Wednesday, March 3, 2010
Let The Games Begin!
Today is another huge step as we move towards the opening of the 2010 season. Today we are rewarded for our weeks of watching fielding practice and running drills. Instead, from here on out, we’ll be treated to actual games! Now, much like pitchers and catchers reporting…this is more of a milestone than an actual improvement. The Sox will play their players sparingly. I expect a good amount of the playing time, especially early on, will go to players who have no chance of making the team out of spring. That’s yet another disadvantage of following a quality team. The line-up and playing positions are pretty well set. It’s not like a youngster has a chance to earn a spot of the team. If Clay Buchholz can’t sneak into the rotation, Casey Kelly hasn’t got a prayer. The only real question is how Tito will juggle the playing time as the season progresses. The only hints at questions the Sox have? Let’s go by position.
Catcher. Victor Martinez is the team’s catcher. Jason Varitek will be the back-up. How much time will Tek see? I imagine he’ll turn into Josh Beckett’s personal catcher. It makes too much sense not to work it that way. Beckett likes Tek. Tek has to catch a few games, just to get his time in. Having him behind the plate for Beckett’s 30 starts sounds about right. When Tek is behind the plate, V-Mart will either be at first, or resting. That’ll be a case-by-case thing. Not a lot of questions there.
First base belongs to Youkilis. When V-Mart isn’t catching, and playing first…Youk will either rest or play third. Yup, pretty simple so far.
Second base. It’s Pedroia’s. Nope. No reason to see how the spring plays out there either.
Shortstop. Scutaro. Next.
Third Base. They didn’t sign Adrian Beltre to sit the bench. He’s in there unless Youk spells him for a day off. Nothing exciting there either.
Outfield. Ellsbury-Cameron-Drew. No juggling to be seen. No rookies edging any of them out. Barring injuries and occasional rest days, that’s your outfield from left to right.
Designated hitter. It belongs to Ortiz. The possible exception would be sitting him against tough lefties…or all lefties. That brigs us to the one possible “platoon”…
Mike Lowell. He’s the only “question.” But, it’s pretty clear that he’ll be traded as soon as another team is willing to have him. It’s too bad, really, because Lowell’s better than that. It’s not his fault that his team went with another player. It makes him seem like he’s worthless, when it’s really just a case of a team making another choice. They’ll find him the playing time while they have him. It might be at first, or DH. He’ll probably see a game or two at third. But once another team’s third baseman goes down, he’s out of Boston.
Rotation. Beckett-Lester-Lackey-Matsuzaka-Wakefield. That’s pretty clear too. Sure, some people like to pretend that Wake’s spot is in question. But, that’s garbage. First, Wake didn’t sign a team friendly two-year pay cut to pitch from the ‘pen. He’s two years away from the all-time lead in wins for the Sox. He’s in the rotation. People like to say Buchholz deserves the spot. Maybe. But, Buchh hasn’t exactly gone out and demanded the spot. He’s pitched very well, but he can’t complain if he starts out in the ‘pen. There will be plenty of chances for a sixth starter when the season gets rolling. There always is.
So that’s it. Even with games being played, there’s nothing to watch. Everyone just needs to stay healthy. Everything else is written in stone.
Or a really good ink.
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