Red Sox Review November 30 2011
Red Sox News
Well, the big news on the Sox this week is obviously the inevitable hiring of new manager, Bobby Valentine. Of course this comes only a few weeks after new General Manager Ben Cherington narrowed his choices to just five, none of them being Bobby Valentine. So it looks like it has become the dynasty now of not Ben Cherington, but of Larry Lucchino. It is obvious to anyone who has viewed the situation that Cherington will now be part of a puppet regime. Boston would have been up in arms had Lucchino become General Manager with no experience, so they hired within to someone who had worked closely with former GM Theo Epstein. From first glance, everyone was satisfied with this move as they saw new school meeting old school, as Cherington has been in the organization a long time.
So basically our news for the week is that Larry Lucchino played the boss card on Ben Cherington and we have a new manager in Boston in the likes of Bobby Valentine. Will it be a good thing? Will it work? I guess only time will tell, but for now I will give you my take.
Bobby Valentine, in my opinion, will not work. This is a man who loves the lime light. Perfect for the high strung media of Boston, right? WRONG! This media in Boston is driven by wins and production. It will not matter if he shows up in a disguise to watch the end of the game, or if he claims he invented pita pockets next. All that will matter will be what he can do with this team. I think he won't do a darn thing. He will do his best "Ra-Ra" act to get the troops together, and play the sergeant to get them into shape, but then what? It is already been spoken that two players, key players might I add, do not like Bobby Valentine. When he was part of the media, they did not like what he had to say, so what now? Will they quit on the team just to throw it in his face? And what happens if the team starts to despise him because of his obviously different style of coaching then beloved former manager Terry Francona? The Bobby Valentine experiment will not work.
Well lets move on to what this team does need. And I am not talking about the obvious work ethic and heart that a few key players lack, I am talking about player needs. Let's start with the infield. On the right side, we have no problems, as Dustin Pedroia and Adrian Gonzalez patrol that with ease. On the left, however, it is a different story. With an unproven shortstop in Marco Scutaro and Jed Lowrie backing him up, the shortstop position again leaves us with a lot of questions. Will this be the year we finally see Iglesias put on the show we have been teased with for years? And at third Kevin Youkilis and injury prone arrogant player who many have thought to be a ring leader for the rebellion and entitlement in the clubhouse. If that is a fact, he can not stay around. Catcher is our final spot and Jarrod Saltalamacchia is not a great fit. He is a great platoon catcher along with Jason Varitek. If they do get Varitek back behind the dish, I believe we can get one more good year. With Varitek working again closely with some of the catching prospects on game calling, we have a potential future catcher somewhere in the ranks.
In the outfield, we look a lot better. In left we keep Carl Crawford who, although he had a rough start, will shape up to be one of the most athletic and dynamic outfielders in the AL East. Last year, as he started to gain his swagger for Boston, injury struck and caused him to start back at square one. Patrolling the large center field are of Fenway is a man who was robbed of his MVP trophy, Jacoby Ellsbury. I think that is enough said. A year after he went nuts offensively and kept to the status quo of his stellar defense, we need not question that. In right is the only question mark and I genuinely believe there is an easy answer. Yes, Josh Reddick should be your opening day starter in right. By years end, I think at best he will have a platooning job. Ryan Kalish is the answer for the Red Sox outfield as he has good range, a good arm, and a very good bat. If he develops at the pace he was at before his injury last year, he will be the next big thing in Boston.
Finally our last two points are DH and pitching staff. David Ortiz should be this teams DH. Period. End of discussion. Moving on. Pitching is not the biggest factor of this teams needs. If Josh Beckett and Jon Lester can get their heads out of their rear ends, then we can have a dominant pitching staff. With Buckholz returning as your three that only leaves two voids in the rotation. One can be patch work filled by Tim Wakefield until other healthy or younger starters can be found. This leaves one signing that needs to be made and it needs to be a caliber pitcher like Mark Buehrle or Roy Oswalt. That will complete the rotation. I am not going to go into a deep discussion on all the middle relievers or set up guys but I will talk about one specific bullpen position, the closer.
The smallest risk can make the biggest difference in my opinion. I have our answer for closer and it is in the form of someone who is looking to prove himself again as a closer, Joe Nathan. He is a former great closer for Minnesota and before injury was going to be their franchise closer. He has since had some bad luck with his injuries, but if the price is right would be a great signing for the Red Sox. With some players like Bard or Jenks backing him up, he would have a security blanket and someone having faith in him, both can be elements of a successful rebirth in your position.
The Red Sox have potential this year and can definitel