Wednesday, December 8, 2010
Sox 2011--Yo, Adrian!!!
Well, so here it is. Gonzalez is a Gold Glove at first, who transplants Youkilis, who was Gold Glove at first, and moves him to third, where he may actually be a little better. So both corner positions are Gold Glovers, which you had last year before the injuries. Under the plan beforehand, Martinez would've been your catcher/1B, and, though a good hitter, he is defensively challenged at both positions. Youk and Gonzalez are clearly better at 1B defensively, and are both clearly better at the plate. So Martinez is out of the picture at first. Now, do you pay him 4 years for $50 million to be your full-time catcher and occasional DH? In other words, do you pay him $12.5 million for the next four years to just catch for you, knowing that you'll have to give him about 30-35 games off, minimum, per year to save the wear and tear so he can be an effective hitter? With his questionable defense and play calling, knowing he won't be at first or DH? No way! If you could put him at first on his days off from catching, maybe, but even that's a stretch. I'd want to keep him, but not for that money. And you clearly have to get Gonzalez if he's available, because he's a better hitter and defender than Martinez. So, once you have all this figured out, Martinez is gone. Fine. A shame, and you get nothing now for Justin Masterson--who I was never a fan of anyway--but that's okay with me, too.
The biggest shame out of all this is that you lose Adrian Beltre and Casey Kelly, the latter of which I think can be a future ace of a staff. But as Brian Rose and Carl Pavano (remember those guys? the twin sure-things who both fizzled? Pavano's still pitching, but he clearly stuck it to the Yanks) taught you, one definite is better than one maybe, so getting Gonzalez again is a no-brainer. The other two prospects in the deal are also potential very good players, but that's why you draft such guys--to help your team on the field (Youk; Pedroia; Papelbon) or to help you in trades (Kelly and the other two). Remember that Pavano and Rose got you Pedro Martinez. That worked out pretty well, right? And if Gonzalez can be 30/100 in San Diego, in a terrible hitters park, he can be 35/120, minimum, in Fenway, and the American League in general.
So then there's Adrian Beltre, who clearly has a perfect swing--down to one knee--at Fenway, and is a Gold Glove at 3rd base, too. And a 35/120 guy himself. (Youk is another 120 RBI guy, with fewer home runs.) But where do you put him? You have to keep Youk, who's a Fenway Favorite ("YOOOOOOOKKKK") like Ortiz, Pedroia and Papelbon are. But he had nowhere to play now in the infield, and I'm a little worried at how he only has had monster years during contract years, and his 49 homeruns one year was due to a word that we will not mention here. That's worrisome, though in his defense I think he enjoyed Fenway and would've put up great numbers and played great defense there every year. I will miss him, and I think Kelly (whose autograph I have somewhere) and the other two prospects will turn out to be great players, but that's the business side of the game, which is just as important as the balls and strikes.
In short, you now have great hitters and Gold Gloves at every position in the infield (except at short, but Scutaro is unspectacularly solid), and you have Gold Gloves in the outfield with Cameron (when healthy) and Gold Glove caliber with Ellsbury (when healthy) and Drew makes it all look so easy when he glides after a ball, when he feels like it, and when he graces us with his outfield presence. I wouldn't mind seeing Ellsbury back in center, and then a platoon in right and left between Drew and Cameron, and take your pick between the guys who did a good job subbing last year. None of those guys, including Drew and Cameron are full-time players anymore--and excluding Ellsbury--so I wouldn't mind seeing Carl Crawford out there (the Nationals overpaid sickeningly for Werth). BUT, you have to replenish your relief corps first, and if you do that and then don't have enough money left to sign Crawford, I am totally okay with that. They fielded practically a minor league team last year in the outfield for most of the year, and were still second in the majors in offense, so they don't need another outfielder. Get Beckett and Lackey back on track, and get a solid middle reliever or two, and if that's all you do, you're still going deep in the playoffs next season.