A few possibilities to take the place of Jason Varitek as locker room leader:
Crawford was Tampa Bay’s all-time leader in games played, runs, hits, doubles, triples, RBIs and stolen bases. He was also a leader in the Rays clubhouse.
It’s doubtful that Crawford lost any sleep over Francona or Varitek’s departures and now that he’s smoothed things over with Bobby V., there’s a chance that Crawford could re-gain his stature as a clubhouse commander.
Sure, he was the ultimate “Francona guy” as the duo would famously play cribbage on road trips and in Francona’s Fenway office. But Pedroia was one of the only Sox players who led by example last September. The second baseman had seven hits in the final series in Baltimore.
With Varitek and Tim Wakefield out of the picture, Ortiz is the longest tenured Red Sox. Without being asked to do so, Ortiz spoke to the team over the weekend and received a standing ovation from teammates.
Perhaps Youkilis can learn a few leadership pointers from his to-be brother-in-law (Tom Brady, if you haven’t heard). Sure he’s a hot head, and yes the Jacoby Ellsbury injury storyline won’t die, but it seems on the surface that the Sox third baseman took what happened last year personally. He is also very much due for a bounce-back year. Twenty-five-plus home run, 100-plus RBI seasons were the way things were trending for Youkilis just two years ago.