Sox offense -- slumping, or just mediocre?

I know the consensus among most people -- myself included -- is that the Sox offense was going to be fine this year and that the pitching was the area to worry about.  

The Thome injury sure complicates things, but even with Thome, I'm not so sure that our offense would be that much better.  After some painless addition, I figured that the Sox have scored ~4.53 runs per game going back to August 2006.  That period of time, including August and September of last season and this year's opening month, covers a span of 81 games -- exactly half a season.  Cheat said over at Soxtalk that over the same span the Sox have hit .259/.328/.428.  

I don't know the league averages on either of those totals -- the 4.53 number or the team batting line -- but I would guess that both of those figures would have the Sox ranking below average in the AL.

So what can be done to fix an offense that might not be slumping but rather just below average?  For starters, there's certain guys on the offense who you're just going to have to live with (as there are no other viable options).  That includes Pierzynski, Konerko, Iguchi, Uribe (probably debatable), Crede, Dye, and Thome (obviously).  Unfortunately, that's most of the players.  And you know Erstad isn't going anywhere, although if he continues to hit, maybe Kenny will be able to convince Ozzie to get a real LFer.

Kenny Williams is in a tough spot.  If he wants this team to compete, he needs to improve the one obvious spot where improvement is needed most.  But getting a good LFer is probably going to involve giving up the prospects he acquired this winter, and I don't think he wants to do that.

Neither Fields nor Sweeney are ready yet, Terrero sucks, and Kenny can't just leave Ozzie in a position where he's going to DH Cintron every day.  Something needs to be done, although I'm not sure there are any answers that don't sacrifice 2008 and beyond.  

This next month-and-a-half are going to be very telling for Williams.  If the other three teams (in the division) continue to play well while the Sox float around .500, Williams might decide to have a mini fire sale, which pobably wouldn't be the worst thing in the world.  If Williams were to start fielding offers for Buehrle and Dye on June 15th rather than July 25th, the Sox might be able to grab a better package in return.

Comments?  Suggestions?

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