I have been frequenting the depth chart on RedSox.com, every day for the past two weeks. What a circus! To some, this chart represents the closest thing to moving deck chairs on the Titanic, since well, moving deck chairs on the Titanic. I choose to take a more positive view. I see: opportunities, options, scenarios, and strategy.
Positive or negative, the changes made are entertaining. At one point last week, it appeared Daniel Nava could play either right field, left field, or first base. Currently, his possible positions have been whittled down to left field. It seems they pinned him down, for now. But please, don’t hold your breathe.
Today Pedro Ciriaco is all over the place, at third, second, and shortstop. These are three very different positions. Though tall, I personally think he would be a great at shortstop. When his bat is hot, he is great offensively, too. The height may come in handy with those pop-fly’s that fall too shallow for the centerfielder. Also in a few long-legged steps he could be the cut off man, getting the ball back into the infield to make quick outs. Ciriaco would be great at third for the same reasons, avoiding a fumbled ball in the tricky left field corner. Likewise he has demonstrated he can make the stretch to first for an out.
The chart, and its creators, are dead set on Jacoby Ellsbury at centerfield. Why not have Jackie Bradley Jr. out there for a few games? Unfortunately, his talent is not recognized on the chart, despite the buzz at camp. Little has been said about the other outfield prospects. It would be fun to mix it up out there in the coming weeks to see what folks like Bradley, Jr., or even Jose Iglesias have to offer.
Speaking of Iglesisas, the team needs to make a decision about this guy. He could be a great shortstop, too. The team may also benefit from Iglesisas at short. They need to do something with him. He is a young player that could go to work. Youth is wasted on the young, and so is the money we pay him if we send him to Pawtucket.
They clearly do not know what to do with Mike Carp because they have him at left field and first base, two positions that really could not be more different from one another. Mike Napoli and Daniel Nava have a better shot at actually playing first, than Carp ever will.
The depth chart is akin to a puzzle. You need to find where the players play, who will complement whom, and how. Will the puzzle show a masterpiece resulting in a strong season, or will it be a disasterpiece?
We won’t know until April 1st.