The Boston Red Sox are entering this season looking to have an immediate turn around after their collapse last season.
They cleaned house on the management side of the business—dismissing Terry Francona and parting ways with GM Theo Epstein, replacing them with Bobby Valentine and Ben Cherington, respectively.
While the Red Sox are too good of a team to be down in the American League East for a long time, their desired turn around will not happen this year.
Here are four reasons why.
The Boston Red Sox enter the season with uncertainty surrounding their rotation.
After their top three starters of Josh Beckett, Jon Lester and Clay Buchholz, there really isn't anyone spectacular available.
The No. 4 and No. 5 starter spots are open this year, as both John Lackey and Daisuke Matsuzaka underwent Tommy John surgery.
The original plan is to have Daniel Bard shift over to the rotation and have a position battle for the last spot.
However, Bard has struggled thus far in Spring Training, earning a 7.23 ERA over 18.2 innings.
Despite his poor spring, it appears that Bard will likely make the rotation, according to Ian Browne of MLB.
The other spot will go to one of Alfredo Aceves, Aaron Cook and Felix Doubront.
Jacoby Ellsbury is the only outfielder from last year that is expected to be in the Opening Day lineup.
Carl Crawford is expected to start the season on the disabled list, leaving a hole in left field. The retirement of J.D. Drew and trade of Josh Reddick to Oakland this offseason left another hole in right field.
Those spots are expected to be filled by Cody Ross and Darnell McDonald.
Neither of these players are expected to perform at the same offensive level of their predecessors.
The Red Sox are expecting to enter the season with the following players holding starting roles.
C: Jarrod Saltalamacchia
1B: Adrian Gonzalez
2B: Dustin Pedroia
SS: Mike Aviles
3B: Kevin Youkilis
LF: Cody Ross
CF: Jacoby Ellsbury
RF: Darnell McDonald
DH: David Ortiz
Looking at that list, four of the nine players can be considered weak, at least in regards to the typical strength of the offense that we have grown to expect from Boston.
It is also not expected that Ellsbury will have another amazing display of 30-plus home runs again. While his days in the single-digits may be over, 20-25 home runs seems more reasonable than the 32 he hit last season.
The Boston Red Sox knew what they were getting into when they brought in manager Bobby Valentine this offseason.
Valentine is a loud, brash and sometimes controversial manager.
That has led to some speculation amongst members of the media that there has been a rift developing between Valentine and the front office about roster moves.
While Valentine has refuted these claims, according to ESPN's Gordon Edes, there is the high probability that he will have a conflict with the front office during his tenure as the manager of the Red Sox.
Those conflicts typically have a negative impact on the team as it causes a distraction to the players.
After last season's collapse, another distraction is the last thing the Red Sox need.