Mailbag: Sox bullish on Darvish?

Mailbag: Sox bullish on Darvish?

What are the chances of the Red Sox picking up Yu Darvish from Japan, and stealing him away from the Yankees like they did with Dice-K?
-- Josh B., Nashua, N.H.

I think the secret is now out that the Red Sox are big players in Japan, so it will be next to impossible for them to have stealth pickups of Daisuke Matsuzaka and Hideki Okajima like they did last time around. From what I hear, Darvish is pretty special. It will be interesting to see how long it is before he comes over here. The Red Sox can still get him, I'm sure. It's just a matter of how much money they would be willing to spend.

How long can we keep going with Mike Timlin? I have much respect for his career accomplishments, but it seems like he is out of gas. His ERA is high and he seems to give up a run or more every time he pitches. I think the team needs to move on and rely on the younger guys. What's your opinion?
-- Chris C., New Haven, Conn.

I'm a pretty staunch Timlin supporter. I've seen him written off quite a few times, only to bounce back. He means a lot to the team because of his professionalism, leadership and experience. Timlin has also been pitching better of late. I wouldn't give up on him just yet.

How long and how many errors is it going to take before the Sox brass can own up to a mistake in Julio Lugo? I know, at times, his speed is an asset, but with all the other speed on the team and defense in the middle being so important, how come he has been allowed to keep his job when it seems like there should be at least a little competition for that spot?
-- Sean W., Binghamton, N.Y.

Obviously, the Red Sox would like Lugo to stop having so many defensive lapses. However, he is under contract for the next three years at a substantial price, so giving up on him at this juncture wouldn't be the right move. Obviously, if Lugo continues to be a liability on defense, something will have to be done. Over the weekend, manager Terry Francona began putting Alex Cora in as a defensive replacement in the late innings.

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Even with all the new upgrades to Fenway, how much longer do you see the Sox realistically playing in our beloved park?
-- Jeffrey G., Springfield, Mass.

I think that there is a lot of current energy going toward the 100th anniversary of the park, which will take place in 2012. After that, perhaps you will see a movement toward a new facility. But I must say, Fenway looks great these days -- far better than it did 10 years ago. As of right now, ownership is committed to keep improving the park rather than looking for a new one. However, you can't dispute how much added revenue the Yankees will have with their new park and at some point, the Sox might have to get one of their own to compete.

Since J.D. Drew has had, to say the least, a disappointing tenure with the Red Sox, and is prone to injury, doesn't it make sense to make Coco Crisp and Jacoby Ellsbury the every day center and right fielders, trade Drew and bring Brandon Moss as the fourth outfielder?
-- Emilio U., Caracas, Venezuela

How do you propose trading Drew when he makes $14 million a year? I understand your point about Drew not providing the type of offensive thump everyone expected. But he's not a liability out there either. He gives you good at-bats, plays a solid right field and runs the bases. I know everyone is hung up with the money he makes, but the Red Sox can obviously afford it.

How many more years is Manny Ramirez going to play?
-- Cory J., Utica, N.Y.

Manny plans on having the Red Sox pick up his two option years and then signing a four-year deal after that. So at least, according to the way the star slugger is feeling right now, he will play another six years. He keeps saying he's going to be the next Julio Franco.

Of the two, who has the best chance of becoming the next Rookie of the Year -- Clay Buchholz or Ellsbury?
-- Seth T., Charlotte, N.C.

Without question, Ellsbury. Now that Bartolo Colon is starting Wednesday, I wouldn't be surprised if Buchholz goes to Pawtucket once his DL stint runs out. Even before the injury, Buchholz was inconsistent. Ellsbury clearly is in position to have a solid year.

Ian Browne is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.