69-93, Last place in American League East
What the Red Sox need to happen in 2013
After last year's disaster, the Red Sox are getting back to basics in 2013. Former pitching coach John Farrell was brought back to manage the team.
General manager Ben Cherington has done his best to make his mark, freeing up a ton of money by dealing Adrian Gonzalez, Josh Beckett and Carl Crawford to the Los Angeles Dodgers in one of the most shocking trades in recent memory.
The Red Sox are trying to rebuild their farm system and get back to being competitive in the division, as evidenced by some of the moves they made this offseason.
But first and foremost the Red Sox have to see Jon Lester and Clay Buchholz have to perform up to their talent level if this team wants to be better in 2013. Those two combined to throw 394.2 innings, yet both had an ERA over 4.50.
The addition of Ryan Dempster does give them more depth and someone who can eat innings. Though it will be interesting to see if the 5.09 ERA he posted after being traded to Texas was more a function of the hitter-friendly nature of Arlington or because he is a National League-only pitcher.
John Lackey has shown up to camp looking like a completely different person after losing a ton of weight. He is coming off Tommy John surgery late in the 2011 season, so it is going to take him time to acclimate himself to the game again.
Red Sox fans love to hate Lackey. Their expectations for him are incredibly low, so even if he just eats innings they will consider that a win.
Signing Shane Victorino to be the team's right fielder was a puzzling move, especially for three years, considering his defense and bat speed slipped considerably last year. The Red Sox didn't have a lot of internal options to choose from, so they must have felt the need to overpay him.
Getting a healthy David Ortiz and Dustin Pedroia back in the middle of the lineup, as well as keeping Jacoby Ellsbury on the field, will get this offense back to being one of the best in the league.
Of course, Ellsbury's health has been his biggest issue for years. When he was healthy for an entire season two years ago, he was an MVP candidate. Whether he can get back to that level again, especially in the power department, will be critical for this team.
After seeing their bullpen post a 3.88 ERA last season, 19th in baseball, the Red Sox added Joel Hanrahan from Pittsburgh to close games. Daniel Bard will move back to the role he was meant for, in the back of the bullpen.
This team is deeper entering the 2013 season than it was last year. Top prospects like pitcher Matt Barnes and outfielder Jackie Bradley could be called up this season. Whether that depth will be good enough to get them back in the postseason race depends on if they can stay healthy this season.
What could go wrong
If Lester and Buchholz implode again, the rotation is in trouble. Hanrahan could find that the American League East is a lot more difficult than the National League Central, leaving them with a hole in the back of the bullpen yet again.
Ortiz's age and injuries last season could catch up to him, putting more pressure on players like Ellsbury and Napoli, who have their own health concerns, to play at least 140 games each.
Victorino, who saw his batting average drop by 24 points, on-base percentage drop 34 points and slugging percentage drop 108 points, could continue his steep decline and be an overpaid role player.
This is not a team that is ready to compete for a championship right now. The farm system has gotten markedly better over the last eight months, but their top prospects won't be ready to make significant contributions until 2014.
The Red Sox are headed in the right direction, but so many things have to go right for them to be a playoff team in 2013 that their window might not open again until 2014.