Red Sox’ Shortstop Situation Uncertain Moving Forward, But Pedro Ciriaco May Be Opening Day Option

Red Sox' Shortstop Situation Uncertain Moving Forward, But Pedro Ciriaco May Be Opening Day OptionFor the third straight season, the Red Sox have been
relegated to spectators during playoff season.

The team is truly starting anew, having cleaned house during
August's blockbuster trade with the Dodgers and fired Bobby Valentine last week. The Red Sox have started the process of interviewing candidates to steady the
ship for the future.

While that course of action develops, let's take a look at
this week's mailbag.

Who's gonna be our manger
and why did we trade away our whole team this year? What were we thinking?
–@JenMelchione,
via Twitter

Blue Jays manager John Farrell is the obvious favorite, but it
remains to be seen whether Toronto plans to grant the Red Sox permission to
interview him and/or demand compensation to ink him.

If the pursuit of Farrell doesn't work out, I wouldn't be
surprised if the Red Sox go in a younger direction with the managerial hire.
After all, Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington told me that experience would
be a factor, but not the only one.

With a younger nucleus of players on the roster, the Red Sox are in a different phase that they were last offseason when the front office was seeking
an experienced candidate to manage the slew of superstars on the roster.

As for your question on the trade, the answer is simple — the
team was losing badly with Adrian Gonzalez, Josh Beckett, Carl Crawford, Nick
Punto
and Kelly Shoppach. When it's not working, you have to fix it.

Cherington inherited the lucrative, yet hampering contracts from
Theo Epstein's era and was left with little wiggle room to make a splash in
free agency. Now that the team has financial flexibility, Cherington can
shape the roster by his standards.

Why would the Sox continue
to seek Japanese baseball players overseas especially after Dice-K episodes? I
can't believe we don't have great ballplayers here in U.S.
–Pamela
Beal, via Facebook

First off, it's very foolish to judge a player's potential by
their ethnicity and nationality. Despite Daisuke Matsuzaka's failures, the
Red Sox certainly should continue looking into the talent in Japan.

It's like saying since J.D. Drew struggled, the Red Sox should
avoid signing guys from the South or that since Alfredo Aceves is a
head case, the Red Sox should avoid inking players from Mexico.

It's true Matsuzaka didn't meet expectations. But on the flipside,
there are guys like Hideki Matsui who made the transition from Japan to Major
League Baseball in the United States without issue.

Look at Junichi Tazawa. He came from overseas and after
undergoing Tommy John surgery, is likely to be a staple of the Red Sox
bullpen for years to come after his successful season.

So please be very careful with those assumptions.

Will Cody Ross, "The Boss," be
on the roster for 2013?
–Aaron
Scott, via Facebook

I definitely expect him to be back. It was a partnership that
worked out well for both sides.

On one hand, Ross sparked the Red Sox with his offense, belting
22 home runs and 81 RBIs. But on the flipside, he proved to be an excellent ambassador
for the team who always made himself available to the media.

Clearly he can handle the pressure of playing in Boston, both from the fans and the media. For his part, Ross loved the experience and is
looking for stability after a brief stay in San Francisco.

What are the Red Sox going
to do at shortstop?
–@kevinhendersonj,
via Twitter

If the Red
Sox want to keep Mike Aviles moving forward, they may have to assuage any of his lingering concerns after the way he was treated in September. He was benched for the
majority of the month as the team attempted to evaluate prospect Jose Iglesias.

While Aviles
took the situation in stride, the shortstop certainly doesn't want a repeat,
especially as a 31-year-old veteran. Aviles doesn't want to be regarded as a
utility player and wants the opportunity to continue showcasing his skills in a
starting role.

Whether the
Red Sox plan to go in that direction remains to be seen.

But I
wouldn't be surprised if Pedro Ciriaco started off the 2013 season as the
team's starting shortstop. Should Boston move past Aviles, it still appears
that Iglesias needs seasoning at the plate.

Iglesias
needs to show serious improvement as a hitter next spring.

Have a question for
Didier Morais? Send it to him via Twitter at @DidierMorais
or send it here. He will pick a few
questions to answer every week for his mailbag.

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