Who Can Fill The Holes?

C Jason Varitek
C Kelly Shoppach / Ken Huckaby
1B Kevin Youkilis
1B ____________ (Hee Seop Choi? Carlos Pena? We have options)
2B Mark Loretta
2B Tony Graffanino
SS ____________ (Alex Gonzalez? Someone recieved in Wells/Arroyo/Clement/Manny trade?)
SS Alex Cora
3B Mike Lowell
LF Manny Ramirez
CF ____________
CF Adam Stern
RF Trot Nixon
RF ____________ (Michael Restovich?)
DH David Ortiz
SP Curt Schilling
SP Josh Beckett
SP David Wells
SP Matt Clement
SP Tim Wakefield
Long R Bronson Arroyo
Long R Jonathan Papelbon (sent to AAA to stretch out as a starter?)
Left R Lenny DiNardo
MR Guillermo Mota
MR Rudy Seanez
SU Mike Timlin
CL Keith Foulke
WHO NEEDS TO GO: At least one starter. Clearly, it must be David Wells, but if we can do Arroyo for Reed, we should, and trade Wells for a backup outfielder and/or a solid minor league pitching prospect. We could carry 12 pitchers, but I hesitate to. If we do, Arroyo and Papelbon can be carried in the bullpen, but I’d find it hard to believe we keep David Wells (as much as I’d like to).
There are 27 spots on this list. Obviously, two need to go. We can’t carry Youkilis, Graffanino, and Cora. Graffanino is the most likely to be traded, although we may possibly deal Youkilis if the price is right. This also doesn’t include Andy Marte and the Red Sox are on the record that he will make the big league club, so really, 28 spots.
We need to trade David Wells for a minor league starter. We need to trade Bronson Arroyo, Tony Graffanino, and a solid minor league prospect for Jeremy Reed. What if we do what I recommend? Then:
C Jason Varitek
C Kelly Shoppach / Ken Huckaby
1B ____________ (Hee Seop Choi? Carlos Pena? We have options)
1B Kevin Youkilis
2B Mark Loretta
SS ____________ (Alex Gonzalez? Someone recieved in Wells/Arroyo/Clement/Manny trade?)
SS Alex Cora
3B Mike Lowell
LF Manny Ramirez
CF Jeremy Reed
CF Adam Stern
RF Trot Nixon
RF ____________ (Michael Restovich?)
DH David Ortiz
SP Curt Schilling
SP Josh Beckett
SP Matt Clement
SP Tim Wakefield
SP Jonathan Papelbon
Long R James Vermilyea / Jermaine Van Buren / Craig Hansen / Manny Delcarmen
Left R Lenny DiNardo
MR Guillermo Mota
MR Rudy Seanez
SU Mike Timlin
CL Keith Foulke
There. That’s better. Kevin Youkilis can be the primary backup at the corners, and Alex Cora can handle the middle. Adam Stern can roam all over, and Trot Nixon can platoon with a right-fielder. I think this is a big reason why we selected Vermilyea in the Rule 5 – because will have a spot for him once Arroyo and Wells depart.
This still does not make room for Andy Marte, and he’s on record as to wanting to play at third, so I don’t think we can put him at first. We’ve got plenty we still need to do. Even the two trades I suggest leave a lot to be done.
So let’s backtrack. What do we need to do? In no order of importance:
1) Find a starting/platoon first baseman
2) Clear up the starting pitching logjam, and/or commit to Papelbon as a starter, reliever, or put him as a starter in AAA although he’s ready for the majors
3) Find a platoon partner for Trot Nixon
4) Find a starting shortstop
5) Find a starting centerfielder
6) Figure out how to solve the glut of Youkilis, Graffanino and Cora. Sending Youkilis to AAA does not solve this glut.
7) Find a spot for Andy Marte
8) Somehow get Evan season tickets.
Folks, this is what a reloading team does. We’ve got plenty of things to solve, but in the end, we’re going to benefit. This off-season is far, far, from over.
Keep burning that midnight oil…