Tuesday, February 12, 2008


Its an exciting time of year here in Red Sox land (also known as 'my head'). We celebrated truck day in the typical fashion, by wearing as much Red Sox gear to work humanly as possible. We are starting to read stories in the Boston papers about players turning up 'in great shape' or 'in the shape of his life.' You never seem to read what a tub of goo someone is, or how many ho-ho's they ate over the winter, or how Curt Schilling hurt his shoulder shoving chicken wings into his gullet at Wing Bowl.*

Yes, the team is assembling for another run down in sunny and perfect (at least for two months before it gets run over by another 'storm event') Ft. Myers. This is the time of year when we all dream, my friends. We dream of the impossible, the downright improbable, and the likely. For example, Roger Clemens shutting his pie hole, Mike Lowell hitting .330+ again, and Johnny Damon professing his love for the Yankees. Again. Still, there is much work to be done, roster decisions to be sorted out, injuries to be accounted for, and predictions to be written, and then denied.

Turning to the '08 Sox, if you didn't know better you might mistake this team for the '07 (World Champion) version. To be sure there are similarities, but there are also differences. Probably the biggest change will be that the Sox won't be relying on Ol' Curt again this year. That's not to say they won't leave the light on for him, but the magic shoulder fairy (Jaime Farr) is gonna have to come down and rub a combination of pixie dust, IcyHot, and horse tranquilizer on there. Personally, I wouldn't expect Eli Manning to throw that touchdown pass again, if you know what I'm saying.

Without Ol' Curt hanging around, the Sox are going to have to patch a hole in their rotation. For any other team that could be a huge problem, but for this team, its just a large problem. Actually, this just proves yet again how smart, prepared, forward thinking, and straight up coated in awesome Theo Epstein is. And no, you can't bring up J.D. Drew. A week ago the Sox were headed into camp with six guys for five rotation spots with Ol' Curt, so some quick math here... carry the two... multiply by eight... move the decimal... and there you have it: now, five guys for five spots. Follow me, to the '08 Red Sox rotation:


My non-sexual mancrush on Buchholz makes it difficult to rank him fifth, but I'll get past it. Some...how... *!happy place!* The danger here is that two are very young, and one is very old. To win, we need full seasons out of all those guys. One injury and instead of bringing up Buchholz, we're putting Tavarez back in there, which as we all know, often results in my fist repeatedly banging against things. This is to be avoided at all costs. Not because of the things, but because of my fist. I'm old and fragile.

There are some other options, but the Red Sox don't seem to be interested in trading prospects for 'proven innings eaters.' Frankly I don't blame them. Still, the potential for injury is there, which could serve to derail the Sox title defense.

Another potential problem area while I'm focusing on the negative here, is at catcher. Jason Varitek's best years are likely in the past, but he is still an upper echelon catcher. This speaks more to the league-wide talent level at catcher than anything else. Regardless, the Sox don't have anyone who can step in if (/when) Varitek gets hurt. You want 500 at-bats of Doug "Swing-and-a-miss!" Mirabelli? Hey, I love the sole patch as much as the next guy, but it takes more than well placed facial hair to hit in the major leages. Or so I've read. If Varitek goes down the Sox could be in some trouble.

So, whats the point of all this rambling? Just this: Its spring training time, and I couldn't be happier.

*This would be completely true except for the fact that I just made it up.

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