Not all bridges are created equal. Just look around New England: On the one hand, we’ve got Vermont’s covered bridges (quaint! historic!), the Zakim Bridge (landmark!), and Newport’s Pell Bridge (gawgeous, dahling!).
On the other, we’ve got the Harvard Bridge (so ugly that MIT and Harvard allegedly flipped a coin over who’d name it; Harvard lost), the Longfellow Bridge (drive too fast and it might fall down) and the Tobin Bridge (whenever I drive over it, I either am, or am about to be, lost).
When Theo Epstein said the 2010 Red Sox would be a “bridge,” he was lambasted. But before speed-dialing WEEI or tweeting our rage, perhaps we should have stopped to consider the myriad of bridges out there. Because nearly two months after those comments, and not three weeks from spring training, Theo Epstein has indeed built a bridge team — but what a bridge it is.
First, it’s a short bridge. Epstein nabbed Marco Scutaro for two years (everyone thought he’d hold out for three.) Also on a two-year contract is Mike Cameron. And the coup de grace: Theo added Adrian Beltre for one. Yes, there’s an option year — but what 30-year old with a decent OPS and stellar defense — signs a one-year deal? The way Epstein has structured it, the Sox have three new players who can help the team win now — and who won’t block anyone down on the farm.
It’s also a flexible bridge — think pontoons. Kevin Youkilis can play first and third — and left, in a pinch. Tim Wakefield can slot into the rotation or pitch relief. Jacoby Ellsbury and Mike Cameron could play any outfield position, and I bet J.D. Drew could even handle a few games in center.
Victor Martinez can catch, play first or DH. Mike Lowell, once he heals, could stand in at first, third or DH. And last year, Bill Hall saw time at third, second, left, right and center. The Sox are set for all kinds of matchups and all kinds of injuries.
Finally, it’s a not-too-expensive bridge. Sure, like most public construction projects, it’s probably a little over budget. But considering the talent the Sox have and the league they play in, their salary commitments look reasonable.
Sox fans, this is a bridge to somewhere. A bridge we want to cross. A beautiful bridge.
So unlike the Tobin.
— Sarah Green also writes for UmpBump.com.
She can be reached at email@example.com.