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Saturday June 12, 2010 9:22 pm

Red Sox holdovers starting to age




Posted by Adrien Griffin Categories: Athletes, MLB,

David OrtizThe Boston Red Sox ended an 86-year-long World Series drought with their dramatic title run in 2004. Now, six years later, only a handful of players from that team still call Fenway Park home. Team mainstays Tim Wakefield, David Ortiz, Jason Varitek, and Kevin Youkilis are the only members of the Red Sox with two World Series rings adorning their fingers. Wakefield’s impact is only felt once every five days, and Youkilis is still a relatively young member, but how long is too long to hold on to legends who are no longer producing?

Varitek, “The Captain”, is having a bounce-back season of sorts, by catchers’ standards at least. At 38-years-old, he’s receiving much less playing time than years past and his power numbers will reflect that. Ortiz is only 34, but his slow starts the past two seasons have really had an negative impact. He was dropped in the lineup for the first time in his career in 2010. While nobody expects him to hit 40 home runs like he has before, he may struggle to get to 30, while his strikeout total is on pace to be the highest in his career.

The one other holdover from the 2004 World Series team, Youkilis, who it feels like has been on the team just as long as the other three, actually only made his MLB debut in May of 2004, just in time to win that coveted World Series. Already with a career batting average of .294 and 105 home runs, Youkilis will be playing first base for the Red Sox for a long time to come.

As amazing as it seems that only four members of the team from six years ago remain, it’s not uncommon among major league franchises. Teams turnover players fast. Only a few, like Ortiz and Varitek are given immortal honor where they seemingly can do no wrong, but even in their cases it seems like the Red Sox’s patience is wearing thin. Ortiz is becoming famous for his slow starts, Varitek hasn’t hit better than .255 since 2005, and Wakefield very well may pitch until he’s 50. But the Red Sox have been struggling so far, and it’s only a matter of time before the front office will be forced to address the reasons why.

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