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Tuesday, March 14, 2006 

Ace in the hole

There was a lot of talk in the offseason about the Red Sox treating 2006 as a rebuilding year, and waiting for prospsects such as Jonathan Papelbon and Jon Lester to lead the way in '07. So far, there is some evidence to support that. This year's starting rotation could include 4 players at or pushing 40: Schilling, Wakefield, Wells, and (still a long-shot) Clemens. The infield includes three players on one year contracts (Lowell, Gonzalez, Loretta), and Trot Nixon is in the last year of his deal. This will create a lot of flexibility for the Red Sox to spend money next offseason, for two reasons. First, the Sox will have some slots open that they can fill with cheaper prospects. But more importantly, they will be in better position to spend their money more strategically. This winter, the Sox were basically forced into dealing for Coco Crisp after Johnny Damon left town, since Crisp was the only practical option for filling their remaining two needs: the leadoff spot and center field. With several positions open after 2006, the team won't be as hamstrung.

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