Scarlet Fever

A teenage girl's perspective on the Red Sox and everything else.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Looking To 2007

And so the playoff race ends. I should be so disappointed, but I knew it was coming. A team this thin on starting pitching could not have swept the rest of our games. And now that we know we're out of the postseason, it's an oddly settling feeling. An abysmal August crushed the season that could have been. We were destroyed by injury. There is no one to blame. There is no scapegoat, try as people might to blame it on Theo, Tito, or any of the players.
And now Red Sox Nation turns its eyes toward the postseason. What moves should be made to make 2007 a legitimate year for contention?
The following is what I believe should take place. Arguments are welcome.

FIRST BASE
Kevin Youkilis. Hands down. A solid defender, very cheap, bats well anywhere in the lineup, occasional power.

SECOND BASE
Dustin Pedroia. He is looking more and more comfortable every day. I love Loretta, but I think he could be excellent trade bait for some pitching. Pedroia's hitting is getting better and better and his defense has shown signs of much potential. He is learning every day.

SHORTSTOP
Alex Gonzalez. Cheap, absolutely amazing on defense, and way above expectations hitting-wise. At one point he was hitting .292, though he has had a recent decline in production which I attribute largely to a DL stint.

THIRD BASE
Mike Lowell. He is awesome. The end.

CATCHER
Jason Varitek. Next year his hitting numbers should be closer to what we've seen in past seasons, and he is irreplaceable behind the plate. Doug Mirabelli for backup.

LEFT FIELD
Manny Ramirez, barring trade. Manny's defense this year was surprisingly solid, and occasionaly impressive. And his hitting... need I say more? If Manny is traded, which I doubt will happen, David Murphy perhaps?

CENTER FIELD
Coco Crisp. I completely believe that he never got a fair chance. His finger now requires surgery, and it has become apparent that it has been a huge problem for him all year, much more than he has been letting on. I'd give him another year to prove himself. He's cheap, young, spectacular defensively, fast, and should bat around .300.

LEFT FIELD
Wily Mo Pena. Trot Nixon will be traded. That's a fact. I love Trot more than life itself, but he's gone. Hopefully we'll get some pitching for him too. Wily Mo's glove is an adventure, but we have seen him improve offensively before our eyes this season. The more playing time he got, the better he did. Plus, being around Manny and Ortiz is surely a huge help for him. He seems to be a great clubhouse presence too.

DESIGNATED HITTER
Um, David Ortiz, thankyouverymuch.

STARTING PITCHING
1. Curt Schilling. Ace. His last season should be a memorable one. He'll want to go out with a bang.
2. Josh Beckett. He's been looking more comfortable in the AL, and we all know that he DOES have good stuff. His home run totals should plummet, and he should be a 15-plus-game winner.
3. Jonathan Papelbon. He's lights out. Being a closer he's gotten the opportunity to face pretty much every team in the AL and a little bit of the NL too. He should be amazing.
4. Tim Wakefield. I sure hope he gets healthy, because he's obviously not right now. A healthy Wake will be a very solid addition to our pitching staff. He can go deep in games, and when his knuckleball is on, nobody will be able to hit it.
5. Julian Tavarez/Somebody we trade for. Matt Clement is a has-been. He's getting surgery, he sucks, and he sat around all season with no real injury except to his confidence. I don't know if the FO will want to keep Tavarez for '07, but in his past 5 starts he's shown us that starting is where he belongs. He seems to love it, and he's been incredible. I would have no qualms about having him in the rotation. If we want someone else in the starting 5, Tavarez will make good trade bait.

BULLPEN
1. Someone new.
2. Someone new.
3. Someone new.
4. Manny Delcarmen. He's matured before our eyes. He's still learning, but I think he eventualy will be a very good pitcher.
5. A lefty.
6. Mike Timlin? Maybe?
7. Keith Foulke. He's been lights out for the past few weeks. Don't know where that came from, but I like it. It would be awesome if he could be the closer from '04, but if not, he could be a setup guy.
8. A closer.

LINEUP
1. Kevin Youkilis 1B
2. Coco Crisp CF
3. David Ortiz DH
4. Manny Ramirez LF
5. Wily Mo Pena RF
6. Mike Lowell 3B
7. Jason Varitek C
8. Dustin Pedroia 2B
9. Alex Gonzalez SS

A great lineup 1 through 9. Youk leads off, Wily Mo gives Manny some protection, Gonzo hitting 9th gives us a 9-hitter who isn't an automatic out.
2007 will be fun.

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