Over the course of 30 days (or so) I will be previewing all 30 MLB teams, followed by an overall season prediction post, leading up to the start of the 2015 season. This post is previewing the Boston Red Sox.
The Red Sox finished at the bottom of the American League East in 2014 after winning the World Series the year before. Looking to get back to their winning ways this year, they made a number of acquisitions in the offseason, through trades and free agent signings, in an attempt to improve the team and get back to the postseason.
So why the need for a rebuilding of the team? An offense that finished next to last in the AL in batting average, fourth worst in home runs and third worst in OPS are among the reasons. When you have an offense that ranks near the bottom of the league and many of the major categories, you have to rely on your pitching to win games. So a pitching staff that ranked tied for fifth worst in the AL in ERA (4.01) and tied for the fourth fewest saves (36) isn’t what you want to go along with the bad offense.
So what about those acquisitions? With SP Jon Lester — who won 10 games in just 21 starts in an injury-shortened season — signing with the Cubs, the team had to bolster the pitching staff. Enter SP Wade MIley, acquired through a trade with the Diamondbacks, who has thrown more than 190 innings in all three of his full MLB seasons; SP Rick Porcello, who the Sox got in a trade with the Tigers in which OF Yoenis Cespedes was the main player going to Detroit, who won 15 games last year with a 3.43 ERA last year; and free agent signee SP Justin Masterson, returning to the team with which he began his career. The two big signings at the plate were 3B Pablo Sandoval, a career .294 hitter, and OF Hanley Ramirez — moving from his traditional SS position — who has a .300 career batting average. Add them to an offense that already includes 2B Dustin Pedroia, DH David Ortiz and some good young hitters, and you have the makings of a strong offense that that should vault from the bottom of the ranks in the AL to closer to the top of the rankings.
In just a few short months, the Red Sox did a good job of improving their team and making it a distinct possibility that they could go from worst to first in the East. Adding Sandoval and Ramirez to the team while nearly revamping the entire starting rotation likely makes the Red Sox one of the two best teams in the division, and gives them a very good shot at returning to the postseason in 2015.