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If I could tuuuuurn back tii-iime….if I could fiiiiind a waaay!

If I, or Theo Epstein, could turn back time and find a way, there is no doubt what we would do: make Jason Varitek younger. Specifically, age 31, the year he hit 25 homers or age 32, the year he OBP’ed .390. Sure, maybe some hoary wisdom would be lost — but think of all the offense that would be gained!

Similarly, if David Ortiz could go back to being 27, the Red Sox could expect five consecutive 30+ homer seasons from him (including two 40+ homer seasons and one 50+ homer season).

But, if time cannot be turned back, no matter how many sailors on that air-craft carrier wish it could be, the Red Sox will just have to try something else. Hence, operating under the assumption that those MIT researchers won’t find a way to magically re-youngify Tek and Papi, the Red Sox are looking for some replacement parts. Here’s how they should prioritize:

1. A good bat. Look, it’s only money. And the Red Sox have big fat gobs of it. Kevin Youkilis can play third base, if you want to stick Mark Teixeira (or Prince Fielder) at first. In my view, it’s even better if this extra bat is…

2. A young catcher. If you can get a young catcher with a good bat, you can hit two birds with one stone. But I don’t know that there’s a catcher available who could deliver the kind of bat the Red Sox need; names floating around out there are Taylor Teagarden and Jarrod Saltalamacchia of the Rangers (or perhaps Gerald Laird, if the Red Sox land Teixeira).  Ideally, the new guy would be defensively savvy enough (Teagarden! Teagarden!) to get the hang of Wakefield’s knuckler, since the Sox have already re-upped him and since Varitek hates to catch him. Let Tek be the backup and pass on the hoary w. to the new kid. Personally, I wouldn’t mind seeing the Red Sox deal some of their sa-weet young pitching prospects to land a catcher they were truly excited about. They’ve been saving up their pitching prospects for years, and are now loaded with them. Which brings me to my next item….

3. Make Justin Masterson a starter again. Yes, he was pretty good as a reliever. But he was also great as a starter. I’ve never seen a satisfactory explanation for why they moved him to the bullpen than, “Mike Timlin just got really old.” A rotation of Beckett, Lester, Matsuzaka, Wakefield, and Masterson — with Buchholz or Bowden in the mix as well — sounds good to me. Besides, how hard is it really to pick up a random assortment of cheap relievers and let the bullpen sort itself out? A very few pitchers aside, this is pretty much how it seems to end up working every year, anyway.

The first two items above are essential — the third, just my personal preference. (And yes, in a perfect world, the Red Sox would find someone to take Julio Lugo off their hands, too.)

If the Red Sox can snag themselves a young bat and a young catcher, they’ll be well on their way to turning back time. And not in a scary hyperbaric chamber and/or bodystocking sort of way, either.

- What They Need Index -

9 Responses to “What They Need: Boston Red Sox – To Get Younger”

  1. you clearly have on idea what you’re talking about.

  2. Sarah – the satisfactory explanation that you’re looking for as to why they put Masterson in the bullpen was that they had no 8th inning guy b/c Okajima was not what we was in 2007 until late in the season. I’m not sure how that wasn’t obvious. You can’t just go pick up anyone to be your bridge to Papelbon while conversely, you can go out and get a no. 5 starter (Byrd) at any time..

  3. Andy, I don’t know why you think that #5 pitchers are easy to find. Crappy fives, yes, those are plentiful. Useful ones that can be had mid-season for next to nothing? It’s much easier to find a decent set up man especially in an organization that has so many cheap young pitching options like the Sox.

  4. Tex! Tex! Tex! its not hard, just sign him!!!!!!!!! u got the money, get him to boston NOW

  5. pick up fielder
    he reminds me of Mo Vaughn wouldn’t it be GREAT to have him back in BOSTON
    Ortiz,youkillis,Fielder batting 3,4,5
    scary

  6. I think you’re spot on with these pics. I’d love to see them pick up Tex, dump Lugo, trade Lowell, move Youk to 3rd, and pick up Teagarden or Salty.

    All that’s possible with Coco and Buchholz thrown in to season the pot. There’s never been a better time to trade Coco, and Buchholz isn’t fitting the bill.

    Pick up some relievers and you’re right, plug in Masterson as a starter. Hopefully Oki won’t take most of the season to find his groove.

    I’d love Tek to stick around, but with Boras as an agent, I’m not seeing it. I also doubt we’ll get Tex, but never know.

    Just get rid of Lugo and I’ll be happy.

  7. Sarah Green says:

    Whoah, a lot of comments all of a sudden. Soxfan, I see you made a typo. Obv. you meant to say, “you clearly have *an* idea what you’re talking about,” not “on idea.” Thanks — I do have an idea what I’m talking about.

    Andy, yes, that’s why they put Masterson in the pen. In other (wittier) words, as I wrote in the post, Mike Timlin just got really old. Thank you for reading so closely before commenting. With Beckett having an off year — and hurting towards the end — and Wakefield ineffective in October for the past few Octobers, I still would have preferred to see Masterson in the starting ro. I understand why they did it, but why on earth keep him there now?

    Yes, Tex. The moolah. Yes.

    ELR — Fielder is interesting. Acquiring Fielder would, I feel like, signal that they were ready to give up on Papi (which, sadly, it might be time to do). Plus, I don’t think they could get Fielder and a good young catcher — they just don’t want to give up that many prospects. I would rather see them spend money on Tex and prospects on catching, than trade for Fielder and, say, Gerald Laird.

    And M, am I having weird reverse amnesia in remembering that last time the Red Sox signed Tek as a free agent, he told Boras to back off, when Boras wanted to leverage the 4 years, 40 million offer to get another team to offer more? I remember it so clearly. But did it happen? Also, great job in the James Bond movies. You rock.

  8. I think that they should keep Masterson in the bullpen because he’s basically an automatic double play, which can rly crush a rally late in the game. Too many ppl are giving up on Buchholz because of his bad year,I expect him to win the #5 job out of spring training.Just from a scouting standpoint, he has all the tools to be a #1 pitcher.
    The only way I would put Masterson in the rotation is if someone can take his place in the bullpen as an effective rh setup guy(cough..manny delcarmen..cough) and if Buchholz or the other veteran #5 guy the red sox are likely to sign absolutely fails. part of Masterson’s value is as a swingman.
    Trade any prospect not named clay buchholz or masterson to the rangers for Salty and resign Varitek for 2 years. No other team wants Varitek so Boras doesnt have any leverage.
    The angels will probably outbid anyone for Tex, they really want him back.So we have to hope that lowell can stay healthy and him, youk,papi and bay can hopefully give the lineup plenty of pop.
    I’ve heard mixed feelings about the lugo for d-train trade rumor. I would take willis in a heartbeat, see what John Farrell can do to fix him.

  9. 1. Re-sign Tek @ 2 years no more than 20 million total(hopefully half that).
    2. Sign RHP, Junichi Tazawa from Japan.
    3. Trade M. Bowden to Texas for C, J. Saltalamacchia.
    4. Keep J. Lugo as our utility infielder.
    5. Let C. Carter be our backup 1B/OF
    6. Sign R. Baldelli as our 4th OF’er

    Line-up:

    1. Ellsbury, LHH, CF
    2. Pedroia, RHH, 2B
    3. Ortiz, LHH, DH
    4. Youkilis, RHH, 1B
    5. Drew, LHH, RF
    6. Bay, RHH, LF
    7. Lowell, RHH, 3B
    8. Lowrie, SH, SS
    9. Varitek, SH, C

    Bench:

    Saltalamacchia, SH, C/1B
    Baldelli, RHH, CF, LF, RF
    Lugo, RHH, SS, 2B, 3B
    Carter, LHH, 1B, LF
    Cash, RHH, C

    The fact that Saltalamacchia can play 1B allows us to keep Cash on the roster for Wakefield.

    SP:

    Beckett, RHP
    Lester, LHP
    Matsuzaka, RHP
    Wakefield, RHP
    Tazawa/Masterson/Buchholz, All RHP’s

    Bullpen:

    Papelbon, RHP, CL
    Okajima, LHP
    Delcarmen, RHP
    Ramirez, RHP
    Lopez, RHP
    Masterson/Bard, Both RHP’s

    If Masterson is given the 5th starters spot, then Bard could be the 6th member of the BP. If either Buchholz or Tazawa take the spot, Masterson goes to the pen.

    I want no part of Teixiera. I believe during these bad economic times, those teams that build from within will have the most success. I plan on watching Lars Anderson become an All-Star within the next four years.

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