The Red Sox season came to an end yesterday, in about the best way it could. The Sox went out with a win, which ended the Yankees hopes of another division title. So, in the last four years, the Rays have more division titles than the Yankees do. The Sox were also able to thank several players who might not be with the team next year, although I’m sure a couple of them will. There were a few things that stood out for me about this weekend, and especially yesterday’s game.
Adrian Beltre wasn’t at the park this weekend. He was home with his wife, who was expecting their child. Good for him. Can you imagine, though, if those games meant something?
Ryan Kalish stole home, on the back end of a double steal. It wasn’t Ellsbury’s straight steal, but it was yet another theft of home against the Yankees. The Ellsbury/Kalish connection got me to thinking though. When the Sox signed Mike Cameron, they inserted him in center field, and shifted Ellsbury to left. I thought that was a crazy move. Sure, it’s possible that Cameron is marginally better in center than Jacoby. But, it wasn’t enough to make a difference. If Ellsbury is the centerfielder of the future, you keep him in there to get two more years of experience in center. You don’t keep switching him around. It just hit me though. Ellsbury isn’t the centerfielder of the future. Ryan Kalish is. That’s why they didn’t mind shifting Ellsbury over. They were going to do it in 2012 for Kalish anyhow. It is all falling into place. Theo signs the old guy for two seasons, waiting for Kalish. After 2011, Drew and Cameron will be gone (or Drew will DH). Theo can start his all-farmhand outfield of Ellsbury, Kalish, and Reddick. He can pat himself on the back all year for having an all-draft pick outfield. That’s it!
David Ortiz finally listened to me. For years I’ve been begging the guy to bunt more. It will help with the shift, I insisted. He should do it every game or two until they ease it up. So, he finally does it…on his last at-bat of the season! Of course, it worked. He got his base hit. He was then removed from the game, to a rousing ovation. The Sox will be crazy not to bring him back. Without Victor or Beltre, the Sox will need runs to come from somewhere.
Jason Varitek also got a nice curtain call. I like the defensive replacement as a final good-bye move. It allows for a nice moment. But, I would guess Varitek will be back. The idea of him backing up Salty sounds too reasonable not to be something Theo goes for. I don’t think Tek will have many options. And, he’d be valuable as an active coach for Saltalamacchia. Really, the only downside to that arrangement is that I have to try and fit “Saltalamacchia” into my scorecard every game. But, I doubt Theo cares about that.
So, the Sox prepare for the offseason. There will be plenty of moves to be made. People will come (hopefully) and people will go (unfortunately). But, those will be discussions for another time. Stay tuned.