But after pining for power in yesterday’s post, I received a number of e-mails and messages through the SG Facebook page and Twitter, telling me to chillax. That the Sox will be just fine. That our offense can hold its own in the Big Bad East. That, if left as is without a Matt Holliday or Adrian Gonzalez to beef them up, our offense won’t dry up and blow away like the skinny guy in the Charles Atlas ads.
I’m not so sure I buy it. But it’s not impossible.
To be fair, the 2009 team wasn’t exactly Arnold Stang at the plate: third in the AL in runs scored (872), second in OBP (.352) and OPS (.806), and third in home runs with 212. But in a division that includes the Bronx Bombers — who led the AL in practically every offensive category in 2009, including runs, home runs, RBIs, OPS, OBP, and Players Banging Kate Hudson — you gotta bring the noise if you want to compete.
That said, although the Sox will miss Bay’s bat — take away the Great White Canadian’s 36 dingers last season and the Sox drop from third to eighth place in AL team home runs — there’s nothing to indicate that they absolutely, positively can’t thrive in 2010 without adding A-Gon.
As a couple folks pointed out, Youk, Drew and Pedroia give us a fine nucleus. We’ll also have Victor Martinez for an entire season, which is bloody awesome considering that in just 56 games through 2009, V-Mart gave us 71 hits (5 less than Tek gave us in twice as many games) with a .336 average and .912 OPS.
The big question marks are Lowell and Ortiz. Assuming Lowell starts the 2010 season with the Sox, and assuming his hip and thumb concerns are behind him, he could provide a dangerous stick, especially if he feels he’s got something to prove to the young’uns, to himself and to the pesky front office types who keep trying to unload him. Meanwhile, even with his obvious 2009 struggles, Ortiz was second on the team in home runs, and I can’t believe his pride hasn’t been kicking his ass all winter, like Burgess Meredith getting all up in Rocky’s shit, determined to see better results in 2010.
So, in summation, I’m willing to see both sides of the coin. While I’d love nothing more than a telegram from Sam Wainwright announcing that we just signed Adrian Gonzalez (“Mary wires you need a bat, stop. My office instructed to advance you Gonzo and Holliday, stop. Hee-haw and Merry Christmas.”), if next year’s Opening Day line-up is conspicuously Gonzo- and Holliday-free, I’m not waving any white flags. That’s not how we roll in these parts.
But recalling how quickly we dried up in the 2009 ALDS, where a couple big hits could have made a difference, and how good pitching tied us up in knots throughout last season, adding a reliable bat for 2010 just might help me kick the demon whiskey once and for all.
What say you?