Some advice and questions about the Red Sox offseason
PLEASE KEEP MANNY
Losing him would devastate the Sox lineup. They need his incredible production, and do you think Ortiz be as good as he is without Manny batting behind him?
What about the rotation?
Schilling, Wells, Wakefield, Arroyo, and Clement are all signed for next year, and Jonathan Papelbon is expected to make the rotation. I'm also assuming they'll try to sign a top of the rotation starter, so who leaves the rotation? I'd like to see Clement gone, but he has a big contract and he's a serviceable fifth starter. There's rumors that Wells might retire. Or the Sox might be able to get a lot if they trade Arroyo.
How do you fix the bullpen?
The Sox are expecting their prospects Delcarmen and Hansen to help out, and they better try to sign a bunch of pitchers. One possibility -- put Arroyo in the bullpen. He was the most consistent starter for the Sox this year, but he'll never be a top of the rotation guy. Arroyo never has arm problems and he could be a tremendous asset to a bullpen.
What do you do with free agents Johnny Damon, Bill Mueller, Mike Timlin and Kevin Millar?
I'll start with the easy one. When Kevin Millar leaves the clubhouse, change the locks. For Damon and Mueller, it's much trickier. I'd keep both of them if their contracts are reasonable. Mueller played great defense and has a consistent bat; it be a shame if they'd lose him. Damon has good range but no arm, and he really helps the lineup. The problem is the Yankees need a center fielder and the free agent market doesn't have many big names. Damon may be too expensive. I'd re-sign Timlin as long as they're not expecting him to close.
How much will the prospects contribute?
Whether or not Mueller comes back depends a lot on what the Sox think of Kevin Youkillis. I'm not sure they think he's a future starter; Francona seemed reluctant to play him all season. Justin Pedroia supposed to be good, but Graffanino's probably still better. Brandon Moss and David Murphy might join the team if Manny and Damon are gone. Jon Lester and Anibal Sanchez may make a few starts. The biggest question is when will Hanley Ramirez be ready? Haven't heard as much talk about a Sox prospect since Garciaparra. The problem is that Renteria is playing shortstop for three more years for the Sox.
Will he pitch like he did in 2004 or do the Sox need to find a closer?
Any potential free agents that could help next year?
Billy Wagner or Paul Konerko would be nice. Would Garciaparra like to play first for the Sox next year?