Wednesday, September 20, 2006

PAY TO PLAY

As September chugs into the first irrelevant October for the Red Sox in recent memory (my son was celebrating his first birthday in October 2002, so irrelevant Octobers seem like they are a bazillion years ago), thoughts invariably turn to next year. Despite the obvious need to keep the team somewhat healthy, there are a number of issues that likely will not be resolved until after the autumn of hope for the Bruins and Celtics meanders its way into the winter of our discontent (or at least mediocrity). Here are some ideas I am just throwing out there. Theo, stop checking for naked pictures of my wife, for the last time I am not posting any! But feel free to listen to any of my suggestions:

STARTING PITCHING:
1. Curt Schilling (The last hurrah should yield another 15 wins, and then he gets a Roger Clemens/Tom Seaver deal to pitch here until 2012 and get his 300 wins)
2. Josh Beckett (20 wins in 2007.Guaranteed.)
3. Jonathan Papelbon (the bullpen experiment is over. 150+ innings in the rotation is far more valuable to the team.)
4. FREE AGENT/TRADE TBD (My top choice would be to swing a deal with Seattle and try to pry away another lefty for the rotation: Jarrod Washburn. Seattle continues to overpay free agents only to be looking to dump them off almost immediately. $12 million per season seems a lot to pay, but it is the price of quality pitching. Otherwise, I say to go after Randy Wolf and/or Ted Lilly.)
5. Tim Wakefield/Jon Lester/Lenny DiNardo/Kason Gabbard (Wakey would be my top choice to be swingman/long reliever from the bullpen if Lester recovers.)

BULLPEN:
7. Felipe Lopez or LHP TBD (I say scoop up three or four lefty relievers, throw them against a wall, and see who sticks. The Sox need at least two lefties in the bullpen, and Hal the fourth is a good 16-17 years away from helping out in the pen.)
6. Abe Alvarez or yet another LHP TBD (I like Abe Alvarez. He cannot be as bad as he seemed earlier this season in Pawtucket.)
5. Edgar Martinez (closer in training for 2008)
4. Mike Timlin (one more year, but not closing or in the eighth inning.)
3. Matt Clement (Clement should be a set-up man. He could be nasty if he embraces the role.) OK, I am joking: Manny Delcarmen
2. Craig Hansen
1. Keith Foulke (or sign Kerry Wood to close. No, I am dead serious. I would be fine with that decision. Or trade for Eric Gagne. That would work.)

LINEUP:

C: Jason Varitek
1B: Big Papi (No excuses for not winning the MVP now. Papi is actually a pretty good first baseman. Remember, it was Papi who threw out Jeff Suppan at third in the 2004 World Series.)
2B: Dustin Pedroia/Alex Cora/Alejandro Machado (Second base will be a major league minimum salary position. We all love Loretta, but concessions need to be made regarding salary.)
SS: Julio Lugo (Look, we all know Theo is going to go get him and nothing will stop him. I do not like it. I want A-Gon back or at least Pokey Reese at shortstop, but I know it will never happen.)
3B: Kevin Youkilis (I like Mike Lowell as well, but his future is as a one year rental in Texas or Los Angeles.)
LF: Coco Crisp
CF: David Murphy (the future is now)
RF: Wily Mo Pena (the beast is back. 30 HRs. 100RBIs.)
DH: Manny Ramirez (need to rest those hammies all year!)

BENCH:
Fourth Outfielder: Gabe Kapler
IF/OF Utility: Machado/Pedroia/Cora
Utility Infielder: see above
Back-up C: Doug Mirabelli (Since he apparently is no longer welcome in San Diego!)

Of course, this will be null and void in a couple weeks, but that is how it looks to me right now.

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