The Red Sox loading for what passes for bear in 2011

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Could the Red Sox be biding their time this offseason and waiting to score big in the 2010-2011 offseason? MLB.com’s Ian Browne — and payroll math — suggests so.  After noting the blah free agent class this year, Browne writes:

. . . if you fast forward to next year at this time, general manager Theo
Epstein and his crew of assistants will be in a far more enviable spot,
one that could land them major stars who may have the impact that the
Yankees felt from CC Sabathia, Mark Teixeira and A.J. Burnett en route
to a 2009 World Series championship . . . When you add up the 2010 salaries of David Ortiz ($12.5 million), Mike
Lowell ($12 million), Josh Beckett ($12 million), Victor Martinez ($7
million), Jason Varitek ($3 million) and Julio Lugo (the Red Sox owe
their former shortstop $9 million in ’10), that leaves a potential $55
million that will come off the books.

So who’s available next year? Joe Mauer, Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera, Lance Berkman, Carlos Pena,
Carl Crawford, Halladay, Brandon Webb, Jayson Werth and Cliff Lee.

Um, well, that’s no Teixeira and Sabathia, is it?  I mean, Mauer is probably going to sign in Minnesota, right?  Jeter and Rivera are old and would never go to Boston anyway. Berkman ain’t young. Pena is not an impact player for a team like Boston. Crawford is nice but has likely peaked, as have Werth and Cliff Lee, in all likelihood. Halladay, maybe. Webb, maybe, if he recovers from injury. But none of those guys are game changers.

Nice theory, I guess. And of course, payroll flexibility is always a good thing. But it strikes me that if the Sox are going to make a splash, it’s going to be via trades, not signings.

Diamondbacks place Shelby Miller on the 10-day disabled list

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The Diamondbacks announced on Monday that starter Shelby Miller has been placed on the 10-day disabled list with right elbow inflammation. Miller will get a second opinion on his elbow on Tuesday, per MLB.com’s Steve Gilbert. Pitcher Silvino Bracho has been called up from Triple-A Reno to take Miller’s spot on the roster.

Miller, 26, left Sunday’s start with what was described at the time as forearm tightness. Through his first four starts, Miller is carrying a 4.09 ERA with a 20/12 K/BB ratio in 22 innings.

Bracho, 24, has pitched quite well in 6 2/3 innings of relief at Reno. He’s given up just one unearned run on four hits and a walk (intentional) with 12 strikeouts.

Archie Bradley figures to take Miller’s spot in the starting rotation as Bracho will work middle relief.

Eric Thames hit two more homers

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And John Lackey is livid.

The Brewers’ first baseman homered in each of his first two plate appearances against Reds starter Amir Garrett on Monday evening, helping his team to a 6-1 lead after two frames. The first was a solo blast in the first inning, and the second was a two-run shot to the opposite field in the second inning.

According to MLB.com’s Adam McCalvy, Thames has tied the Brewers’ record for home runs in April with 10. Carlos Lee also hit 10 homers in April 2006.

Seven of Thames’ 10 home runs have come against the Reds. Including his first two at-bats on Monday night, Thames is hitting .379/.474/.924 with 17 RBI along with the 10 dingers. Not too shabby from a guy the Brewers signed to a three-year, $16 million contract during the offseason.

Lackey and Cubs pitching coach Chris Bosio both recently implied Thames is using performance-enhancing drugs, but Thames was tested immediately after last Monday’s game against the Cubs.