This time of year is hardest for baseball fans, or at least it is for me. Spring training doesn’t start for three more months. Teams are still feeling each other out on trades. And free agents are drooling over improbable paydays.
And we fans are left to wait.
About the only thing we can do is speculate, as Chad Finn does here, over on Boston.com. Chad is predicting the opening day lineup for the Red Sox next April. Other than Adrian Gonzalez batting third and playing first base, it is a fairly conservative prediction. I agree with Chad that Jason Bay is likely to sign elsewhere. And, certainly if a big name player is going to be acquired in a trade, then Clay Buchholz is going to be part of the package.
But I don’t think the Sox will be acquiring Gonzalez. I think new San Diego GM Jed Hoyer would look bad trading the team’s star player to his old employer. Or, to put it another way, Hoyer will be asking for more prospects than Theo Epstein will be willing to part with. And that kind of restraint could be a good thing. The Red Sox farm system seems terribly low on Major-League-ready talent, and a blockbuster deal like this would only set player development back even farther.
But there is one player no one is mentioning, who I think could be moved in a deal like this: Dustin Pedroia. Pedey is a good player. He’s from California. He’d bring some star-power to help replace that lost by the departure of Gonzalez. And he has a reasonable contract. The Sox would hate to lose him, I’m sure, but you’ve got to give up something for a player like Gonzalez. I could see a deal that lands Gonzalez for Buchholz, Pedroia, Mike Lowell and $10,000,000 (to offset Lowell’s salary).
Then the Sox opening day lineup might look like this:
- Jacoby Ellsbury (CF)
- J.D. Drew (RF)
- Adrian Gonzalez (1st)
- Kevin Youkilis (3rd)
- Victor Martinez (C)
- Xavier Nady/Jeremy Hermidia (LF)
- David Ortiz (DH)
- Placido Polanco (2nd)
- Alex Gonzalez (SS)
Not gonna happen? Well, I’m just speculating.