The Red Sox were one of the most active teams in all of Major League Baseball this offseason. This is due in large part to their lousy 71-91 record in 2014. Expectations were high for the Red Sox last season as they were coming off a World Series victory, but their young players faltered and could not make the leap to become serviceable players.
The Sox mainly focused on improving their anemic offense from 2014. The two biggest bats that they signed were former Sox farmhand Hanley Ramirez and former World Series MVP Pablo Sandoval. These two players look to provide a much needed boost to the middle of the Red Sox lineup.
Last year Ramirez hit .283 with seventeen home runs and 71 RBI while appearing in 128 games. Ramirez will be making the transition to left field as he will be trading in his shortstop glove for a much larger outfield mitt. The Sox hope that playing the outfield will let him focus on his offense and help him get in the thirty home runs range.
Sandoval will be the starting Third Baseman for the Sox in 2015. Last year he hit .279 with sixteen home runs and 73 RBI. While those numbers aren’t gaudy, they are certainly an upgrade over the numbers that Brock Holt and Will Middlebrooks put up last year for the team. The major issue with Sandoval is his weight. He has struggled with it all of his career, however he is surprisingly agile for a 250 pounder and is known for his late season theatrics. If he gets a clutch hit that propels the Sox to the playoffs, people can live with him looking like the Michelin man.
Many fans in Red Sox Nation believe that the team should have signed an ace. They lost out on John Lester and did not replace him with any big name free agents. Many fans wanted the team to make a major run at high profile pitchers like Max Scherzer and James Shields, however the team decided to sign and trade for solid but not spectacular guys.
The Sox acquired Justin Masterson through free agency and traded for Wade Miley and Rick Porcello. In order to get Miley the team had to trade young, but struggling pitchers in Rubby De La Rosa and Allen Webster. Webster gave off the deer in the headlights look every time he stepped on the mound, so I’m sure not too many fans were crushed to see him go. In order to get Porcello the team had to trade Cuban slugger Yoenis Cespedes. Cespedes was solid and provided excitement in his brief tenure with the team, but he did not seem to fit in well in the locker room.
I am personally the most excited about the Masterson signing. When healthy he has shown the potential to be a low-end number one pitcher or a high grade two pitcher. Look for more articles on the team in the upcoming weeks, but for now we’re on to Boston College!