The new year is upon us, which means we're one step closer to spring training and one step closer to the 2010 season. Rosters across the league are starting to take shape, and finally, it's official: Jason Bay will no longer be a member of the Boston Red Sox.
But will Bay be able to hit longballs at Citi Field? Will the Red Sox be able to compensate for the loss of his bat? Don Orsillo answers those questions and more in this week's edition of the mailbag.
How will Jason Bay fare in the National League?
–Brianna, Bridgewater, Mass.
I think he will fare extremely well. I think he will be who he has been from day one. When he was in Pittsburgh, we saw how consistent he could be, and when he came to Boston, we saw that production firsthand. I think you really know what you are getting when you get Jason Bay at this stage of his career.
The one thing that maybe an issue is the size of the Mets' stadium. Maybe his home run numbers at home could be affected. With as well as he did against AL pitching, you have to like his chances in the NL, where he has enjoyed so much success in the past.
Do you feel that Theo Epstein & Co. are satisfied with their team as it is, or do you think that the fans can expect another move or two to find the missing pieces?
–Bryan, Duxbury, Mass.
I fully expect more moves — maybe not big moves, but moves nonetheless. Because of how slowly everything is moving again this offseason, there are several pieces out there that are available, and as we move closer to spring, you may see some reclamation projects available, too. Last year obviously did not work well with Brad Penny and John Smoltz, but the Red Sox may try that tactic again if they find that they need more depth. It seems that it takes the big fish to go first before the mid-range deals start to take place.
Do you think too much was made of the “bridge” comments made by the Red Sox?
–Harry, Lexington, Mass.
I think so. I think what they were saying is that they have, in their estimation, a very good class of young prospects who will be ready for the majors in the next year or two. In the meantime, they know they need to fill a fully competitive roster that can win.
The Red Sox have already signed the guys they see as the core of the team (Dustin Pedroia, Kevin Youkilis, Jon Lester) to long-term deals. I don’t think they ever meant they would totally rebuild and suffer a few years of losing — something many fan bases have had to endure in recent years. This ownership has always spent money and has given no indication that it will stop doing so. I think the statement was more about shorter term deals — like Mike Cameron — as some of the prospects mature. This is not dissimilar to the bridge that was built faster than expected in 2007.
What do you expect from Daisuke Matsuzaka?
–John, Weston, Mass.
I think this will be a big year for Daisuke. I think he feels, and the Red Sox feel, he has a lot to prove. I think his second-half work ethic in Fort Myers — and his work this offseason — prove that he is serious about his conditioning. It will be interesting to see how he starts the season and how those results help his confidence. This is a guy who has never struggled at any level, and now he must find a way to pitch his way out of the first struggles of his career. If he buys into the Red Sox' program from the beginning of spring training, that should help. My hope is for less nibbling and more of the aggressive Daisuke we have seen glimpses of.
Are you excited about the Winter Classic? What do you think about Fenway being turned into an ice rink?
–Tony, Tewksbury, Mass.
I think it’s great. I am a huge NHL and Bruins fan. I really enjoy watching any NHL game, but this event has taken it to a new level. The first one in the snow storm was amazing, and you could tell at that point that the NHL knew it had something extremely special. Last year, when it went to Wrigley, all I could think about was how perfect Boston would be for the Winter Classic, and here it is. Hopefully the weather will cooperate. I guess the NHL will now get a feel for what we deal with in the unpredictability of weather day to day in Boston.
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