The Boston Red Sox have been struggling since firing Theo Epstein after the disastrous 2011 campaign where they blew a division lead of catastrophic proportions.
They did win the World Series in 2013, and I got to say that was awesome to see them win it in Boston. But the three seasons in between ended with poor results, finishing last in the AL East in each of the three seasons between the World Series title.
The Red Sox have tried to get the fans to buy in again in recent years. One signing I wasn’t a fan of at all was Pablo Sandoval. He looks completely out of shape in spring training. His gut is now the topic of Internet jokes and smack talk.
With the hiring of David Dombrowski (aka the Big Dombrowski), he brought in ace P David Price, who’s a Cy Young winner but is winless in the postseason. He also traded for San Diego CP Craig Kimbrel to boost their bullpen, which was horrible last season.
The move for David Price and Craig Kimbrel shake out to the fact that the pitching staff was the main focus, as it should’ve been. The rotation this year will include 4 of these other guys Clay Buchholz, Eduardo Rodriguez, Joe Kelly, Henry Owens, Rick Porcello, Stephen Wright and former Seattle P Roenis Elias.
Rick Porcello and Joe Kelly will have a lot to prove, particularly Porcello who really looked uncomfortable on the mound last season after signing a huge extension last season. Former CP Koji Uehara will be changing his role to the 8th inning as a setup guy, this can only help the bullpen as a whole for the experience Koji has. Last season he looked like age had caught up to him.
A bright spot for the team could be it’s young OFs. Guys like Mookie Betts, Jackie Bradley Jr., and Rusney Castillo. All three had their hot streaks last season for a time but keeping them on the field with steady production will be very important for a possible bounce-back season.
The recent Las Vegas odds for World Series contenders this year were released today and shown on ESPN. The Red Sox are tied with four other teams that include the Mets, Nationals, Dodgers, and Giants.
Red Sox Nation wants to buy into the team being able to turn it all around. But after seeing the team finish in last despite all of their resources and assets in recent years.
The true weakness of this team is Hanley Ramirez and Pablo Sandoval at the corners of the infield. Ramirez and Sandoval were the biggest free agent busts last season and it wasn’t even close. The Boston Globe, WBZ, and other local outlets have had Red Sox beat writers are awaiting the disaster that Hanley Ramirez will be at 1B. Yes, it’s that bad! Hopefully Travis Shaw can win the job outright at 1B to keep Hanley from stinking up the place.
At this point the team is stuck with them and need to stick it out and not let them interfere with the development of the young guys on the team.
Two of those young stars not named Mookie Betts is C Blake Swihart and SS Xander Bogaerts. Bogaerts and Betts took a huge step last season and leave hope for the development of the Red Sox core group going forward as Ortiz and Pedroia have been slowing down whether it’s age or injury.
Red Sox legend David Ortiz is retiring at season’s end and will be putting together the final chapter to a career that changed the Red Sox franchise forever when he signed after the 2002 season. Ortiz already has 500 HRs, now he’ll get to put on a show for one final season.
I’ve seen him take batting practice up close and everyone is glued in to what he does. He also has embraced the city of Boston, none more true to that then the speech on the first game back at Fenway following the Boston Marathon bombing.
Red Sox Nation wants to buy into the team this season, we all do, I do! But they’re going to have to prove from the start of the season that this is a totally different team as opposed to the teams that finished in last place over the past two seasons.
I’ll be watching closely in the early part of the season for hope that Hanley Ramirez doesn’t embarrass himself at first. I’ll also be watching to see if David Price stays true to his word about saving all his playoff wins for Boston. I’ll also be hoping that the young guns in the lineup and in the pitching staff continue to grow.
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