(Originally posted on 4SportBoston.com)
Doing the usual afternoon blog-hopping that normally comes with a slow afternoon at work (sorry Boss!), I came across an interesting read over at our friends FenwayWest. Matt picked up some thoughts that Tito shared on WEEI about how the Sox will use the duo of Ellsbury and Mike "Frozone" Cameron. (FYI: I am going to hang onto this Frozone thing the way I do with calling Laurence Maroney "L-MO"... just let it happen.)
So Fro in left and Elss in center? Ells in right, Fro in center? So many options.
But why are people overlooking the absolute best option?
Everyone seems to forget about the perennial injury report in right field. J.D. Drew has had injury problems stemming back 11 years now in Major League Baseball. He missed time during every one of his first five seasons in baseball with the St. Louis Cardinals and didn't play a full, healthy season until 2004 in Atlanta. His health hazards here in Boston plagued his first couple years here until his contract started to have bonuses for games played but continue to be a daily risk.
There is, however, an answer to this and the entire Boston Red Sox outfield choice that Tito and the Sox brass have ahead of them. Move Drew to Left Field.
Boston fans know Fenway park well, we have lived with the same stadium for almost a hundred years now. The Green Monster is an ominous thing to look at down that left field line and there is a reason that it stands there.
The Green Monster exists because of the inability to have extended left field out to the usual 370+ foot mark due to the roads and highway behind it. Thus, the playing surface in left field to the wall extends a whole 310 feet while right field extends to 380 feet and the well-known 302 foot point where Pesky's Pole stands.
For a player like J.D., though used to the glory of the right field, Fenway's fabled left field is where his bread and butter is and it may save his career. The addition of Mike Cameron only solidifies that option as now you have two of the best center fielders in the game and there is no reason to waste one of them on a field that is 70 feet short.
We have seen numerous players moved to left field in order to save their careers, normally from infield positions:
- Ryan Braun made the switch from third base after an amazing rookie season in Milwaukee.
- Johnny Damon this past year took on left so as to keep his body more refreshed rather than scrambling around Yankee Stadium's legendary center field.
- Alfonso Soriano made the switch from second base back in 2006 with the Washington Nationals after the team threatened to disqualify him, which would mean he would have had to forfeit his salary according to Wikipedia.
The switch to left field, especially in Fenway Park may be just what JD needs to keep his bat popping, and legs working/back moving, like we know he has the ability to do.
So maybe the REAL question is Frozone and Ells... Center or right?