Well its officially that time again. The time of, "who should the Red Sox sign, re-sign, drop, and trade for" time.
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There are, indeed, a lot of questions.
Here's a quick breakdown:
Jason Bay and Jason Varitek
The not as obvious
Alex Gonzalez and Rocco Baldelli
Mike Lowell and David Ortiz
This was the 2009 starting lineup for the most part:
1. Jacoby Ellsbury CF
2. Dustin Pedroia 2B
3. Victor Martinez C/1B /Kevin Youkilis 1B/3B
4. Jason Bay LF
5. J.D. Drew RF
6. David Ortiz DH
7. Mike Lowell 3B
8. Jason Varitek C
9. Alex Gonzalez/Nick Green/Jed Lowrie SS
Will Boston lock up Bay? There's a chance General Manager Theo Epstein won't fork over the years and money.
Will Jason Varitek be back? If not, that's why Epstein traded for Martinez.
Baldelli said he wants to return in a Red Sox uniform next year, but with the trade for Jeremy Hermida from the Florida Marlins, that possibility may not be one anymore.
What about Lowell and Ortiz? Their ages are becoming a huge factor and Papi sure showed it last season. Boston needs to have a better DH, one that can bat in the third or fourth hole, not towards the end of the lineup.
Ortiz, 33, has been slumping for the past two years . In 2008 he only played 109 games because of his wrist. This year he hit an almost career low .238, but managed to hit 28 home runs and have 99 runs-batted-in. However he also struck out 134 times.
Lowell, 35, put up decent numbers and still has the trademark glove. Who can complain about a .290 BA, 17 HR, and 75 RBI with only 61 strikeouts?
If the Red Sox want to keep up and beat the New York Yankees (they just won the World Series didn't they?) they really have to think about the future of their youth. They need two more power hitters (Bay, or a Bay equivalent, plus another guy) and possibly another starting pitcher.
The Yankees got lucky with their bullpen this postseason, and seriously they really needed it. Phil Hughes was awful and Joba Chamberlain wasn't lights out either. If it wasn't for Mariano Rivera, the Yankees wouldn't have won.
Epstein knows what he has to do, but for all Red Sox Nation knows 2010 could very well be a rebuilding season if key players aren't lured in and signed without going overboard with the cash.
These are the positions and players that are locked up:
Jacoby Ellsbury CF
Dustin Pedroia 2B
Kevin Youkilis 1B/3B
Victor Martinez C/1B
J.D. Drew RF
These are the positions with question marks:
It's going to be an interesting ride.