After a disastrous 2012 campaign that saw the Red Sox miss the postseason for the third consecutive year, it was clear that the franchise that was once held as the standard of the sport has now lost its way. This next year features a roster largely different from the one started the season a year ago. Gone are the big bats of Adrian Gonzalez and Carl Crawford, and replacing them were the bats of several free agent signings.
Arguably the biggest name, the Red Sox signed this past offseason is catcher/ first baseman Mike Napoli. The right-handed power hitter shot to fame as one of the leading stars of the 2011 Rangers team that came within an out of a title. Napoli posted the best lines of his career during that season, but he struggled to recreate that same level of production for 2012. With the contract he signed with the Red Sox, the franchise it taking a risk that the Napoli from 2011 will reemerge in their lineup. Another new name on the lineup card for the team is outfielder Shane Victorino. The outfielder was a key player on the 2008 Phillies team that won the World Series and he has remained a steady if unspectacular presence ever since. Last year may have been a down year for Victorino, but the Red Sox are again gambling on the odds that a formerly all-star caliber player can reclaim his former glory.
Boston also filled out its pitching staff with the moves it made over the winter. The team brought on veteran starting pitcher Ryan Dempster to add to depth to a rotation that had been beset by injuries over the last few years. Dempster put up terrific numbers while he was still with the Cubs last season, but after getting traded to the American League, his numbers spiked up. This season will show whether the veteran pitcher still has the ability to navigate through American League lineups. The team also added depth to its bullpen by trading for Joel Hanrahan. The former Pirate has spent the last few years in the closer’s role, and he has proven to be very effective in this role.
The team understood that the roster needed a makeover in the worst way, but the front office also understood that there were problems that reached far beyond the talents of the players. Last year’s manager, Bobby Valentine, inspired animosity from his players, and the team was never able to truly come together under his stead. In pursuit of a new manager, the team looked to its past and hired former pitching coach John Farrell. The pitching staff had performed admirably under his tutelage and now he gets the chance to prove himself as the team’s manager. Farrell does have previous experience with this role as he also served as the manager of the Toronto Blue Jays prior to his return engagement with the Boston Red Sox. He and his players are going to be the ones that determine whether or not the franchise will finally be able to bounce back for the season of 2013.
One of the many ways by which you can catch the Boston Red Sox in action would be to watch their Spring Training performance against the Tampa Bay Rays this coming 23rd. Get your Boston Red Sox tickets from Ticket Broker.