Just three days into full workouts at Boston Red Sox spring camp, manager John Farrell discussed his plans regarding the 2013 batting order. While it seems way too early to put any weight on his initial ideas, it’s clear that he hasn’t really thought this through. At least that’s what I’m hoping.
Farrell made it evident this week that he wants to use very different lineups depending on whether or not the opposing starting pitcher is right-handed or left-handed. Against righties, he’s leaning toward using David Ortiz in the three-spot. I’m not in love with this idea, but Ortiz has successfully filled this role in the past. Against southpaws, Farrell said he would prefer to use Dustin Pedroia or Jonny Gomes as his number three hitter. I’m sorry, John. I don’t think I heard you right. For a second there I thought you suggested that Jonny Gomes would bat third. What a downright awful idea.
It’s taken about six weeks for me to accept the fact that I’ll be watching Gomes fill the role of an everyday left fielder. I kept thinking that there was some sensational trade coming to straighten this situation out and that the real left fielder would show up at the start of camp. But it appears that the cruel joke dropped on Red Sox fans in December was actually a serious move.
I know it’s early, and I’m probably being way too hard on Gomes here, but the facts are the facts. He strikes out at an absolutely ridiculous rate. He cannot hit right-handed pitching. He had just 73 hits in 99 games last season. He’s a terrible fielder. I could go on and on, but you get the idea. It’s bad enough that I’ll have to watch him shag fly balls in the outfield. Please don’t make me watch this guy struggle batting third against the likes of David Price and C.C. Sabathia all year.
It’s crazy to think that in the late innings, Farrell will have to consider pinch-hitting for his number three batter due to the other team playing the matchups. This is just not a good idea at all. Farrell did give the impression that the lineup was still under construction and that these initial plans are very subject to change. Let’s hope that’s true, and Farrell goes back to the drawing board on this one.
(JM Catellier is the author of the book Fixing Baseball, a guide to restructuring the Hall of Fame. Follow him on Twitter: @FixingBaseball and Facebook, and check out his site: www.fixingbaseball.com)