Theo finally gets his bat

The quest started two winters ago, really. That was when Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein knew that the time was near when his team would need a middle-of-the-order bat to carry it through the next several years, much like David Ortiz and Manny Ramirez did from 2003-07.

Sure, Ortiz is still around, and still productive. But he’s no longer the guy who can carry a team all season. So Epstein put up a strong fight for Mark Teixeira after the ’08 season, but the first baseman went to New York. It was then that Epstein immediately started eying Gonzalez. He first tried to trade for him in 2009, at the July trade deadline. At the time, two assistants named Jed Hoyer and Jason McLeod were trying to help him make that swap. It didn’t go through.

So this time, Epstein dealt with Hoyer, the Padres GM, and McLeod, San Diego’s assistant GM, to get the big lefty bat. He trades three very legitimate prospects in Casey Kelly, Anthony Rizzo and Reymond Fuentes, all of whom were selected when McLeod was running Boston’s draft board.

Epstein, meanwhile, gets a 28-year-old lefty bat who should be nothing short of a force in 2011. There’s no contract worked out just yet. But the same could be said in November, 1997, when Dan Duquette traded Carl Pavano and Tony Armas, Jr. for Pedro Martinez. By the time the 1998 season started, Martinez was signed for the next six years, and ultimately for a seventh year thanks to a club option. The same should happen for Gonzalez. The Red Sox wouldn’t make this trade if they weren’t fully confident they were keeping him for the long haul.

Suddenly, the Sox have a certifiable buzz about them again in a trade that might be as big as the one that brought Curt Schilling to Fenway in November, 2003.

As presently constituted, the Red Sox Opening Day lineup would look something like this:

Ellsbury CF
Pedroia 2B
Gonzalez 1B
Youkilis 3B
Ortiz DH
Drew RF
Cameron LF
Saltalamacchia/Varitek C
Scutaro SS

But Epstein is still likely to pursue another bat in the outfield. Stay tuned. But he has made one huge move that will have fans eagerly anticipating 2011.


Hi Ian, I enjoy your body of work on baseball one of the very best…Gammon like! On to business…Why did the RedSox not wait to pursue Albert Pujhols in a possible mid season trade and extension then move Youks or use any option or combo to make that happen. We have pitching prospects and my thoughts were to wait. I know frantic fanbases for the RedSox and don’t think Theo plays to that but Albert is far and away a Ruthian type once in a lifetime player. I would hope the contract is a viable one where St.Louis or another team would make us having a shot at him a possibility as with Tex I think the Yankees would be out of that. Cameron would have been fine this year even if we had to wait for free agency…Theo go get Albert please…trade a pitcher in the deal and grab lee while you’re at it this year lol…THANKS FOR THE TIME IAN…

It is so good to get this information. Like most of the fan base we are eager for details. Harder to get them here in upstate New York. I follow and enjoy your blog. I read that they are keeping Jason Varitek which makes me so very happy. He brings so much to the team apart from his at the plate and behind the plate numbers indicate. Thanks for keeping us informed! Can’t wait for next season. Candy

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