And, how do you know when you have enough depth?
The Red Sox avoided arbitration with Daniel Nava recently by signing him to a one year deal. Now, I won’t pretend to understand everything that goes into a baseball roster and its contracts. I realize that signing Nava was probably as much a “have to” as a “want to.” But, it does highlight a topic about the 2015 Red Sox.
Where are they planning on playing this guy?
When I look at the Red Sox outfield situation, I’m not even sure where to begin. As far as I can tell, Hanley Ramirez is the only sure thing. From there, it gets a little murky. They just paid Castillo a bunch of money. Have to assume he’ll get some playing time. Where does that leave Mookie Betts? If he shifts to right, where does that leave Shane Victorino? He’s in the last year of a good sized contract. Is he going to be the fourth outfielder? Does that make Alan Craig the fifth outfielder? Daniel Nava would, therefore, be sixth? Do teams carry six outfielders? That’s not even counting Jackie Bradley Jr. While he’d be easy to stash in Pawtuckett for a year or so, his defense sure would make for a good bench guy.
What’s a team to do?
Some of the outfielders could be back-up first basemen as well. In the games that Napoli (or Ortiz, I suppose) don’t play Nava could. Or Craig. So, did the Red Sox just avoid arbitration with their sixth outfielder slash third string first baseman? Is that even possible? Is there even room for all that?
Does Ben Cherington have it all mapped out? Does he have the Red Sox starting line-up for the next six years hanging on a wall in his office? Is he planning on just getting through this jumbled mess somehow this year, and let Victorino and Napoili walk away and take their roster clogging with them? Is he just holding onto them all waiting for a desperate team to call him during the spring begging for a trade?
Is there a plan? Or is it a wait and see situation? Sure, everything cold sort itself out in Spring Training, so there no urgency to make a move before you have to. But, at some point yo have to be ready to make a decision to stick with. Which three guys do the Red Sox see as their outfield? Once you decide on that, are the other three guys expendable? What can you get for them? Where can you stash them? What’s the best move. Because you know there has to be one.