Red Sox Need To Get Out of Neutral: A Simple Fix for Boston's Woes

Dan McConeCorrespondent IMay 30, 2009

PHOENIX - MAY 08:  Adam Dunn #44 of the Washington Nationals bats against the Arizona Diamondbacks during the game at Chase Field on May 8, 2009 in Phoenix, Arizona. The Nationals defeated the Diamondbacks 5-4.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Folks, it's time for Theo Epstein and the Red Sox to make a move.

The team is stuck in neutral, and plenty of question marks stand out.

Boston's starting pitching has struggled at times and is ranked 26th in the majors with a 5.36 ERA. Jon Lester is struggling mightily. He was supposed to be one of the aces for the Sox. 

The shortstop issue continues to be a problem in Boston. The Julio Lugo era needs to end. He can't field nor hit. Nick Green's defense has been a big issue. Green and Lugo have cost the Red Sox games with their ineptitude on defense. 

The David Ortiz story has become the daily headliner in Boston. Ortiz is now batting .189 with one home run. He's showing warning-track power day in and day out. 

Ortiz has been benched, taken a day off and moved down in the order. 

It's time to cut the cord on Ortiz and bench him. He needs to become a platoon player for the time being.

What's worse, the New York Yankees are playing really good baseball. With the return of Alex Rodriguez, Mark Teixeira has gotten scorching hot. 

I honestly think A-Rod and Teixeira have a tendency to shrink from the spotlight in the Yankee lineup. Teixeira struggled without A-Rod, and A-Rod at times struggled last season as the star. Now, with both in the line-up, they are feeding off each other.

But the Yanks have consistency issues too. Their bullpen could be the death of them.

So how do the Sox fix their problems while only making minimal changes?

1. Solve the Jon Lester Mystery

This is a simple fix. If Lester's next outing is another disaster, skip his following start. Bring up Clay Buchholz to pitch in Lester's spot for one game. 

And why not try Buchholz? He's completely dominating Triple-A hitters. This is also a confidence builder for the lanky right-hander, who was plagued by immaturity a season ago.

Lester's problem is in his head. He just needs to refocus and take a little time off to make adjustments. It's not an injury, nor is it mechanics. It's his confidence. He just needs to throw the ball.

2. Don't Panic at Shortstop

Yes, Lugo and Green are driving Sox fans nuts. But help is on the way soon in the form of Jed Lowrie. He's scheduled to return in three weeks.

Think about it: Who's available at shortstop? Bobby Crosby? He's a disaster defensively and is struggling at the plate. Yuniesky Betancourt will cost the Sox too much. Same for Jack Wilson. I'm beginning to question Troy Tulowitzki's play.

Lowrie isn't sexy, but he's solid. He'll give you a .280 batting average and drive in runs at the bottom of the order. He's got a much better glove than what the Sox have currently.

Once Lowrie comes up, release Lugo. Admit your mistake and move on. Platoon Green and Lowrie for a couple of weeks until Lowrie is up to speed, then turn Lowrie loose.

3. Trade with the Nationals

The Nationals would make an ideal trade partner at the moment. The Sox should look to trade Manny Delcarmen, along with a Zac Daeges or Jason Place.

Not for Nick Johnson, though.

Adam Dunn is your man. The Nationals would be dumb not to do this deal. Dunn is having a tremendous season, hitting well above his career average of .248 (.276) with 16 home runs.

The Sox need to replace Ortiz's bat. Anything is an upgrade over Big Papi. Dunn fills the Sox's short term need.

He's a left-handed hitter with tremendous power. Yes, he strikes out a lot, but Dunn can fill the DH need along with being a proven utility player in the field. He's a force in the lineup.

Dunn's versatile. He's a short-term solution for the Sox.

Problem solved.


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