I wish I was better at Photoshop and could just have Cherington’s photo with Uncle Larry controlling him like a puppet. Alas, my skill set doesn’t include awesome photoshopping.
Anyways, I lead with a picture of Puppet Ben because I read a great article over on Grantland about him. The article compares Puppet Ben to the failed GM’ing of Bill Smith with the Twins. He was the architect behind the Johan Santana trade and the one responsible for fielding a 99 loss team this past season.
If you have time you should really read the article. It lays the groundwork for what could be the Sox demise as a club. It points to Uncle Larry running the show and how Puppet Ben has no power. It really was a great read.
With just a few months before the season is set to start the team still has glaring needs. They haven’t filled their void in right field (I’m still hoping for a Carols Beltran signing), the back of their rotation has question marks (are they going to make Bard a starter, apparently he struggled at that job in the minors and that’s why he was moved to the bullpen), and they still don’t have a closer (you want Melancon tossing junk in the ninth?).
So with these glaring holes and the team still not addressing the lunacy that was their clubhouse, it’s tough to see them chasing anything but fourth place.
Personally, I would ship Beckett out of town for starters. He’s the cog in the whole clubhouse disaster. Try and get a younger cheaper version of him without the attitude and injury problems. If you’re going to really chase fourth place, you won’t need Beckett in the rotation.
Next, I would ship face forest Youk out of town. It has become apparent that he’s not durable enough to play a full season at third. It would have been one thing if the team didn’t bring back Ortiz (a decision I’m against considering the league is now testing for HGH *ahem*) but they did. So unless Valentine plans on splitting time at DH with Youk and Ortiz, you know you’re going to see Youk on the DL. I’d rather a durable third baseman that isn’t going to fall apart (and sweat all over everything).
Just getting those two packaged should be able to land you another starter and possibly a closer. You bring in Beltran to play right and all of a sudden you have a whole new team. A team that may chase a Wild Card berth or a division title. Instead of the team chasing fourth place like they are now.