Now is the time for the FO to take some brave steps. Now is the time they need to decide whether they’re going to try to win it in 2013 or if they’re going to consider it to be a bridge year. I’ve often thought that the Sox are the bridesmaid too frequently because they try to be the best every year rather than plan for the future. This team needs a strategy. The FO needs to make a decision, and that decision is whether to consider 2013 a bridge year or to go all-out to win.
(And I apologize for the change in font. It was composed in word because editing is easier, then cut and pasted here).
Here’s what they have to do if they’re going to go all-out to win it in 2013.
Sign a real 1B like LaRoche. One thing this team now lacks is a good hitter at 1B. If they can’t get Laroche, sign Napoli to catch 40 games/year and play 1B, and release one of the catchers.
Tell Iggy that he’s the SS and the job is his to lose, but if he doesn’t hit .220 he’s going to lose it. Then give him every opportunity to get AB’s against ML pitching. He’s always learned how to hit (.220) at the level he’s moved up to. It just takes him a while. If he’s not looking like the SS of the future by the trade deadline then move him. Either trade for a SS for the remainder of the year or let Ciriaco play SS for the last half of the year and explore trades and the FA market after the season for a SS. Or maybe it’s Ciriaco, depending on how he does during the 2nd half. No matter what, keep Ciriaco. If Iggy plays well Ciriaco is the UIF.
I know this isn’t a good strategy for trying to win it all in 2013 but there are no outstanding SS’s in the organization so we should go with what we’ve got. Either of those two will get the job done defensively. What the team needs is a good hitting SS who’s also a good fielder. But what team doesn’t need that?
Sign Ross to play LF.
Don’t try to extend Ellsbury. Instead try to win it with him this year then let him go as a FA at the end of the season. Worry about CF after this year anticipating JBJ’s being ready to play.
Sign Torii Hunter to a two year contract to play RF. This team needs his “Senior leadership” and sometimes you accept the fact that you’re paying for a later year of limited production to get someone who can contribute NOW. See: ARod.
Kalish, Nava and Sweeney are all in the mix for the 4th OF job
Sign the best two pitchers who’ll sign for three years or less.
If they’re going to consider 2013 to be a bridge year:
Tell Bogarts that he’s now playing 1B and send him to Portland/Pawtucket to learn how to do it. That position is low on the defensive spectrum so if he can play SS he can certainly play 1B. I’d rather have a GG there but I want his bat in the lineup in 2014. In the meantime sign someone on the downside of his career but with good defensive skills (Youk?) to a one year contract to play 1st. It’s a bridge year, remember?
See above about SS. The same thing applies. If Iggy leaves move Ciriaco in and get someone off the scrap heap to be the UIF. Then look for a FA or trades for a SS after the season. It’s a bridge year, remember?
Make every effort to sign Ellsbury to as short a contract as you can get him to take, but sign him. Yes, expensive, but this team can now afford one (or two?) marquee players and Ells is a known quantity. Move JBJ to one of the corner OF positions in Pawtucket or Portland.
Look through the FA market and see what’s available for corner OF’s, keeping in mind that if there’s someone young who’s available and can be signed the signing can be a multi-year contract. If there’s not someone like that then sign what you can get and explore trades/FA after 2013. Keep Nava, Sweeney, and Kalish in the mix too and see who floats to the top. It’s a bridge year, remember?
Pitching has become a crap-shoot and the Sox may have to pay (through the nose) for a good one. But if they do, they do. I can see a starting rotation of – not in any particular order – 1 FA, Lester, Buch, Lackey, Dubront, and Tazawa.
And if you think SP is a crap shoot, BP pitching is worse. Miller, Bard, Aceves and Bailey all stay. Those who perform well stay and those who don’t get left by the wayside and look for BP arms after 2013. It’s a bridge year, remember?