I have seen—and laughed at—many Boston Red Sox fans who believe that the Red Sox need to clean house this offseason to have any success next year. The Red Sox had the 10th-best record in all of baseball.
That might not seem impressive, but it truly is considering the injury struggles Boston endured. People can argue that Papelbon was, at times, a major reason for the Red Sox struggles, and they would not be wrong.
However, can you really argue that the Red Sox are a better team without Dustin Pedroia, Kevin Youkilis, Josh Beckett, Clay Buchholz, Jacoby Ellsbury and Victor Martinez?
Replacement players like Jed Lowrie, Ryan Kalish, Darnell McDonald and Daniel Nava certainly stepped up to the challenge and played at high levels, but both offensively and defensively, the Red Sox stalwarts were missed.
Marco Scutaro had a very successful campaign, although his season went very much unnoticed. He batted leadoff for most of the season, replacing Ellsbury, and hit .275 with 11 home runs and a .333 OBP. Considering that most people—myself included—thought of Scutaro as a No. 8 or 9 hitter, his season was great.
Lastly, the starting pitching could have been better. Buchholz and Jon Lester both had Cy Young-caliber seasons, and Daisuke had some great starts. However, I expect Josh Beckett to pitch much better next season. I predict a 15-16 win season with an ERA just under four.
How Should the Sox approach the Off-season?
This gives the Sox a very formidable top four, with Jon Lackey, who I hope can pull it together like he did at times last season, closing it out.
Let me get to my point: The Red Sox do not need to clean house to have success next year. They have great young talent, an elite pitching staff and frankly only a couple of true question marks.
The question marks include:
1. Left Field
The team can split time between Kalish, McDonald and Nava, but if the team can land a Jayson Werth or even a Carl Crawford, the Sox would have a top-ranked outfield.
Wouldn’t the team be much more threatening with Werth than any of the above three? They could fill in if injuries occur once again or as fourth/fifth outfielders.
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