I missed all of the juicy news of the off-season while the site was down. While I can’t really do it all justice right now, I’ll give my quick impressions.
- The Starting Rotation: In short, it looks stacked. You can look back and see all of the foolish predictions I made last year, but I’ll go ahead and do it again anyway. If they all stay healthy, I think everyone will at least 15 games. Curt will break 20, and Beckett will be right behind them. It remains to be seen how Papelbon and Daisuke will do in their first [full] year of starting in the Major Leagues, but I think we’ll see very good things out of both of them. Wake will be his usual consistent self.
- The Lineup: The Sox subtracted Alex Gonzalez, Mark Loretta, and Trot Nixon and added Julio Lugo and JD Drew and promoted Dustin Pedroia. I think it will clearly be a net gain. 1-9 for most games should look something like: Lugo, Kevin Youkilis, David Ortiz, Manny Ramirez, Drew, Jason Varitek, Mike Lowell, Coco Crisp, and Pedroia. I expect good years for all from all of them, including bounce-back years from Varitek and Coco. I think Pedroia will surprise some people out fo the 9 hole.
- The bullpen: Easily the biggest question mark. I think Pinerio will at least spend some time as the closer, and do a pretty good job out of the bullpen overall. We’ll probably go through some rough times (who doesn’t?) but I think these guys can, for the most part, hold down games. Hansen and Manny Del Carmen will probably spend some time in Pawtucket while the veterans arms in the pen get sorted out.
All in all, I think this will be great team and fun to watch. If you’re in the market for furniture, you might want to consider hitting up Jordan’s. There’s a good chance the Sox can win a championship this year and your furniture can be free. ;-)