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Sunday, May 22, 2005

Sluggish Sluggers

As Memorial Day looms, I'm guessing Red Sox management is getting uneasy with the batting slumps a number of its big (and little) stars are in. Except for a few names (Damon, Varitek, Nixon), the World Champions are hitting like Charlie Brown's All-Stars. While warmer weather is likely to loosen a few of these folks up, these guys have a ways to go:

- Kevin Millar: Career Average; .289 - 2005 YTD Avg.; .243
- sit him for Youkilis most of the time. This one is simple.
- Manny Ramirez: Career Average; .314 - 2005 YTD Avg.; .229
- Manny will be OK, and probably has the most productive .229 on the planet, with 36 RBIs
- Edgar Renteria: Career Average; .288 - 2005 YTD Avg.; .245
- again, patience is the order. Sox have few options here after spending $40M.
- David Ortiz: Career Average; .278 - 2005 YTD Avg.; .280 (2004: .301)
- near his average. Last year was a career year. Accept it.
- Mark Bellhorn: Career Average; .240 - 2005 YTD Avg.; .226 (2004: .264)
- on a 200+ strikeout pace with 50 RBIs and maybe 10 HRs. Options available at Pawtucket (Machado), can't wait too much longer on this guy.
- Bill Mueller: Career Average; .291 - 2005 YTD Avg.; .267
- bad wheels means this former AL Batting Champ has seen better days. Platoon with Youkilis
- Jay Payton: Career Average; .282 - 2005 YTD Avg.; .200
- Options available at Pawtucket, but give him more playing time before pushing that button.

- Red Sox 2004 Season BA: .282; 2005 YTD Avg.; .275
but lead MLB in OBP, rank 1st in total walks, rank 3rd in slugging. Thanks Nixon, Damon, Varitek.

As long as the Red Sox stay within striking distance of first place before the break, no dramatic action will come from Theo. But, winning the East is more important this year as the Wild Card may not be an automatic pass for the No. 2 team in the East, and is more likely to go to the Twins or White Sox. Some of these moribund players may force Theo's hand sooner rather than later.