Ladies and gentlemen, your 2011 Red Sox team is complete--more or less. Theo Epstein has effectively declared the Red Sox "done" for the offseason, aside from the sort of signing which would count as little more than organizational depth:
"Who knows when there might be a waiver claim, or one more minor-league sign," said Epstein, "but, we’re more or less set."
"We do feel OK about our starting depth. That’s one area we’re still looking, there might be a late minor-league sign, somebody who can go to Triple A," said Epstein, who has already signed veteran starters Brandon Duckworth and Jason Bergmann for organizational depth. "But right now those guys are looking for major league jobs, so we’ll see. We do feel like we have some built in depth."
(via Rob Bradford)
For at least one man, that's pretty good news.
I speak of Darnell McDonald, who last year was nothing more than one of those "depth" guys who could expect to spend the entire year being ignored down on the Pawtucket Red Sox. But then the entire Major League team was injured (or near enough to it), and Darnell McDonald was called up to be the fifth outfielder, then the fourth, and finally a regular starter.
Now it seems that his performance last year has given the Sox enough faith to rely on him as a backup to start the season, since Ryan Kalish is highly unlikely to start the year out of Triple-A and the Sox haven't added another outfielder to take his place. With McDonald proving a solid, cheap option off the bench, he could be hanging around Fenway for a few more years.
It is interesting, however, that the Red Sox would be looking for starting depth. Obviously between Beckett and Daisuke the rotation hasn't proven the most durable in recent years, but one would think that between Tim Wakefield, Felix Doubront, and possibly Michael Bowden and Andrew Miller, the Sox would feel more-than-comfortable enough to not even be thinking about Duckworth (career 5.28 ERA) and Bergmann (career 5.05 ERA). Perhaps that's a hint about just how many of those last three will be stretched out and ready to start down in Triple-A.
Or maybe the Red Sox just really want the Paw Sox to win a championship.