Wednesday, March 27, 2013

30 Teams in 30 Days: Boston Red Sox

2012 Record: 69-93 (77-85 Pythagorean Record)

Key Additions:

Joel Hanrahan (trade w Pittsburgh)
Jonny Gomes (FA)
Shane Victorino (FA)
Mike Napoli (FA)
Stephen Drew (FA)
Ryan Dempster (FA)
David Ross (FA)
Brock Holt (trade w Pittsburgh)
Mike Carp (trade w Seattle)

Key Subtractions:

James Loney (signed w Tampa Bay)
Daisuke Matsuzaka (signed MiLB deal w Cleveland)
Cody Ross (signed w Arizona)

Which New Guy will Help the Most?

As you can see, the Red Sox have added a lot more than they have subtracted this offseason. From their worst season in nearly half a century to a disastrous clubhouse with Bobby Valentine at the helm, 2012 was a forgettable year for the Red Sox to say the least. One thing that GM Ben Cherington added this offseason was veteran, well-respected ballplayers to really reinvigorate the clubhouse vibe and make it a positive one once again. Did he overpay to get the likes of Victorino, Napoli, and Drew? Yes, but they needed to have a clubhouse makeover after all of the drama seemingly daily throughout last season along with 93 losses. Of the new acquisitions, I would have to go with Joel Hanrahan, the new Red Sox closer, who will have the biggest impact. You could argue that the Red Sox should use Andrew Bailey in the 9th, but Hanrahan deserves this spot, for now anyway, as he has been a rock solid closer for the Pirates and should continue to do so in Beantown.

Spring Training Battles:

With Spring Training all but done, teams have essentially decided on which 25 men are heading north with their respective teams to open up the season, and the Red Sox are no different. The only real battle right now is the Front Office seeing if 22 year old Jackie Bradley Jr. is really ready for The Show, or may need a little minor league work. Bradley Jr. has certainly done his part this spring, posting a ridiculous .423 AVG to go along with a few homers and outstanding defense. Bradley Jr. is certainly making a legitimate case for himself that he doesn’t need seasoning and I actually envision him being the opening day Left Fielder.

Questions Heading Into the Season: 

Can the Red Sox improve on their dismal 2012 season and make the playoffs?
This two part question has a two part answer. There is no doubt that this team is a better, more mature, lass dramatic, more well-rounded group than what it was 7 or 8 months ago, so you can all but guarantee a rise in wins with the revamped Sox squad, but you cannot automatically put them into the postseason (unlike the Blue Jays) as they still do have holes. I love their bullpen, and think it is the best in the division without a doubt, and their offense could be above average if Dustin Pedroia has a monster year and “Big Papi” David Ortiz comes back from his injury and continues to rake, but the rotation is what frightens me. They have put all of their trust into Jon Lester (who just today was named the Opening Day starter) and Clay Buchholz to have bounce back season after Buchholz struggled for much of last year and Lester just fell off a cliff much like fellow lefty Ricky Romero, and while they may have solid seasons, I was looking for them to add an ace caliber pitcher as the Sox had money to spend after the massive August trade with the Dodgers and a need for an ace, but that never happened.
Ryan Dempster is a solid pickup, but the might have overpaid for a guy who really is not much more than a middle of the rotation starter now and shouldn’t be counted on to lead the rotation much like Buchholz and Lester. Am I saying that they need an ace to win a championship, not at all, but they needed another quality, front of the rotation arm that is able to give them 200 innings, with a sub 3.00 ERA, and will be able to keep Boston in games every time they are out on the mound.

Prospect who Could have the Biggest Impact in 2013:

Yes, I am going to go with Jackie Bradley Jr. as the pup who is going to help this Red Sox team the most this year. The guy is only 22, yet with Carl Crawford long gone, Bradley has a chance to break camp as the everyday Left Fielder which would obviously be huge for him and hopefully the entire organization. The general consensus is that Bradley Jr. was going to take the reins of Center Field as Jacoby Ellsbury is an impending Free Agent, but with everyday playing time this year, Jackie could help this Red Sox team out a lot sooner than you think.

Projected Roster:

Projected Rotation:
1.Jon Lester
2.Clay Buchholz
3.Ryan Dempster
4.Felix Doubront
5.John Lackey

Projected Bullpen:
Joel Hanrahan (CL)
Andrew Bailey (SU)
Daniel Bard (SU)
Junichi Tazawa (MR)
Koeji Uehara (MR)
Alfredo Aceves (MR)
Andrew Miller (LR)

Projected Bench:
David Ross (C)
Pedro Ciriaco (UTIL)
Daniel Nava (1B/DH/PH)
Ryan Sweeney (OF)

Projected Lineup:
1.Jacoby Ellsbury (CF)
2.Shane Victorino (RF)
3.Dustin Pedroia (2B)
4.Will Middlebrooks (3B)
5.Mike Napoli (1B)
6.Jonny Gomes (DH) (David Ortiz doubtful for Opening Day)
7.Jarrod Saltalamacchia (C)
8.Jackie Bradley Jr. (LF)
9.Jose Iglesias (SS)

Projected Record: 80-82
*We'll be changing the projected records a bit in our final projected standings post because of injuries ect...

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