FanPost

The Red Sox May Or May Not Be Boned

From Will Carroll we learn the following:

Reports from Boston are that Ortiz’s wrist injury is far more serious than originally thought. Images showed a torn ligament and will be casted. Early word is that he’ll miss at least a month and that surgery is “50/50″ at this stage. Rest could help or could do nothing. If you want to see a Red Sox fan throw himself off a roof, remind him that this could be a similar situation to Nomar Garciaparra’s back in 2001.

Ortiz hasn't been his usual self so far this season, but he's still been one of the better DHs in the league, and his 123 OPS+ won't be easily replaced. To that end, Boston has two options:

(1) find a new DH
(2) shift Manny to DH and find a new outfielder

Now, obviously the significance of this whole thing depends on the severity of the injury. If Ortiz can come back healthy in a few weeks, then the Sox should come out of it no worse for wear. However, if it's a major problem that knocks him out for a handful of months, then how the team responds to his injury could make a world of difference.

Finding a new DH is the easiest solution. Every team has a bunch of guys who can step in and hit fairly well over an extended period; Boston could go with Sean Casey, Chris Carter, or Jeff Bailey for the coming while and not look too bad. But, if you'll allow me to once again indulge in my defensive efficiency daydreams, this seems like the perfect opportunity to bump Manny to DH and run with an Ellsbury/Crisp/Drew/Moss outfield that just never lets anything drop. In fact, giving Crisp an everyday job in the outfield while Ortiz recovers has the potential to help push the team along without skipping a beat. You'd be removing one of the worst defensive outfielders in the game and replacing him with one of the best, and while it's difficult for most people to believe, that sort of shift really can make up for a considerable offensive downgrade. Crisp is an otherworldly glove. Manny Ramirez is not. It's tough/impossible to predict how things would transpire over a small sample, but making this move would stand a damn good chance of helping Boston come out of this pretty rosy.

I don't like the Red Sox, and I hope Ortiz's injury allows the Rays to widen their lead. However, at the same time, I absolutely love a good team defense, and if the Sox use this chance to put together maybe the best defensive outfield in the league, then that'll be fun to watch. Even if nobody notices.

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