FORT MYERS, Fla – As we move closer to the start of the season, I sense a more optimistic view of the Red Sox by both the fans and the media. I for one have been impressed with the starting rotation and the fact that the things pitching coach Juan Nieves and manager John Farrell have emphasized – especially the accelerated tempo and pace for their pitchers – had resonated.
Certainly, we can’t fall into the spring training trap of getting too optimistic or too pessimistic, but we always seem to do just that. It’s all about April 1 and beyond, but the preparation for the season has been positive.
The one downer is David Ortiz’ physical condition, but it seems every team in the division has an issue or two. It’s all about survival until those issues, whether they’re injury-related or performance-related, are resolved.
That’s why don’t buy into the Toronto hype or the Yankee demise.
Here’s the mailbag:
I love what Jackie Bradley, Jr. is doing this spring, but that also makes other teams more interested in him. Could you see the Red Sox packaging Bradley with others in a trade for Giancarlo Stanton and then re-sign Jacoby Ellsbury? If so, do you think the Red Sox could somehow keep Xander Bogaerts and maybe use their young pitching in the package instead?
Tad, Rumford, RI
He would have to be in such a package for Stanton, so yes. I think Bogaerts may also have to go unless the Red Sox overcompensate with pitching prospects like Henry Owen and/or Matt Barnes. The Red Sox are one of the teams who have the chips to make a Stanton deal happen. Whether they want to is another matter.
The only three players in MLB right now that I would consider backing up the truckload of Red Sox farm club prospects for in a trade are: Madison Bumgarner, Yoenis Cespedis and Giancarlo (don’t call me Mike) Stanton. What do you think?
Bill, Modesto, Calif.
I’d say so. I’d probably do it for Miguel Cabrera and Felix Hernandez as well.
What numbers will Jacoby Ellsbury need to post to warrant a qualifying offer after the season (assuming Ellsbury is not traded during the season)? Ellsbury’s 2011 numbers would certainly trigger a qualifying offer, but would his 2008 or 2009 numbers be enough to generate a qualifying offer to a free agent on the downhill side of his 30th birthday?
Kelly, Hillsboro, Ore.
Oh, he’ll get a qualifying offer. If another team signs him they would get a draft pick. They would be willing to pay $13.5 or whatever the number will be at that point if he should not get any offers and have to return to the Red Sox. They would take that risk.
With the likelihood of Stephen Drew starting the season on the DL growing ever larger, and Jose Iglesias taking over, what is the likelihood that, if Iglesias is able to hit respectably and continues to improve as he has shown this spring, of Drew getting traded once he comes back from his concussion?
Certainly a possibility. Because he was a free-agent signing, he can’t be dealt until June 15 unless he grants his permission. I’ve always thought Iglesias should be the starter anyway. I think Drew is a good player, solid hitter and above-average fielder. I’m not down on him at all, but I think they could have saved the $9.5 million there knowing they had an extraordinary defender at a defensive position. I know Sox execs believe a shortstop has to hit reasonably well in the American League, but he’s a run saver.
For more Q&A, click the full entry button.
Every time I see Alex Wilson pitch, I am impressed. Unfortunately for him he had a good spring and was just recently sent back down to Triple A. He is what, 27 years old now? He still hasn’t gotten a look. Why do the Sox continually leave their prospects in the minors until the age range of 24-28?
Tony, Gray, Maine
They wouldn’t keep him down if they thought he was good enough to make the pitching staff. He’s been a good pitcher for them in the system and he may come around and be a terrific reliever. Obviously they haven’t given up on him. If there was any chance that he was better than Andrew Bailey, Joel Hanrahan, Daniel Bard, you name it, he’d be in the mix. If someone gets hurt he’ll likely be one of the first called up, though they are also high on Anthony Carter after a good camp.
I’m wondering if they’ll ever give J.C. Linares a shot? He has respectable minor league numbers with glimpses of power, and is also a decent fielder who has played all three positions. Just curious about what you think?
Mario, Victoria, BC
He’s definitely a guy who has been lost in the shuffle. He’s a righthanded bat, who, as you say can play all three outfield positions. Yet his name never is mentioned in the mix for that extra outfield spot. They say good things about him but obviously they’re not sold on him.
I am so tired of the constant complaining about ownership. Doesn’t anyone remember the embarrassment that was the Yawkey-Sullivan-Harrington regime?
John, no location provided
I don’t complain about the ownership. I think they have done a great job overall. Two championships is pretty good. Their payrolls are high. I don’t agree with everything they do and sometimes their employees don’t make the best decisions. When I have a difference of opinion, I say it or write about it. But I’m sure a few cities would want to swap owners with this group.
Why didn’t the Sox try and get Youk back?
Michael, Boynton Beach, Fla.
They thought Napoli would do more for them and if healthy, that’s the better choice. Napoli should hit for more power and should drive in more runs. Youk has had down years the past three. It was the right move.
Any whispers about a possible trade by the Red Sox? It would seem they have a lot of pieces to move for a power hitting outfielder.
Michael, Hebron, Conn.
They seem to be looking for depth in starting pitching. Maybe pick up a veteran arm they can stick at Triple-A. They’re looking to see if there’s anyone out there better that the Nava-Overbay-Carp-Sweeney group. Not sure a big deal for a Giancarlo Stanton could be made at this time.
If MLB was re-drafting every team (just go with me) and each franchise got to keep one veteran and one prospect, who do you think the Sox should go with? Contracts are irrelevant.
Adrian, Milford, Mass.
Middlebrooks (veteran) and Bogaerts. If you don’t classify Middlebrooks as a veteran, then Pedroia.
What do you think will happen with the catching position?
Danny, Cambridge, Mass.
Salty-Ross. Lavarnway would come up if there’s an injury. Vazquez will be in Double-A, but will likely move up quickly if Lavarnway is up.
I have more than 40 years of medical experience. If Ortiz did not have hyperbaric oxygen therapy, he did not, then, have “the best treatment available.” The medical situation in Boston perplexes me. Supposedly it, like Houston, is a center of medical expertise. I am doubting that now.
Vicente, Cali, Colombia
This is a very passionate subject for you, doctor. I will try to ask if this hyperbaric oxygen therapy has been thought of or is being utilized.
I don’t think the starting staff and certainly the bullpen looks all that bad. I was watching a Yankees spring game and the announcers predicted a 75-win, last-place finish for the Sox. Maybe they should look in the mirror. I know the hitting is average at best, but pitching, pitching, defense, hitting in that order wins pennants. What do you think?
Grampy Z, Zephyrhills, Fla.
They’re entitled to their opinion. The Yankees are starting the season really decimated with injuries so you’re right, they’re not in the best position either. It’s always harder to project a 95-win team going to last place rather than a 69-win team making the playoffs. The Yankees had the best starting rotation in the AL East last season and it could be again, but you wonder about Kuroda and Pettitte pitching at their respective ages and staying healthy all year. If they do, they will survive the positional injuries and be good again. I’ve definitely upgraded my Red Sox outlook since camp began. Red Sox starting pitching has made great improvement. I try to temper it with it’s only spring training, but there’s a more optimistic view even with David Ortiz’ injury.
In the past few years, the Red Sox medical staff – fairly or unfairly – has taken several hits for handling of injuries – Jacoby Ellsbury’s broken ribs come to mind. I was wondering what specifically the staff had done/is doing to help David Ortiz get past his Achilles’ heel injury? Did they inject his inflamed heels with his own plasma-rich platelets – a procedure I’ve heard has been used with much success? Is Ortiz taking anti-inflammatory medications? What specifically is being done?
That stuff is confidential unless Ortiz releases it. This is Mass General. Some of the best doctors in the world. I’m sure everything is being done.
How is the 40-man roster determined? I just read an article saying that Jackie Bradley Jr. is not on the 40 man roster. How do you protect people like him from the Rule 5 draft if he is not on the 40 man roster?
Sebastian, San Francisco
It just has to do with service time after one is drafted. If you’re a high school draftee and you sign when you’re 18 or younger, you don’t have to be protected on the roster for five years. If you’re older (usually college picks) you have to be protected after four years. This is one reason you don’t start the arbitration clock on these guys because you take up a roster spot that someone you need to protect because they might be out of minor league options.
I understand that writers are responsible for their own transportation between games, how about the radio and TV announcers? I have never heard them complain about missed connections and such, so I am guessing that they ride with the team.
Karl, Santa Clara, Calif.
They ride with the team.