Only one thing to discuss, really. Last year, Jacoby Ellsbury roared into superstardom, putting up a .321/.376/.552 line while becoming the first 30 HR/30 SB player in Sox history. This year, seven games in, he suffered a right shoulder subluxation that will keep him on the shelf until June at the earliest. Clearly this is a severe blow to the Red Sox' playoff chances, especially if his absence is longer than the best-case six-to-eight weeks. Additionally, it comes at a time when the Sox' other big-money outfielder, Carl Crawford, is also on the DL, rehabbing from offseason wrist surgery, and Boston's best outfield prospect, Ryan Kalish, is unavailable due to offseason shoulder and neck surgery.
As emergency outfield alignments go, McDonald/Ross/Sweeney isn't terrible, it's arguably better than a few starting outfields among second-division squads. But especially on a team expressly built around its core of MVP-caliber players, the loss of a player like Ellsbury for any length of time is damaging. Even worse is the uncertainty surrounding length of absence. Six weeks without Jacoby might be manageable. An entire season, far less so.
So, what should the Red Sox do about this? Should they stick with what they've got, hoping that Ellsbury isn't gone too long and that Ross, Sweeney, and the rest step up? That certainly worked yesterday, but is it sustainable? Should they investigate trade possibilities? And how much damage does the lack of Ellsbury really do?