Have you stopped laughing yet? I hope so because I'm serious. Want to know why I'm not crazy? Well, here's six reasons for starters:
- The Sox already had three of the top 25 pitchers (who are all under the age of 27 btw) in baseball. There names are Josh Beckett, Jon Lester and Daisuke Matsusaka. This year, Josh Beckett should have a healthy back, Lester will be one more year removed from cancer and Dice K will have two years of facing MLB hitters under his belt. I'm willing to wager money that those three go a combined 52-21 this year.
- IF Brad Penny is healthy (this is where the "little luck" part comes in), he could be the best number four starter in the league. Arguably if he's healthy, he could be even better than he was in 2006-7 when he finished 3rd in Cy Young voting in the NL given the fact that he'll have a much better offense and an equally good defense behind him. I'm predicting he goes 15-10 this year (slow April and May will give way to a rock star June - October).
- As our number five in the starting rotation, the Sox can choose from the likes of Clay Bucholtz, Tim Wakefield, Jon Smoltz or Justin Masterson. My money says they start with Wake/Smoltz depending on Spring Training and then either move a AAA arm into that spot or give way to Justin Masterson whom they claim will play a key role in the bullpen again (IMHO he's too valuable an arm to waste on the pen just like Joba Chamberlain was for the Yanks).
- While it sucks that we didn't get Teixeira, it would have been tough to have to part with Kevin Youkilis, David Ortiz or Mike Lowell given the fact that they are three of the most dedicated/hard working/clutch guys in baseball. In 2009 a little more "luck" is needed here given Ortiz and Lowell's injuries last year. My $$ says Ortiz comes back in the best shape of his life and Lowell eases into the season hitting his stride by July.
- The Sox have a pretty freaking solid outfield offensively and defensively with Bay, Ellsbury, Drew and now Baldelli (one more request for "luck"). They also have one of the top five offensive/defensive infields s in the AL (assuming Lowell is healthy and that they trade Lugo for a box of baseballs so that Lowrie can play short).
- Did I mention the bullpen? The Sox have the most dominant closer in baseball. A former dominant closer/starter in Smoltz, a stud in the making in Masterson (who I still want starting), a new stud in Ramirez and a mostly-good-but-still-young Delcarmen. Oh yeah, let's not forget Oki-Dokie who seemed to come on strong in the second half of 2008. On top of that, you know Theo will pick up another 3-5 "maybes" to compete in spring training.
Okay, so we have one glaring weakness (assuming health works in our favor) at the catcher position. While it was nice to get Josh Bard back, he's not much more than a nice upgrade over Doug "We Loved You Because You Could Catch Wakefield but Won't Be Said to See Your .201 Average Go Elsewhere" Mirabelli. Greg Zaun could be a decent stop gap for another year or so but really, they need to make a trade. here's the good news... with the acquisition of Smoltz, my money says they go after Jerod Saltamacchia of the Rangers with Bucholtz and one or two topp AAA prospects. I also wouldn't completely rule out 'Tek coming back for one more year, especially since Boras doesn't seem to be working his normal, "let me turn chicken shit into chicken salad" magic this year.
Have I got you fired up? At the very least, I've given all my BigP home boys some fodder to tell me why I'm off my rocker. Let 'em rip!
Photo: Courtesy MLB.com