Re: OK. It's Time. Put Up or Shut Up. Your Hot Stove Projections Please!
posted at 11/2/2011 2:22 PM EDT
I side with Boom ( and did at the time ) on the decision to let Beltre walk and to trade for Gonzalez. It was based on assumptions that Youkilis would slide back over to third without missing a beat, and that Gonzalez would put up big power numbers in Fenway. Now I fear that, as I have said elsewhere, that the Sox are vulnerable defensively on the left side, and that Youk may be hobbled again at that position. I saw Gonzalez play numerous games against the Dodgers. He is a very good ballplayer but not basically a slugger. I do not expect him to hit 30+ homers, and I think that his BA will drop somewhat. ( Boy, would I like to be wrong on this one. ) Beltre found a home in Boston. He's built to last, injuries aside.
I do not agree with the predictions that the Big Three will all have good years. I don't expect them to make anywhere near all of their scheduled starts. Buchholz remains a question mark until he shows that he can pitch. The other two are on probation until they show that they can stay the course. ( Suds or no suds. ) Otherwise, Boston needs at least one good ST and, probably, one more arm in the pen. If Papelbon leaves, which is likely, Bard will be a question mark as closer, unless he's moved into the rotation, which is unlikely. I would not discount the possibility that at some point Aceves will be given a chance to close. Or start. In any event, pitching will be the test of this club.
So will catching. Salty began to buckle at roughly the half-way mark. Lavarnway is not ready to assume the position. ( Why not teach him to play the outfield? ) Tek's status is still unresolved.
I doubt that Ellsbury will duplicate his 2011 performance, but odds are that he'll come close and take another step towards super-stardom. ( If he isn't traded. )
Crawford is an enigma. He'll do better but not enough to justify his contract. I'll guess that he comes close to his career norms -- but with my fingers crossed.
Pedey will continue to be the guts of this club.
Rightfield remains problematical. Even if Reddick or Kalish proves serviceable, the Sox need a RHed bat for a platoon. I fear that this position may be a weak spot.
Hard to say much at the moment about Scutaro/Lowrie/Aviles. Scutaro will open at SS, but there will probably be juggling along the way. Lowrie might be traded.
If Ortiz wants more than two years, I'd let him walk.
In general, we'll be looking at a club that did not crash and burn but blew up in the air. Hard to say how much difference a new manager will make -- for better or worse. It's easy to say that the players have "something to prove"
( or will play with chips on their shoulders ) but impossible to say how all of that will pan out. The Red Sox are a damaged organization. They do not lie amidst wreckage exactly, but, IMO, big repairs are in order.