Jayson Werth and his powerful (and sorely needed) right-handed power to left-field. This still leaves third base in a quandary, but they could either move Youk and fill in at first with a stop-gap like Carlos Pena or try the aforementioned Jed Lowrie option at third. Either way, not very sexy.

All in all, the Red Sox have got to do something soon to quell the Perfect Storm of fan outrage that is forming just off-shore. Big moves are preferable, moderate ones acceptable, but no action will be met with pitchforks and torches.