The Boston Red Sox enter the 2013 Spring Training looking to get back to their winning ways. The process started at the end of the 2012 season with the firing of former Manager Bobby Valentine. He never had control of the team. He constantly changed the lineup (almost on a daily basis), which kept the players from getting any consistency. He also did not know how to manage the Pitching staff and thus the pitchers could not get things worked out for themselves. He also threw players under the bus, which caused the players to not buy in to his way of doing things and eventually created riffs with the players.
He also did not know how to conduct interviews. He would talk bad about a player and then try to retract or clarify what he said, but by then the damage was done.
This was not a good fit from the beginning. Players, as the season progressed, eventually wanted nothing doing with Valentine.
Now, turn the page to 2013 Spring Training. There is a new vibe with the team. There is a new Manager and coaching staff for starters. John Farrell (Manager) was brought in to replace Valentine. He was the former Pitching Coach of the Red Sox when Terry Francona was the Manager. Greg Colbrunn (Hitting Coach), Victor Rodriguez (Assistant Hitting Coach), Juan Nieves (Pitching Coach), Arnie Beyeler (First Base Coach), Brian Butterfield (Third Base Coach / Infield Coach), and Torey Lovullo (Bench Coach) round out his staff for 2013.
OF Cody Ross (Free Agent, Signed with Arizona Diammondbacks),1B James Loney (Free Agent, signed with Tampa Bay Rays),SP Aaron Cook (Free Agent, signed with Philadelphia Phillies), RP Scott Atchison (Free Agent, signed minor league deal with New York Mets), RP Rich Hill (Free Agent, signed minor league deal with Cleveland Indians),SP Daisuke Matsuzaka (Free Agent, signed minor league deal with Cleveland Indians), RP Mark Melancon Pittsburgh Pirates (part of Joel Hanrahan trade), RP Vicente Padilla (Free Agent, signed with Fukuoka Softbank Hawks (Nippon Professional Baseball League)), OF Scott Podsednik (unsigned free agent), Mike Aviles (Fee Agent, signed with Cleveland Indians), C Kelly Shoppach (Free Agent, signed with Seattle Mariners), and RP Matt Albers (Free Agent, signed with Cleveland Indians).
SP Ryan Dempster (signed Free Agent, from Chhicago Cubs and Texas Rangers), CL Joel Hanrahan (obtained in trade with the Pittsburgh Pirates), RP Koji Uehara (signed Free Agent, from Texas Rangers), C David Ross (signed Free Agent, from Atlanta Braves), C/1B Mike Napoli (signed Free Agent, from Texas Rangers), SS Stephen Drew (signed Free Agent, from Arizona Diamondbacks and Oakland A’s), 1B Lyle Overbay (signed minor league deal (Free Agent), from Arizona Diamondbacks and Atlanta Braves), 2B Brock Holt (obtained in Hanrahan trade with Pittsburgh Pirates), OF Jonny Gomes (signed Free Agent, from Oakland A’s), and OF Shane Victorino (signed Free Agent, from Philadelphia Phillies and Los Angeles Dodgers).
Projected Starting Lineup (Note: subject to change due to injuries, performance, trades, Free Agents, etc.):
- Jacoby Ellsbury CF
- Shane Victorino RF
- Dustin Pedroia 2B
- David Ortiz DH
- Will Middlebrooks 3B
- Mike Napoli 1B
- Jonny Gomes LF/Daniel Nava LF
- Jarrod Saltalamacchia C
- Stephen Drew SS
(Note: If SS Stephen Drew has issues or injuries, don’t be surprised to see prospect SS Jose Iglesias called up to take over at SS.)
Lyle Overbay, 1B
Daniel Nava, OF/Jonny Gomes OF
David Ross, C
Pedro Ciriaco, 2B, SS, 3B
(Note: OF Ryan Sweeney (Free Agent invited to Spring Training) could give OF Daniel Nava a run for the backup OF spot. Also, 2B Brock Holt and IF/OF Drew Sutton (Free Agent invited to Spring Training) could battle 2B/SS/3B Pedro Ciriaco for the backup infield spot as well.)
Projected starting rotation:
Ryan Dempster RHP
Jon Lester LHP
Clay Buchholz RHP
Felix Doubront LHP
John Lackey RHP
(Note: Franklin Morales RHP and Alfredo Aceves are being stretched out to start and could be put in the rotation if any one of those five starters listed above go down with injury or a trade happens.)
Koji Uehara (Setup)
Andrew Bailey (setup)
Craig Breslow (LH specialist)
Andrew Mille( LH specialist)
Junichi Tazawa (Long Relief)
Alfredo Aceves (Long Relief)
(Note: Daniel Bard is trying to get back to being a reliever and could join the bullpen at some point this season depending on injuries and/or trades. Also, Alfredo Aceves is being stretched out to become a Starter.)
OF Ryan Kalish (expected to be out for months, surgery on non-throwing shoulder)
C Mike Napli (Hip issues, should be ready for opening day)
DH David Ortiz (Achilles tendon, should be ready for opening day)
OF Bryce Brentz (shot himself, will miss the start of season)
SP John Lackey (arm, coming off Tommy John surgery, should be ready for opening day)
SS Stephen Drew (ankle surgery, should be ready to start opening day)
OF Shane Victorino (wrist issue, should be ready to start opening day)
Top Red Sox Prospects:
RP Clayton Mortensen, OF Mitch Maier, 1B/3B Mauro Gomez, C Ryan Lavarnway, SS Xander Bogaerts, OF Jackie Bradley, RHP Matt Barnes, RHP Allen Webster, LHP Henry Owens, SS Jose Iglesias, OF Bryce Brentz, 3B Garin Cecchini, C Blake Swihart, SS Deven Marrero, OF Brandon Jacobs, LHP Drake Britton, RHP Brandon Workman, LHP Brian Johnson, OF Keury De La Cruz, C Christian Vazquez, RHP Anthony Ranaudo, RHP Pat Light , SS Jose Vinicio, 1B/3B Travis Shaw
American League East Outlook (2013):
The New York Yankees will be the New York Yankees and be right in the thick of things in the division. They did not make very many moves in the off-season, but do not be surprised if they make some once the season starts. The Toronto Blue Jays are the most improved team in the division coming in to this season. They made a blockbuster trade with the Miami Marlins and then turned around and made another trade with the New York Mets. The players they got make them vastly improved over last season. The Tampa Bay Rays will have a lot of new faces this year, but should still be the pesky pests of the division. The Baltimore Orioles improved a lot last season, and the trend should continue into this season. They will be a force to be reckoned with in 2013. The Boston Red Sox look to improve on pathetic 2012 season. There are some new faces that will hopefully pan out and get the Red Sox back into contention in the American League East Division in 2013.