Friday, January 9, 2009

And all of a sudden, the bench looks pretty good...

In the last week, the presumptive bench has improved enormously. Just for the sake of this post, I'm going to assume that Julio Lugo will be the utility infielder. This gives us a bench of Lugo, Rocco Baldelli (OF), Mark Kotsay - remember him? - (OF/1B), and a backup catcher, presumably Josh Bard.

As a starter, Julio Lugo was average at best, and excruciating at worst. In the 81 games he played at shortstop in 2008, Lugo committed sixteen errors, but at times, it felt like sixty.

However, I'm alright with the prospect of him as a bench player. Say, for instance, that Mike
Lowell needs a day of rest at the beginning of the season (well within the realm of possibility). Jed Lowrie shifts to third base, and Lugo plays short. Or, if you don't like that, Lowrie keeps Lowell company on the bench, Lugo plays short, Youk slides to third, and Kotsay fills in at first.

The versatility that Kotsay demonstrated at the end of last year is a great boon to the Sox. Say JD Drew needs an epidural (crazy, right?). So far, it's unknown how much Baldelli will be able to play at a time. However, because Kotsay is an above-average outfielder who can play center, Baldelli's health is less of a problem. Keep in mind that Theo would not have signed Baldelli if his health was as bad as has been speculated.

Only one month and five days until pitchers and catchers!

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