Red Sox look fine for 2010

7 01 2010

I promise not to rant too long on how privileged Red Sox fans have become. I suppose winning two World Series in four years (2004-07) inevitably leads to a sense of entitlement, but my goodness, could Red Sox fans sound more depressed about this offseason?

By importing Adrian Beltre, Marco Scutaro and Mike Cameron, Boston has dramatically improved a defense that was mysteriously weak for a team which values quantitative analysis. Now they might have the best D in the game with J.D. Drew, Cameron and Jacoby Ellsbury in the outfield and Beltre, Scutaro, Dustin Pedroia and Kevin Youkilis manning the infield. Only the Mariners can rival them defensively, although the Sox are much, much better offensively with the same players. Victor Martinez isn’t bad as the catcher, and Red Sox fans might feel the same way if they could get over the fact that Jason Varitek plays like he’s more concerned about boinking the next Red Sox sideline reporter.

Still, all I seem to read is how the Sox aren’t a legit World Series contender because they have offensive issues. Sure, Beltre can be frustrating offensively. In five years with the Mariners, he never posted an on-base percentage higher than .328 and his slugging percentage fell all the way to .379 last year. Maybe Fenway Park’s hitter-friendly confines is the answer to his slugging problems. Two players who shouldn’t have a problem swatting away pitches are Jeremy Hermida and Bill Hall, both of whom were brought in for offensive power. Hermida will be just 26 this season, so he still has time to realize some of the vast potential he showed as a prospect.

Even if Sox fans are depressed at their overall lack of offensive firepower (Youk is the only legit 30 homer/100 RBI guy in the lineup), they can feel chipper by the notion that Boston is the most realistic destination for Adrian Gonzalez, whenever the Padres decide to trade him. Since Boston signed Beltre to a one-year deal (he has a $5 million option for 2011, which is a reasonable price to pay him if he slides to a bench role), third base will be open for Youk if and when Adrian arrives. And if they manage to keep first base prospect Lars Anderson in the event they acquire Adrian, then Anderson can move to the DH spot, which should open up after Papi Ortiz dies a little bit more this season.

I’d like to point out one more reason for why Red Sox fans should cheer up and immediately start burning Yankees jerseys in their apartment or house — their starting rotation is sick. They spent $82.5 million to make John Lackey their No. 3 starter, which is sort of like saying that Minka Kelly is only the third hottest celebrity Derek Jeter has slept with. It’s impressive not only for the lower-than-usual ranking of the subject, but to imagine how much better the first two options are.

Boston can trot out a Josh Beckett-Jon Lester-Lackey trifecta during really important series throughout the year, while holding the Dice-K wild card and upcomer Clay Buchholz as their fourth and fifth options. If Dice-K pitches even somewhat competently, then that’s a better rotation than the Yankees — or anyone else for that matter.

All in all, Boston has improved their team, from defensive and pitching perspectives. Their offense surely is questionable for its lack of power, but that should be solved by the inevitability of their trading for Adrian Gonzalez. Red Sox fans would do themselves good by accepting their team as a legit threat to the Yankees’ throne. They just need to stop crying themselves to sleep every night while watching their ’04, ’07 World Series videos.



3 responses

7 01 2010
Cal Meacham

I would like them to take a look at Prince Fielder too, next years FA class will be huge. Nice write up

7 01 2010

Thanks, man. Fielder is definitely tempting and a little bit younger.

13 01 2010
Page Seven


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