Pedro is At Spring Training for BoSox-Are the Staff's problems solved?

Like many fans, when Pedro showed up in camp, and then did his first press conference, I drank in all I could get. I watched the video, read three different beat writers breakdowns, and marveled that Pedro could be just as captivating as ever.


Of course, I also started reading some stuff that even I, a Pedro acolyte, made me just a bit, mmm, incredulous. Chad Finn, amoung others, seemed certain that the Sox pitching staff could benefit significantly from Pedro. That he'll be the savior to straightening out those native Spanish speaking pitchers (and perhaps others!) who are one cultural gap or pitching lesson away from reaching the next level.


Sox, Sox, Sox!!

Uh, no. It's not exactly as if Pedro didn't share his secrets or discuss approaches with other pitchers while he was PLAYING, and I don't remember too many players - once removed from Pedro's team - turning into garbage once the flash of the Oracle was removed from their sight. I'm also pretty sure he was capable of rubbing people the wrong way (Schilling) despite his remarkable gift of gab. Will he help? Of course. Will he drop Dubront's ERA by a run? Highly unlikely.


I'd actually be more excited to see Schilling in this role, and I'll tell you why. Schilling was a talented pitcher who "didn't get it" and really just kinda "got by" for the first section of his his career. But the lightbulb went on for him, and he learned discipline. That's what those notebooks were about.  You remember, the notebooks that Schilling kept on every hitter, every at bat, and every umpire. I'm not saying Pedro didn't have discipline, he did, but Schilling's was the difference between being "that guy" and the dominating ace with the ridiculous playoff success that he had. Of course, I don't remember anyone other pitcher starting to keep notebooks and emulating Schill, and that's the moral of this story: You either want it bad enough, or you don't. No matter who is in your ear, that isn't likely to change.


OK, on to the lineups.


Projected Lineup for Red Sox

Well, it's early, and we have a bunch of changes, but I like seeing how far ahead I can guess these things, so let's go.


Left/Right "Everyday" Line up vs. right handers.


1. L--Ellsbury, CF

2. R--Pedroia, 2B

3. L--Ortiz, DH

4. R--Napoli, 3B

5. S--Saltalmacchia, C

6. R--Middlebrooks, 3B

7. L--Drew, SS

8. R--Gomes, LF

9. S--Victorino, RF


The theory here is that Farrell, like Francona, will opt for right vs. left wherever possible, and protect younger players (Middlebrooks) and newer players (Drew, Gomes, Victorino) by putting them in the bottom of the line up. Yes, I know Salty is a little high here, but you can't bat Drew or Victorino fifth, and bunching Napoli and Middlebrooks isn't ideal. I'm a fan of your best hitter hitting third, so that puts Ortiz in the three spot. This line up is much more balanced than last years - which was weighed down by left handers. I call it the everday line up, but there's going to be no such thing for this team this year, and you need a starting point.


Vs. Lefties:

Once we have everyone settled in, I think we might see this, against left handers. Maybe even sooner than that, if Gomes is ready.


1. L--Ellsbury, CF

2. R--Gomes, LF

3. R--Pedroia, 2B

4. L--Ortiz, DH

5. R--Napoli, 3B

6. S--Saltalmacchia, C

7. R--Middlebrooks, 3B

8. L--Drew, SS

9. S--Victorino, RF


This line up I like better. Gomes kills lefties, and you got nice power 4-7. I'd expect to see it a lot, and it will definitely THUMP.  Lots of runs in this group. Until of course, Napoli is hurt. And Ortiz is hurt. I think both of those are a given. So then we have the post injury line-up:


1. L--Ellsbury, CF

2. S--Victorino, RF

3. R--Pedroia, 2B

4. R--Middlebrooks, 3B

5. S--Saltalmacchia, C

6. R--Gomes, LF

7. L--Mike Carp, 1B

8. Various (DH)

9. L--Drew, SS


Yeah. I know. But we have to be realistic here. Napoli went from a 3 year, 39 million contract to a 5 million contract. Why? He's never going to finish the season. Clearly, nobody believes that. Especially the Sox, who just picked up Mike Carp to make sure they have "extra" depth at 1b. Not an accident folks. And everyone loves big Papi, but despite the slimmed down physique last year still had serious injury issues. Losing him for that type of injury or something similar - or worse- should really be expected at his age. Oh, and a minor note: Drew and Victorino are switchable in 2 and 9, which will depend on match-up and who's hitting better.


A couple of other thoughts: If Gomes struggles against righties, as he has historically, we'll see more of Daniel Nava. If Ellsbury goes down, Victorino moves to center - and that is clearly part of why the Sox locked him up at such big money, because they need him next year in center if Jackie Bradley isn't ready (and he probably won't be). Let's hope Jacoby has a statement year, because these roster moves make me think he's on the way out.


Love to hear your thoughts on how wrong this is!