The time has come to make some bold predictions for the Sox.
While sitting down, pondering what approach I wanted to take with my own predictions for 2012, I decided to look at the tangibles, things that could actually happen and are not just pipe dreams.
Having said that, here is my list of predictions for the 2012 Boston Red Sox. I consider them to be bold because of the statistics involved, not the earth-shaking headlines that they will (or will not) create. Enjoy!
Just watching Gonzalez play has become appointment viewing. Even when he is slumping you have to watch because his swing is so beautiful. His defense is amazing.
The numbers he has put up his first year in Boston are indicative of how well he will do as time moves on. It was only his first year facing American League pitching and playing every day in Fenway.
He managed to finish first in hits with 213, third in RBI with 117 and third in OPS with a .957. All of this while coming off of shoulder surgery before the season began. In 2012 Gonzalez will feast on American League pitchers.
Here is his line: .324, 44 HR and 136 RBI. Let's see how close I get.
In 2011 Lester has had an off year.
Sure, looking at his 15 wins it is hard to say he has had an "off" year, but those of us who watch all of the games, you can see it. He has not been as dominant as he was in 2010 (when he racked up 19 wins.).
He was not called "the best lefty in the American League" this year, as he has been in past. I think next year he will really have a breakout season and win 20-21 games, making a strong case for himself as the Cy Young Winner, losing out to Justin Verlander, who will win the CY in back to back years and win 24 games.
Lester will have three complete games and two shutouts as well.
YOOOOOUUUUUKKKK..... will start the 2012 season in Boston, playing third base or as the designated hitter for the team.
The Sox will have Youk back in the lineup to build up his value after having two injury-plagued seasons that saw him age before our eyes.
What the Sox will look for in return will be pitching depth, no surprise there. It will be sad to see Youk go, but he will be perfect trade bait for any team that is looking to spend relatively short money for a corner infielder that will be off its books in 2013.
Aceves was in an incredibly important piece of the 2011 Red Sox, appearing in 55 games and racking up 114 innings of service because of a depleted pitching staff.
He performed admirably well in those appearances.
I expect Bobby Valentine to use him just as frequently, if not more, in 2012. Aceves has proven himself to be a horse. I could see him appearing in 65-70 games and pitching close to 150 innings, both out of the bullpen and filling in with a few spot starts.
His ERA will be 2.68 with a WHIP of 1.020.
The Red Sox will sign Pedro Martinez to a one-day contract, like Nomar Garciaparra, so that they can, and will retire his number 45.
Listen, the Red Sox don't just retire anybody's number, but Pedro is not just anybody. He is arguably the greatest pitcher to ever wear a Red Sox uniform. No other player has worn No. 45 since he's left and nobody else ever will.