Three Misconceptions Concerning the 2012 Red Sox
1. That this little guy in the background matters (a lot)-Trust me, I would have liked to see Roy Oswalt anchoring the latter half of the Red Sox staff. Would he have helped? You bet. Would he have taken some pressure off of Daniel Bard and his attempt at transitioning from setup man to starter? Mhm. Is the Sox staff worse without Oswalt? Yes. But if the Red Sox rotation falters, it will because Jon Lester, Josh Beckett, and Clay Buchholz do not hold up their respective ends of the bargain. Teams do not lean on fifth starters. They rotate them.
2. The lineup configuration is a concern-Look, I think it’s as fun as anyone to go back and forth arguing with some buddies as to where Crawford will hit. In the end, it doesn’t matter. The first six hitters in the Red Sox lineup are legitimate All-Stars. As I have mentioned, Dustin Pedroia is about as offensively versatile as it gets. In a perfect world, would I have him hit in the two hole? Sure. But something tells me Pedroia is going to be slotted closer to the middle part of the order. On several occasions, Bobby Valentine has downplayed the importance of having a set lineup. He will likely use many different variations. Also, Valentine has indicated that he prefers to view a nine-man lineup as bunches of smaller sets of mini-lineups–if that makes sense. In other words, the lineup may technically begin with Jacoby Ellsbury and end with Jose Iglesias (see what I did right there?). However, Valentine may see three lineups within the larger one (1-3, 4-6, 7-9). He will likely attempt to put together the best three mini-lineups he can. But here’s the point: Valentine could have Rob Gronkowski decide who hits where for the 2012 Red Sox, and they’re still going to push across north of 800 runs.
3. The Red Sox are cheap-Silly. Beyond silly. I don’t want to hear about Liverpool. I don’t care if John Henry and Co. fly to England and literally burn their money in the center of London. As long as the Red Sox annual payroll flirts with $180MM, don’t complain. If the Red Sox brass spent over a $100MM on one player last offseason and one this offseason, no one would be griping in message boards or on sports talk radio. Instead, they hired Adrian Gonzalez and Carl Crawford last winter. Gripe about how they choose to spend their dough, just don’t tell me they don’t spend it.