By Scott Barzilla

2012 was a forgettable campaign for the Red Sox and their legion of fans. Much like a mentally ill patient with a dissociative disorder, the Red Sox did the best they could to shed themselves of those painful memories. They fired their manager and they traded away all of the players that supposedly caused problems in the clubhouse. They also cleared the deck for more big ticket free agents, so this could be an interesting offseason in Boston.

   

TRIF

Rank

Comments
C Jarrod Saltalamacchia

 

-0.9

20th

His role is in question with David Ross and Mike Napoli now in the fold.
1B Adrian Gonzalez

 

13.6

1st

He was a part of the huge purge last season and given his toxic contract it is probably for the best.
2B Dustin Pedroia

 

3.2

15th

The rock that the Red Sox church is built in has been shaky the past couple of seasons.
3B Will Middlebrooks

 

1.2

15th

Danger Will Robinson. Danger. Last year’s numbers likely won’t be sustained.
SS Mike Aviles

 

6.0

9th

He was picked up as a part-time player and turned into a regular. Then, he was traded for a manager.
LF Daniel Nava

 

-1.3

14th

When they signed Carl Crawford, this isn’t what they had in mind.
CF Jacoby Ellsbury

 

1.6

17th

He would have been better without the injuries. He is the most dynamic player they have when healthy.
RF Cody Ross

 

0.0

16th

Like Aviles, he wasn’t supposed to be a regular but settled in. Now, Shane Victorino is in control.
Total  

 

23.4

3rd

It’s hard to believe they collectively produced this in all of the mess.

Catcher

This position by itself is a mountain of intrigue. The Sox currently have four players capable of catching on a semi-regular basis. The recently signed Mike Napoli is penciled in at first, but he could easily catch 100 games. Another free agent (David Ross) is generally regarded as the best backup in the game. Will he get more time behind the plate? Then, you have the likes of Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Ryan Lavarnway. Salty has been the regular, but his defense is shaky. Lavarnway is probably just a younger version of the same. Stay tuned.

First Base

Adrian Gonzalez was an enigma wrapped up in a riddle. On the one hand, he is the best fielding first sacker in the game and he drove in more than 100 runs two years in a row. On the other hand, he is being paid like a perennial MVP candidate and the Sox quickly discovered they wouldn’t be able to move forward with his toxic contract. Mike Napoli is average at best with the glove and he’s a different kind of hitter, but he’s a much more affordable option.

Second Base

One so-called expert said he liked Dustin Pedroia as the Gold Glove choice for 2012. I guess if you like middle of the road defensive players then he’s your guy. Like his bat, his fielding has dipped in recent seasons, but he is still young enough to see it return to MVP levels. The question is will it ever get back to that.

Third Base

If anything shows the folly that was Bobby Valentine, it was the relationship he had with Kevin Youkilis. As it turns out, they could have kept him around and shifted him back to first base. Unfortunately, that relationship was impossible to repair. Will Middlebrooks looks like a nice young player, but he’s not the guy you saw last season. He might be a 15-20 home run guy in a full season.

Shortstop

The carousal at shortstop continues in Boston. They seemingly have a new one every year and that trend continues with Mike Aviles going out and Jose Iglesias moving in. Iglesias himself is likely a short-term option. There is a better one down on the farm, so he might just be keeping the seat warm. For the time being, the Red Sox shouldn’t skip a beat defensively.

Left Field

MLBdepthcharts.com has Nava as the regular left fielder for now. I’m sure there are prop bets that could be levied on whether that will be true on Opening Day. I’m sure Ben Cherington would love it if that were Josh Hamilton. The problem is whether he would be too expensive over the long haul. The Red Sox just got out of a stupid contract in Carl Crawford, so it would be disconcerting to jump right back in.

Center Field

Is Jacoby Ellsbury a budding super star or is he a brittle tease? The decision scientists probably have an expert opinion, but these are the kinds of burning questions that keep GMs up at night. You could trade him now and get good value because he is relatively affordable for now. Yet, if he finally shows he can remain healthy you’ll be kicking yourself for years. Then again, pay him what the market will bear and you could end up with another Carl Crawford.

Right Field

Cody Ross was one of those guys that quietly kept the season from becoming a disaster on historic levels. It is surprising that he hasn’t gotten more play on the open market as he can play all three positions and is reasonably productive. Shane Victorino is an upgrade in just about every facet of the game, but the Red Sox certainly paid for the privilege.

 

 

Scott Barzilla

Scott Barzilla is the editor in chief at hardballchat.com. He is also the author of four books, including The Hall of Fame Index. The Hall of Fame Index was nominated for the Sporting News Award for statistical innovation in 2011.

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