After having an abysmal season last year, have the Red Sox done enough to rebound and compete for a playoff spot again? They certainly were busy in the offseason, but will still need their usual workhorses (Pedroia, Lester, Ortiz, etc) to carry this team again. Here is a look at the 2013 Red Sox:
Additions: OF/1B Mike Carp, SP Ryan Dempster, SS Stephen Drew, OF Jonny Gomes, RP Joel Hanrahan, 1B Mike Napoli, and OF Shane Victorino.
Departures: INF Mike Aviles, 1B James Loney, SP Daisuke Matsuzaka, and OF Cody Ross.
Newness. After a controversial and injury plagued 2012 campaign, the Red Sox have added plenty of new faces. As a matter of fact, first year manager John Farrell will posses a new RF in Victorino, SS in Drew, 1B in Napoli, and Closer in Hanrahan. While Ross was an extreme asset last year and will be missed, the offense as a whole should be better. Also, the rotation, which struggled for much of the 2012 season, has the potential to be much better this year. The rotation last year posted the highest staff ERA in team history…. That’s not a typo… their worst rotation ERA EVER. If Lester and Buchholz can return to their 2010/2011 forms and Ryan Dempster is healthy, this staff will be much better than that.
Much like their rival in New York, the Red Sox have managed to assemble a very talented, but fragile roster. Bucholz, Lackey, Ellsbury, Napoli, Ortiz, and Drew have all had issues staying on the field (I didn’t include Middlebrooks only because he has only played 1 season). Which could be an issue for the Sox in certain areas. While the Red Sox are considerably deep in the OF and at the catcher position (David Ross is not only the best backup in the MLB, but a great locker room presence as well), the infield is fairly weak as far as depth goes. They will need to keep their infield healthy if they really want to compete in the East.
I like this team much better than the team I saw at the end of 2012. However, if the Red Sox finish any higher than 3rd in the loaded AL East, I would be pleasantly surprised. Lack of depth and the injury bug that just seems to follow so many of their starters gives me too much to doubt. Not to mention that they play in the toughest division in the MLB and will have no one to beat up on like usual (Blue Jays or Orioles). I really hope I am wrong though, because this division race could turn into one of the best in history if the Sox and Yanks stay healthy.
Follow Cole Stevenson on twitter: @Cole_Stevenson