With the imminent approach of something actually approximating real baseball, it's time to figure out what the burning questions are in Red Sox spring training. Since the three biggest questions,
- Will Beckett, Lackey, and Dice-K bounce back from their lackluster 2010 campaigns?
- Who will fill the last few spots in the bullpen?
- What will the Sox do with Lowrie?
are essentially unanswerable, I figured I'd look at the less burning, yet no less critical issues facing the Sox as the latest edition of training camp opens.
10. Everyone knows that the Yankees have had the highest payroll in baseball for years and years now. However, is this the first year where they've decided to spend $190 million and buy in bulk?
9. After losing out on Cliff Lee to the Phillies and watching Carl Crawford and Adrian Gonzalez sign with the Red Sox, did Cashman and the Yankees front office conceive of this "Super-Size Me" pitcher campaign as a last-ditch effort to restore the "center of gravity" in the AL East to New York through brute numerical force?
8. Will we see David Ortiz working on his bunting skills during spring training?
7. Will Darnell McDonald still be the most interesting man on the Red Sox roster in 2011?
6. Does anybody else find the enormous half-moon created by Jarrod Saltalamacchia's last name on his away uniform ridiculous? Couldn't they just hyphenate it and put it in two rows? Or use a smaller font or something? What the heck will they do if Seth Schwindenhammer ever gets a call up to Beantown?
5. With Adrian Beltre and Victor Martinez no longer with the Red Sox, to whom shall will we turn for succor in the form of clubhouse hijinks? Pedey shouldn't have to shoulder the load all by himself. On the other hand, I don't see Crawford or Gonzalez pitching in—I don't think they're known for their boisterous personalities. Personally, I think Marco Scutaro and Jed Lowrie should form a team, kind of "Pinky and the Brain" style.
4. Before Bobby Jenks's arrival, everyone assumed Daniel Bard was the closer-in-waiting. Now with another pretender to the throne on hand, do we have to worry about losing Bard to the world of music, too?
3. And speaking of the bullpen, first we had the Black Pearl, then we had Manny Delcarmen's Bullpen Band. With all of those pitchers involved in a diaspora over the last two seasons, what identity will the bullpen congeal around in 2011?
2. Why has no one brought up the Dustin Pedroia Quote Book to my attention until today? We all know that Laser Show is a moveable quote machine; now we have the proof in one convenient source. (The site also offers some anecdotal evidence that he's become somewhat of a better actor since he first arrived in Boston.)
1. For the love of God (or Flying Spaghetti Monster or other deity of choice), why has Youkilis stopped growing his beard? It's like Samson shearing off his locks—and it's not like Youkilis has all that much hair to begin with. The beard better make its 2011 debut before Opening Day, is all I'm saying.
Stay tuned to OTM throughout spring training and the 2011 season as we look for the answers!