TAMPA, Fla. — Some random thoughts on the Red Sox written while dodging raindrops in the Sunshine State:
• In Philadelphia, it has been speculated that the Red Sox should swap Kevin Youkilis for Joe Blanton.
It was suggested here over the winter several times that trading Youkilis for pitching made sense. But the Sox need to get more than Blanton, who would get diced up in the AL East. Better to get a few prospects and build for the future than a 31-year-old who isn't going to make a difference.
The Sox are a lot further away from contending than one No. 5 starter.
• Ryan Sweeney looks lost hitting leadoff. He's 4 for 27 there.
• Mike Aviles (.299 OBP) isn't cut out for it, either. Until Jacoby Ellsbury gets back, there is no easy answer.
• The Adrian Gonzalez home run drought is beyond worrisome at this point. He has 12 home runs in 411 at-bats since the 2011 All-Star break. He predicted after the game on Wednesday that he would hit one today.
Home runs are not everything, but you don't pay a first baseman that kind of money without some expectation of power. Then again, Mark Teixeira has 19 homers in his last 406 at-bats and Albert Pujols 21 in his last 429.
• It's amazing that on May 17, the Red Sox have two players on their roster — Daniel Nava and Mauro Gomez — who weren't considered good enough for major league spring training.
• In case you missed it, John Henry and Tom Werner fired the Liverpool coach, Kenny Dalglish, on Wednesday. They've already canned two coaches since buying the team in October of 2010.
• The Red Sox have paid $15,871,766 to the 14 players who have been on the disabled list so far this season. That's 29 percent of what the Padres will pay their team for the entire season.
• Jose Iglesias has his batting average up to .267. There's not much power yet (he's slugging .319), but there are at least signs of life in his bat.
• Mark Melancon has not allowed a run in 13 innings since being sent down to Pawtucket and he has struck out 21 without a walk. But he seems buried deeper than Jimmy Hoffa at this point.
• Michael Bowden has pitched in only five games for the Cubs since he was traded. ... Josh Reddick is hitting .279/.335/.531. He'll never last in Oakland with that OBP. ... Jed Lowrie is at .272/.352/.430 for Houston.
• Granted, it's only for $3 million. But Nick Punto has a two-year contract. He also has one more hit in the last month than you do.
• Joe Maddon is some manner of savant. With Nava at the plate in the ninth inning on Wednesday, he had third baseman Sean Rodriguez move to second base and second baseman Jeff Keppinger go to third base.
Nava, of course, grounded to second base.
• The Red Sox did a nice job orchestrating Tim Wakefield Day on Tuesday. Can they top it with Jason Varitek Day?
• Through Wednesday every team in the AL East had a positive run differential. The only other team in the AL with one was Texas.
• Does anybody else wonder if Theo Epstein feels any guilt for saddling his long-time friend and lieutenant Ben Cherington with this team? Nobody said Epstein had to hang around forever, but he is the baseball equivalent of that Italian captain who jumped off the sinking cruise ship in January.
A few non-Red Sox thoughts:
• People make fun of Tom Brady's various haircuts all the time. But if you were married to one of the hottest women of all time, you'd cut your hair exactly like she suggested.
• Why do so many NBA players wear fake glasses to try and look smart at postgame press conferences "Ah, yes, Mr. Garnett. Talk about your rebounding tonight and give us your analysis of the upcoming NATO summit in Chicago."
• Just started reading "The Passage To Power" by Robert Caro. It's the fourth volume of his incredibly detailed and well-researched biography of Lyndon B. Johnson.
• People who pay taxes in Rhode Island can't be too thrilled that their elected officials decided to spend $75 million to help Curt Schilling start a video game company. Now he is asking for more dough despite missing a promised payment back to the state on May 1.
• Loved the show "Shameless" on Showtime last season. But the second season was weak. Love Shanola Hampton, however. Looking forward to "Homeland" coming back.
• Reading about the Roger Clemens trial is depressing. Brian McNamee comes off as pretty scummy, but his testimony is vivid when it comes to describing how and when Clemens used assorted performance-enhancing drugs.
• When is the last time you purchased a DVD of a movie or a music CD?
• Giving some serious thought to attending the NCAA lacrosse Final Four at Gillette Stadium later this month. Covered lax during my time at UMass and loved it.
• It says a lot about the state of rock music that six of the top 15 rock albums on iTunes are greatest hits packages from Journey, Bob Seger, Guns N' Roses, Credence Clearwater Revival, The Cars and Huey Lewis and the News. And the number one album is that Tenacious D foolishness.
• That said, digging the new Bonnie Raitt record.
• Looking for advice on traveling to Dublin. Any suggestions via e-mail are welcome.
• Finally, if you are feeling charitable, the Run To Home Base is a great cause. The program provides clinical treatment for servicemen and women who returned from Afghanistan and Iraq with combat stress and/or traumatic brain injury.
NESN has a team you can support with your pledges. If all the Extra Bases regulars kick in a few bucks, that would be great.