BOSTON (CBS) – It’s a crazy/fun time of year, isn’t it? We’ve got hoops and hockey on the pro, college, and high school level. Add in NFL free agency to the mix and it leaves your head spinning.

And don’t forget spring training.

Yes, the exhibition games are well underway and we’re only about 3 weeks away from the Red Sox season opener in Detroit.

As for what we’ve seen so far?

Let’s pause for a few quick thoughts.

  • I understand that Daniel Bard and Alfredo Aceves want to start, but I have come to think that both should stay in the bullpen. In the AL East (and for that matter, the AL), a quality start these days is 5-6 innings giving up 3-4 runs. A quality bullpen is a must. And with that, I’ll take a bullpen of Bailey, Bard, Morales, Melancon, Aceves, Albers, etc…, then find two starters in Felix Doubront, Brandon Duckworth, Aaron Cook, Andrew Miller, etc. I just think Bard and Aceves are way more valuable five days per week than 1-2 times per week.

Read: Cardinals Hit Bard Hard

  • As much as I like Carl Crawford, John Henry may have been right. When Crawford returns to the line-up it’s hard to find the right spot for him and everyone else. You have to like Ellsbury in the lead-off spot, Pedroia  in the two hole, Gonzalez 3rd, Youkilis 4th, and Ortiz 5th. I guess Crawford can slide into the sixth spot, but he’s not accustomed to batting that low in the order and he struggled with that, along with his confidence and health, all last season. I guess you can slide Crawford into the top 3 in the order, but then you risk screwing up Ellsbury, Pedroia, and Gonzalez.
  • I think we’ll see Jose Iglesias start the season in Pawtucket, but I am excited to see this kid play every day in the big leagues. Watching Ozzie Smith, Omar Vizquel, and other great defensive shortstops make plays is an unforgettable part if the game. With that said, I think Aviles has looked fine there, plus he can hit.

Read: Dan Roche’s Sports Blog

  • Pawtucket should be fun to watch with the likes of Iglesias, Ryan Lavarnway, Lars Anderson, Will Middlebrooks, Ryan Kalish, and company. Lots of potential finally on the Triple AAA level.

Again, I like what Ben Cherington has done inside the clubhouse. He felt he didn’t need to overhaul things too much because of the departures of Terry Francona, Tim Wakefield, Jason Varitek, Jonathan Papelbon, and John Lackey. Nothing against any of them, I just think that there are a lot of players around the same age and experience that can take over. Pedroia, Youkilis, Lester, Beckett…….all should feel more comfortable.

– Enjoy March Madness and some baseball too.

Follow WBZ-TV’s Dan Roche on twitter @RochieWBZ

Comments (4)
  1. Ryan says:

    Aceves is, only because he is not as good of a pitcher as luck let him be last year. Bard could be our best starter in 2012. So, I half agree.

  2. Caroline says:

    Dan, while I agree having a strong bullpen is important, wouldn’t you naturally want your better pitchers starting? Sure you could have the Andrew Millers of the world starting, but I feel more times than not, they are going to give up a lot of runs quickly, esp against the better teams in the AL. So then you bring in a Bard or Aceves in the 3rd or 4th inning in garbage time? I would much rather have either of those 2 start the game and give the team a better chance to get ahead. Plus, you won’t be taxing the bullpen going through pitcher after pitcher which is what happened a lot last year. IMO, Aceves is the more valuable starter. He is consistent, wheras Bard, though electric stuff, can be inconsistent and has control issues with the fastball.

  3. George says:

    This is a hard question to answer. What even complicates it further is that both pitchers have pitched 114 and 73 innings respectively last year. So pitching upwards of 200 innings may blow out either pitcher’s arm.
    But then there are examples such as C J Wilson going from 73 to 204 innings and transitioning into good starting pitchers.
    I think we should leave this decisoin up to the pitching coaches and the managers and owners.

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