It’s not over yet, but let me say this…….
Overall team speed looks very good.
Good outing from Carlos Torres. Great ABs from Carlos Quentin. Tyler Flowers looked good on the basepaths, but his defense still needs work, lots of work! Dayan Viciedo made a nice play at third. The kid shows an obscenely quick bat, but not much discipline.
The boys come together at Camelback Ranch on Sunday afternoon. They can’t get started a moment too soon. Real winter weather in the Midwest and financial distress have made this winter insufferable. So let’s play ball.
Quite happily, 4/5 of the rotation and all of the starting field positions appear to be set heading into spring. There only seem to be three significant roster battles:
DH – With the potential Damon signing looming in the background, we appear headed to a “DH by committee” plan which will primarily include Andruw Jones and Mark Kotsay. Earlier in his career A. Jones was an absolute stud for the Braves. If he can get his body right and find some of that magic, it would be outstanding for the Sox. That’s what this Sox fan is hoping for!
Fourth Bench Spot – Castro (Flowers needs to go to Charlotte to work on his defensive game), Kotsay, Jones, and Vizquel appear to be locks for bench spots, which leaves the need for another infielder, IMO. As happened last spring, this appears to be a battle between Nix and Lillibridge. Unless Lillibridge shows some real maturity at the plate, which he clearly lacked last year, this seems to be Nix’s job to lose.
Fifth Starter – Garcia and Hudson appear to be the main combatants here. I suspect that Garcia will get the spot because of his experience and his relationship with Ozzie. Frankly, I’d prefer that Hudson return to Charlotte to get a consistent spot in their rotation. Regardless of who fills this spot, I am thrilled not to have to be worried about the health and wellbeing of Jose Contreras and Bartolo Colon anymore!
The bullpen will be some combination of Jenks, Putz, Thornton, Linebrink, Randy Williams, Pena, Dolsi, Carlos Torres, and Nunez. I have a hard time getting a good read on this, but there should be enough talent there to carry us into the regular season, and if not, “Coop will fix ’em!”
THIS JUST IN – As I am writing this WSCR in Chicago is reporting that the Sox have withdrawn their offer to Johnny Damon.
Looking forward to getting a great season started. We’ve got one of the three best rotations in the AL, and an overall better defensive team than we did last year. If Ozzie ball can score some runs, there is no reason to think that this team can’t win the division!
Having lost their last four, and six of their last ten, the second best thing possible happened to the Sox tonight, they were rained out.
There is no positive way to spin it, the Sox have been ugly on this trip. The pitching got shelled by the Rangers, and then they got swept by Greinke and the Royals.
Two positives came out of this trip, I think Ozzie and Coop have finally concluded that Contreras is not ready for the rotation. Not exactly a headline you want to print in the media guide, but at least now they can move on and give Richard or one of the kids in Charlotte a run. Marquez has been terrible to start the AAA season, but two kids Wes Whisler (5 GS, 1.95 ERA, 27 innings, 10 W, 17 K) and Carlos Torres (5 GS, 0.96 ERA, 28 innings, 10 W, 28 K) have put together reasonably strong starts (although neither has pitched a substantial number of innings in their starts), so we will see if Kenny Williams gives them a run.
The other troubling thing has been the errors. Guys are booting the ball all over the place, and even when he’s not commiting errors, Fields is making it clear that he cannot go to his left, and please, please don’t get me started on Wilson Betemit. WHAT A HACK!
In the midst of the injuries and the mayhem, Jayson Nix has made a nice showing for himself. Also, Scottie Pods has returned, and while he will remind no one of Rickey Henderson, he has done reasonably well in the place of the injured Anderson and Wise and the waived Jerry Owens. How bad must Jerry Owens feel, the two guys he competed with in the spring go down with injury, but rather than give him a shot to take the spot back, they waive him, and call in a fella sitting at home watching the games on TV with you and me.
As bad as the last ten have been, it is a long season, and we are only 3.5 back, but we need to start putting together wins, or we will be watching the pennant race from the cheap seats in August.