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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Look For Potentially Huge Off-Season from Sox

2009 was a year the Red Sox Nation wishes it could forget. After posting a 95-67 regular season record, the Red Sox booked themselves yet another trip to the postseason. However, the Sox went three games and out. It was over before it began. Hello and goodbye.

Although it was a season that ended in disappointment, it was one that had its share of bright spots. One of these was the breakout sophomore season of center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury. Ellsbury hit .301 while also leading the league with 70 stolen bases. Starting pitcher Jon Lester held his own as well. After posting 16 wins last season, the lefty proved it was no fluke by posting 15 this season. The total ranked him 10th in the American League. Lester also struck out a whopping 225 batters. The mark had him third in the American League while also providing a new Red Sox record for a left-handed pitcher.

Much like their season’s end, the regular season had its share of disappointment as well. For starters, Daisuke Matsuzaka never had it. In only his second start of the season, Matsuzaka was injured and placed on the disabled list for a month. He made a short return in May, but after a few starts he returned to the disabled list with what was called “weakness” in the shoulder.

But all that’s in the past. It’s now time to look at what the 2010 edition of our beloved Boys of Summer needs to do in order to win the World Series for the third time in seven years. Many questions arise. What to do now that Jason Bay’s contract is up and our offense is starting to look old? Who is coming through the revolving door to play shortstop this year? Is Clay Buccholz really ready to make 35 starts and throw 200 innings in the big leagues? How will the bullpen shape out?

All this and more will be addressed below. In part one, the infield will be addressed.

CATCHER- One of the two spots the Sox don’t have to worry about. Acquired at last summer’s trade deadline, Victor Martinez paid immediate dividends. With the Sox, Martinez hit .336 with 41 RBI’s in only 56 games. He also developed an immediate bond with Clay Buccholz and Tim Wakefield, with both pitchers pitching better with him behind the plate. Martinez’s arrival sent captain Jason Varitek into a back-up role. However, Varitek exercised his $3MM player option to return next season.

FIRST/THIRD BASE- This position could get messy and confusing fast. As it stands, Kevin Youkillis is the everyday option, but that could easily change. With Mike Lowell’s range decreasing faster than the current economy, the Sox are looking for an upgrade. What the Sox need to do here is decide where they want Youkillis to play. Third base would be the best option. If that happens, the Sox need to acquire Miguel Cabrera from the Tigers. Cabrera would also provide the Sox with power in the middle of the line-up. He is only 26 and signed for six more years.

To acquire Cabrera the Sox should give up Clay Buccholz, Josh Reddick, Dustin Richardson, Felix Doubront, and Lars Anderson. That might look like a lot, but it makes sense. Although he has great potential, Anderson is not so certain anymore. With Anthony Rizzo not far behind, the Sox can afford to let Anderson go.

SECOND BASE/SHORTSTOP- With the news of Alex Gonzalez signing with the Toronto Blue Jays, it appears that yet another player will be at short. In spring training, Jed Lowrie won the position outright from Julio Lugo but couldn’t manage to stay on the field. This led to the acquisition of Gonzalez. Even with Gonzalez gone, Lowrie won’t be handed the job. With J.J. Hardy traded to the Minnesota Twins, trading for a shortstop is unlikely. The best plan for the Sox would be to find a one year gap to platoon the position with Lowrie. Especially since All-stars like Jimmy Rollins and Jose Reyes will become free agents next offseason.

The Sox should acquire Orlando Cabrera for one year and $3MM plus a chance to earn $3MM in incentives. Cabrera has already played here and had a mutual love affair with the city. One year from the 35 year old won’t hurt anyone. Plus, he can still flash the leather and hit a little bit.

As for second base, the Sox still have that rookie of the year, MVP, Dustin Pedroia guy. No problems here. Pedroia will be the man for years to come.

Check back next week to see what Theo and Co. need to do about the outfield and pitching.

About the Contributor
Andrew Otovik served as the sports editor for The Mass Media the following years: 2010-2011