The more things change in Major League Baseball, the more they stay the same. I know that it is still early in the offseason, but I can’t help but to be a little amused that the Yankees and the Red Sox haven’t made any new acquisitions. Both teams have elected to re-sign their own free agents and have resorted to pretty much put the same teams on the field as last season. Are both teams that content with last year’s lineups? Or is the free agent market that inflated with overpriced and overrated talent? Either way, I was expecting both teams to make some upgrades by now.
Looking at both teams, it’s obvious that the Yankees have more holes than the Sox. They have a lousy bullpen that features an overpriced and rapidly declining Mariano Rivera. They have a starting rotation that may be losing Andy Pettitte. Mix in big-game choker Chien-ming Wang and three unproven youngsters in Phillip Hughes, Ian Kennedy and Joba Chamberlain, and this may be the area of the biggest need for the Evil Empire. I have been impressed the last couple of seasons that the Yankees have given their farm system a chance to develop and have avoided trading these guys. Let’s see if this patience pays off for them. It could be long year (I hope) for the Yankees.
The Red Sox have some holes of their own. Although not as glaring as the Yankees, there are some needs to be addressed. First and foremost, the Red Sox infield appears to be locked in for the next three years. Youk, Pedroia, Lugo, and Lowell have proven that they play great defense and they make each other look better. The outfield of Drew, Ellsbury, and Manny looks good for next year, but this will be without a doubt Manny’s last year in Boston. The Sox are going to have to keep an eye open for someone to replace his offense. I have no idea who this could be, but I’m sure it will be addressed.
The biggest concerns for the Red Sox in 2008 are their bench and backup catcher. There is going to be some major overhaul here. I would keep Alex Cora since he can play several positions, even though he is an offensive liability. I would try to keep Bobby Kielty, since he hit the game winning home run in game four of the World Series, not to mention he is a switch hitter. I would use Coco Crisp to land a quality backup catcher that can learn from Jason Varitek and be his eventual replacement. Gerald Laird of the Rangers is a name that has been mentioned in possible trade for Coco, which I think makes sense for both teams.
Being a Red Sox fan/Yankee hater, I am content with the Red Sox keeping their World Series team together for a chance to defend their title. I am also really happy that the Yankees decided to re-sign perennial loser/team cancer/MVP Alex Rodriquez and keep the rest of the team as it was. This guy has shown that he can lose at every level of baseball. Mix in a lousy bullpen, tax evading shortstop, the league’s highest payroll, and two crazy owners for the price of one, and next year should be no different for New York, as they sit at home watching Boston win another title.