posted at 9/9/2013 3:07 PM EDT
Farrell says he is expected to play again this year. I believe him, but also think it might not happen.
Peter Abraham pointed out today that the Sox are 10-4 so far in games Ellsbury has not played in. If the WAR stats have any meaning, however, Ellsbury is hard to replace, especially by Bradley, who has yet to show be belongs in Boston. Bradley has not dazzled me with his fielding or throwing, but especially not with his hitting.
On the other hand, I have never believed one guy can make that big of a difference. We lost Buchholz for three months, and the pitching has been fine without him, especially if you ignore the recent Yankees series. We lost Hanrahan and Bailey, and the bullpen has been OK, but especially the closer. Ortiz missed games, but the Sox were fine. Ditto Victorino. Napoli went into a slump, but Farrell found workarounds.
Put Bradley in the 9th slot and hope for the best. The good news is that Ortiz, Napoli/Carp, Pedroia, Nava/Gomes, Middlebrooks, Drew, and Victorino are all hitting pretty well, and Salty/Ross should be OK in the catcher slot.
My goodness, the Sox were hitting and winning games when the 3B slot was a disaster. Don't forget that one reason for trading Iglesias was he had a really bad July and was starting mostly at 3B. Then he left and couple of other guys--Snyder and Holt, I think, didn't help. Finally, Middlebrooks came back and was the 2012 version, which was and is pretty darn good.
If Bradley can live up to his defensive reputation, I think the Sox will be fine in CF. Worst case, move Victorino to CF and Nava to RF and a good hitter into LF, maybe even Bogaerts.