The lack of progress in getting David Ortiz on the field this Spring Training has been well chronicled.
The Red Sox perspective on Ortiz has evolved from not a concern moving forward last November to having Big Papi ready on Opening Day is not drop-dead date for the season.
Will Ortiz be ready to go on April 1 or are the Red Sox experiencing why you don’t want to be signing an older player with an injury history to a multi-year deal?
So what happens if Ortiz needs to start the season on the disabled list?
The good news for Boston is the team is well-stocked with designated hitters – Mike Napoli and Jonny Gomes. Maybe even Ryan Lavarnway.
The issue, of course, shifting Napoli or Gomes to DH creates a hole somewhere else.
The Red Sox are already thin at first – with Mike Carp, Lyle Overbay and Mauro Gomez battling to back up Napoli. They are all better suited for bench roles as opposed to starters.
It’s a little more interesting out in left field should the Sox slide Gomes to DH.
Jackie Bradley Jr. is opening a lot of eyes with his spring performance, thus far, throwing his knuckle ball quite fast.
Is he ready for the big leagues?
A player who has played only 61 minor league games above A ball – could Boston put him in the starting lineup?
It’s hard to assess after just 20 spring at-bats. Bradley has certainly been impressive.
But even if Bradley can produce in the majors right now, he can’t expect to produce the power the Red Sox are expecting Ortiz to deliver in the middle of their lineup. Bradley is probably best served with more development time in the minors.
Boston needs Ortiz’ bat and power. The next three weeks should provide a glimpse into whether he can deliver them once again.
Around the Bases
- SoxProspects look at the Red Sox catching minor leaguers with Blake Swihart leading the way. Swihart has prime-time talent but is very young and a long way from The Show. Christian Vazquez is another interesting prospect. He has been turning some heads with his defensive play this spring – especially with his recent highlight reel play.
- Looks like help is on the way with Boston pitching prospects. Typically, the Red Sox go through about 20 pitchers during a season. Allen Webster and Rubby De La Rosa are prospects who look on track to hit the majors this coming season. With Steven Wright a long shot to contribute.
- Keep an eye on the Cardinals – Rafael Furcal is out for the season. If Boston feels the bigger, stronger Jose Iglesias can handle short, Stephen Drew would be a nice (but expensive) add for St. Louis (that’s the downside of Boston’s fewer years, more money strategy). Or if Drew is the man for Boston in 2013 – they could move Iglesias to clear the path for superprospect Xander Bogaerts.