Thursday, August 17, 2006


My 2007 Red Sox

My frustration with the Red Sox will probably reach an all-time high in 4-5 months. Boston is clearly at a semi-rebuilding period where they are on the verge of calling up a few young prospects while letting some bloated contracts run out on their roster. Call this a 'Colin's Season Preview' or call it reverse-jinxing for the upcoming Sox-Yanks series, but I feel as though the Red Sox will fall short of the playoffs. So, in light of that, let's do something that is all too familiar with Red Sox fans everywhere, let's wait 'til next year.

If I were Theo Epstein this offseason, this is the Sox squad that I would put on the field next season.

note: * = 'Untouchables,' the young guys who under NO circumstances should be traded in the off-season

1. Kevin Youkilis - 1B (Despite being unbearably slow, Youk's OBS is worthy of a lead-off spot. Plus, being serviceable at 1B helps too. Although the Sox could use more power from their corner infielders, Youks is too valuable to not start. Looks for Youks to be an everyday 3B come 2008 though.)
2. Mike Lowell - 3B (Fairly good hitter, excellent defender. Sox probably won't re-sign Loretta, so Lowell may be the only option to hit second in the order. Let's hope Lowell can have another strong year in '07.)
3. David Ortiz - DH (He's so good. In the past seven years, Papi has increased his HR's every season. Papi could easily hit 53-55 homers in '06, I'd call Cooperstown if he can increase on that number in '07.)
4. Manny Ramirez - LF (There are three guarantees in life. Death, taxes, and Manny Ramirez starting the season slow but then finishing with these types of numbers: .300+, 40+ HRs, 130+ RBIs.)
5. Wily Mo Pena - RF (Needs to fix two things: Get better defensively in the tough right field of Fenway, and learn to hit the outside breaking ball. Let's hope another season with Ron Jackson, Papi and Manny will finally turn Pena into the 40+ HR hitter he has been hyped to be.)
6. Jason Varitek - C (He may never again be the hitter he once was, but as long as he remains as the best game-caller in baseball, we can deal with his potential .270, 18-20 HRs, 70-75 RBI season.)
7. Dustin Pedroia* - 2B (2nd round pick in 2004 is ready for The Show. 23-year old prospect is a slick defensive player and is hitting .311 this season in AAA Pawtucket.)
8. Alex Gonzalez - SS (The Sox should sign Gonzo to a 1-year deal, like they did in '06, unless they can trade for Miguel Tejada for a reasonable price. Gonzo may not be the greatest hitter, but his defense is second to none. Unless there is a better, and less expensive, deal than Tejada, stick with the cheap Gonzo.)
9. Jacoby Ellsbury* - CF (My man runs like the wind blows. Two years ago, Ellsbury was the best player in college baseball. Now, he is tearing up the minors for the Sox. Coco Crisp is excellent trade bait to land a pitcher or bullpen arm, so it's time for the Sox to give Ellsbury a chance. I GUARANTEE he will not disappoint.)

1. Curt Schilling (Swan song for the big guy. Cooperstown is calling, but they'd love to have another 17-18 win season and a playoff berth to solidify his case. So would Red Sox Nation..)
2. Josh Beckett (I've had my problems with Beckett, and those may explode if he doesn't step it up this weekend against the Yanks. He is still young though, so hopefully he can return to form in '07 and live up to the potential.)
3. Jon Lester* (Great start to his potentially excellent career. Let's hope he can continue to pitch well. A 15-16 win season could potentially put the Sox into the playoffs, and is very likely.)
4. Matt Clement (If you can trade him, get rid of him. Sadly, his fat contract won't allow that. Just think of it this way, '07 is the last season we will see this bust in a Sox uniform.)
5. see below

Potential 5th Starters:
note: If the Sox acquired some of these pitchers, they certainly wouldn't be #5 pitchers, they'd be the ace or #2 pitchers at least
1. Barry Zito (Not a chance this free agent-to-be will be re-signed by the A's. Although he will be extremely expensive, the still young lefty is certainly worth the price. Playoff/big game experience, and what Fenway Faithful wouldn't love to see that filthy 12-6 curve in Boston?)
2. Mike Mussina (That's right, you heard me. The Yanks will probably not exercise his '07 option, although they still may resign him. Mussina already said he would only play for a contender that plays nearby his hometown in Western Pennsylvania, i.e. Yanks or Sox.)
3. Mark Redman (Former Marlin owns the Red Sox, and the lefty would probably come pretty cheap. Having Redman as your staff's #4 starter is nothing to frown about.)
4. Jason Schmidt (What do you think? Do you really want to spend 12+ million a year on a 33-year old NL pitcher? Granted, Schmidt dominates the NL, he isn't worth the price. Then again, the Sox will have money to spend, and improving the starting pitching isn't only their priority, it's their whole off-season plan.)
5. Roy Oswalt (Sick, filthy stuff, but would need to be acquired via trade. Oswalt wants out of Houston, but if I were the Sox, I'd wait until the '07 offseason, or even the '07 deadline to get Oswalt. He is worth the free agent money, but the Sox would have to trade one of The Untouchables to get him.)
6. In-house starter (Why spend the money or trade the prospects when you could use one them as your #5 starter. The Sox don't have any major league ready pitchers in the minors for at least another 2-3 years, but look out for these names to possibly take over the #5 spot or make some emergency spot starts: Lenny DiNardo, Abe Alvarez, Michael Bowden, David Pauly, Clay Buchholtz, Kris Johnson or Daniel Bard.)
7. Roger Clemens (Pardon my NY Lotto knock-off, but hey, you never know.)

MRP - Some overpriced veteran (No doubt Theo will make his annual bad bullpen signing. He'll sign a 38-year old NL set-up man for $2 million and he will suck in Boston. Write it down)
MRP - Some overpriced lefty (This may go as an underrated reason why Boston won't make the playoffs this year. Who is going to pitch to guys like Giambi, Thome or Abreu down the stretch?? Theo better address that next season..)
SU - Manny Delcarmen* (Boston native has been decent this year, but not great yet. One year more mature and better from this year though and I wouldn't mind seeing him pitching the 7th inning)
SU - Craig Hansen* (Young fireballer will be one of the best set up men in the league next year. Timlin is likely to retire, as he has already shown signs of dead-arm this season, so Hansen's effectiveness is essential to Boston's success. Hansen is still 2-3 years away from being a closer, but let's hope he follows in the path of K-Rod and Rivera in being a prime set-up man while 'training' to be a top-flight closer)
Closer - Jon Papelbon* (The Kid may not win the Rookie of the Year, Cy Young and especially MVP this season, but you can sure as hell make a case for all three with him this year. He has been lights out for the Sox. Papelbon is a natural closer, and if Boston is smart, they'll keep him in that role until Hansen is 110% ready to close. Zito-Beckett-Papelbon in the rotation in '09 sounds pretty damn good huh?)

So all in all, that is the team I would put forth every day. Granted, the Sox may make a splash with a big offseason deal or signing for a bat (Tejada, Carlos Lee, Ichiro, Soriano) but they most likely won't do anything too drastic offensively.

I sure hope that my 1,000 word piece basically writing this season off and looking forward to next year just reversed-jinxed them into showing up for the Yanks series. Let's hope, and I'm looking right at you Beckett..

Go Sox

I like it. But, no mention of David Murphy?! I know he WAS tearing up AAA, maybe he's not anymore though.

Also, you really think Paps wont be a starter next year? Ultimately, he definitely will be, and Hansen will close -- the Sox have said so themselves.
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