Trying to find a lineup capable of scoring 1,000 runs in a season is a difficult task. To start out, hoping it will prove to be the easiest task, I used what I think the 2006 lineup for the Red Sox would look like (as well as some predicted/projected statistics for the season that are necessary for the Marginal Lineup Value calculations) and then started trying to add in players that are possible acquisitions. I had to assume Bill Mueller was not being resigned, and that Tony Graffanino would lose out on second base in favor of Dustin Pedroia. This gives the Red Sox a lineup that looks like so:
1. Johnny Damon
2. Edgar Renteria
3. David Ortiz
4. Manny Ramirez
5. Trot Nixon
6. Jason Varitek
7. Kevin Youkilis
8. Dustin Pedroia
Of course that is only 8 of the starting players. The last one is going to take over at either Designated Hitter, moving David Ortiz to first base, or be the new first basemen himself. That leaves the Red Sox with a few options at their fantasy attempt at scoring 1,000 runs in a made up 2006. I based the seasons on 4900 at bats by the starting 9 distributed evenly. Not a perfect system, but one that will do what I want it to. Let's start with something radical/controversial...
How about resigning Nomar Garciaparra and making him the full-time DH, or having him take over at first base for the second half of his career. His movement and range seem to be down due to the injury he suffered in the spring, and third base does not seem to be working out so well for him in Chicago. I think if he could concentrate solely on hitting or play first base rather than a more demanding defensive position that he is no longer capable of playing at a high level that he would have much more value to a team. The question here of course is whether or not David Ortiz could hold up over a full season while playing first base without suffering injury or affecting his hitting negatively.
Nomar is a career .337/.384/.572 hitter in Fenway Park. I'm not sure he could duplicate those numbers, most likely not, but if he can come somewhere close it would probably bring him more success than he has had the past two seasons. Of course, the past two months of 2005 he is hitting .333/.369/.578 overall...maybe with the wrist healed 100%, Nomar is capable of being an offensive force once again. If only his April had not been so tough at the plate, his season numbers would show his excellent offensive play in 2005 much better. A Red Sox lineup featuring the aforementioned 8 hitters including Nomar Garciaparra would score approximately 949 runs in a season, and that is if Nomar's line resembles .302/.355/.507. Nomar's line makes the Sox line look something like .284/.359/.447.
Another option, one that is popular with some, is attempting to make a move for Adam Dunn this offseason. Dunn could play left field (and most likely the occasional day in right field) taking Millar's job of backing up the corner outfield spots while also taking over as the full-time first basemen. I figure his 2006 season to look something like .265/.391/.570, which would bring the Red Sox team line to something like .278/.367/.472. Ortiz-Manny-Dunn would most likely be outlawed by the Constitution at some point, hence the .472 slugging as a team. I tried to adjust Dunn's homerun and doubles totals as they would appear in Fenway. This would give the Red Sox a team that could score approximately 991 runs in a season...so close to my goal I just want to randomly give Dustin Pedroia his 2004 AA Portland numbers to finish off the job.
Last, but most likely not the least of these three options is Ryan Shealy of Colorado. He has no place to play in Coors with Helton already at first base, and with Shealy apparently having some injury history that prohibits him from playing in the outfield (thanks to Purple Row for that nugget of Rocky Mountain info). The Red Sox have pieces that the Rockies want, and some that they might not want that they should. Kelly Shoppach is an attractive piece to them, and as someone who appears to be on their way to a Three True Outcomes career, would most likely thrive in Denver. The Rockies should also demand Abe Alvarez for a few reasons, such as his control and pitch selection and the fact that they need more arms. I think the Red Sox would move those two for Shealy if they were smart (which they are). It might seem like a high price to pay, but Shoppach is only on the roster to be dealt in a deal that helps the Sox, and a Shealy trade would do so. I think Shealy is capable of a .300/.382/.500 line in Boston over a full season, which would give the Sox as a team a line somewhat like .285/.366/.460. This would translate into approximately 973 runs, more than Garciaparra but less than Dunn. Maybe the key is to get Garciaparra and Shealy, if only Nomar could learn to play third base well rather than to the tune of -29 runs above average per 100 games defensively.
Remember, this exercise is for fun more than anything. These are all educated guesses made from watching the Red Sox and studying some numbers, and I expect some help on some of the other teams. Any suggestions for which team I should try to hit 1,000 runs with next? I will continue to work on a situation for Boston that fits them, because they seem like the easiest bet to do so.