As the Boston Red Sox get into the flow of things with spring training. The players right now are just taking the time to get reacquainted with one another. Getting to know the new names and faces that comes with each new season. Their also getting ready to answer some important questions about this years club.
Here’s just a few of them listed below:
- Who’s going to be the opening day shortstop?
- The teams fifth starter opening the season will be?
- Will the World Baseball Classic (WBC) affect the Sox players participating in it?
- Can the club win it all without Manny Ramirez?
First off in regards to shortstop I’d have to give the edge to the young and upcoming Jed Lowrie. Now that doesn’t mean that Julio Lugo is out either. Lugo who still has two years and $18 million left on his contract could very well win the job during the spring. But we have to evaluate and decide who’s better fit to take it during the spring.
I believe if the Sox can afford to keep on the roster, they’ll do it. Having a backup insurance policy is always a great thing. But that answer will depend on the health and depth of the pitching staff at camp’s end.
Concerning the teams fifth starter I’d give it to Brad Penny for the moment over Clay Buchholz. Of course once newly acquired John Smoltz is ready to go, this could all change. Buchholz did not impress me or others that much last season. Maybe more time in the minors will be the secret to his success this year and in the future. Smoltz can be a very valuable commodity in either the bullpen or the starting rotation.
Now the WBC which currently has sixteen Sox players on the rosters for various countries. This could potentially be a concern as nine of the sixteen will definitely be on the Sox opening day roster. This means less time in camp working with the team, also an increased chance of injury. For a few of them like 3B Mike Lowell and 1B Kevin Youkilis who battled injuries last season.
The risk is greater and could be detrimental to the club if they were to be injured. Especially for those that might be playing throughout the month of March, if their team were to make the Finals. Final rosters are set to be announced this coming Tuesday the 24th of February. So we’ll talk more about this concern later on after the teams are set.
Oh and to answer the final question. HECK YEAH! We can win it all this year without Ramirez. A full year with Jason Bay and a healthy David Ortiz means a big difference from last season. Just imagine a season without being worried about “Manny being Manny”. Or what distraction will come next. Wow, that’s a wonderful thing we’ll be able to enjoy in 2009.
LET’S GO RED SOX! TIME TO TAKE WHAT BELONGS TO US BACK AND BRING IT HOME TO BOSTON!