Friday, May 29, 2009

At the 1/3 pole

A third of the way through the season, we know the following:

  • Everyone in the AL East is deeply flawed, and nobody as currently constituted can run away with the division.
  • Jason Bay may or may not be a candidate for AL MVP, but he’s far and away the odds on favorite for 2009 Red Sox MVP.
  • Bringing back Mike Lowell and Jason Varitek worked out ok, don’t ya think?
  • When he’s healthy, JD Drew is almost worth his ludicrous contract.
  • Jacoby Ellsbury is beginning to resemble a Grady Sizemore clone, and will soon surpass him and become the best leadoff man in the business.
  • What David Ortiz is going through can’t be termed a slump anymore. Until something else happens, it’s his reality, and therefore the team’s reality. Something has to give.
  • The strength of the 2009 Red Sox was supposed to be its rotation, but it hasn’t worked out that way. Everyone in the rotation has been badly shelled at least a couple times (tonight it was Wakefield), and as a result, there is no true ace this year. We thought we had three. In truth, we have none.
  • Fortunately, the Red Sox have what nobody else in the majors possesses: serious reserve depth in the wings in the form of no-hit kid Clay Buchholz, who’s dominating the International League, and future Hall of Famer John Smoltz, who may or may not make his Red Sox debut around the time that his old friends from Atlanta show up for interleague competition.
  • Don't forget flamethrower Daniel Bard and Mr. Poise, Michael Bowden. Those two have already proven to be every bit as good as advertised
  • Thank God for Justin Masterson, Ramon Ramirez, Manny Delcarmen and the rest of the bullpen.

Since the division (and the league) remains up for grabs, the Red Sox have plenty of time and resources available to plug the open holes in the roster.

  • Shortstop: Maybe Jed Lowrie will come back and set the world on fire. I hope so, since the platoon of Julio Lugo and Nick Green is serviceable, but barely more. The offense isn’t much and the defense is abysmal. Jack Wilson’s available in Pittsburgh. GRAB him.
  • DH: Nobody loves Big Papi more than I do, but c’mon. He’s behind on fastballs and completely fooled by offspeed stuff. Nobody’s being careful with him. They don’t need to be. Pitchers go right after Ortiz, and he’s not able to make anyone pay. Below the Mendoza Line with 1 measly home run won’t cut it, no matter what happened from 2004 through 2007. He left 12 men on base IN ONE GAME. That’s usually a stat representing a team’s futility for a game, not one man. Luke Scott in Baltimore, Jack Cust in Oakland, Mike Jacobs in Kansas City and Hank Blalock in Texas may be available real soon now, and worth pursuing.

Not signing Mark Teixiera means the Red Sox have money in the bank. They still have one of the deeper farm systems in the game, and have talent to burn if there’s a long-term advantage to be had. What happens at the trading deadline will determine who wins the American League East, and perhaps who holds the advantage for the AL pennant. With the right moves, it could be Boston.

No comments: