Commentary

Forecast: 2013 Sox position players

Originally Published: September 21, 2012
By Gordon Edes | ESPNBoston.com

BOSTON -- As the team's last homestand unwinds, here's a position-by-position breakdown of who is likely to be back, and who will be elsewhere, in 2013:

Catcher

Saltalamacchia
Jarrod Saltalamacchia
Contract status: Arbitration eligible, free agent after 2013
Forecast: Stay
Comment: Saltalamacchia has posted a .202/.280/.401/.681 batting line since June 1, so an upgrade is not of the question. But his 24 home runs -- third among big league catchers -- give him some value, he was solid defensively and the Sox probably are looking at him sharing the position one more season before he becomes a free agent.


Lavarnway
Ryan Lavarnway
Contract status: Non-arbitration, under club control
Forecast: Stay
Comment: He hasn't hit in his first prolonged exposure to big league pitching, but he has hit at every level in the minors and his defense has improved to the point where he was named best defensive catcher in Triple-A International League. He'll be given a chance to beat out Saltalamacchia for the No. 1 job next spring.


Loney

First base

James Loney
Contract status: Free agent
Forecast: Gone
Comment: There will be better options available than the erstwhile Dodger, who has just five home runs and a sub-.400 slugging percentage.


Gomez
Mauro Gomez
Contract status: Non-arbitration eligible
Forecast: Gone
Comment: He was International League MVP in Pawtucket, but at 28, his ship probably has sailed. Could stick as organizational depth.


Second base

Pedroia
Dustin Pedroia
Contract status: Signed through 2014, club option for 2015
Forecast: Stay
Comment: Weathered his first whiff of controversy, still the man you build around.


Shortstop

Aviles
Mike Aviles

Contract status: Arbitration eligible
Forecast: Gone
Comment: Aviles played much better defensively than expected, and his 13 home runs were a plus. But a sub-.300 on-base average makes it highly unlikely he'll be back as starter and he might be displaced as utilityman by the speedier Pedro Ciriaco. Could be a nontender.


Iglesias
Jose Iglesias
Contract status: Last year of four-year major league deal
Forecast: Stay
Comment: Iglesias is the player the Sox would like to start at short next season, but his bat remains a big question. Could be a position the Sox look outside to upgrade (Elvis Andrus?).


Ciriaco
Pedro Ciriaco
Contract status: Non-arbitration eligible
Forecast: Stay
Comment: He is a faster, cheaper alternative to Aviles as a bench player.


Third base

Middlebrooks
Will Middlebrooks
Contract status: Non-arbitration eligible
Forecast: Stay
Comment: Showed plenty of potential before fracturing his wrist; comes into camp as starting third baseman.


Outfield

Cody Ross
Cody Ross
Contract status: Free agent
Forecast: Stay
Comment: The Sox have already signaled their interest in signing Ross to an extension. He reestablished his value with 21 home runs and a .500 slugging percentage and showed his ability to handle the Yawkey Way melodrama.


Ellsbury
Jacoby Ellsbury
Contract status: Arbitration eligible, eligible for free agency after 2013
Forecast: Stay
Comment: This could go either way. Ellsbury would bring back the most value of any player on the roster in a trade, and given the unlikely event he signs an extension this winter, especially since it is hard to get an accurate read of his market value because he was hurt this summer, Sox might view him as the key to their roster "reset." They have his potential replacement in Jackie Bradley, but he's probably a year away.


Sweeney
Ryan Sweeney
Contract status: Second-year arbitration eligible
Forecast: Gone
Comment: Self-inflicted hand injury gave Sweeney no chance to show he might be worth hanging onto. Good candidate to be nontendered.


Podsednik
Scott Podsednik
Contract status: Free agent
Forecast: Gone
Comment: Served a purpose this season.


Nava
Daniel Nava
Contract status: Non-arbitration eligible
Forecast: Stay
Comment: Organizational depth, could stick as an extra outfielder.


Kalish
Ryan Kalish
Contract status: Non-arbitration eligible
Forecast: Stay
Comment: Sox will probably be in the market for a moderately priced outfielder, a la Ross, while giving Kalish a chance next spring to win a job. Still has yet to perform at pre-injury levels, but another winter of rest might make a big difference.


Designated hitter

David Ortiz
David Ortiz
Contract status: Free agent
Forecast: Stay
Comment: Red Sox should end all the suspense and sign him to a two-year deal, and if his production should slide in the second year, look at it as a bonus for a tremendous decade.


PITCHING: Which Red Sox pitchers will return? »

Gordon Edes

Red Sox reporter, ESPNBoston.com

SPONSORED HEADLINES

EDITORS' PICKS

  • The Hurt Lingers
    One year later, the healing still doesn't come easy for some.
  • Coming Up Short
    The Red Sox lost on a Xander Bogaerts error in the ninth, falling to 5-9.
  • Tight Squeeze
    Things don't figure to be easy for the Bruins against the Red Wings.
  • Running Strong
    Tales of perseverance remind us that Boston still is running strong.
  • What's The Plan?
    Mailbaggers know Bill Belichick's draft history, so they're ready for anything.

ALSO SEE

MORE MLB HEADLINES