Red Sox manager Terry Francona will be answering fan questions on NESN.com this offseason. You can have your questions answered by e-mailing them to his mailbag.
Here's his 17th installment.
Here's his 17th installment.
David Ortiz has been a feared hitter in the lineup during his time with the Red Sox. His slow start last season had many people concerned. Have you thought about how you would handle a slow start or long slump from Big Papi this year?
–Mark Weigel, Bradford, Mass.
I don’t really sit around and think about our guys struggling. We will spend the remainder of spring training trying to get these guys ready to perform at a very high level. Hopefully, the struggles David had last April and May are way in the past, and I can go back to just patting him on the backside as he trots past me!
With Victor Martinez stating his joy in Boston and his wish to stay with the Red Sox for the rest of his career, how important do you think it is to sign him before he reaches free agency next year?
That question is undoubtedly better off left for Theo [Epstein] to try and answer. Every year, we are going to have a few players that are approaching free agency and it’s just not feasible to sign every single one of them before they hit the market. Saying that, there isn’t a person around the Red Sox that doesn’t love Victor. We expect him to play a huge role in the success of our ballclub.
What is your opinion on the whole "run prevention" motto that Theo Epstein has brandished on this year's team?
–Matthew, Framingham, Mass.
What I care about is being one run better than the team we are playing that particular night. Whether it’s 9-8 or 2-1, as long as we are on top, I am OK. But I think we all agree that to put ourselves in the best position to win, we need strong pitching and a defense that will eliminate extra opportunities for the opposing team.
I've been a passionate Red Sox fan since my dad took me took Fenway in 1966. One of my favorite times of the year is spring training, as I evaluate the new roster in my own mind. Although wins and losses happen on the field and not on paper, this year's team would appear to have as much depth as any team I can remember. How do you feel about how the roster shapes up?
–Danny Lane, Waterford, Vt.
I certainly hope you are right. As much as we try and pinpoint who the 25 guys are that will break camp , we also need to make evaluations on who we think can help us in case of injuries. We all love our top six pitchers, but we also know we will probably need more than that at some point this year. So having quality depth in the organization is huge.
What's your favorite part of spring training?
–Mike, Belmont, Mass.
I absolutely love spring training! From getting reacquainted with everyone that we haven’t seen for five months to meeting all the new younger players — my favorite part is probably watching how the young kids react to their first major league camp, being around guys they have seen on TV and read about. I get a big kick out of that.
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