November 2, 2011 at 8:56 AM
As new general manager Ben Cherington begins restructuring the Red Sox for the future, he has some rookie options he can look to in order to fill in the 2012 roster. While there may not be an instant All-Star, a Rookie of the Year candidate or even an immediate starter among those prospects, there are certainly players who could make an impact with the big-league club early in the season, others who could serve as solid emergency depth options in case of injury, and still others who have the potential to make contributions later in the season.
As the offseason begins, and before trade season heats up, here’s a breakdown of those options.
Potential Impact Rookies
Ryan Lavarnway -- One difficult decision for Cherington will be whether to let Jason Varitek walk in free agency, and then whether to pencil in Lavarnway as the backup backstop. While many scouts believe that Lavarnway is not ready defensively at this stage, most opine that he could be an average-to-better offensive player right out of the gate in 2012. There’s even some discussion as to whether he may be a successor to David Ortiz as the club’s primary designated hitter. Ultimately, Lavarnway’s role is likely to be determined by what Cherington decides to do with Varitek and Ortiz. In an ideal world, Boston would allow Lavarnway to get as many reps in with the big-league pitchers in spring training as possible, bring in an experienced defensive-minded catcher as a temporary backup, and allow Lavarnway to spend the first couple of months of the 2012 season in Triple-A Pawtucket with an eye toward a permanent promotion in June.
Check out the full column on ESPN Boston