Friday, March 29, 2013


We're on the cusp of the baseball season, and a thousand questions arise. Let's toss out a few.

  • Has there ever been a great manager who began as a pitching coach?
  • Is the Red Sox pitching rotation 'fixed'? 
  • Should the Sox keep Jackie Bradley, Jr. at the big league level?
  • Time heals all heels? What will David Ortiz bring to the table and when?
  • Who will overachieve and who will underperform?
John Farrell brings two years of managerial experience and a .475 winning percentage with him. First, managerial performance follows talent, and the Jays weren't great. However, you can name the great contemporary managers who were pitching coaches in a nanosecond.  Highly regarded Bud Black was the NL Manager of the Year in 2010 with San Diego, but he's not headed to Cooperstown anytime soon. The definitive article is here

Jon Lester and Clay Buchholz had great Spring Training and that matters. Jackie Bradley, Jr. did, and it doesn't. Huh?  Whether Farrell rejuvenates the Popeyes and popup lid clan remains to be seen. There's plenty of balance in the AL East, and the Yankees start out without A-Rod, Jeter, Teixeira, and Granderson. If the Sox start poorly, that reflects poorly against a team with one-arm tied behind its back. 

Numerous observers remarked that JBJ reminds them of the excitement surrounding Jacoby Ellsbury's arrival. Let me ask this rhetorical question...if six years from now, JBJ's career were IDENTICAL to Ellsbury's to date, would you be satisfied or disillusioned?  Are the Red Sox treating JBJ with respect or as a commodity, not yet on the 40 man roster?  Yes, we realize that management is trying to get "something for nothing" if they need to move Dan Butler, Alex Hassan, or Mauro Gomez off the 40-man.  And every GM in the majors knows they have to do it. Nobody's predicting immediate stardom for Bradley, Jr. and if he goes down to Pawtucket at some point in the year, few will be shocked.  I only hope that the communication between management and Bradley, Jr is frequent and respectful.  It hasn't always worked that way.

The game's afoot. As a physician, I'm acutely aware of the potential severity, chronicity, and debility of foot and ankle problems. Certainly the Sox should have a more potent lineup with Ortiz in the middle of it, but I'm not counting on it.  I don't think Ortiz will be the biggest team disappointment however. 

Who will succeed and who will struggle?  Presuming that Mike Napoli stays healthy, I like his chances to put up .280/.350/.500/.850 numbers.  Conversely, Shane Victorino has been on a downward trajectory. Coming to a new league won't necessarily help him. His WAR numbers the last three years are 3.1, 5.4, and 1.5.  Which guy is he? I suspect that he's more 1.5 to 3 than a 4 to 5 guy, and he's only been over four twice, and has a lot more mileage on him since then. I'm expecting something like .260/.320/.400/.720 which doesn't really cut it for thirteen million. 

The questions are many for this team and we'll see whether they have the answers.