8/28/2014 2:46 P.M. ET
Inbox: A good problem to have
Beat reporter Ian Browne takes fans' questions on outfield surplus, more
By Ian Browne / MLB.com
What are the Sox going to do with the surplus of outfielders in 2015?
-- Mark, Centreville, Va.
I'm pretty sure not all of them will be with the team when the 2015 season starts. But you're right, the outfield has gone from a clear weakness to a probable strength. At this moment, the starting outfield looks like it would be Yoenis Cespedes, Rusney Castillo and Allen Craig. But where does that leave Shane Victorino, assuming he gets healthy coming off back surgery?
Daniel Nava is all but certain to become a part-time player in Boston unless he gets traded or non-tendered. Jackie Bradley Jr. also looks to be at a crossroads after a tough season offensively.
The Red Sox certainly have enough outfield chips to package some of them in a trade to fill another need on the club.
Do you see the Sox going after Giancarlo Stanton after the recent signing of Castillo?
-- Matthew H., Shelby, N.C.
Have a question about the Red Sox?
E-mail your query to MLB.com Red Sox beat reporter Ian Browne for possible inclusion in a future Inbox column. Letters may be edited for brevity, length and/or content.
If the Marlins make Stanton available, I'm sure the Red Sox will try to put a package of talent together to bring in a player who looks like he was born to play in Fenway Park. Boston is probably one of the few teams out there that has the chips to make a legitimate offer.
Do you think there is a chance Boston will send Castillo to the Arizona Fall League to get some extra work in?
-- Chris K., Scottsdale, Ariz.
I'm guessing winter ball is a more likely option for Castillo; as the quality of competition is higher and more seasoned, it will probably get him more ready for next season.
Are the Red Sox going to play Castillo in center field? Six years and $72 million says they should.
-- Alan, Dorchester, Mass.
The plan is for Castillo to be the center fielder. Boston is of the belief that it needs two outfielders who are basically center fielders playing in Fenway, since there is so much ground to cover in right field. But I think the Sox would prefer that Cespedes make the move to right field next season, giving him the best spot for his cannon arm. Castillo seems best suited for center.
Do you see Nava on the Opening Day roster in 2015?
-- Mark, Watertown, Conn.
I'm guessing Nava will be playing somewhere else next year. He is a good piece to have for a lot of teams, but given the sudden depth the Red Sox have in the outfield, there doesn't seem to be much of a role for him.
Is there any chance of Mookie Betts eventually moving to third?
-- Lenny H., hometown not given
The beauty of Betts is that he can play just about anywhere. I think Boston will just have to evaluate where he fits best. Brock Holt could settle in as the third baseman for next season. Betts could probably stand to get some more at-bats in the Minor Leagues. Remember, Betts is all of 21 years old.
What front-line starter do you want to see the Red Sox target this offseason?
-- Jason, Seattle
How about a guy named Jon Lester? Lester is battle-tested and loves pitching in the Boston market. How many times can you sign a major free agent who would need no adjustment period getting used to a "new" team? Also, it would make the trade for Cespedes a pure genius move by Ben Cherington. If not Lester, then Max Scherzer would be a great option if the Red Sox are willing to be bold and make that big of a financial investment.
Will Cole Hamels' shaky numbers against the American League -- in particular the AL East -- make the Sox hesitant to make a trade?
-- Ryan, Lowell, Mass.
Not necessarily. I'm sure that a pitcher with the talent that Hamels has could probably make the proper adjustments needed to succeed in the AL, if that was where he was pitching full time.
Should the Red Sox consider shutting down Koji Uehara and Junichi Tazawa for the season, considering their heavy workload the last two years?
-- Brian G., Bennington, Vt.
Once rosters are expanded and John Farrell has more pitching to choose from on a nightly basis, I'm guessing Tazawa and Uehara will both have a significantly reduced workload. To be honest, they've both looked fatigued of late. Perhaps the only bonus for Boston of not making the postseason this year is that players who were taxed deep into last October will get a chance to catch their breath.