Sunday, November 09, 2008
The Sox do need insurance against age and health related production declines from Mike Lowell and David Ortiz. The Olde Towne Team just does not need a policy with a $140+ million premium.
The combination of Julio Lugo and a southpaw first baseman should be adequate in case Lowell has issues. Jed Lowrie can move to the hot corner versus lefty starters with Lugo at short to exploit each ones platoon split of late. Against most starters the Sox could bring back Sean Casey, go with a slugging no glove easy bad humor target Jason Giambi, or with one of the two former versatile/four corner Socks Eric Hinske and Doug Mientkiewicz.
A much simpler backup plan can be in place for Ortiz. Rocco Baldelli and Chris Carter can handle the DH duties if Ortiz has a prolonged DH stint. Carter can’t field, but with the stick he has been plenty good for three straight years in AAA. The AAA DH deserves a shot in the Show.
As for resolving the final issue, who will pair with Wake to round out the rotation, my thoughts are more conventional. Kenshin Kawakami appears to be a good first free agent choice.
“Kawakami isn’t overpowering; his fastball tops out in the low 90’s. His control is good…featured pitch is a cut fastball.”
Kawakami’s scouting report sounds like he would be a fine number four starter for the Sox. If the Olde Towne Team can’t bring in the Japanese import, Paul Byrd works too with Clay Buchholz or Mike Bowden as backups. Bowden appears to be a solid starter and Buchholz still has #1 starter upside.
For the second winter in a row, the Sox do not need a major overhaul. They need to add depth, explore all opportunities and seize upon the ones that are prudent, which means Mark Teixeira is unlikely to be a Sock like Johan Santana last year. It is probably better this way, but it does make for a tease type of blue winter.