This is unfortunate but I think most people saw the writing on the wall. Especially after Lowell himself used the "A-word"* in describing the problem. It also puts the Sox in a bit of a bind as the 1B/3B shuffle is one of the few things that their farm system doesn't adequately cover.
Bailey is a short, short-term solution at first as Youk moves to third. Kotsay could go longer, but I don't know if he's the permanent solution. But down the system all our future first basemen (Lars, Chris Carter, Aaron Bates) are either too young or all bat and little glove. Bates is probably the closest to the majors in the farm system but he wouldn't be a major upgrade over Kotsay.
And so we come to the idea of trading for a third or first baseman. Which is problematic in itself because if Lowell does come back (and there is no reason to suspect otherwise at this point), he'll be starting again. So you can't trade for a starting third or first baseman for that reason, never mind the huge salary they're likely carrying**. But you can't trade for another standard prospect because that isn't an upgrade over your current situation. So somehow you have find either a prospect that is major-league ready but is blocked in his current organization, or you have to locate some "super-sub" that can really play first (or third) well but won't mind going to the bench. Any ideas?
The only name I can think of is Greg Dobbs in Philadelphia. He plays first and third and would be solid off the bench. But I'm not sure he's that much of an upgrade over Kotsay. Kotsay can get the job done at first and maybe that's the best play overall until Lowell rejoins the team.
But for now, the Sox find themselves with a question to answer that they didn't have even five days ago.
* That would be "arthritis." Yes, not a good word to associate with an athlete.
** Garrett Atkins, I'm looking at you...