Re: A Realsitic View at 2015: Part I
posted at 8/31/2014 10:00 PM EDT
Just back from visiting family in North Carolina and got caught up on this new thread. Good, civil comments throughout; that is nice. Like all of you my interest has waned this season with the terrible on-field performance, but I have seen some things I like. The pluses, in no particular order, are Holt's emergence as an offensive force, Vasquez showing what a solid defensive catcher looks like and Betts zooming through the system.
My biggest disappointments (aside from losing Lester) have been Bradley Jr., Middlebrooks and Bogey. But it is far too early to give up on any of these guys. I do believe that the steroid era helped place offensive expectations at unreachable levels for some of these young guys. Paul Blair anchored a championship outfield for years with offensive production similar to JBJ's early career learning curve. Very good players like Dwight Evans and Brooks Robinson struggled offensively for several seasons before hitting their star-quality stride. The Bradley/Blair comp is probably pretty realistic, and I'm not comparing WMB and Bogey directly to Evans or Brooks. But when you go into a MLB season with essentially three rookies in starting roles you have to expect some bumps in the road. And the team did nothing to boost any of the three's confidence by bouncing them around, or back and forth to AAA, or by signing Castillo to a $70mil deal.
My thoughts on Lester are that the Front Office went a long way towards dooming the 2014 edition Red Sox when they low-balled him in ST. I think the attitude in the clubhouse was never the same as last season and the players were questioning their own Front Office's commitment to building the best team possible.
But since this thread is about 2015, here's what I would like to see...
C Vasquez (Ross/??), 1b Napoli, 2b Pedroia (Holt), ss Betts (Holt), 3b Bogaerts (Holt), lf Castillo, cf Bradley Jr., rf Cespedes (of depth of Holt, Hassan, ??), dh Ortiz. I would prefer a cost-controlled Nava to back up Napoli and the outfield corners over Craig who doesn't impress me at all. Craig, Webster and Barnes would all be trade chips for whatever return we could get. I want a rotation of Lester, Buchholz, Kelly, De La Rosa and Ranaudo, but I would also like to see a deal (trade or free agency) for someone to put in between Lester and Buch. My pen would have Koji, Tazawa, I'd resign Miller, Wilson, Mujica, Badenhop, Workman and a free-agent lefty. We may have another few months of growing pains but we'd still have money to spend and prospects to deal to solidify the roster.