Byrd to the rescue???
At the start of the baseball season, I wrote this entry, where I raised some questions about the Red Sox starting pitching:
I like the pitching on this team, though I’m not as high on the starting rotation as some. There are still many questions. Will Josh Beckett, coming off an injury plagued season, be able to regain the ace-level stuff he had in 2007? Will the remarkably resilient John Lester bounce back from the shit-load of innings he pitched last year, or will we see residual fatigue hamper his effectiveness? Will Dice-K be adversely affected by pitching in the WBC, and even if not, will he be a more efficient pitcher than in ‘08? Is Tim Wakefield truly ageless, or will the years of flinging the knuckler finally catch up to him? Is the fifth starter spot truly filled with the combination of Brad Penny/John Smoltz/Clay Bucholz?
The wrong side of a few of those questions may eliminate the Sox pitching advantage.
Beckett has regained his ace-stuff , and Lester, after a slow start, has pitched much better. But the Red Sox appear to be on the wrong side of the rest of those question marks. Which is why they have signed Paul Byrd, who gave them some solid innings last year, but hasn’t pitched in the majors since being roughed up by Tampa Bay in the ALCS.
These are truly desperate times, and desperate teams rarely win.
What this team needs is not another aging pitcher, but youth. Here’s my prescription:
- Dump David Ortiz. He’s not just dead weight in the lineup, he provides no depth on the diamond — with him on the roster, they might as well be playing with 24 men.
- Bring back Josh Reddick and start him in right field in place of G.D. Dreadful.
- Send Smoltz to the bull pen and add Michael Bowden to the rotation.
- Make Mike Lowell the DH, start Kevin Youkilis at 3rd and leave him there.
- Play Victor Martinez 3 out of 5 games at catcher.
- Start Casey Kotchman at 1st base, except on those days Martinez is not catching.
Of course, this will not happen. The Red Sox are paying too much money to David Ortiz and G.D. Dreadful to relegate the first to the scrap heap and the second to the bench. Theo has already squandered enough of John Henry’s money this year (i.e. Dice-K and Julio Lugo). But a youth infusion is what this team needs, and it needs it soon if the Red Sox are going to be contenders come late September.