Between employing David Ortiz at designated hitter and Mike Lowell and Kevin Youkilis at the infield corners, the Boston Red Sox have had a trio of reliable cornerstones in their lineup the past three years. Unfortunately for their pennant hopes in 2009, there is a very real danger that all of them will being delivering less at the plate, and to make a bad situation worse, the organization has only one possible patch available, a minor league first baseman who might not be ready until midseason, if then.
This might seem a bit of a surprise, because the combination worked very well for them in 2006 and 2007. Before 2008, Youkilis had shown that there was more to his game than a good eye at the plate, and if he wasn't a power hitter of the class you normally get at first base, he was producing numbers consistent with the first-sackers the Sox have employed in the aftermath of the Mo Vaughn era. Lowell had rebounded from a career-worst season with the Marlins in 2005, reemerging with a career-best .320 average and 120 RBI in 2007 (winning himself a three-year extension in the process). Big Papi has been the heart of the club, and had batted .302/.402/.612 for the club since coming over from the Twins in 2003.
Boston Red Sox