Where does Boston stand in the league’s toughest division?
By Cam Cain 2-9-12
Spring is almost among us. Depending on where you live, it may not look like it but I’m talking about baseball season. Pitchers and catchers report in a couple of weeks and most of the teams seem to have taken shape. However, there are question marks above many other teams. For example, there are the Red Sox, a team who probably should’ve gone into the offseason with the same strategy as their bitter rivals in New York, work on the starting pitching. They lost Eric Bedard to the Pirates and will hopefully, mercifully, find a way to get rid of John Lackey. This leaves veterans Josh Beckett and Jon Lester who are proven top-of-the-rotation guys, Clay Buchholz who threw a no hitter in his second career start in 2007 but has been inconsistent ever sinse, and Daisuke Matsuzaka who the organization hopes can pitch how he did before his injuries. Roy Oswalt is surprisingly still a free agent but had possibly his worst season in his career last year. He is only 34 and could possibly make a good third spot in the rotation.
New GM Ben Cherington also traded away the top 2 shortstops, Jed Lowrie and Marco Scutaro for relief pitchers. This must mean that they are planning on moving someone, likely flamethrower Daniel Bard, to the rotation. But why both of the shortstops? Next on the list are Mike Aviles who hasn’t played more than 34 games at short since his rookie season in 2008 in Kansas City. Also, there’s Jose Iglesias, a defensive-minded Cuban prospect at the position where defense matters the most. He had only 6 major league at bats and is expected to be called up sometime in June. However, some worry about his hitting. Iglesias hit .235 at the AAA level last year and only has one career minor league home run. The Red Sox also have Aruban Xander Bogaerts at short in their farm system who was ranked by mlb.com as Boston’s third best prospect and the majors’ 76th. However, he is not expected to make the majors until 2014 and he will likely switch to third base by then.
So how does Boston look for this year? Well, with no shortstop, right fielder, and questions about the pitching staff, it’s hard to see my hometown team finishing ahead of the Yankees or Blue Jays.