Baseball is almost back in full bloom for the Boston Red Sox, as their pitchers and catchers report to spring training. The franchise made several big moves in the offseason in order to make up for their early exit in this year's post season.
One of their biggest acquisitions will arrive with the pitchers and catchers, that is John Lackey.
John Lackey was probably the biggest free agent pitcher out on the market, this offseason. The rival Yankees made an attempt to sign the pitcher, but the Evil Empire fell short.
The Red Sox signed him to a five year deal worth $82.5 million.
He was once of the toughest pitchers for the Red Sox to beat. Now they have him on their side and hope to make the most of his starts.
Hoping to give Lackey a bit more run support will be three other big name free agent signings. Mike Cameron will be replacing the powerful Jason Bay in left field, but could share some time with Jacoby Ellsbury in center field.
The power from Cameron's bat might not be equal to Bay's, but with a little bit of help from Adrian Beltre, they can match the current Mets left fielder's production.
The short-stop position has always been tricky for the Red Sox, ever since Nomar Garciaparra left the team in a 2004 trade. They have mix and matched, but nothing has ever gone right.
Jed Lowrie might be a sign of hope, but the signing of Marco Scutaro provides time for Lowrie to ripen. Scutaro has some upside to him.
There were also several nice deals pulled off by Red Sox GM, Theo Epstein. He was able to acquire Bill Hall to help ease the pressure at shortstop for Scutaro.
Former Twins pitcher, Boof Bonser, is a guy that could be a sleeper in their rotation or bullpen. He needs to find his rhythm in order to this steal to pay-off. Jeremy Hermida, traded from the Marlins, is also nice move by Epstein.
If the Red Sox Nation is worried about the offense taking a step back this year, they could be wrong. Recent studies project the Red Sox lineup to produce the same or close to the same amounts of runs per game.
Last year they averaged, 5.38 runs per game.
Summarizing it all up, the Red Sox found an ace to their already potent starting rotation, changed the left side of their infield, and added two outfielders that could equal what was lost with Jason Bay.
This team will remain near the top of the American League East and will give the Yankees some competition in their head to head matches.
Prediction: Red Sox second place finish in the American League East (Not Wild Card Winners*) * = Mariners win the American League Wild Card