The biggest roster issue for 2009 -- by far -- is catcher Jason Varitek, who will be a free agent. He had the worst season of his career at the plate (.220/.313/.359; his 74 OPS+ was worse than Julio Lugo (80) and not much better than Kevin Cash (68)). He turns 37 on April 11.
What we like to do is be league average at every position, and then be way above league average at as many positions as we can. We try to have no weak links and be at least league average at every position. It's well-documented that there's not a lot of elite catching out there, but we'll figure it out.The pitching staff seems stable and unlikely to change in any significant way. In addition to the main starters, Clay Buchholz is doing well in the Arizona Fall League and the team will have to decide if it wishes to keep Justin Masterson in the bullpen.
Epstein said he is unconcerned about Josh Beckett.
The number one prescription for a torn oblique is six weeks of rest. We just couldn't afford that at the time. He just needs to rest and have himself a good offseason, [and do] what he always does and build up his shoulder strength for the coming season.Epstein also called the surgery on Mike Lowell's right hip
a complete success. ... They finally got a look in there. They didn't see anything they didn't expect. They were actually pleasantly surprised. ... He should be ready to go for Spring Training or shortly thereafter.David Ortiz will not have surgery on his right wrist.
Elsewhere in the infield, there is the question of what to do with the Julio Lugo/Jed Lowrie situation at shortstop. In some ways it is similar to the dilemma the team faced last April with outfielders Coco Crisp and Jacoby Ellsbury. Epstein said Lugo would have been considered for the World Series roster if Boston had won Sunday night.
I think [Lugo's] got a lot to offer. I think he's also got a lot to prove. I think he and Lowrie can also complement each other very well.Mike Timlin, Paul Byrd, Alex Cora, Sean Casey and Mark Kotsay are all eligible for free agency.