It's easy to see why Red Sox fans are excited about Carl Crawford and Jacoby Ellsbury playing together in the same outfield this season.
Both are speedsters that have an ability to track down whatever is hit in their general direction. Sure, Crawford is the better fielder -- he routinely gets great jumps on balls and is rarely in the wrong position -- but let's not sell Ellsbury short. If he gets to the ball, he typically catches it. That's what you want as an end result, no matter how it happens.
Then there's the duo in the lineup. With their speed, they will cause havoc on the basepaths. The Red Sox haven't had a pair of base stealers with this caliber of speed in many years -- if ever. There are a lot of ways their speed can hurt opposing teams and I don't even think we, as a Red Sox fans, know all the ways just yet.
The excitement is palpable, but that excitement might not last long.
Crawford, we know, is here for the long haul. Ellsbury, on the other hand, may not have much time left as a Red Sox.
Just toy with this idea for a little bit. Say Ellsbury comes back this season and plays to the potential we know he has. Along with Crawford, who should be solid, and a combination of J.D. Drew and Mike Cameron, this will be a good outfield.
So good that Ellsbury could be expendable.
Ellsbury, if he gets off to a good start, is the biggest piece of trade bait the Red Sox have -- and he's the most feasible trade option, too. Guys like Dustin Pedroia, Jon Lester, Kevin Youkilis and similar stars are off limits. There's no question about that. But Ellsbury, who has injury history and hasn't quite performed like the Sox have expected, still has potential that teams would love to take a chance on.
The Red Sox have depth to cover an Ellsbury departure. Ryan Kalish is on the brim of being an everyday Major Leaguer. And outfielders like Josh Reddick and Daniel Nava aren't far off, either. If Kalish sees early time and gets hot, I don't think the Sox would have a problem sliding him into a platoon position if they were to trade Ellsbury.
And trading him could make the Sox so much stronger.
If the Sox need a catcher or a starter or a bullpen arm or a shortstop, whatever the case may be, Ellsbury could bring back his weight in gold. I don't see any situation -- even if he hits .180 through 40 games -- that will cause his stock to drop so low that the Sox can't get a good return.
The Red Sox wanted Ellsbury to be their Carl Crawford when they drafted him. Now they have Carl Crawford. They don't need two -- although that would be pretty exciting.
YOUKILIS AT HOME
Kevin Youkilis broke the silence recently and said he's looking forward to the move to third base. First base, it turns out, wasn't really his favorite.
Thanks for telling us now, Youk.
The Greek God of Walks (haven't heard that in a while, huh?) was a Gold Glover at a position he didn't really care for. So what's he going to do at a position he's not bored with? Third base is a lot more challenging than first base, but at least we know the Sox's full-timer at the hot corner is up for the challenge.
Will he win a Gold Glove? Probably not. But something tells me Youk doesn't care about that anyway.
JASON VARITEK IS UNSTOPPABLE
I remember thinking a few years ago, "This is it for Jason Varitek."
I remember thinking a year after that, "This is really it for Jason Varitek."
The year after that one, I distinctly remember saying to myself, "This has got to be it for Jason Varitek."
Now I am thinking Jason Varitek is a robot.
Every spring training, Varitek comes back. Every year, he has a new contract and he's still behind the plate. The craziest thing is that he comes back and he always seems to be in better shape than the year before. Captain is encroaching on 40 years old, but his six-pack is 23, 24 at the least.
If he could only hit above .217 (or his abs), we'd be in business.