By Ross Sutton
Last year was a successful season for the Red Sox, as they went 92-69 and won the AL East for the second season in a row. Unfortunately, the Red Sox had an early exit in the playoffs as they lost to the Astros in four games in the ALDS. The Red Sox have had a good offseason so far, as the players they lost in free agency this offseason have been Addison Reed (Twins), Doug Fister (Rangers), Rajai Davis (Indians) and Chris Young (Angels). The bigger story for the Red Sox this offseason is that they added slugger J.D Martinez and also re-signed Eduardo Nunez and Mitch Moreland. Signing Martinez is the biggest news of the offseason for the Red Sox as they were able to acquire the right-handed power hitter they desperately needed. The deal with Martinez is for 5 years and worth $110M, with $25M being paid out each of the first two years, and then an opt out clause for Martinez after the second, third, and fourth years of the contract.
The Red Sox should have another good season as they seem to be an improved team compared to last year. In 2017, Boston hit an American League worst 168 home runs, but with the addition of Martinez, this should not be as much of a problem for the team in 2018. Boston also has a solid starting staff led by last year’s American League Cy Young runner-up Chris Sale, who is coming a year in which he posted an impressive 2.90 ERA in 214.1 innings. In my opinion, the core of this team is their young group of outfielders featuring Andrew Benintendi, Jackie Bradley Jr. and Mookie Betts. Despite a disappointing offensive year for Bradley and Betts, this is arguably the best defensive outfield in the league and with the addition of Martinez, this duo should benefit offensively. The Red Sox will also bring back star closer Craig Kimbrel this year and the rest of the bullpen around him is solid so shutting down games should not be a major issue for Boston. The storyline for the Red Sox for the regular season will most likely be how they compare to the Yankees, as New York has added last year’s National League MVP Giancarlo Stanton to a team that led the league in home runs in 2017. I believe that the Red Sox will finish the year with a 95-67 record and will be the first wild card team going into the playoffs. Despite the great regular season record, I think the Red Sox will lose in the ALDS again this season as I believe the Yankees and Astros are both better teams at the moment.
All stats courtesy of baseball-reference.com
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