After a 2013 World Series win, the Red Sox have been washed up earning themselves last place two years straight. Hopefully, this off season’s moves finally did the trick. The Red Sox have tried to make their team better but it’s been Murphy’s Law; all the players they sign have had horrible seasons in their first year on the team. If things work out their second years will be better. Also, hopefully guys they got this off season like David Price and Craig Kimbrel are a different story.
The Red Sox have had a pretty strong off season. They filled their holes at starting ace and in the bullpen, but the lineup is a concern. They didn’t focus on the lower rotation either.
The Red Sox started the off season relatively quiet. In Mid-November, they boosted their bullpen by receiving Craig Kimbrel from the Padres for Manuel Margot, Javier Guerra, Logan Allen and one other prospect. Kimbrel is one of the premier closers in the league. Aroldis Chapman, the only better closer in the MLB, in my opinion and was traded to their rivals the Yankees. However, he will miss 30 games due to taking PEDs. Andrew Miller will continue to close until that is over.
They also exercised Clay Buchholz’s club option to save him his spot in the rotation. However he looked crummy yesterday, which is fearful because of his even year struggles recently. The rest of November was quiet, but rumors surrounding pitchers David Price, Zack Greinke, Johnny Cueto and Darren O’ Day were in the air. They were favorites to sign Price. They finally reached a seven year, 217 million dollar deal in early December, just a couple days after the two-year signing of Chris Young, the ex-Yankees outfielder, not the Royals pitcher.
As the winter meetings came around they were trying to trade a lower rotation starter to save a rotation spot for either Joe Kelly or Henry Owens. Despite bad starts to the year, they had a great run late in the season. On December 7th, just a few days after the Price signing, the Sox traded Wade Miley and Jonathan Aro to the Mariners for more bullpen depth in Carson Smith and Roenis Elias. They filled their main needs, but they still had some minor ones afloat.
Besides minor league deals, the rest of the off season was relatively quiet, and they will have to figure out the rest in spring training. Anthony Varvaro, Roman Mendez, Carlos Marmol, Sandy Leon, Ali Solis, Chris Dominguez, David Murphy, Ryan LaMarre and Brennan Boesch highlighted the minor league non-roster invitees.
Off Season Grade: B+
Spring Training Questions
Will Christian Vazquez be ready to go?
Don’t expect Vazquez to start the season in the majors. He may need some more seasoning just to make sure he’s good to go, although in a Red Sox sim game, he said he was okay. Vazquez underwent Tommy John surgery in March 2015. He is almost one year removed, but catcher Matt Wieters returned too early, and that’s never a good thing. However, what other options do they have?
Unless Ryan Hanigan can stay at the majors level for an extended time again, Vazquez may be wanted as a backup catcher to Blake Swihart. It’s a tough decision.
Will the back end of the rotation perform?
Guys like Eduardo Rodriguez and Rick Porcello have potential for a bounce back season, but Clay Buchholz and Joe Kelly may be questionable. I was very worried when E-Rod got hurt — all that potential gone but when he’s ready to pitch, he can emerge into an SP2 role. Porcello had one bad year. He’s still in his prime and he was once a mediocre SP3-SP4 in the league. Buchholz also worried me on Sunday when he pitched badly. But the back end of the Red Sox rotation can bounce back if they have enough good pitching to beat out the bad.
How will the young guys do?
I’m a little worried about JBJ and Rusney Castillo’s abilities to hit, but Mookie Betts, Xander Bogaerts and Eduardo Rodriguez are a young trio of breakout candidates across the team. Yoan Moncada and Andrew Benintendi could crash the majors in 2016. Deven Marrero and Travis Shaw looked like they could stay in the majors. Henry Owens could start in a relief role, and eventually become a spot starter.
There is a lot of strong prospects high and low in the Red Sox system. Between their non-roster invitees, younger starters, and minor league prospects on the 40-man roster, the Red Sox’s farm system is piled with strong players.
Will Pablo Sandoval and Hanley Ramirez adjust?
This is a tough one to answer. These are two former all star sluggers that were good for a long period of time on just a couple of teams who signed with the Red Sox last off season. In the end, Murphy’s Law; as soon as they joined the Sox, they suddenly sucked and Ramirez didn’t even have a place in the organization after a failed attempt to move to left field.
Hanley Ramirez reportedly looked good in fielding drills with Brian Butterfield at first. He struggled in the first few exhibition games, but has bounced back recently. Sandoval however, came in to camp in very bad shape, and is attempting to adjust back to switch hitting. He made some decemy catches and plate appearances in some of the games, but has had a high number of errors in the games.
Right now it’s Hanley on an uptrend, Panda not so much, but that could change. Panda did look good at the plate despite fielding and health issues. Ramirez needs work at the plate, too. Changing to first still could be a little rough though. He may have hope if he can hit like he did early in 2015. So, it could go either way with these two mysteries.
Red Sox Projected Roster
Craig Kimbrel (CL)
Robbie Ross Jr.
- Mookie Betts (RF)
- Dustin Pedroia (2B)
- Xander Bogaerts (SS)
- David Ortiz (DH)
- Hanley Ramirez (1B)
- Pablo Sandoval (3B)
- Rusney Castillo (LF)
- Blake Swihart (C)
- Jackie Bradley Jr. (CF)
Travis Shaw/David Muprhy
**If Vazquez isn’t ready to go by Opening Day, it will be Ryan Hanigan in his place.
That’s all for today. Check out my Cubs article coming soon.