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Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Boston's Offseason Grade: Incomplete

Since winning two world championships in four years, ending the 86 year championship drought, the Boston Red Sox became an old, unproductive team. The combination of age, injuries and lack of talent resulted in a mediocre product on the field. Through the diligence of Theo Epstein, the best general manager in baseball, Boston is back.

Epstein wasted no time to land one of the most underrated, best all-around players in baseball. Epstein traded three average prospects for All-Star first baseman, Adrian Gonzalez. Before next season, the organization had better reinforce the ‘Green Monster,’ because he will be hammering it on a nightly basis. His ability to go to all parts of the field with power cannot be emphasized enough; he is a great hitter and is an early favorite to win the 2011 MVP award. The addition of Gonzalez will also have a “Teixeira Effect,” for the Red Sox; the Boston infield will shrink with an above-average defender on the corner, enabling the rest of the infielders to cover more ground and play at a higher-level.

Now that Boston has a formable middle of the lineup with Dustin Pedroia, Kevin Youkilis and Gonzo, they needed a guy to get on base, someone that is arguably the most explosive player in the game. Welcome to Boston, Carl Crawford. Crawford possesses more pure ability that anyone in all of baseball. Not only is he a terror on the base paths, Crawford is maturing into a great hitter with notable power. If he and Jacoby Ellsbury are able to stay healthy, Boston will be scoring at a record pace. Crawford’s arrival to Boston will have a similar impact in the outfield as Gonzo has in the infield, providing Gold Glove presence. Bottom-line…speed kills.

With the phenomenal improvements to his program, Epstein still has work to do before pitchers and catchers report to spring training on February 14th. Boston’s rotation is not good. Clay Bucholz is the future of their rotation with electric stuff, and Jon Lester is a warrior on and off the field. But that’s it.

Josh Beckett is all huff and puff. The one time tough guy, who would be able to reach back and throw it by you, is finished. I recommend he lose the eight Phiten necklaces, because they aren’t working. John Lackey also tries to intimidate the opposing hitters with a snarling look upon his face. John, you look constipated; just throw the ball. Dice-K is another bad major league Japanese pitcher. He has never proved that he can stay healthy, nor be a reliable option when he is.

Though Epstein is the savior of the franchise, he should have done anything to sign pitcher Cliff Lee. “The Nation,” will be temporarily satisfied that the New York Yankees failed to buy the lefty, leaving them without a clue in the Bronx. Nevertheless, Boston still does not have a championship level rotation. Lee would have fit perfectly with the ruff-neck, self-proclaimed idiots. If you’ve heard him speak, you would understand.

They will considerably regret not signing Lee. Lee has proved time after time again that he is great when it matters and is not afraid of anything or anybody. He’s walked into Yankee Stadium, the biggest sports stage in the world, and embarrassed the underachieving Yankees. Gonzalez and Crawford will help win games from April to September, but Lee would have won games in October. If they did sign Lee, the Red Sox and the city of Boston would have begun planning its World Series victory parade. Now, they still have work to do; the clock’s ticking.

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