Theo Epstein and Terry Francona addressed the media today. Here are some of the highlights:
• Epstein said it was safe to "pencil in" Clay Buchholz for the 2010 rotation.
• Victor Martinez is the catcher, period. As Epstein said, that was the expectation when they traded for him. "He's about as good as it gets," the GM said. As for Jason Varitek, discussions will be held.
• Epstein termed the Jason Bay negotiations unusual in that the team wants the player back and the player wants to come back, yet no deal has been reached. The Red Sox could well make a deal before Bay enters the market. But history suggests that any player who gets this close to free agency usually takes the opportunity. It's difficult to get a gauge of your worth until there's a market for it. Given the lack of depth in the market, Bay could drive his price up.
• Epstein said that 2010 could be the last chance for the core players to "make a run" before significant changes are made. While the Sox do not have many MLB-ready players in AAA, they have prospects who could be ready by 2011.
• Epstein said it was possible that Alex Gonzalez could be back at shortstop. But he spoke highly of Jed Lowrie and the need not to lose faith in young players. Still, as Epstein said, Lowie has yet to prove he can stay healthy in the majors.
I don't expect to see significant changes in the starting rotation: Josh Beckett, Jon Lester, Clay Buchholz, Daisuke Matsuzaka and Tim Wakefield. But I'm sure the Sox will want some depth. Michael Bowden, too, will be interesting to watch this offseason.
The second to last bullet point is interesting. "Core players," hmm? That brings to mind David Ortiz, Mike Lowell, Jason Varitek (?). There are probably more, but those are the first few that come to mind. The Red Sox seriously have to start thinking about filling the offensive holes that will be left by Ortiz and Lowell (defensively for Lowell, too).
With all of that said, answer the poll.