Links: Some more Papi reading and trade rumors analysis

The David Ortiz conundrum is reaching national status. His eyes checked out, so there’s not many reasons left for his decline. Either he’s way older than we thought, or there’s something wrong with his head. Last night’s long homer and the seven game hitting streak notwithstanding, we still have to have some doubt as to when and how much Papi will rebound. Here’s one exit strategy, given by Craig Calcaterra at THT.

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How do you replace David Ortiz?

David Ortiz continues to struggle, even though it seems as if he is hitting some balls harder recently. I don’t think he is done done, but he is certainly hurting the team. Now that we are two months in, it is time to seriously start considering trade options and what they might cost. Unless Papi goes on the DL for 60 days, I think we should look at a right-handed platoon mate for Ortiz, or else a left-handed outfielder who can slot into left and allow the defensively challenged Jason Bay to DH. Here’s a quick rundown of candidates that have been mentioned and what they might cost:

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Trade Preview Extravaganza 2009

Almost two months of the season have passed and people’s minds and thoughts inevitably turn towards what can be done to improve the team. I’ve heard some whoppers out there, like trading away our top 4 prospects to get Hanley Ramirez back. Uh, no. But here’s a more realistic look at what is brewing:

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Pedey out with groin strain

Dustin Pedroia, last year’s MVP, left yesterday’s game with a groin strain. That leaves Nick Green starting at second base and Julio Lugo at shortstop, not exactly an inspiring combination. It shouldn’t keep Pedey off the field more than a couple of days, but combine that with Kevin Youkilis’ injury, and suddenly you’ve taken a lot of firepower out of that lineup and the defense on the right side of the diamond suffers tremendously. The pitching will have to do it tonight if we want to win.

Links: Health reports, Bay, Dice-K

J.D. Drew is sitting with that quad again, which was fine today with Scott Kazmir on the mound. But it’d be nice to get him back in the lineup sooner rather than later. Somewhat more worrisome to me is Kevin Youkilis being out with tightness in his side. It’s improving, but the Sox are loathe to test it prematurely. Asked about it today, Youk said he has no clue what it is. Jacoby Ellsbury is back in the lineup after tweaking his hamstring at the end of last week. Read more of this post

Linkage: Big Papi, Lugo, Beckett and more

Maybe the biggest story of the year offensively is the absence of David Ortiz’s power. Batting a mere .222/.319/.333, he has yet to jack a single pitch out of any stadium this year. Papi has been scuffling since a very slow start, swinging aggressively, striking out and getting popped up a lot. Much has been made of his 100 AB homerless drought, the longest of his career, but there are still signs that the lovable slugger may be okay yet. Since ¬†April 15th, Ortiz is batting .243/.325/.400 with 9 doubles and a triple. His walk rate is increasing, and he’s hitting a healthy 21.3% line drives, which should all reflect in his numbers eventually. Francona, of course, is steadfast in his support of Ortiz, and has not moved him from the three hole at all. I’m in agreement with that, though I’d consider sitting him a day here and a day there, just to help him clear his head. Read more of this post

Penny for your thoughts

Last night was a pretty awful start for Brad Penny. On the cold, rainy and foggy night, he was having trouble locating his fastball, and his curveball was out of control. In four starts, we’ve seen two quality starts out of Penny, mixed in with two horrible ones. That 8.66 ERA is unsightly, Justin Masterson is looking very good in two starts, Clay Buchholz needs to log some innings here, and Michael Bowden looked good in his two inning came0 against the Yankees. At this rate, Penny could be the one to get the boot when Daisuke Matsuzaka is ready to rejoin this rotation. What do you think, Red Sox Nation? Are we ready to give up on Penny? Read more of this post