The Boston Red Sox have once again shaken up their roster, executing a huge trade with the San Diego Padres for Adrian Gonzalez and signing one of the biggest free agents of the 2010-2011 offseason, Carl Crawford.
Returning are popular veterans David Ortiz, Kevin Youkilis and Dustin Pedroia (can we call Pedroia a veteran now? He's achieved more in three MLB seasons than most players do in 15.) How will this play out in the lineup? Read on to find out.
After the Red Sox stabilize their pitching staff, I'll do the "Potential 2011 Red Sox Roster: Pitching Staff."
With the signing of Carl Crawford, Jacoby Ellsbury will likely return to center as Crawford will go to left. Ellsbury will also lead off the Red Sox lineup because Crawford evidently wants to bat third, not first. Ellsbury is apparently still injured, or is still feeling pain in his ribcage that caused him to miss so much of last season.
2010 Stats: 18 games, .192 average, 0 home runs, five RBI, .244 slugging percentage, .241 OBP, .485 OPS.
Like I said in my opening slide, Dustin Pedroia has already achieved more in three short seasons in the majors than most players do in 15. He only played in 75 games last season, and his numbers took a hit because of that, but expect Pedroia to bounce back for 2011.
2010 Stats: 75 games, .288 average, 12 home runs, 41 RBI, .493 slugging percentage, .367 on base percentage, .860 OPS.
Carl Crawford would've been the biggest pickup for just about any other team this offseason, but because the Red Sox got Adrian Gonzalez, Crawford is, in my opinion, the second biggest acquisition.
Does that negate Crawford at all? No. Some believe he's the best all-around player in baseball.
Red Sox manager Terry Francona will likely appease Crawford, and put him third in the lineup for 2011, at least for the beginning of the season.
2010 Stats: 154 games, .307 average, 19 home runs, 90 RBI, .495 slugging percentage, .356 OBP, .851 OPS.
Old Reliable. Papi has been on a steady decline since his peak in 2006, and will almost definitely start the 2011 season off slow, but pick up the pace as the season goes on. Ortiz will may not strike fear into the hearts of pitchers like he used to, but is still a good bat for the Red Sox. He did, however, set a career high for strikeouts last season with 145.
2010 Stats: 145 games, .270 average, 32 home runs, 102 RBI, .529 slugging percentage, .379 OBP, .899 OPS.
Adrian Gonzalez, with Red Sox owner John Henry
So, the Red Sox finally got him. After years of rumors swirling between Boston and San Diego, the Red Sox have finally parted with three prospects to former Epstein Disciple Jed Hoyer. Casey Kelly may end up being a massive loss, as Baseball America ranked him as the best prospect in the Red Sox organization.
But who cares? We have A-Gon now.
Gonzalez has been a premier power hitter in the majors for a while, in the pitcher's paradise that is Petco Park. Now that he's moving to the hitter-friendly Fenway Park, expect his numbers to jump, assuming that his transition from the National League West to the American League East goes as smoothly as possible.
2010 Stats: 160 games, .298 average, 31 home runs, 101 RBI, .511 slugging percentage, .393 OBP, .904 OPS.
In 2011, Kevin Youkilis will likely return to his natural position at third. If he was a stellar defender at his un-natural position, first base, then should he be even better at third? One would assume.
2010 Stats: 102 games, .307 average, 19 home runs, 62 RBI, .564 slugging percentage, .411 OBP, .975 OPS.
JD Drew is the continued bane of my existence (at least the the bane of my Red Sox fanhood. I think the actual bane of my existence is some sort of unholy combination of Ann Coulter, Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh). I just don't like Drew. If you asked me to give a reason on why I don't like Drew, I'd probably mumble something, then change the subject.
Anyway, Drew's numbers took a small hit last year, as his batting average decreased by 14 points. His OPS also dropped 121 points. His power numbers virtually stayed the same.
2010 Stats: 139 games, .255 average, 22 home runs, 68 RBI, .452 slugging percentage, .341 OBP, .793 OPS.
Like Adrian Gonzalez, the Red Sox have been after catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia for what seems like forever. They finally got him in 2010, and in 2011 he could be their starting catcher. After the Red Sox lost the Russel Martin sweepstakes, Saltalamacchia and Jason Varitek could be platooning the catching position. However, with Varitek slowing down, expect Saltalamacchia to get more playing time.
2010 Stats: 12 games (two with Texas, ten with Boston), .167 average, zero home runs, two RBI (one with Boston, one with Texas), .292 slugging percentage, .333 OBP, .625 OPS.
Marco Scutaro will likely be the Red Sox shortstop for at least the next year. His batting average took a hit last year, perhaps because for the first time in his career, he actually played in front of fans that care (that's a joke, Mets, A's and Blue Jays fans). Scutaro will continue to be a decent end of the lineup hitter for the Red Sox in 2011.
2010 Stats: 150 games, .275 average, 11 home runs, 56 RBI, .388 slugging percentage, .333 OBP, .721 OPS.
The Captain will likely have an increased roll with the Red Sox after the loss of Victor Martinez, and the losing out on Russel Martin, the Red Sox seem to be stuck with both Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Jason Varitek. If Saltalamacchia proves to be Josh Bard-like behind the plate, expect Varitek's roll to increase even further.
2010 Stats: 39 games, .232 average, seven home runs, 16 RBI, .473 slugging percentage, .293 OBP, .766 OPS.
Lars Anderson should be a bench player for the Red Sox until David Ortiz leaves or retires. After that, the DH job is all his. Anderson should be permanently up in the majors from early 2011 on, if all goes well in Spring Training.
2010 Stats: 18 games, .200 average, zero home runs, four RBI, .229 slugging percentage, .326 OBP, .554 OPS.
Mike Cameron, who will turn 38 early in the 2011 season, was expected to be at least a sort-of productive veteran outfielder for the Red Sox.
However, an injury stopped his Red Sox career dead in it's tracks. Now, the Sox have Carl Crawford replacing him in the outfield, and he might not even be on the Red Sox anymore. Darnell McDonald, Ryan Kalish and even Daniel Nava all could win over the utility outfielder job for the Red Sox in 2011.
2010 Stats: 48 games, .259 average, four home runs, 15 RBI, .401 slugging percentage, .259 OBP, .729 OPS.
The oft-injured Jed Lowrie was once considered to be the first solid, multi-season shortstop that the Red Sox would've had since Nomar Garciaparra (not that Nomar and Lowrie are even on the same level of playing).
However, frequent injuries and inconsistent play have put Lowrie's career on hold. I believe that he should still be on the roster if a younger or better player doesn't emerge during Spring Training.
2010 Stats: 55 games, .287 average, nine home runs, 24 RBI, .526 slugging percentage, .381 OBP, .907 OPS.
After the Red Sox pitching staff straightens out, I'll post my Potential 2011 Red Sox Roster: Pitching Staff. Hopefully, it'll be up soon.