I know that Hanrahan is the closer, but to me the prime candidate would be Tazawa. He has it all: low walk total, rich velocity, durability, and a nice repertoire of pitches. He would be lights out in the 9th.
Ethan, Medford, Mass.
If Hanrahan falters you could see something like that. Don’t forget, also, that Tazawa has options, and if the Red Sox find themselves in a roster pickle at the end of camp, don’t be surprised to see Tazawa start at Triple-A. He had a great second half last season. He’s highly regarded by the Red Sox, but I think they would go to Andrew Bailey first and then Tazawa.
Who has been the biggest surprise of spring training so far? Also, what is the ideal outfield setup with Ellsbury and Bradley Jr., on the same team?
Joe, Syracuse, NY
In that scenario, Bradley moves to a corner. We saw what happened when Ellsbury moved to left a couple of years ago. He’s also the veteran and an excellent center fielder, so he would remain there. My guess is they’d use Bradley mostly in left with Jonny Gomes in a platoon, but they’d get him time in center and right as well.
Pedro Ciriaco can easily fill in at 2d, 3d, SS, and with some more practice, he can play outfield. He has proven that he is a real gamer and things seem to happen when he is in the lineup. Do you think ownership will value him enough to keep him ?
Dana, Los Angeles
I would think so. You’re already hearing John Farrell say they want to get a long look at Brock Holt. While Holt is a better hitter, he doesn’t create the excitement on the bases, nor do I think he plays shortstop as well as Ciriaco. Holt seems to be a second baseman, who can fill in at third and short, but Ciriaco can legitimately play shortstop and did a nice job at third base when Will Middlebrooks was injured. He was also “Bobby V’s guy” so who knows if that becomes a factor in the final decision.
We've heard several times that Felix Doubront reported to camp out of shape. For a professional athlete, what exactly is "out of shape"?
Brian, Whately, Mass.
In his case he had a bit of a belly and his arm strength wasn’t where it should have been. I suppose it’s different for everyone. Joel Hanrahan and Andrew Bailey don’t look like they’re in great shape, but they don’t seem to look any diffferent than they normally do.
Haven't read much of anything about Ryan Dempster this spring. How has he looked and what is your expectation of what he can do for the team this year?
Michael, Salt Lake City
Dempster had a very good debut on Tuesday. He’s a professional pitcher, whose career has been saved with a good split-fingered fastball. Farrell said if he can get north of 180 innings out of him, he feels he’ll be effective.
An unorthodox proposal: Have pitchers during the season follow the routine being used now at the beginning of spring training. Have multiple pitchers pitch just one or two innings. Any one pitcher would probably pitch every other day.
Unorthodox it is. Wouldn’t be shocked if it came to this, but it won’t because salaries would have to be reduced and the Players Association would cry bloody murder. Starting pitchers determine the pay scale. Colorado has started the 75-pitch limit for starters and it was fairly effective last season.
Curious as to what the Sox think of Jeremy Hazelbaker? Do they view him as a legit option as a RF or LF in a year or two? His minor league stats compare favorably with Ryan Kalish, but I just don't here a lot of buzz on him.
Andy, Summerville, SC
You’re right, not a lot of buzz, but he sneaks up on you. He might be a guy who emerges. There’s no hype on him at all, which can be a good thing. From what the organizational folks tell me, he’s a solid player, but he would have to start doing “special” type things on the field – mostly offensively – to crack what they perceive as their top echelon outfielders.
I keep hearing that there is no protection for Ortiz in the Sox lineup. I don't know where that is coming from because I think that Napoli provides great protection for Ortiz.
John, Lexington, Mass.
Napoli is not a cleanup hitter. He can be pitched to. He has holes. So if he’s hitting behind Ortiz, any pitcher would rather take their chances with Napoli than pitch to Ortiz. Napoli will hit some home runs. No, I’m in the camp that this lineup has very little protection for Ortiz unless Middlebrooks emerges as a major offensive force.
Am I alone thinking the Red Sox would like to move Stephen Drew at the trade deadline? The best case is that Iglesias does show enough bat that he is a multiyear solution, and they can flip Drew for a B prospect.
Paul, Chatham, NJ
Drew is cheap insurance. They can flip him if Iggy shows the bat, or keep him if Iggy has none. I suppose so. Again, I can’t believe they would build their team hoping they can flip guys at midseason. Holy crow.