The day has arrived... New material from The Hottest Stove is here! Today begins a new series titled "What Should Your Team Do?" That "Should" is in italics because this series is not meant to be predictive, but prescriptive. Unfortunately, for a variety of reasons, teams don't always do what they should. That's what we are here for; to give ideas to all of our readers that also happen to be general managers of Major League Baseball teams.
Each post will feature one MLB team, and just for the sake of some organizational structure, we will be going in reverse order of next year's draft. That means that first up is... The Boston Red Sox!
Boston Red Sox
- This team just won the World Series, so a foundation is in place. But that doesn't mean that they don't have work to do. Along with players like David Ortiz getting a year older, the Red Sox have decisions to make about several significant contributors--Jacoby Ellsbury, Mike Napoli, Johnny Gomes, Stephen Drew, etc.--who are free agents.
- Re-sign Jacoby Ellsbury, Jarrod Saltalamaccia, and Mike Napoli. All of them contributed positively on both offense and defense last year, and all are still in their athletic prime. In addition, free agency doesn't have any better options at their respective positions.
- Let Stephen Drew walk, collect the draft pick, and let Xander Bogaerts play shortstop every day. The kid can play some ball.
- In shifting Bogaerts to short, give Middlebrooks a legitimate shot to start at third base. He's shown potential, and any chance for this team to get younger is a positive.
- Sign a veteran backup at first/third base like old friend Kevin Youkilis, Mark Reynolds, or Eric Chavez.
- Sign Michael Morse to function as a bench bat/platoon partner with Daniel Nava. Johnny Gomes would be preferable in this role, but is likely to be overvalued as a free agent due to his enhanced World Series profile. Morse is undervalued due to an injury ridden year last year.
- Move Doubront into the starting rotation. He is a more than serviceable fifth starter.
Here's what the lineup and rotation look like: