1B Youkilis 2B Pedroia SS Ramirez 3B Renteria

The Boston Globe ran with a story in which Edgar Renteria said he’d move positions for Hanley Ramirez. He also said Hanley was ready to break into the major leagues now. While I disagree with that statement (hitting .269 for Portland – AA) I am encouraged by Renteria’s willingness to move to various positions – especially in light of his inability to hit. However, I don’t think this move should be made for a year. We need to keep Hanley in the minors and not rush him. Here’s what I think should be done.
Well, let me just stop the presses and address the Sox as of late. I’m not worried about this little two-game losing streak and neither should you be. It’s hard to suffer the losses we just did, but they were the fault of either Mark Bellhorn or the umpire. It’s just costly errors and UBC (Umpire Blown Calls). We just need to keep going out there and playing, and the cards will fall our way. We have a good chance today with Scott Elarton to engineer a well-needed blowout.
Anyways, in the year 2006, I think we should let Kevin Millar walk, and then either give John Olerud another guaranteed contract, or Roberto Petagine, if he is willing. Then, split them at first base with Kevin Youkilis in a platoon, and work David Ortiz in, too. Honestly, Big Papi isn’t that bad defensively. It would allow DH time for Ramirez and Nixon. I think Ortiz has shown this and last year he is not that much of a liability at first and really should garner more playing time.
Pedroia should take over for Bellhorn who either can’t hit and is okay fielding or rips but is atrocious in the field. Whatever, see ya. Pedroia will be ready by spring 2006 to begin a long and fruitful career with Boston. Short should be manned by Renteria again. (Tangent time – someone noticed the other day that perhaps Renteria is worth this money, offensively and defensively, and we’re just spoiled by Nomar’s offensive prowess. Considering Renteria is ninth in OPS – yes, NINTH – I can be led to agree. We have the ninth best SS by OPS standards.) Third should be manned by Bill Mueller. We really ought to resign Mueller to some sort of contract with a single year and a club option for a second year. Mueller is pretty important to us, and I think he has not worn out his usefulness yet.
Then as 2007 rolls around, you look into getting Youkilis into a full-time job at first base, with Hanley Ramirez breaking in at shortstop and Renteria shifting to third. While Renteria would be a below average third-baseman, it would be something easy to swallow to get Hanley in at his natural position. While Hanley could certainly shift to CF, we have some nice options in Chip Ambres, Brandon Moss, and Jacoby Ellsbury. In addition, good outfielders are easier to come by than good shortstops. I think it’s imperative Hanley remain at short.
Within two years under this scenario, all infield positions could be very well homegrown. Youkilis at first, Pedroia second, Ramirez at short, Papelbon on the mound, and Jason Varitek behind the plate. (If you want to be picky, then Kelly Shoppach on one of his starting days.) It’s an exciting prospect to see so many of our minor leaguers do well. As we strengthen our hold on first place, while getting excited at a possible World Series re-run, you should also be getting excited at our future prospects on the horizon, which not only offer us great talent, but great financial flexibility. The day draws near where our payroll could hover around $80 million.
If you can’t tell by this, I’m back! Thanks to Marc, Sam, and Dave for filling in so quickly when I needed them to.

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