It should have been foregone conclusion once Mike Cameron was signed, but Terry Francona made it official yesterday: Jacoby Ellsbury will play left field. Jacoby has patrolled center field pretty well and has plenty of highlight reel catches to show for it. So how did he take the news?
“I think he was a little disappointed, a little concerned that it was like a demotion,” said Francona, who made the call with Hale from Florida about a week before Christmas. “We explained that it’s not. Again, we’ve got a guy with longer strides. Jacoby can be a force in left, kind of like Carl Crawford in Tampa. We’re going to have an outfield where not a lot of balls hit too much ground.”
While most fans wanted to see the “big bat” to replace Jason Bay this season, I like the team Theo has assembled. They have potential Gold Glovers at almost every position, a superior rotation and bullpen, and a solid, though not overpowering, line-up 1 through 9. Consider the gaping holes in the batting order last season when Lugo and Tek were everyday players. Those spots are now held by Scutaro and Martinez.
That just leaves the mind-boggling third base situation. What could Mike Lowell (aka: Satan in Theo’s mind) have done to deserve the off-season crapstorm he has been in the middle of? Was he caught with Theo’s wife or sampling John Henry’s private Kit Kat stash? Because I think the Sox would take a couple cartons of Winstons and a few cows in exchange for Lowell, and still pay his salary. The dude hit .290 with 17 HR’s and 75 RBI in 119 games in 2009! While Adrian “don’t call me Gonzalez” Beltre is clearly a defensive upgrade, he doesn’t give you anything more than Lowell would at the plate. Unless, of course, he returns to his 2004 (can you say steroids?) form. So, is his defense worth the $12 million plus the $9 million of Lowell’s salary the Sox are likely to eat? Unless there is another move afoot, this makes no sense to me.
All that being said, I’m starting to get the fever already, and we’re barely into January. Long days ahead…