Opening day is this month so I figured I’d talk about the Red Sox for a bit.
Everyone is concerned with how the lineup will do without Mookie Betts, but this team is still bringing back Andrew Benintendi, Xander Bogaerts, JD Martinez, and Rafael Devers. The lineup will be fine.
The real issue is the pitching staff. Chris Sale hasn’t proved he can be effective since landing a new deal (a terrible deal in my opinion) and won’t even be healthy to start the season. We dealt David Price away, and he was our number two guy. Rick Porcello left in free agency. The only two back are Eduardo Rodriguez and Nathan Eovoldi. While Rodriguez had a great year last year, Eovoldi barely pitched. While he looks good in this clip, it’s spring training. Banking on Eovoldi to be competent isn’t really something most Red Sox fans would want to have to do, but he’s one of only two or three proven major league pitchers. We signed Martin Perez, who had an above 5 era last year, but after that there’s no clear option. Even when Sale returns, the rotation is going to be a mess throughout the year.
As for the bullpen, this is still a team without a proven closer. Brandon Workman seems to be the guy, and while he put up great numbers in the 6th through 8th innings, closing games is a whole different situation. Hopefully he pulls through, but even then the bullpen still lacks. Matt Barnes is occasionally good. Ryan Brazier lost his powers from the 2018 season apparently. Heath Hembree is still good for giving up a home run each appearance. Hector Velazquez and Brian Johnson are perennially awful. In other words it’s a mess. There are a lot of extra arms floating around camp in Florida and hopefully some of them will have an impact.
In all honestly, I wouldn’t be surprised if this team finishes around the same mark as last year. They’ve got a lot of the same core, and with bounce back years from Benintendi and Martinez (kind of) the lineup should be able to win them a decent amount of games. If things go the right way, they could end up sneaking into the wild card, it’s just very unlikely. By October, we will be watching Marcus Mariota lead the patriots to a 4-0 start anyways, so we won’t really need baseball.
(Originally posted March 1, 2020)