With pitchers and catchers to report in just over three weeks [twenty-five days, but who's counting?], I thought it might be time to take a look at the presumptive 2009 Red Sox lineup, as it would be if Opening Day was tomorrow.
[Player (Position), BA, SLG%, OBP, HR]
Jacoby Ellsbury (CF), .280, .394, .336, 9
Dustin Pedroia (2B), .326, .493, .376, 17
David Ortiz (DH), .264, .507, .369, 23
Kevin Youkilis (1B), .312, .569, .390, 29
Mike Lowell (3B), .274, .461, .338, 17
Jason Bay (LF), .286, .522, .373, 31
JD Drew (RF), .280, .519, .408, 19
Jed Lowrie (SS), .258, .400, .339, 2
Josh Bard (C), .202, .270, .279, 1
TEAM: .276, .459, .356, 148
Keep in mind, this is based solely on 2008 numbers, a year in which Ortiz missed over a month, Lowell was injured down the stretch, JD Drew had two epidurals, Lowrie had a wrist fracture, and Bard played only 57 games [albeit in San Diego]. I think it's reasonable to assume that Ortiz will rebound a bit, maybe not up to his level from the first half of the decade, but there's certainly not any reason for the full-scale panic called for by the Herald's Gerry Callahan. It is very likely that that Lowell will be better, especially since his doctors repoting that his range of motion is better than it was when he got to Boston, although JD will inevitably have at least one stint on the DL [let's keep it under 30 days, please]. Lowrie will undoubtedly have his struggles as a young player, but he is reportedly working hard to be ready for such challenges.
Last, but not least, Bard should not be the primary catcher for this club [God willing...]. You already know my thoughts on the topic: resign El Capitan for reasonable dinero and find him a young protege to train. But I digress, even if the Sox go to Spring Training with Bard as their catcher [say it ain't so, Theo], they should have a reasonably productive year, assuming average health.