Boston Globe baseball writer Gordon Edes check in every Monday with his take on the Red Sox. Ask your question now, and come back next week to see if it was answered.
What do you think the Opening Day lineup will look like?
A: With a lefty, Randy Johnson, going for the Bombers, I think it will look like this:
Johnny Damon, CF
Edgar Renteria, SS
Manny Ramirez, LF
David Ortiz, DH
Kevin Millar, 1B
Jason Varitek, C
Jay Payton, RF
Bill Mueller, 3B
Mark Bellhorn, 2B
Payton, incidentally, is 8 for 37 (.216) against the Unit, with a homer and 6 RBIs.
Gordon ... simple question ... if need be, is it "legal" to trade a Rule 5 draft pick, such as Adam Stern?... I don't see the Sox trading Stern, but it was just a question that popped into my head ... Also, where do you see Roberto Petagine landing once he gets back? ... Thanks
A: No, Jim, you can't trade a Rule 5. You either keep him on your roster or offer him back to his original club. If the original club doesn't want him back, then you can do whatever you want. Petagine begins the season in Pawtucket, if he elects to accept a minor-league assignment.
Not sure if you heard, but a group of fifth- and sixth-graders in Acton are petitioning to have the Red Sox and Yankees shake hands before the home opener on April 11. Do you think there's any chance of them actually shaking hands?
A: Shawn, because it has gotten as much attention as it has, I suspect you'll see some kind of gesture made by the clubs ... but I'd be surprised if we saw something along the lines of what the Cards/Dodgers did after their series.
Assuming I understand the situation well enough, I believe the Red Sox have the most important potential free agent available after this year. Please tell me there is no way possible that Theo Epstein will leave the Sox, and if you have any information on his long term future with the team.
Rich, Manville, NJ
A: Rich, I don't think Theo is going anywhere ... unless the Democrats decide to draft him to run against Hillary for the 2008 nomination. Theo will be with the Sox for as long as he wants ... which I suspect will be until he becomes bored and ready for another challenge.
With Jay Payton tearing the cover off the baseball this spring, what do you see his role being this season? Can we really afford to only let this guy play against lefties?
A: Darren, Don't get too taken by spring training performances. Look at the way Dave McCarty tore it up in camp last spring. That said, I think Payton will be a valuable piece on this team, though I don't think his role will be any bigger than Gabe Kapler's was last season -- platoon in right field, spelling Johnny Damon and Manny Ramirez on other occasions. Terry Francona said that while he hopes to get Payton plenty of work, for him to get 400 ABs would mean someone got hurt along the way.
I felt Curt Schilling did a complete about face about the steroid issue in front of Congress by giving MLB's supposed numbers credence. Why is everyone ignoring such a contradiction of character?
Mike, Wallingford, Conn.
A: Mike, I don't think people ignored it. I think it was pointed out, and acknowledged by Schilling himself, that he pulled back significantly on his estimates of steroid use in the game. He said that he was mistaken on some of his previous estimates, and yes, he put himself in a position of defending the industry, more so than previously. A contradiction of character? I don't think it was a character issue, though I do think he disappointed some people by not being as outspoken a critic as he had been.
What are the odds of any of the former 2004 Sox making it to Fenway for the Opening Day ceremonies?
Holly, N. Kingstown, RI
A: Guys like Ellis Burks and Curtis Leskanic, who aren't currently playing, I would expect to be there. Guys with other clubs now, I'd be very surprised if they showed. The Sox will make a point of giving those players who come to town their moment, though; for example, I would expect Orlando Cabrera, when the Sox come to Anaheim, will be given his ring in a little pregame ceremony. They'll also make a point of flying around the country and delivering rings to other players who won't be coming to play the Sox, like Dave Roberts, although knowing the Sox, in Roberts' case they might make special arrangements to get him into town.
Obviously Bill Mueller is the starter at third this year, but any idea what the Sox have in mind for next year? Do you think that as long as Kevin Youkilis doesn't suffer any setbacks that they will pencil him in next year, or do they bring Mueller back?
A: Chris, it probably depends in part on how Mueller performs this season and what he'll be looking for contractwise. The Sox won't want to bump him up significantly salarywise, so if Bill believes he can get more on the open market, he won't be back. Youkilis is by no means a lock to succeed him; the Sox have the option of trading for, or signing, another third baseman, and don't rule out the possibility the club will move Hanley Ramirez to another position, either third base or center field.
Which AL East team do you think will be better this year, Toronto or Baltimore? And do you think either could throw a wrench in the race between the Sox and Yankees?
A: Jason, that's a good question. I guess I give the Orioles a bit of an edge, because the addition of Sammy Sosa, even a Sammy on the decline, pumps up an already impressive lineup (Tejada, Mora, Rafael Palmeiro, Javy Lopez). The Orioles played the Sox tough last season (10-9), but Sidney Ponson's offseason and spring have been a fiasco, and the O's pitching remains woefully suspect. The Blue Jays don't have Carlos Delgado's big bat, and it won't be till next year that J.P. Ricciardi is allowed to spend more money on payroll, but Jays are producing a steady stream of good young talent -- Vernon Wells, Orlando Hudson, Gabe Gross, Russ Adams -- that eventually will pay dividends. Not enough pitching here, either, though a healthy Roy Halladay will make a big difference. Really a coin flip who finishes higher in the standings.
Hey Gordon ... sorry to be filing space with another steroid question (as I think everyone is getting sick of them) but I keep wondering what happened with the first round of testing. Baseball said it tested a lot of the player during the first week of spring training. What were the results? Did anyone test positive? What is the time frame?
A: Chris, the time frame is unclear. No results have been announced yet, but I would expect if someone tests positive, MLB won't sit on that result long -- to do so would invite more condemnation, which MLB can't afford. Bud Selig is hinting he may use the commissioner's "best interests of baseball'' powers to unilaterally impose a stronger testing program.
What are your thoughts on Hanley Ramirez? Do you foresee the Sox moving him to either 2nd or 3rd base in the near future? I know Bellhorn is only signed through this year and I think Mueller is as well. Do you see him sliding into one of those spots next year?
KC, New Jersey
A: KC, as I mentioned in a question above, I think CF or 3B may be a more likely destination for Hanley, who this spring reinforced all the good things you've ever heard about him. As for 2B, keep an eye on Dustin Pedroia, last June's No. 1 pick who already has been moved from short to second, and will play alongside Hanley in Portland.
No question, Gordon, just thanks for the fine piece on Dick Radatz. I was a teenager in reading those years, and we used to imitate his unique set-up and motion when we were out horsing around playing ball ... ball in hand, hand resting about belt high on his backside, bent over and peering in to the plate ... then step back with the left foot, rock forward and fire ... he was an easy guy to like ... I still can't believe Johnny Callison took him deep ... thanks for your story. Well done.
Rick, North Ogden, Utah
A: Hey Rick, thanks for the good word. Radatz left a lasting impression on many of us, and it really was a stunner when Callison beat him in the '64 All-Star Game with a home run.
Do you think Manny and Ortiz will both have great years again? No duo has been as productive as them since Gehrig and Ruth.
A: Matt, I'm not sure they've been the most prolific since Gehrig/Ruth .Mays/McCovey, McGwire/Canseco, Clemente/Stargell, Mantle/Maris come to mind for starters, Pujols/Rolen/Edmonds of more recent vintage, but yes, there is no reason to believe there will be any dropoff from Manny and David. They're both in the prime of their careers.