Bloody Sox

Red Sox Rants — and other random opinions about sports

Pitching and defensive enough for 2010?

I’ve been mulling the acquisitions of pitcher John Lackey and outfielder Mike Cameron, as the Red Sox gear up for 2010. I guess the thought is this: If you can’t match them bat for bat, then beat them with solid pitching and defense. You can’t argue with that. The pundits are saying the Sox have the deepest rotation in the division. Maybe, but didn’t they say the same thing at the start of the 2009 season?

That’s the thing with pitching. You can’t have too much of it, because pitchers can be so erratic from season to season, so subject to injury. John Lackey has had arm issues the past two seasons, and he’s no spring chicken, so it seems to me a big gamble to give him a five year contract worth $82.5 million. I can see being shy about giving Jason Bay that kind of contract, but is Lackey any less of a risk? I hope he doesn’t turn out to be the next Matt Clement. And spending $15 million on soon-to-be 37-year-old Mike Cameron also seems a little excessive.

And it is fine having five or six quality starters, but we all know innings seven to nine belong to the bullpen, and I don’t think the Red Sox have done enough (adding Boof Bonser) to shore up the relief corps. We all know Jonathan Papelbon struggled all season, high- (or low-) lighted by the meltdown in game three against the Angels. Manny Delcarman regressed. Okijima was okay, but not lights out. Daniel Bard has the raw talent, but is still somewhat untested. And Ramon Ramirez tapered off as the season went along.

Am I wrong to worry the Sox might take 4 to 2 leads into the seventh inning of a lot of games only to lose 6 to 5?

Well, the season is still a long way off, so who knows what Theo Epstein might have up his sleeve next. We’ll just have to wait and see.

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