Boston Globe baseball writer Gordon Edes checks in every week (usually on Wednesdays or Thursdays) to answer your questions on the Red Sox. Ask yours now, and come back next week to see if it was answered.
With all the injuries and illnessess currently facing the Red Sox, particularly concern for Jon Lester and David Ortiz, I can understand why others injuries are taking a backseat. However, we are updated regularly about Pena and his wrist and of course the status of Nixon, Varitek, and Gonzalez. I was almost getting used to all the Manny bashing taking place on a daily basis. But now I am more concerned! Manny and the status of his knee has not even been mentioned in what seems like days! This concerns me even more! It is almost like he has dropped of the face of the Earth. Whether anyone believes or doesn't believe he has a real injury, as long as he was in the media fans knew he was still out there somewhere. The last I heard of Manny was two Boston Globe reporters being interviewed on NESN stating they felt Manny should be traded because he had become more of a liability than an asset. Are they crazy! Do we really want Manny to be the next former Red Sox player wearing pinstripes? Please let me and the rest of the fans know what's going on with Manny. How is his knee? When will he be back in the lineup? The last thing Boston fans need is for Manny to be delegated to a non-issue!
Eva Chatfield, Ormond Beach, Fla.
A: Eva, one of the reasons you don't hear much about Manny's knee is because a simple question to Manny like, "How's the knee?" goes unanswered, with Manny neither acknowledging the question or the fact that there is someone two feet away talking to him. Whether you love Manny or dislike him, that's just a fact. The Sox also do not allow their trainers to answer questions about injuries, and the team medical director specializes in non-information, so the point man for injury information becomes the manager, Terry Francona, who a) isn't a doctor and b) has pretty clearly become weary of answering questions about Manny. He'll play Manny, he said, when the trainers tell him Manny can play. Does Manny's knee hurt? Of that, I have no doubt. Could he have played through the pain? That's the great X factor which leads to Manny-bashing.
Gordon, looking ahead to the rotation in '07, we have a pair of 40 yr. olds in Wake and Schill, whose best days are behind them. Then we have a huge question mark in Beckett, and a bigger one in Clement. Finally, Lester has to be worried about his life, let alone baseball. Yikes! Where does Theo go from here?
Jeff Hayward, Fairfield, Maine
A: Jeff, I think that's one reason Theo and Tito plan to sit down with Papelbon about how he will be used next season, whether he'll be switched to the rotation or remain as closer. I suspect the Sox will be in the mix for Jason Schmidt and possibly Barry Zito, though the market will be out of control. Matsuzaka, the Japanese pitcher so exceptional in the WBC, is an intriguing case, but it's not yet known whether his Japanese team will "post" him and allow him to become a free agent. But clearly the rotation needs rebuilding.
What is going on with Wakefield? The guy has been out for two months with a rib injury. Are you kidding me? The guy throws 45 mph. What kind of stress does that put on any part of the body? What is going on?
Mike C., Westfield, N.J.
A: Mike, Wakefield, who returned last night, could have gotten injured in a variety of ways, and as he noted last night, two months from now his x-rays will still show a stress fracture. There's simply no way to accelerate the healing process.
I find it ironic that most fans are under the impression that the Yankees just spend money and acquire players with little regard for their young prospects. While I can't argue that they spend money, I think their development of young talent is extremely underrated. Correct me if I'm wrong but their everyday roster includes guys like Cano, Cabrera, and Wang. Furthermore, you still have Posada, Jeter, Williams and Rivera playing and they are all "home grown." The fact is the Yankees do spend money but they have also done a better job than the Sox in developing from within. Besides, it's not like the Sox aren't spending money either.
Ben Cowart, Plymouth
A: Ben, it's very difficult for anyone to argue the points you just made. The Bombers have integrated some homegrown talent into a talent base that also came up through the ranks.
First, I chalk up the Red Sox failed season to three basic elements: the staggering number of injuries, the horrible bullpen and the ineffectiveness of the No. 5 hitter, whomever he has been. While he cannot do much about the injuries (except to build a deep bench), what do you see Theo doing in the offseason to fix these holes? Who are the best players available? What are some potential trades? Is Andruw Jones a reasonable possibility? Also, I love Loretta and Gonzalez, but also understand that Pedrioa must be worked in there soon. I'd like to see Loretta and Gonzalez back and Pedroia in Boston to start the 2007 season. And if Pedroia shows he can succeed regularly, then one of the other two can be dealt, presuming an adequate backup (Cora again?) is available. Thoughts?
Chris Nelson, Batavia, Ill.
A: Chris, it's still premature to talk too much about the talent that will be out there next season, though the Braves are likely to listen to offers for Andruw Jones and Gary Sheffield almost certainly will be available as a free agent. The Sox have a host of issues to resolve next season. The only position players seemingly certain to come back next season are Varitek, Ortiz and Youkilis. Everyone else is up for grabs, although I think the Sox keep Lowell at third and Youkilis at first. Manny? I think they'll shop him. Loretta? I think they're prepared to give Pedroia a long look. As Theo reminded us on NESN Wednesday night, you don't evaluate players in September; they're usually trying too hard. Wily Mo/Hinske could be the platoon in right and Lowell, owed another $9m, should be back at third, but there really aren't any untouchables beyond Papi and Varitek.
Hi Gordon, where can we send Jon Lester a card?
Stacy Decker, Lowell, MA
A: Stacy, if you send a letter to Lester c/o the Red Sox, 4 Yawkey Way, Boston, Ma 02215, I'm sure they'd forward it. If you go on-line, you'll also find a couple of blogsites have been set up for him as well.
At least we won it all two years ago. I just finished a two week vacation without any access to the BoSox. I finally reach a computer on the 2nd and find poor Lester out with lymphoma, Papelbon with a right shoulder strain, Big Papi with heart problems, Manny ailing, Wells gone, and Snyder, DiNardo and a dude named Jarvis as our 3-4-5 guys in the rotation. To my pleasant surprise, we were swept by the Yanks, Mariners and A's. All this in TWO WEEKS. Those kids better produce next year.
A: Vinny, see what happens when you go on vacation? Plus, I'd like to know where on the planet one could go and not hear something about the Red Sox.