David Ortiz highlights a list of players the fans want back in 2013.
The offseason has begun for the Boston Red Sox. Despite having their worst season since 1965, there were bright spots on the team.
While the manager has been fired, there are players that the team will want to bring back.
Fortunately, fans were able to gravitate to some of the players regardless of the team’s lack of success.
Here are eight players that fans and management will welcome back with open arms.
Despite getting hurt, David Ortiz is an important piece if the 2013 Red Sox want to succeed.
The Red Sox’s best offensive weapon was having a career year at age 36 before he was sidelined with a nagging achilles injury.
While he is getting older, he is a good presence in the clubhouse and doesn’t show any sign of aging.
A full offseason to heal will allow Ortiz to return to being a force in the middle of the lineup in 2013.
Management will want to try and sign Ortiz to another one-year contract, but if the 36-year-old DH pushes for a two-year contract, they should give him one.
Cody Ross was a fan favorite in 2012.
In Cody Ross’ first year in Boston, he was one of the few bright spots on the 93-loss team.
Ross was relatively decent in the field, but it was the pop in his bat that fans fell in love with.
Aside from his flair for the dramatic, Ross had a good year at the dish. His swing is made for Fenway Park and he should be a piece to build around for the next three years.
Jarrod Saltalamacchia made strides in the right direction in 2012.
The once hyped first-round draft pick has finally started to live up to expectations.
Jarrod Saltalamacchia hit a team-high 25 home runs while playing solid defense behind the plate.
One concern is that he may have peaked as a hitter, and while his power was a bright spot, his strikeout numbers were alarming.
He is arbitration eligible so he is almost certain to return, but he may benefit from splitting time with Ryan Lavarnway in 2013.
Junichi Tazawa looks like a new man after Tommy John surgery.
After being signed in December 2008, Junichi Tazawa did little to impress fans in his rookie season. In his second season, Tazawa injured his pitching elbow and underwent Tommy John surgery.
He came back in 2012 and was one of the few dominant pitchers in the Red Sox bullpen.
Tazawa looks better post-surgery, and while he may be better suited as a late inning reliever, he could fight for a spot in the back end of the rotation.
Will Middlebrooks put a charge into the Fenway faithful.
Will Middlebrooks made a definite impact during his rookie season and made Kevin Youkilis expendable.
Middlebrooks has a good combination of power and defensive ability that Fenway Park fans love.
If the 24-year-old third baseman can stay healthy and possibly improve his plate discipline, the Red Sox will have a middle of the order stud that they can build around for the next 10 years.
Feix Doubront should be a staple in the Red Sox rotation for years to come.
In Felix Doubront’s first full season, he showed fans signs of hoping.
Doubront may not look like a future ace, but the 24-year-old has the potential to be a solid middle-of-the-rotation starter for years to come.
He threw a career high 161 innings and struggled toward the end because of it, but there is plenty to be happy about when it comes to Doubront’s future with the Red Sox.
Franklin Morales gives the Red Sox options in 2013.
Franklin Morales was one of the other bright spots on an otherwise dismal pitching staff.
The Venezuelan lefty delivered pitching out of the bullpen and the rotation.
The big question moving forward is what should Morales be? Is he a starter or a hard-throwing lefty out of the bullpen?
Either way, that is a good problem for Red Sox management to have moving forward.
Jose Iglesias needs to prove he can hit, but he is an outstanding defensive shortstop.
Fans have been impressed by Jose Iglesias’ defensive abilities since being called up in late August.
He has struggled at the plate, but he is still young and raw with plenty of room for improvement.
Iglesias will never be an impact bat, but with a full offseason to add strength (not bulk) he will fight for the starting shortstop position in the spring.
If he can manage to impress the new manager, a full season with Dave Magadan may be exactly what Iglesias needs to break through at the plate.