@bandinibaseball asks: “How will the lack of depth at third base hurt the Red Sox in 2017?”
The Red Sox ideally would have an impact player at third base, but there should be enough offense throughout the lineup to balance them out. If you think about it, Boston hasn’t really had good third baseman since Mike Lowell manned that position from 2006 through 2010. Youkilis did takeover for one year in 2011, but spent most of the second half of the season on the DL.
Like Pablo Sandoval, Hanley Ramirez spent the entire last off season as the “punching bag,” and ended up exceeding everyone’s expectations. Perhaps Sandoval will take a similar path. After all, he is a former three time World Series winner, and World Series MVP. If the sky falls and he absolutely can’t perform, I would expect Brock Holt to fill in, and top prospect Sam Travis to get some reps as well. But for now, we begrudgingly have to hold out for Sandoval to see if he can recapture past glory. He deserves the benefit of the doubt.
@RyanMurphyr asks: What percentage chance do you give David Ortiz of coming out of retirement?
Honestly? 75% If Ortiz does comeback, it likely wouldn’t be until June or July. As much as we love Big Papi, he does have the flare for the dramatic at times, and NOTHING would send more shockwaves if the return comes mid-season. By that point, he will likely be sick of his boring retired life, and the “honey-do” list from the wife. Not to mention only playing a half-season would preserve his durability.
The Red Sox seem to be much more prone to the “June-Swoon” than any other major league club. Couple that with some injuries, I could see an easy path back to the batter’s box for David Ortiz. The President of the United States has his “nuclear button.” And I’m sure Dave Dombrowski has his “Big Papi button.”
@DanBruneau asks: What’s your Mookie Betts prediction for this year? Does he match last year?
The short answer is no. It’s simply too tall of a task. However, I do expect Mookie will likely hit around .300, and might very well have a 30/100 year. He’s a perennial all star, and I don’t anticipate a serious lack of production. I’m far more concerned about Xander Bogaerts having a bad 2017 than I am Mookie Betts.
@dsherman7698 asks: Do you think the Sale trade will hurt the Red Sox in a few years? Losing Kopech and Moncada hurts.
Ultimately Chris Sale is only under contract for the next three years, so whatever happens after that point isn’t too relevant. Dave Dombrowski decided he wanted to “go for it” now rather than later. With that said, I did not like this trade. My opinion on this matter isn’t very popular, but despite those three bad ALDS games, our rotation was actually very formidable before the trade. I would have followed the blue prints that Cleveland & Kansas City designed, and built up a power bullpen. But Dave Dombrowski has never understood the value of a great bullpen prior to arriving in Boston, and still apparently doesn’t.
The Chicago White Sox will have Moncada for the next six or seven years, and he will likely be an MVP several times over. It definitely hurts, I feel your pain.
@BigTurfGuy asks: What’s the harm in throwing Greg Holland an offer? If he’s healthy, it could take our bullpen to the next level. Should be cheap/short money.
Bingo!!! I actually tweeted this several weeks ago. Holland is seeking a two year deal for a healthy sum of money, so all interested teams are likely waiting out his market to see if it comes down. Although it could be a risky proposition, I would definitely take the chance, even for two years. The Red Sox have essentially replaced Koji Uehara and Brad Ziegler with Tyler Thornsburg and Carson Smith. Both of whom have serious injury concern/liabilities themselves. So why add another player with similiar concerns such as Holland? Because chances are AT LEAST one of them will pan out, if not two. And if all three pan out? We may as well fast foward to October.
Aside from any injury concerns, it takes a strong player to be able to handle the pressures of pitching in Boston. We have absolutely no clue whatsoever as to whether Thornsburg & Smith can handle the pressure. Mark Melancon couldn’t handle it. Craig Kimbrel couldnt handle it. He doubled his career ERA last year. On the flip side, Jonathan Papelbon was able to thrive off the intensity of Boston. Uehara had the distinct advantage of not understanding english, so he could play dumb to any criticism. Though he likely would have taken the same historic path to the 2013 World Series regardless of his foreign language barrier. The Red Sox have the payroll means (Albeit just barely) to sign Holland. There’s no reason not to. It would improve our World Series chances immensely. We just need a President of Operations (Dombrowski) to understand that. As great as our starting pitching rotation is, a bad bullpen could still sink us.
Thanks to everyone who participated. I also encourage all readers to give the question askers a follow. We’re all in this journey together!