Monday, February 12, 2018

Top Five Questions Facing The Red Sox In Fort Myers

As we close in on the start of Spring Training, we've decided to list the Top Five questions that need to be addressed by The Carmine Hose before the 2018 season begins. Now, keep in mind, that we identified at least 15 such items—but these five (in no particular order) are—in our view—the most pressing:

1.) One-Hour Martinizing. Will J. D. Martinez be our DH, or not? That is the question. The longer this fiasco with Uber-Agent Scot Boras drags on, the less ready Martinez will be to "swing" into the season. And that (among less-forgiving Boston fans) could spell disaster. The bottom line is that the power vacuum in the Red Sox lineup isn't magically going away. Dave Dombrowski has got to resolve this issue—on way or another—within the next week or so;

2.) Who's DH-ing On First? If we do get Martinez (which is still highly likely), then our new manager will have a heck of a time doing a musical chairs act at first base/DH—among J.D., Mitch Moreland and Hanley Ramirez. Martinez could play some in the OF (which he wants to do), but there are just too many bodies and too few slots. Keeping everyone happy (particularly Hanley) will be a full-time job;

3.) Cora Constituencies. New Red Sox skipper Alex Coraon the surface—should fit in nicely in the Red Sox clubhouse. He is younger, so he should be able to relate to the large number of Millennial players on the roster. And, his Hispanic heritage should allow him to connect with that group of players. Of course, there is a ton of pressure on first-year Red Sox managers. Can Cora cope with that pressure? Probably, after all, he played here. We shall see;

4.) The Third Rail. Everyone seems to have fully accepted the idea that rookie phenom Rafael Devers will simply slide into the full-time role at 3B—and excel. He very well might, but the team needs to provide some sort of support system in case things go poorly in April and May. Remember how Terry Francona stuck with the slumping rookie Dustin Pedroia (fans, ironically, we calling for Cora to replace The Laser Show)? There needs to be someone else who can credibly back-up Devers if things don't go as planned;

5.) Rotation, Rotation, Rotation. As "location, location, location" is the key to real estate, so a healthy and stable rotation is the key to pitching success. On the health front, David Price and Eduardo Rodriguez need to demonstrate that they are over their physical woes. And, Rick Porcello has to live up to his Cy Young potential and deliver a dominant season. Of course, Chris Sale will be penciled in for 17-20 wins and 300 strikeouts, but he alone can't take us to the Promised Land. Ironically, the guy who projected to have the biggest health issues—Drew Pomeranz—was the second best member of the 2017 staff. He needs to come back with a similar year in 2018. Of course, if all five are healthy, someone will eventually get hurt—so Boston needs another credible starter to fill-in when the inevitable happens. Right now, that's probably Steven Wright. We need a better option.