Boston Red Sox Offseason 2011 (continued)

In a previous post I took a look at the Red Sox pitching situation heading into 2011.  In this post I will look at how Terry Francona will fill in his lineup card in 2011, and what options Theo has to look at over the winter.  I will write this post as if it as an actual lineup opposed to doing a position by position look at the Sox.

1) Center Field: Jacoby Ellsbury

Putting Jacoby in left last season was a failed experiment.  I was very outspoken and against it from day one. I didn’t understand the fascination with Mike Cameron at all.  Forget what the computers say, I trust my eyes and my eyes tell me that Jacoby is a very good center fielder with great range.  Some believe that Jacoby will be a trade chip that would land a Prince Fielder or Adrian Gonzalez.  I think that would be a mistake.  Keep Jacoby in center and in the lead off spot.  He has game changing speed and is an exciting player.

2) Second Base: Dustin Pedroia

This is as set in stone as it gets.  Pedroia will be coming back from his foot injury that sidelined him most of last season.  There is nothing scarier than a motivated Pedroia and that’s what the Sox will have when he reports to Fort Myers in the spring.

3) Left Field: TBA

The Red Sox have Mike Cameron, Ryan Kalish, Daniel Nava, and  Darnell McDonald under contract for next season I believe.  While Kalish, Nava, and McDonald were great in a fill-in role last season, if they are called into full time duty for the Sox this season, they will be in trouble.  I fully expect the Sox to make a huge run at Carl Crawford.  Crawford has long been a favorite of mine and I would love to see him in Red Sox apparel. Crawford has shown he can hit 20 home runs.  We know he is a grand larcenist on the base paths.  He is also a solid defender.  I am the biggest advocate to bringing him to Fenway.

Other options: Jayson Werth, Hideki Matsui, Jason Kubel, Michael Cuddyer

4) 1st Baseman Kevin Youkilis

Like the rest of the Red Sox lineup, Youkilis will be returning from an injury that shelved him for the rest of the 2010 season.  There have been reports that Youk will be working out at third base this off season in case the Sox go out and make a splash in the first base market.  The Sox are sure to inquire about the availability of Adrian Gonzalez and Prince Fielder. There are also several free agents of interest at the position.  I do find it very likely Youk will move across the diamond next season.

Free Agent options: Adam Dunn, Paul Konerko, Derek Lee, Carlos Pena

5) Catcher: TBA

It will be in the Sox best interests to bring back Victor Martinez.  He put up great numbers last season while missing an entire month.  Martinez is a free agent and is sure to command top dollar on the open market.  The Tigers are reportedly already showing high interest in Victor, which will only drive up the bidding for the Sox.  Personally, I believe he is worth 3-4 years at about 15 million per.  If the Sox are unable to resign him, they might be forced into putting Jarrod Saltalamacchia behind the dish.

Free Agent options other than Victor: John Buck, Matt Treanor, Yorvit Torrealba, Rod Barajas

6) Designated Hitter David Ortiz

Whether Ortiz likes it or not, the Sox will be picking up the team option they have on him for the 2011 season.  1 year at 12 million is very fair for Ortiz given his age and his production.  Ortiz isn’t getting any younger but continues to hit 30 home runs and drive in close to 100 runs a year.  Whether the Sox do decide to restructure his contract or just pick up his option, Ortiz is a sure bet to be in the Sox dugout in 2011.

7) Third Base: TBA

Adrian Beltre had a career year last season with the Red Sox while managing to be the only one to remain healthy all season (and knocking two guys out Elssbury, Hermida).  Beltre is expected to decline the 10 million dollar player option he has for 2011.  I would love to see the Sox bring Beltre back but the problem is his representation is Scott Boras.  Boras is known to command top dollar for his clients, and he usually gets it.  Ideally, Beltre will resign with the Sox for 3 years 45 million.  If Beltre leaves, the Sox have in-house options.  They can either move Youk across the diamond or they can move Jed Lowrie to third.

Free Agent possibilities: Miguel Tejada, Brandon Inge, Aramis Ramirez

8) Right Field JD Drew

Many Red Sox fans will be grateful that this is Nancy Drew’s last season as a Red Sox.  Many fans will be calling for Ryan Kalish to play right field full time.  I myself will sit back and enjoy JD’s last season in Boston.  I will appreciate that he was huge for the Sox in the post season when it mattered most.  The man makes the game look so easy with his sweet swing and his range in the outfield.  Yes, it is maddening that he grounds out to second base 3 times a game. But there is just one season left and then it will be Kalish’s time in Boston.

9) Shortstop Marco Scutaro vs Jed Lowrie

This will be an interesting battle to watch in spring training.  Marco Scutaro put together a solid season with the Sox in his first year in Boston.  He made more errors than I was comfortable with but overall I had no gripes with Scutaro’s play.  Lowrie caught fire toward the end of the season and had many calling for him to man the shortstop position.  Lowrie has always been solid when healthy, the problem is he is never healthy.  Whether its a wrist, mono, or who knows what Lowrie is worse than JD Drew when it comes to injuries.

The Bench:

Ryan Kalish– No Red Sox endeared themselves to the Fenway Faithful than Kalish.  He reminded the fans of a man named Trot with his all out play, cannon for an arm, and knack for hitting grand slams.

The Sox would love to bring back Bill Hall.  But Hall is likely to go out and test free agency seeing if there is a place where he can be an everyday player.

If the Sox are able to bring back Victor Martinez, Jarrod Saltalamacchia would be the backup. If Salty gets the starting gig, there will be a spring training battle between Mark Wagner and Dusty Brown.

Mike Cameron still has one year left on his deal as does Darnell McDonald. The Sox will need a back up corner infielder and here are some names that would fill that void: Jorge Cantu, Jim Thome, Mark Kotsay, and Brad Hawpe.




One Response

  1. I agree with just about all of this. I have a been a sox fan for a while now and although i do miss the old 2004 roster (Trot Nixon, Bill Mueller, Pokey Reese, Pedro, Curt, Gabe Kapler, Kevin Millar etc.) I do like what I’m seeing out of the redsox farm teams. All last season we struggled with injuires and i will admit i gave up a little bit. But I was very pleased with the way “the young guns” played and look forward in seeing what else they could do for this organization.

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