The 2010 Yanks have been examined to death, so with the Grapefruit League wrapping up yesterday and the Yanks heading up to Boston to open the 2010 campaign, I thought it would be a good time to take a look at what’s been going on with our rivals in Beantown. They have a variety of their own issues, both on the field and in the clubhouse. Former Yankee beat reporter Peter Abraham discussed some of these in the Boston Globe’s Extra Bases blog. Here’s a few notable items-
* I’d like to tell you that Mike Lowell is embracing the idea of playing off the bench. But he gives off the vibe of somebody who hates every second of it. He thinks he got screwed and isn’t ready to concede the idea that he isn’t a starting player.
* Manny Delcarmen has to be hurt. He has no command and his velocity is 4-5 mph less than what it was last season. If he’s not hurt, then he forgot how to pitch.
* Junichi Tazawa will fly to Alabama on Monday night, get his Tommy John surgery on Tuesday and be back in Fort Myers on Wednesday. Does Dr. James Andrews have a drive-through?
* As they get close to agreeing to a deal with Josh Beckett, the Sox have yet to open negotiations with Victor Martinez. Maybe they want to see V-Mart prove himself over a full season.
* Now that Joe Mauer is off the market, get ready for the Sox and Yankees fight for Carl Crawford next winter. It would be easy to trade Mike Cameron and put Jacoby Ellsbury back in center.
The Lowell situation figures to resolve itself, either internally or externally. Either the Sox themselves or another team will lose a 3B/1B and he figures to get playing time that way. Given Theo’s willingness to eat almost all of his 12 mil contract in the ill-fated Texas deal, you have to figure someone, somewhere will take him on and give him a chance to play. It’s understandable that Lowell would be upset, he’s in the final year of the 3 year deal he signed with the Red Sox in late 2007, one which he gave the Sox a hometown discount. Reports at the time were he had a 4 year deal on the table at a similar annual salary.
The stuff about the Tazawa and DelCarmen is nothing overly important, but could affect their depth this season. One of the main concerns with the Sox this year will be health on their pitching staff, so losing someone like Tazawa just means you have to go further down the depth chart to spot start in case of injury. Tim Wakefield figures to be able to fill in admirably as their #6, but looking at the Red Sox depth chart, their next starter would be Michael Bowden.
I don’t buy for one second that the Sox have a sincere interest in Crawford. When I hear about them making trades to make room for someone who the Yanks are targeting, it’s a clear sign to me that they’re just driving up the price for the Yanks. Brian Cashman is intimately aware of these things, and won’t budge if a competing offer is coming from Boston.
One thing Peter Abraham didn’t address that Jon Heyman did in his most recent column, is that the Red Sox are still worried David Ortiz. Here’s what Heyman wrote:
Red Sox people are concerned about David Ortiz after declining numbers the past couple years and a so-so spring (.228, 3 HRs, 8 RBIs). Ortiz, however, seems unconcerned.
He said his goal is “to go back to normal and rake,” and he doesn’t see why it shouldn’t be do-able. “I feel good,” he said. “Hopefully, I’ll have a good year.”
Unlike some others, he doesn’t think he’s losing it, and sees himself playing another three or four years. “I don’t think age is a big deal,” he said. “Besides, I just turned 34.”
Others see the declining numbers and wonder whether he’s on his way out. Ortiz, meanwhile, is keeping his positive outlook.
“When you go to the plate with a bat in your hand, anything can happen,” he said.
You have to wonder how much of Papi’s production was steroid-related, and how not having Manny Ramirez standing on the on deck circle has affected the way opposing pitchers approach him. In either case, another poor start would mean dropping him further in the lineup and/or getting Lowell some more ABs at DH.