Last year was an unmitigated disaster for the Boston Red Sox. For a franchise that had only come to know success since the turn of the millennium, last year provided the team with a reminder of just how bad things can get, and even an exorbitant payroll can lead to very little success. These days, the events of last year seem like little more than just blips on the radar, a one truly awful year for a franchise that had otherwise learned to leave it behind. The 2013 Boston Red Sox are not guaranteed of anything as of yet, but at the very least, they’ll make the events of 2012 a little easier to laugh about. This version of the Boston beloved possesses a new energy and it may just be enough to bring home another World Series title to Beantown.
The Red Sox were very proactive in the offseason about remaking their roster. The pall that was cast over the franchise at the conclusion of the 2012 campaign needed to be removed at all costs, and the team responded by signing free agents who were just as famous for their on-field exploits as for their positive clubhouse contributions. Acquisition such as Shane Victorino and Mike Napoli have helped so far, working to add depth to a lineup that had somehow begun to fade over the last year. The team even remained active at the trading deadline this year, bringing in former Cy Young winner Jake Peavy to bolster a rotation that was being thinned out by injuries. The new acquisitions are earning their keep for sure, but it’s the work that’s been done by the incumbents who are doing more to improve the team’s chances.
Dustin Pedroia, recent addition to the list of $100 million men, is as good as ever, providing his steady brand of defense, super smart baserunning, and overall expertise at the plate. David Ortiz is also putting up a throwback season, flashing the same power that earned him his Big Papi moniker in the past and showing that even in his mid-30s that a designated hitter can still get it done. More surprisingly however may be the contributions that have emanated from the club’s less heralded pitchers. Felix Doubront, a lightly regarded left hander who worked almost exclusively as a reliever prior to the start of the 2012 season, has taken to the starter’s job and has done fabulously, emerging as one of the league’s lesser known but highly effective young pitchers. Even John Lackey, the much-maligned right hander who spent seasons as the rotation’s whipping boy has had a revival of sorts, working more consistently as he ever has since he’s put on a Red Sox uniform.
Whether it’s a culture change or just more players stepping up, the Red Sox simply know that they’re a better team this year. After a season of utter disappointment and failures across the board, the boys of Boston are back on track and ready to win another World Series.
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