2012 MLB Team Preview: Boston Red Sox

Boston Red Sox

2011—90-72

Key Additions—Andrew Bailey

Key Losses——-Theo Epstein, Marco Scutaro, Jonathan Papelbon, Jason Varitek, JD Drew, Tim Wakefield

Lineup—I wonder when the last time you go into the season and say that without a doubt the Boston Red Sox came out of the offseason worse than when they entered. It all starts with the lineup. You could make an argument that they downgraded at SS, LF (while Crawford is out) and RF. Taking a step back, the loss of Varitek hurts in the leadership front. And they will not get much production out of this spot. Adrian Gonzalez is still a stud, and Dustin Pedroia will still put up his numbers. Don’t expect much from the SS position no matter who plays there, which is why the Marco Scutaro deal was such a head scratcher. I like Youk, but not completely sure he can stay healthy. Jacob Ellsbury is hoping to continue off the year he built last year, but as I mentioned not having Carl Crawford hurts, and even though JD Drew never panned out as expected, replacing him with Cody Ross is not an upgrade. Honestly, I really shake my head at this offense and where they are at entering the season.

Pitching—The rotation is hands down the strength of this team, as long as their key men can stay healthy. Josh Beckett and Jon Lester lead this staff along with Clay Buckholz. Becket and Lester have had problems staying healthy in the past few seasons, but are big producers when healthy. Buckholz is another one of those guys that has had an issue staying healthy. He is a stud when he is pitching, but keeping him on the mound is key. Considering that John Lackey and Dice-K are either out for the year or the majority of the year, they will rely on Daniel Bard and possibly Alfredo Alceves. On potential they have a chance to be really good, but I just don’t have faith they can stay healthy to do that. As for the bullpen this is the other area where I shake my head at what they did. They basically traded out Jonathan Papelbon for Andrew Bailey. While I like Bailey, I just don’t understand how you can settle for that. With the concern in the rotation, I expect this bullpen to be used quite a bit and therefore get beat up later in the year. Can this staff be good, absolutely, but a lot of ifs on guys being able to stay healthy?

Outlook—It may appear as if I am really down on this team, but it isn’t so much in believing in their talent as it is utter surprise that they are willing to rely on the players they have. I just can’t understand some of the moves they make, but will say that if the chips fall right and this rotation can stay healthy, and Carl Crawford can return to form, they can win a lot of games. But my gut is that this just won’t happen. And considering the strength of this division, it may be another sad October in Boston.

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