Rusney Castillo is set to make his first Red Sox appearance tonight. Whenever a new player is added to a line-up, whether by call-up, trade, or signing, there’s certain anticipation. Where will he play? Where will he bat? What happens to all the other players in the line-up as a result? This is especially interesting since Castillo is added to an outfield that is already pretty crowded with fairly recent additions and holdovers. I can imagine that it’ll be a jumbled mess of things for a bit. Which, probably means we’ll be seeing everyone bat and play everywhere over the next week and a half.
But, what about next year?
When your team is out of it, like the Sox are, the focus often turns to next year. Whether it’s simply more interesting, or slightly more optimistic. I know I can’t help but think, “How great will the line-up be next year with all these guys in it?” I even started trying to write out a few potential line-ups. That’s where I ran into trouble.
I had no idea where there players should bat.
I had no idea who the players would even be.
I’ve said it before. The roster right now will look nothing like the one on Opening Day. It can’t. There’s too much duplication. You want your outfield to be Cespedes-Castillo-Bradley? Fine. What are you doing with Betts, Victorino and Craig? Betts is doing a pretty good job right now in centerfield, and the lead-off spot. Both of those roles are expected to belong to Castillo very soon. What does that mean? I have to either just sit back and wait to see what happens, or just start making stuff up in dreamland.
Which do you think I do?
Exactly. What do I think could, or might happen? Are there any sure things? Of course not. But, I feel safe assuming that Xander Bogaerts will be at short on Opening Day. David Ortiz will be DH. The rest? I bet it depends on what they can get in a trade, and who gets them the best value. I don’t think anyone is untouchable, if they get the right return. I only think Bogaerts is safer because there’s not an obvious replacement breathing down his neck. So, what would I like to see? Using players currently on the team?
How about a Craig-Castillo-Cespedes outfield, leaving Bradley Jr as a great fourth guy and defensive replacement. I like the three C approach that must beg for a nickname. I envision Middlebrooks and Napoli at the corners, giving Middlebrooks one last chance to lose his job. Up the middle, Xander and Betts form the double-play combo that will star at Fenway for the next five years. Again, B-B is just asking for a nickname. Vazquez gets to catch a pitching staff that is suddenly rich with the talent acquired from all the players I just traded away.
What does that do to the line-up? I’m assuming that Castillo was signed to lead off. Works for me at this point. I’m tempted to just slide everyone down from there. That would put the order something like: Castillo-Betts-Bogaerts-Ortiz-Cespedes-Napoli-Craig-Middlebrooks-Vazquez. I like the looks of that. You could take Betts and make him that “second leadoff” thing and bat him ninth. But, that’s just semantics at this point. I like it. It puts Bogaerts in a pretty good spot for success, and forms a pretty decent meat of the order. Yup. Let’s go with that.
What do you think?