Tag: JD Drew

Boston Red Sox Prospect Preview, Vol. I: OF Ryan Kalish

Over the next several weeks, I’ll be publishing a series of article on the Red Sox farm system, profiling a dozen or so top-tier prospects that have high potentials, and will likely help the club as the next wave of home-grown talent.

When Red Sox outfielders starting dropping like flies last spring and summer, the Boston management scoured their farm system for fresh legs and young arms in hopes of bridging the gap to Ellsbury‘s and Cameron‘s returns without settling for mere placeholders. Darnell McDonald and Daniel Nava gave Red Sox nation memorable debuts with walk-off wins and first-pitch grand slams.

Though the offensive numbers for Boston outfielders failed to impress in 2010, the entertainment value and excitement these two brought to the team far exceeded expectations. But beyond any other call-up the team made in 2010, Triple-A stud Ryan Kalish sparked fire in Red Sox nation and recalled our memories of a similar, gritty rightfielder.

Kalish (22 years, 6’0″, 200 lbs.) started the 2010 campaign in Double-A Portland. He was quickly advanced to Pawtucket by June, and spent the better part of two months at Triple-A before his July 31 call-up. In his half of a season (293 AB) in the minors last year, Ryan compiled some impressive numbers. Between Portland and Pawtucket, Kalish produced an .884 OPS to go along with 47 RBI, and stole 25 bags in 28 attempts.

His BA/OBP/OPS line in the majors of .252/.305/.405 does not have American League pitchers quaking in their cleats at the thought of his arrival. He struck out too much, walked too little, and showed his rawness against better left-handed pitching.

But it should be noted that Kalish improved as the summer waned and September rolled around. More importantly, he dug in and came up clutch in scoring opportunities. His OPS with men on base was .893. With RISP, it was even better at .912.

Defensively, the line on Kalish heading into 2010 was plus range with an erratic arm of mediocre strength. This is one case where the scouting report probably didn’t do its homework, as Kalish showed slightly above-average arm strength and seldom missed cut-off men on extra base hits. As young as he is, there is probably still an opportunity to add arm strength like young pitchers often do.

With Drew‘s inevitable departure after 2011, the rightfield job would seem to be Kalish’s to lose. If there is a challenger to the opening, it may come from Josh Reddick. Josh has shown to be a tremendous athlete with considerable pop in his bat. But Reddick is a year older, and has not risen through the ranks with the offensive consistency needed to escape 4-A status.

On balance, I think the Red Sox will give the nod to Kalish, taking into account his impressive debut, complete skill set, and flair for the big stage.

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Boston Red Sox: It’s Not Even Spring Training and J.D. Drew Has a Nagging Injury

As being reported on Hardballtalk.com, J.D Drew’s hamstring (the one that nagged him all last season) is nagging him once again.

Drew is 35 and is entering the final year of his six-year $72 million contract, and it might just be time for him to call it quits after this season.

Drew has had a somewhat injury plagued career.  Since making his debut with the St. Louis Cardinals in 1998, he’s finished eight of his 12 Major League seasons on the the disabled list (DL).

This has lead to Drew being labeled by many in the media and fans as “soft.”

Soft or not Drew has had a good career and capped it off in 2007 with a World Series run with the Red Sox.

The career hitting .281 right fielder has said publicly after last season that when his contract expires at the end of 2011 he may hang it up for good.

I can’t say I blame him. 

This offseason, the Red Sox seemed to have had a World Series or bust mentality in free agency and this would probably be the 35-year-old’s best chance at another ring.

And with the depth the Sox currently have if Drew starts the season injured or on the DL he won’t have to rush back. 

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The Case For Jed: 6 Reasons Why Lowrie Should Start for Boston in 2011

In the blitzkrieg of high-profile signings that has been the Red Sox’ offseason, too easily have nagging questions escaped our rose-colored tunnel vision. As star-struck as Boston fans are right now, we’d be sealing our own fates if we hitched our hopes to two free agents and threw caution to the wind.

One important decision yet to be made is who mans the shortstop position in 2011. As critical as the starting pitching is to the Red Sox’ fortunes, it seems highly unlikely that any additions or subtractions will be made at this point. That hand has been dealt.

But Terry Francona can still improve the Red Sox in small but significant ways if he makes the tough decision to start Jed Lowrie over Marco Scutaro. Here are six reasons why…

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Boston Red Sox: 2010 Offseason Preview

The Boston Red Sox will have quite a few issues to address this off season.  While their offense has been a nice surprise this year, they still need to improve if they want to compete with the Yankees and Rays in the East. 

The strength of this team was supposed to be their pitching staff however, it has been very inconsistent.  This rotation was expected to be the best in baseball, but in reality, it has been average.  Not to mention the bullpen has been a complete disaster.

I will suggest a few moves that the Sox should and could make this off season.  Feel free to comment and give your suggestions.

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Boston Red Sox: Season May Already Be Over

Weeks ago, most of Red Sox Nation seemed to give up on the idea that the Sox could overtake the Yankees and win the AL East. The conventional wisdom was that the team was now fighting to overtake the Rays for the Wild Card spot.

But things have recently changed. 

In the last 10 games, the Yankees are 5-5, while the Rays have gone 9-1, tying New York for the AL East lead. 

For their part, the Red Sox are 6-4 in the last 10 games. But they are just 8-9 since the All Star break, putting them 6 ½ in back of the Yankees and Rays for both the AL East title and the Wild Card. 

It is increasingly looking like 95 wins won’t be enough to get the Sox into the postseason this year. To win 100 games, they will need to go 40-16 the rest of the way, which includes 10 games against the Yankees, six against the Rays, and seven against the first-place White Sox.

I’m not here to say that’s impossible, but it’s fair to say it’s highly unlikely.

The Red Sox are the walking wounded and look like a MASH unit. Last night, Eric Patterson, Ryan Kalish, and Daniel Nava played in the outfield. Who could have imagined that in April? Most fans had never even heard of any of them.

Jason Varitek, Dustin Pedroia, Mike Cameron and Jacoby Ellsbury are all out. As customary, Terry Francona never knows when JD Drew will be hurt and unable to play.

Drew has played in 94 games so far this season. If he plays in the remaining 56 (an unlikely scenario), he will reach 150 games, or four more than he’s ever played in any season of his 12-year career.

Francona is dealing with unpredictability on a nightly basis. 

Darnell McDonald has played in more big league games this season than in his entire career with three previous clubs. And when the season started, who could have guessed that Bill Hall would have appeared in 76 games and have over 200 at-bats for the Sox? That’s more than Varitek, Ellsbury, and Cameron; simply unpredictable.

The surprising Red Sox offense has suddenly cooled. In the 17 games since the break, the Sox have scored more than four runs just six times. And they have scored three or less seven times. 

Increasingly, Red Sox starters have to be dominant, and go at least seven innings, for the team to win. The Sox’ bullpen has been lamentable, to say the least, this season.

Yes, there are still waiver deals that can be completed in August, but it’s likely that none of them will have significant impact. For better or worse, this is the team.

Yes, they will eventually see the returns of Varitek, Pedroia and perhaps even Ellsbury (don’t hold your breath). But by then, it may be too little, too late.

To further add to the team’s woes and misery, Kevin Youkilis was placed on the 15-day DL today due to a ruptured muscle in his right thumb. If the muscle fully tears, it would result in a serious injury requiring surgery. Such an injury could potentially affect his career.

As it is, Youkilis’ season, like that of the Red Sox, is in jeopardy. 

In this decade, it’s unusual to declare that the Red Sox season is over and lost in August, but at this point, that seems to be the case.

One hundred wins is just wildly unrealistic.

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Bill Simmons Is Wrong: The 2010 Boston Red Sox Are Far From Boring

Sometimes one reads an article that is so far from what one believes, it makes one scream and hastily hammer out an angry comment.

ESPN’s Bill Simmons wrote such an article today, about how the Boston Red Sox have been boring this year. Many things, he says, have contributed to this.

While I agree that the hangover from the Steroid Era and the length of games have added to a general decline in interest across the sport, I vehemently disagree with the charge that the Red Sox have been uninteresting.

Nota bene, I really like the Sports Guy, and in no way intend to rip or criticise one of the better writers at ESPN. I just think he is wrong on this, and was inspired to write this in response.

He said today “Quite simply [JD Drew]’s a boring player on a boring team during a fairly boring season.”

He’s wrong. Here’s why.

First off, I will concede that JD Drew can be an infuriating player at times. Not many people would decide literally five minutes before the game that they were not going to play because their leg was a bit sore. Also, not many would, when at bat, watch his teammate steal home plate (in your home stadium, against the New York Yankees) and not even crack a smile.

He doesn’t show emotion, he just goes about his business. His face wears the same nonchalant look when he hits a grand slam in the ALCS as it does when he strikes out looking. Again.

So, maybe he is dull. But who else on the 2010 Red Sox is? Adrian Beltré has taken it upon himself to take out as many of his fellow Sox as possible, and has carved out a niche in proposing to his home runs.

OK, the two players who made their Boston debut alongside him, Mike Cameron and Marco Scutaro aren’t the most exciting or dramatic players.

Scutaro hasn’t been electrifying, but he has been vital as a leadoff guy since Jacoby Ellsbury was Beltréd on April 11.

Cameron has been poor—especially in the field, which has surprised most people, not least those who spent the offseason bleating about UZR.

Speaking of the outfield, some suggested before the season that the Red Sox re-sign Johnny Damon, and the outfield’s collapse has only reinforced their cries. I can’t speak for anyone else, but I would have tracked down Theo Epstein and battered him with sticks had he done that.

Victor Martinez, when he’s not nursing a broken thumb in the Sox’ favourite holiday spot, the DL, swings like a pendulum from “great hitter” to “I’m gonna throw my pitchers under the bus”.

Then there’s his backup, Jason Varitek. The captain’s injured, too, of course. But before he hurt his foot, he was one of this season’s better surprises. He may only have 105 plate appearances, but he has the highest slugging percentage of his career and had he continued at that level for the whole season, was on pace to reach a career-high in home runs.

His fellow veteran Big Papi is hitting—21 home runs, 64 RBIs, his highest wOBA since 2007—and is getting back to the status he enjoyed for so long in Boston: when he’s at the plate, you’re not leaving the sofa for another beer.

Those guys were the faces of the franchise for years, but these days, it’s Dustin Pedroia, and to a lesser extent Kevin Youkilis. Youk is on pace for career bests in OBP, SLG, wOBA and homers and perhaps most remarkably of all, he is still healthy. Touch wood.

As for Pedey, he has been what you expect. He plays every game like he’s a six-year-old being allowed out of the house for the first time in a month. He broke his foot, but that didn’t stop him taking grounders from his knees. He epitomises this year’s Red Sox. Scrappy, determined, and imbued with the just-won’t-die attitude of 2004.

The middle relief hasn’t been that boring, either. It’s just sucked.

At the back of the bullpen are Daniel Bard and Jonathan Papelbon. Bard’s been as lights-out and blasé as a closer-in-waiting should be, but Pap has enjoyed a season-long game of the not at all boring How Close Can I Come to Blowing This One? It’s painful to watch, but it’s not dull.

But all of that pales in comparison to the people who have stepped up when the starters have gone down. Bill Hall has played left, centre, right, third, short, second and has even pitched a perfect inning.

Darnell McDonald had a game-tying home run and a walk-off single in his first game. Daniel Nava hit a grand slam on the first pitch of his Major League career.

They should be at Triple-A or in a platoon role on the Pirates, but they are largely responsible for Boston being just 5.5 games out of the Wild Card.

As for the season itself, it’s been exciting. Being stuck in third place all year has been difficult, but for the first time in a long time, the AL East is a race between three teams. It will never—it can never—mean as much or be as important as it did in 2004. Of course not.

But if one stops looking for that level of meaning behind the season, one can see that 2010 has been a damn good year so far. Five no-hitters, two perfect games, a player gunning for a Triple Crown, the Padres, Braves, Reds, and Rangers being in first place attest to that.

The 2010 Red Sox have been at times painfully mediocre, often exasperating and always injured. But they have at no point been boring, regardless of what anyone on the LeBron Network says.

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MLB Player Survey: The League’s Top Five Most Overrated Players

One hundred eighty-seven MLB players were surveyed to answer the question — who is the most overrated player in baseball?

Keep in mind that when determining whether a player is overrated or not, evaluation is not the sole factor — public opinion also needs to be weighed in.

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Cash N’ Nova Recollect Pleasures in Red Sox Win

Giacomo Casanova once said, “By recollecting the pleasures I have had formerly, I renew them, I enjoy them a second time, while I laugh at the remembrance of troubles now past, and which I no longer feel.” We could say that about quite a few players on the Red Sox roster, and the Red Sox franchise itself. It’s funny how you can use a quote by a ladies man and use it for baseball, isn’t it?


The Boston Red Sox defeated the Baltimore Orioles, 3-2, on Friday, thanks to a few guys. Two of these players include Kevin Cash, who was acquired by the BoSox this past Thursday from the Houston Astros in a swap for Angel Sanchez, and the guy who hit a grand slam in his first at-bat not three weeks ago in Daniel Nava.

With both Jason Varitek and Victor Martinez on the DL, the Red Sox were in need of a catcher. With no one else worthy of catching, Theo Epstein decided to take some action and acquire someone who has caught with the Red Sox (and Wakefield) before.

Wakefield took the mound in Fenway Park for the 201st time, passing Roger Clemens for the most lifetime starts in the chapel. Looking at Tim Wakefield’s stats before the game, one would tell you that he isn’t doing as well as Boston fans would like him to be pitching. A 2-6 record with a 5.21 ERA isn’t exactly something to brag about.

Facing him off would be a young maligned pitcher in Brad Bergesen, who needed to prove that he was actually Major League material for Baltimore. Before the game, he was 3-4 with a 6.83 ERA.

It was very evenly matched until the eighth inning which was when endurance was the vital factor to winning the game for both starters. In the end, Wakefield was the better pitcher, as he threw a total of 96 pitches (66 of them being strikes) and surrendering only two runs in eight innings of work.

“I felt fresh even after eight innings,” Wakefield said. “I was ready to go the ninth, and maybe even the 10th if necessary.”

Although Bergesen surrendered one more run than the knuckleballer, he did silence his critics that day, striking out a career-high seven batters in 7 2/3 innings, and allowing just five hits with no walks.

It’s been about two years since Cash was behind the plate catching for Wakefield on the mound. He told the press that he barely called for anything else besides the knuckleball.

“I think he threw two breaking balls and fastballs, everything else was a knuckleball,” Cash said. “Every time I have caught him, Wake gets ahead of the hitter.”

Cash made quite an impact of his own, gunning Adam Jones at second base in the second inning. Offensively, he batted ninth in the lineup and went 0-for-3 with two ground outs and a fly out.

Later on in the game, J.D. Drew showed off his power, hitting two solo jacks in his first two at-bats. It was the 17th multi-homer game of his career, and were the only runs scored until the bottom of the eighth inning.

With the game tied at 2, Boston needed to find out how to get on base against Bergesen before heading to the ninth. That’s exactly what Marco Scutaro did. With two outs, he kept the inning alive by hitting a double to left field. After that one hit, Juan Samuel decided to pull Bergesen out and give the ball to Will Ohman.

Due up to bat against him was Eric Patterson. However, manager Terry Francona decided to make his own move and substitute him with rookie Daniel Nava. Ahead in the count, 2-1, Nava took an inside pitch to the opposite field. The ball dropped just beyond the reach of Nick Markakis, Julio Lugo, and Ty Wigginton, and Marco Scutaro scored from second to give the Red Sox a 3-2 lead, and eventually the game.

“I was just looking for anything to drive and put the ball in play hard, which is funny because that isn’t what I did,” Nava said. “But it worked and I am sure we will take it.”

Wakefield’s first victory at Fenway this season was also his first home win in nearly a year; his last home win was on July 8 against the Oakland Athletics. After 200 starts at the chapel and having sole possession of the record he once shared with Clemens, the victory couldn’t have been more special… not to mention that the park is closing in on its 100th anniversary.

Somehow… some way… the Red Sox still find ways to win. With the latest two victims of injuries in Jason Varitek and Manny Delcarmen now on the disabled list, the total number of players on Boston’s DL has been increased to nine. The list includes Dustin Pedroia, Josh Beckett, Mike Lowell, Jacoby Ellsbury, and Jeremy Hermida.

“You look at our lineup and you know with the injuries, it isn’t how we thought it would be, but as you can see, others guys like J.D. Drew had two huge knocks,” Nava said. “I don’t think anyone is going up there think they have to carry the team.”

With their latest victory, they are now only 1/2 a game behind the New York Yankees for first place in the AL East, and the best record in baseball. How long can the Red Sox keep this streak going? We’ll find out…


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JD Stands For Just Disabled: Drew Taking The Wrong Time Off

The Boston Red Sox will return to the site of their last World Championship tonight to open a set with the Colorado Rockies, and they will do so without the services of J.D. Drew, who was apparently placed on the disabled list today after tweaking a hamstring last week.

Consider that “the other shoe.”

Admit it, you’ve been holding your breath like the rest of the Red Sox fan base. Outfielders have been dropping like flies—one might be able to bring Adrian Beltre up on serial charges at this point—and somehow Drew remained in right, a surprisingly durable performance in the face of all the carnage.

Consider that, following Drew’s injury last week, the Sox rolled out an outfield of Daniel Nava, Darnell McDonald and Bill Hall—and won the game.

For those keeping score at home, those guys were known as Who, Never Heard of Him and Whatshisname during Spring Training.

I’ve made no secret historically about my stance on Drew. I find him overpaid, overrated, and remarkably fragile. So for those of you wondering if I am going to harangue him for this stint on the D.L., the answer is simple:

Of course I am.

And here’s why. It’s not because he’s dealing with a nagging injury, or even that he’s hurt. It’s that he was willing to accept a spot on the disabled list with a wound that only days ago sounded like nothing, and he did so when the team needs bodies in the outfield more than ever.

The Sox are about to cruise through Colorado and San Francisco, cities with two of the better pitching staffs in all of baseball, and will face five right-handers in six games. If ever there was a need for Drew in the lineup, it’s right now. But he can’t be bothered with taking one for the team because he needs to make sure his boo-boo heals.

Give me a break.

Mike Cameron is battling a sports hernia that will require surgery at the end of the season and it’s killing him to miss games. There was a great story on Boston.com today highlighting how much Cameron is hurting—both physically and mentally—and how he aches to return to the field.

And then there’s Drew, who tweaked a hamstring in a way so minor that Terry Francona indicated days ago that there was almost no chance Drew was going on the D.L. Then, with a pair of critical series on the horizon and the Sox already remarkably short-handed, Drew volunteers to sit ‘em out.

Thanks, J.D.

It’s just the latest example. Drew can’t be bothered to suit up if his shoelaces aren’t the same length or if his fingernail is chipped. It’s no wonder many on the Boston radio airwaves have dubbed him Nancy. The man officially has no heart, and zero capacity to put the team before his own concerns.

So let the Drew Defenders tell me all about his superior defense, how he never takes a bad route to a ball, and how he hit a couple of big home runs during the playoffs.

Fine. Point taken.

But you take a walk into the Red Sox clubhouse and ask Mike Cameron, whose body hurts when he swings, runs and throws, what it would take for him to hit the disabled list right about now.

Then try to mount a J.D. Drew defense.

Until then, the prosecution rests.

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Time to Face Facts: The Boston Red Sox Must Rebuild, Now

After Boston closer Jonathan Papelbon surrendered a pair of two-run jacks in the bottom of the ninth inning at Yankee stadium Monday night, the BoSox fell to 8.5 games back in the thickly competitive American League East.

Now well behind the Tampa Bay Rays and their rotation of rising stars and streaking young mashers—not to mention their failure in beating the New York Yankees—the Red Sox were never really in contention to begin with.

Between depletion in run production, an awkwardly inefficient defense, an increasingly older and more ineffective bullpen, and a starting rotation that simply lacks its expected consistency and dominance, this 2010 Red Sox team is good at finding ways to lose games.

General Manager Theo Epstein recently contended that his team is playing “uninspired” baseball, and nothing could more accurately describe that lack of urgency and aggression with which these ballplayers have been taking the field over the first six weeks.

While the Tampa Rays and New York Yankees bolted from the starting gate with the seriousness of purpose necessary to reach the 2010 World Series, the Boston Red Sox arrived on this season’s scene with timorous overconfidence and as much an overabundance of seasonal patience.

Aggression may be the path to the dark side, but it’s what’s needed right now in the most competitive division in baseball.

What’s more, the Red Sox are too late to play catch up.

This isn’t panic time. This isn’t time to be a fair-weather fan. This isn’t an overreaction to early season woes.

This is pragmatism. This is realism. This is baseball’s version of “compassionate conservatism.”

Setting aside any personal repugnance for that political philosophy, such “tough love” is precisely what’s needed with the 2010 Red Sox.

This is the year of the Yankee and the Ray. This is the year of the Cardinal and the Giant.

This is not the year of the Red Sock.

However, next year could easily be that year.

If 2011 is to be the Red Sox year, Theo Epstein and Terry Francona must begin rebuilding now.

As a first step, Red Sox Nation must come to terms with the fact that competing every year and staying in the race are somewhat anathema to rebuilding.

As distasteful a business as it may be, the Red Sox must become sharp sellers from now through the trade deadline.

Suffering from a chronic buyer mentality, this could be a tough pill to swallow. Surely many of us have personally swallowed this pill throughout the economic crisis of the past few years.

For the Red Sox too it is time to tighten the belt and care for a new little nest egg—one that may hatch in the Spring of 2011.

Who should they sell and what should they seek?

At the end of 2010, the Red Sox kiss goodbye the outstanding salaries they’re now paying to the likes of Baltimore’s Julio Lugo ($9,000,000), Atlanta’s Billy Wagner ($1,000,000), and Toronto’s Alex Gonzalez ($500,000).

Scott Atchison, Boof Bonser, Bill Hall, Mike Lowell, Victor Martinez, Hideki Okajima, David Ortiz, Ramon Ramirez, Scott Schoeneweis, and Jason Varitek will all either be coming off the books or should be released. Their collective salaries equate to $41,235,000 in 2010 payroll.

J.D. Drew is a free agent at the conclusion of the 2011 campaign and his stock may never be higher. As valuable both offensively and defensively as he is, Drew and his $14,000,000 salary should be on the block.

All of these players should, in fact, be on the block. All, except perhaps Varitek, whose presence and poise as the backup catcher remain invaluable. Varitek must stay to nurture the likes of Clay Buchholz and Daniel Bard.

Anything in return for the others is worth the while. While David Ortiz may achieve Type B status by year’s end, the Red Sox would never decline his club option and offer him arbitration.

Even Victor Martinez—should his bat awaken—could make an excellent trade chip. As a catcher, Martinez’ future in Boston is dubious at best. As a hitter he may turn a corner—as evident by his two homers at Yankee Stadium Monday night—but he’s likely not a good long-term answer for the Red Sox.

Okajima and Ramirez are quickly showing that their once powerful presence in the bullpen may have been more flash in the pan than something around which one can build an effective pitching staff.

Hopefully, some of these players can surge toward the trade deadline and fetch even low-level prospects in return when dealt to contenders.

Essentially, $51,735,000 can easily be shed from the Red Sox payroll entering the 2010 offseason.

Add the trading of J.D. Drew to that tally, and nearly $66 million becomes available to go shopping among a strong free-agent class.

Now, who the Red Sox might acquire via trade remains an item of even more significant speculation, but power bats like those of Prince Fielder, Adrian Gonzalez, and Miguel Cabrera should be a focal point of any trade discussions.

With so much available payroll, the 2011 Red Sox could and must restock with players like Carl Crawford, Jayson Werth, and Matt Guerrier.

Start dealing now and the 2011 Red Sox might be able to contend with the juggernaut Yankees and pesky Rays.

They can and will if they are able to build a roster like this:

SP Josh Beckett

SP Jon Lester

SP John Lackey

SP Clay Buchholz

SP Tim Wakefield

RP Daniel Bard

RP Matt Guerrier

CL Jonathan Papelbon

1B Kevin Youkilis

2B Dustin Pedroia

SS Marco Scutaro

3B Adrian Beltre

LF Jacoby Ellsbury

CF Carl Crawford

RF Jayson Werth

DH Prince Fielder

This lineup spells championship gold.

You may ask, “What about a catcher and a handful of relievers?” Those are holes to which I cannot speculate at this time. Both must be filled via trade.

What about Mike Cameron? Let’s assume perhaps that Ellsbury must be dealt to acquire Fielder or the like. Boston’s new outfield would look something like this:

LF Carl Crawford

CF Mike Cameron

RF Jayson Werth

Whatever specific moves Theo Epstein needs to make, he needs to start making them soon.


Not to contend this year, but to play meaningful ball in 2011.

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