Red Sox – Spring Training

Alright, fine.  Time for a new season.  I guess me relishing in the glow of the Red Sox crapulence has to come to an end.  The Red Sox won the 2007 World Series, not the 2008 World Series.  At least not yet anyway.

Major issue abound, do they not?

Curt Schilling heads this list.  He turned in a solid 2007 season and signed what I considered a decent contract for 2008.  But suddenly his shoulder looks like chop suey.  As I said last week, that’s either the Red Sox fault for lack of due dilegence or maybe Schilling really did get hurt in the past few weeks.  It really isn’t fair for me to point fingers in this case as I just don’t have the intelligence information to render an opinion, do you?

With Schilling down, the Red Sox rotation now includes:  Beckett, Matsuzaka, Wakefield and Lester.  The 5th spot belongs to one of the following:  Julian Tavarez, Clay Buchholz, Kyle Snyder, Davern Hansack or David Aardsma.

Buchholz is the front-runner, but the Red Sox are smart enough not to give him the nod this soon.  In fact, if he opened the season in AAA, I would not be surprised.  We are talking about the 5th spot and, especially early in the season, that role isn’t vital.  Buchholz is young and has a ton of promise, why rush to give him 180+ innings.

Japan.  It sounds great and all, but I do worry about what toll it will take on the players.  Why?  I have no idea other than it is something decidely out of the norm.  In life, most prefer the norm.  Routine is king, so this trip could present a few problems.  The best thing to compare it to might be the World Baseball Classic.  Many of the MLB players that were involved struggled early on (Mike Timlin).  Then again, Daisuke Matsuzaka was showcased and, well, you know how that worked out.

Coco Crisp is still on the squad.  With Bobby Kielty signed to a non-guaranteed deal, the Red Sox get to figure this one out slowly, or at least in the next 30 days or so.  Either they get a taker for Crisp, or they keep him.  Crisp is a very good defensive outfielder, but his bat has been a bit of a letdown.  He’d make an excellent 4th OF.  Jacoby has this job locked down as far as I’m concerned.  But if a deal makes sense, I suspect they’ll move him immediately as they don’t want any issues made of the Ellsbury/Crisp issue.  Crisp was a great soldier in the playoffs, but he is likely to want to play everyday in 2008.  I thought Crisp would’ve been gone by now, but I was wrong.

Terry Francona.  He has won 2 World Series Championships with the Red Sox but is not signed beyond this year.  I’m not sure what the hold-up is here, but for the love of crud, what gives?  Francona will always get second-guessed.  This Boston/New England, but he is a very good manager that take endless punches for his players and coaches.  While I don’t want to see a Joe Torre, when he was with the Yankees, type deal for Francona, he is deserving of a 3 year deal soon.

Stop what you are doing and take a deep breath.  If there are things around you that are tough right now, take some solice that baseball is back.  If all is right for you, then appreciate this time of year doubly.