Red Sox Won’t Be Able to Replace Jacoby Ellsbury, But Have Depth to Weather Storm in His Absence

Red Sox Won't Be Able to Replace Jacoby Ellsbury, But Have Depth to Weather Storm in His AbsenceThe Red Sox will be without Jacoby Ellsbury for the near future which means that it's time for others to step up in the absence of the center fielder.

It won't be easy to make up for the loss, and you can't really ever replace a player like Ellsbury, but the Sox do have a few players who may be able to help make sure the absence isn't too great.

That's where this week's mailbag kicks off.

Hi Don, strength up the middle has always been a deciding factor of success. Do you think that the injury to Jacoby Ellsbury could be a factor in the Red Sox' success this year? Do you think they will have to make a move in order to compete in the AL East?
–Dave Blanchette

No, I think they are fine. You cannot replace an MVP candidate easily, but I do think Cody Ross and others will be fine defensively. Ross obviously does not possess the speed of Jacoby Ellsbury, but he is more than capable defensively. Also, I think Darnell McDonald and Jason Repko are other strong options. The move they may have to make would be more pitching driven than a position player in my estimation.

Do you think Franklin Morales has closer material? If Alfredo Aceves cannot handle that role, would you be tempted to try Morales while awaiting Bailey's return?
–David B.

I would. First let me say I think Alfredo Aceves will be fine and is already showing signs of settling into the job. His mentality actually is very well suited for the job. That said, should he falter as you suggest, Franklin Morales does have the stuff to be an effective closer. I saw him in the playoffs very early in his career in Colorado and thought that even back then. Right now he is one of two lefties available out there for Bobby Valentine and I think things will stay as they are now.

Who do you think should hit leadoff with Jacoby Ellsbury out?
–Mike T.

So far I am on board with Mike Aviles remaining where he has been. He is not your prototypical lead-off guy but you really do not have one in this lineup without Ellsbury or Carl Crawford available. Last year it was an easy decision in putting Marco Scutaro there because he had done it so much in the past with other teams. I think Aviles brings different attributes and has good power. His patience may change a tad now that his position in the order has.

Can you relive/summarize what the 2004 World Series win meant to you personally? And, if you remember, your thoughts throughout that season? I ask because if I think about it, it still brings tears to my eyes. I wondered if it had/has the same effect on you?
–Beth

It was a magical season and by far my favorite of the 12 seasons that I have been lucky enough to call Red Sox games. It was more about the people on that team than anything else for me. They were all fun people and character guys who you respected and liked above all. I can never remember liking so many of the players on the roster as we did in 2004. Obviously the memories will be with us all forever. Sadly we did not get to broadcast the playoff games but I was in St. Louis as part of our pre- and postgame coverage and was on the field interviewing many players after the win. And yes, I took some dirt from the field in St. Louis. The 2007 season was also great but nothing to me will replace 2004.

What's your favorite ballpark to announce at other than Fenway Park?
–Ezekiel Lowell

I love Camden Yards because of all the relatively new places they made it seem like an old-time baseball stadium. I miss the old Yankee Stadium. You could feel the history wherever you were in the stadium. Seattle gets an honorable mention from me and should be on any Red Sox fan's travel schedule during the season.

Have a question for Don Orsillo? Be sure to send it here. He will pick a few questions to answer every week for his mailbag.

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