Thursday, October 25, 2012

'Era Of Good Feeling' Masks Big Red Sox Holes

There Are Holes Still To Fill
This morning, it feels a lot better to be a fan of the Boston Red Sox than it did even a week ago. The management has quickly decided on a new manager—and John Farrell seems to have the right temperament and skills to match the new 'culture' on Yawkey Way. Ben Cherington seems—for the first time—to be truly in charge and empowered to re-make this team in his image. If rumors are to be believed, they are close to filling two big holes by signing David Ortiz (DH) and Cody Ross (RF). But the "Kumbayah" vibes can't be allowed to gloss over the remaining gaps the team faces—notably at first base, in left field, at shortstop, and in the starting rotation. The options at each of these spots are not particularly abundant. So, despite the fact that John Henry has lots of green to throw around, this is not exactly a robust free agent or trade class. While it's easy for us to pontificate, we would like to see the following moves:

First Base. Sign Adam LaRoche. If he decides to stay in DC, sign Mike Napoli;
Left Field. Trade for Justin Upton. If the price is too steep, sign Torii Hunter;
Shortstop. Let Jose Iglesias have the job, period. For insurance, sign Jason Bartlett;
Rotation. Sign James Shields and R.A. Dickey. If they can't be had (both have 2013 options), then sign Edwin Jackson and Rich Harden.

These would all be reasonable financial moves—well within the guidelines laid down by the organization. Conceivably, we could have the following line-up:

Ellsbury, CF
Pedroia, 2B
Upton, LF
Ortiz, DH
Ross, RF
Middlebrooks, 3B
LaRoche, 1B
Saltalamacchia, C
Iglesias, SS

And, a potential starting rotation of:

1. Buchholz
2. Lester
3. Shields
4. Dickey
5. Lackey

All in all, not a bad team. Certainly better than 69 wins.