As we all know, the Boston Red Sox won their 8th World Series Championship this past season, however, did you know that their off-season still has holes and gaps as we close in towards to the regular season (which is less than 90 days)?
Let’s take a look who exactly is going to play 3rd base or shortstop for that matter! After all, let’s remember Will Middlebrooks wasn’t what you would call a full-time 3rd baseman this past season. Not only that but his numbers weren’t exactly what the Sox had hoped for .227 average, 98 Punch-outs and only 48 RBI’s. So obviously with his lack of production someone had to step up in that third baseman role and someone did. His name is Xander Bogaerts better known as the X-man to the RedSoxNation and during the season he served as the Red Sox’s shortstop and third baseman. Even then, it’s not exactly certain if he can be an everyday player. He may have to step it up quickly though because right now he seems like the Sox’s only shortstop (Stephen Drew has yet to sign).
As a result, the Sox can risk having Bogaerts as their everyday Shortstop, but it seems like they can’t do the same with Middlebrooks at 3rd base. With that intact the Sox would have to sign a free agent third baseman perhaps Kevin Youkilis, Wilson Betemit, or Michael Young just to name a few. If they choose not to go with that though they can go with the same infield as last year but they would have to make sure to sign Stephen Drew and assign Bogaerts back to third. However, if they choose not to sign any free agents they can always negotiate a trade. Who knows though for all we know Middlebrooks can take back third base while Bogaerts handles at short.
Unfortunately, for Boston they still have got a problem over at first base considering the fact that Mike Napoli will be their first baseman. If you don’t see any problem with that situation let’s remember this question: “How long can they keep nap at first with his hip issues?” Not enough to have him consistent throughout the whole season would be the answer. Basically seems like recently signed free agent catcher AJ Pierzynski may get some playing time over at the first base bag (Ross would most likely catch on those days). If not that then, the Sox will have to find a consistent backup for Nap if he starts to slip away during the season whether it be via trade, free agent signing, or prospect call-up.
Wait, there’s more issues? Yes, we all know Big Papi David Ortiz right? Well I doubt most are aware that Ortiz is older than they think, usually when thought of Ortiz many make the assumption of him being 34 years old but that’s not the case he’s actually 38! The question here is will Ortiz’s age affect his production? Let’s face it, Ortiz is getting older and just like every other athlete who’s gets older their once peak performance begins to fade away. However, throughout his past three seasons (hitting .309 or better) he doesn’t really seem to be slowing down, and I don’t think he is anytime soon (just watch out for age 40 ouch..)
Overall, the Sox can solve their issues in a matter of time before Opening Day rolls around whether it be making risky free agent signees,restoring faith in players, or just a process of rebuilding their team a little bit (Pawtucket players must be crossing their fingers). Ultimately the 2014 Boston Red Sox will make a big impact towards the MLB this upcoming season.