Editor's Note: NESN.com Red Sox reporter Tony Lee will examine one hot-button baseball topic each day in December. On Saturday, he addressed the Yankees' spending habits.
The presumed starting lineup for the Red Sox in 2011 will feature the franchise’s all-time best base-stealer, a former American League Most Valuable Player, a 3,000-hit candidate, a guy who averaged over 32 home runs while playing five seasons in the most pitcher-friendly park in baseball and an OPS machine who can play both corner infield spots with equal efficiency. And all that comes before David Ortiz, the team’s leader in home runs and RBIs in 2010, steps to the plate.
The core group ought to strike fear in the hearts of many who are forced to face them. Will it be enough to shake down the big, bad Bronx Bombers, the last real dynasty in baseball? Do the Yankees have cause for concern that the Red Sox have the makings of a dynasty?
It’s nearly impossible to predict such a run. The Red Sox were considered as good as anyone out there entering last season before a maelstrom of injuries made even a postseason appearance an impossibility. Annually, low- or middle-market teams become factors in the playoffs. There have been nine different World Series winners in the last 10 years. Dynasties are not simply borne out of two big moves, such as those Boston made in recent days.
However, in the interest of wondering what might come from all the action of the last week in Red Sox land, let’s analyze what the club has going for it in the way of long-term value.
To begin with, the starting rotation is as stable as they come, contractually. If and when Josh Beckett regains his form and John Lackey settles in a bit more, the foursome at the top will become one of the more reliable units in the game, and each is under team control through 2014. Daisuke Matsuzaka is in the mix through 2012, at least.
Provided health and happiness, it’s the kind of group upon which lengthy runs of success can be built.
Those building blocks are in place around the field as well. The five standouts mentioned earlier, the likely precursors to David Ortiz in 2011, are each under team control through 2013, at the earliest. Several will be around much longer. The oldest is Kevin Youkilis, who won’t turn 32 until March. All of the others are in their 20s.
It is a young, talented, driven bunch with a perfect complement of skills.
In both quintets, there are enough players in team-friendly contract situations (Jon Lester and Clay Buchholz for the pitchers; Youkilis, Dustin Pedroia and Jacoby Ellsbury among the first five hitters in the projected lineup) so as not to hinder the club if and when it needs to fix other areas. The bullpen will always remain a target for such spending, and eventually replacements for Ortiz and J.D. Drew will be necessary.
Put it all together and you have talent, a marvelous blend of players just hitting their prime or smack dab in the middle of it, and just enough financial flexibility to atone for any difficulties along the way. Whether that’s enough for a dynasty is impossible to tell. However, the foundation is in place for a pretty incredible run.
Do the Yankees have cause for concern that the Red Sox have the makings of a dynasty? Leave your comments below.
On Deck: Can any current players stake a claim as the best all-time at their position?
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